What I'm Seeing Now

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So, What Can You Do Now?

On new construction, there are things going in that I would not know.  For example, which rooms should have ceiling fan locations?  Is cable TV to be put over the kitchen counter?  How many basement windows should there be?

In this house, after the foundation wall poured, my client noticed that the foundation walls had only five windows put into the foundation.  The plans called for six.  Not only six, but, looking at the plans, they were symmetrically arranged around the house, two on each side and rear, and spaced equally apart.

I didn't know about this five or six window mistake, of course, when we went into the basement.  It was explained later.  But...

Looking at this window, I said, "Why did they do that?"

"What?" my client asked.

"One day you will finish the basement.  When you do a bulkhead will have to be created around all those drain lines in the ceiling.  That is normal.

What isn't normal is that the bulkhead will have to extend outward to cover that drain trap, RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW."

He hadn't noticed.  And he had been there many times.

What you cannot see in this photo is how close that trap is to the window!  About 10"!  So, when the bulkhead is framed and drywalled, not only will it cover up about a quarter of the window's end, but it will only be about 4" away from the window!

How could this happen?  This is the above-mentioned sixth window!  It was cut in later.  It should have been cut on the OTHER SIDE of that steel beam.  That would have placed it symmetrically on that side wall, and opposite the other window in the basement!

I'm going to bet that the supervisor told the foundation cutters to put it in on the "left side" of the steel beam.  And from the outside, that window is on the LEFT side!  Outside it is only three feet or so above grade. 

If you were cutting a hole in a foundation wall, using a huge, powerful saw with a 20" diamond blade, would you cut it from the side that's three feet high, or seven feet high?

Yeah, me too.

Nothing like a little communication to make a project flow perfectly!

AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO NOTICED THIS!!??  SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW?  THE ANSWER:  NOTHING.

My recommendation:  Some things a pre-drywall inspection can catch, and others it can't.  But the client has some responsibility in the building process too!  Some things need to be checked along the way.

By the way, what do you want to bet that the plans were not taped to the sun room window?

 

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 16 commentsJay Markanich • October 09 2010 06:14AM

Comments

You are so right, keeping on top of new construction is everyone's responsibility, You cannot be there 24 hr a day to keep an eye on the subs!

Posted by Laura D. Fleischer (REMAX Coastal) almost 10 years ago

Laura - that, I heard, is the responsibility of the supervisor!  This is a mistake that should never have happened.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

This IS a bid deal.  The supervisor of the supervisor needs to be brought in.  This DEFECT needs to go up the ladder of responsibility. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

This is really bad.  Good that you caught it, but bad that you had to catch it.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 10 years ago

I agree Lenn!  They just proceded with the project, framing over that previously bare foundation and building the house!  You mean nobody noticed this!?

Debbie - this is a huge bummer.  The buyer proudly told me that he was looking forward to finishing the basement himself because he wanted to do things the builder would not.  I think I am right about the "left side" instruction.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Great post...asking where these things might be before hand....thanks for sharing jen

Posted by Jennifer Dulmaine, Seth Campbell Realty Group (Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

Jennifer - there is responsibility all around here.  But particularly the supervisor on site every day.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay,

But exposed mechanicals are all the rage.  So the homeowner paints the pipes black, and finishes above them?

A good supervisor would have marked or personally shown the location for the guy cutting the fenestration.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) almost 10 years ago

You actually wanted someone to cut another 4 feet. That's work and that's hard.

Now ignorance and playing it is so much easier.

And if it was spotted, well out comes the blame game and oh well

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Jay - If the owner does have plans to finish the basement, this needs to be addressed now.  While a "fix" would be difficult, it's easier now than later.  Just another example of focusing upon a single issue without considering the consequences.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 10 years ago

Mike - yes, but that is a detail that might not appeal to everybody!  And one day this guy needs to sell the house!  The super should have had the spot he wanted spray painted with orange.

Don - for sure the blame game will begin and continue forever.  You have to think the supervisor saw this before my report.

John - it is fixable now, but as you say, with "" around the word fix.  Any product they put in to fill that space will not have anywhere near the tensile strength of the foundation wall pour.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay that's a classic case of 'Maybe they won't notice", gone awry. Now the poor homeowner is in for more than their share of well it's done and there's nothing we can do about it. However you look at it it's sad.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 10 years ago

Jay, well it will certainly be way easier to move the plumbing than the window

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 10 years ago

It can be "repaired" Ed, still, but it won't ever look good or really be good.  They can cut another hole, but repairing this one will never be right.

Charlie - that's the first-level bathroom, specially put in for elderly parents who will have a suite on the main level.  And THAT was in the plans from the beginning!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay ~ Another terrific post and another reason to hire professionals.  Where were the plans taped?  We need to have you cloned!

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) almost 10 years ago

Tish - I don't know about any plans at this place.  Maybe they are on a card in the supervisor's pocket.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

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