What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Window, Window On The Wall

This is one of six windows in this basement wall.  The client decided he wants to finish the basement himself.  He wants to do certain things and he thought the builder was charging too much to do them.  So the basement is left unfinished by the builder for a future time when the buyer will finish it himself.

Fair enough.  Of the six windows, one is partially blocked by plumbing, one is not even close to level and they ALL look like this.  This is schmuck work.  I really, really dislike schmuck work.

What's my beef?

  • Mud on all six windows.  Will it be cleaned off?  Am I confident it will be cleaned off?  No...
  • The windows all appear to be stuck in place with mortar, all around.
  • That mortar is SLOPPED all over the framing.  Insulation is yet to be installed.  When this basement is framed, drywall will have to abut right up to that window.  For this to happen all that sloppy mortar will have to be chinked off to accommodate it.  Such mortar removal may damage the window.  Or more than one.
  • The mortar on the bottom is right to the edge of where the window will move if opened.  And that security contact would be broken or popped off!  
  • The people building this house, all of them involved, think that this is alright.

You know darn well that if the builder was finishing the basement he would not leave himself all that additional work.  And you KNOW that if the builder was building this house for himself NONE of the windows would look like this. They would all be cleanly installed, level, and the framing when done would easily fit drywall to where it will need to go.

If you were building this house yourself, FOR YOURSELF, would you do this TO YOURSELF?  Of course not.

Is this builder/supervisor/subcontractor practicing the Golden Rule?  And why not!? 

I ask this question seriously.  Why not?

WOULDN'T LIFE BE A REALLY NEAT PLACE IF EVERYONE ACTIVELY PRACTICED THE GOLDEN RULE?

My recommendation:  don't let builders get away with schmuck work, in any context.  Make certain things are done properly and in a professional manner.  And when they are not, be QUICK to point it out.

 

 

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 31 commentsJay Markanich • October 10 2010 07:02AM

Comments

I'm sure you advised them that they should budget for WINDOW WELL COVERS.  I'm curious how the mud got on the INSIDE.

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 8 years ago

Actually all the windows are well above the ground Wallace!  The lowest is 3' above grade.  This mud comes from sloppy and uncaring installation.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay, I 110% agree. I have a condo listing in a 55 & Over development. The builder is selling the one he built for his mother-in-law. The kitchen drawers all have dovetail construction and the rest do not. You can see in that unit all the extras when it comes to the construction. I know that is not a bad thing. Some builders do better for themselves or for someone they know.

If those were his windows, I can hear the expletitives fly! There would be no way I would accept those windows if they were mine.

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 8 years ago

It's the little things that make a difference. I am going to go out on a limb here and say this is indicative of their work throughout the house. If I were the buyer, THAT would scare me.

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area (www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell) over 8 years ago

Window, window on the wall; Yours is the crappiest installation of them all...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Jackie - I have seen that over and over.  When I am called to do an inspection and the buyer tells me it was the builder's personal house, I jokingly ask them why they want an inspection!  And guess what?  The house is almost always beautifully done.

It did scare him Scott.  I have not heard back, but the list for the builder to do was pretty large.

Genie - please, please grant me three wishes!  And the last would be for a million more wishes, which I would gladly share with others!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, I'm still laughing at your description:  "schmuck work".  Love it.  Everything else about the windows and the work is true, but I'm still laughing about your description.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 8 years ago

Yes, this is rather sloppy on so many levels.  And, this is just the part you can see.  Very sad.  This is what gives contractors a bad name.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 8 years ago

I've been using that term for along time Gabe!  It started on my posts with Chinese Drywall, about which I began blogging over 2 years ago and the press picked up on about six months ago!  But I have used the term for years!

Debbie - and builders.  I wouldn't use this window company again if I was this builder.  But I'm not!  They probably will...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I remember walking through the basement of a new home and finding one of these type of windows slightly ajar. I wanted to close it because I was doing a radon test for my clients. Couldn't close the window. Why? Because it didn't fit in the opening and had be forced into the space. What the "installer" did was open the window and jam it into the hole. This caused the frame to bow. Now the window can't close, but hey they're installed. Schmucks!

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

"The people building this house, all of them involved, think that this is alright."

Aggravated because the buyer didn't pay them to finish the basement?

Or, they think this is OK in an unfinished basement?

Or, they really do know it is "schmuck work" and really just do not care?

It does look very much like a symptom of what one could expect from a builder who has gotten away with crummy work before, or is going broke.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 8 years ago

Valerie - this is the builder doing this, so the poor schmuck works for the schmuck builder!  And if those windows are in fact surrounded by mortar, as I believe they are, the thermal properties really stink.

Jim - am I surprised!?  Well, of course not.  And what can they do to fix that?  Start again.

Mike - if they didn't think so, why leave it like that!  They may know and not care!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay...I learned long ago if I can't do a job properly, I need to call in a professional.  Looks like your home owner need to learn the same lesson.  What a mess!

Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055) over 8 years ago

How about the builder Anita!?  This guy was hired by the builder!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Is it just me getting older and crankier, or is it getting more difficult to find true, quality craftsmen?

Posted by Jon Budish (Resident Realty) over 8 years ago

Jay ~  I must say, this "Schumck Guy" really does get around -- just saw some of his handi-work yesterday!

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 8 years ago

If you look directly above the window, Jay... am I wrong, or are those some joist supports installed upside down? I can understand the need in such quality construction to keep joists from penetrating the flooring above... just curious :)

Oh, and concerning one of your earlier posts, toured a beautiful re-do of a 70's home that had been "opened up" by removing a substantial portion of the weight bearing wall... wonder where those tiny cracks in the drywall were coming from???  Thanks so much for all your info...

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, www.BillSellsHotSprings.com (Meyers Realty) over 8 years ago

Jay,

Exactly!  They know, like any cognitive homo sapien would know.   They just don't care!

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 8 years ago

It's crazy the crap that we see when it's done crapp-ily...  :)

Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California)) over 8 years ago

Jon - I think part of the problem is what I call 7-11 construction where the builders pick up guys in the morning at 7-11 and employ them, under the table, for cash.  This contributes a lot of crap to our construction industry and their reputation.  When I was a kid, if you wanted to join a trade and build houses, you had to work a long time with somebody who knew what he was doing before you were allowed to do much.

But you are getting older and crankier...    ;)

He does Tish!  I see posts of his work from all over the country!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

It is installed correctly there Bill, but right now I don't remember why.

And, as to the last part, I am very happy to have indicated that potential problem for you so you can recognize it when you get into a similar situation!  We try, we do...

Mike - I am not sure I understand why, but the Golden Rule is really, really going into the ditch by the side of the road.

Chris - very alliterative!  And I can see from your photo that you happily used the word crappily!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, those are they types of items that the buyer should use in conjunction with the inspector from the bank, especiallyif it's a construction loan. Maybe then the contractor himself can step in and realize that things need to be addressed properly. If they still get their money, they tend to get very deaf and their vision gets poorer as ell.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 8 years ago

I doubt builders get such draw payments from a bank Ed.  But you are right in your thinking.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Wow, that's really bad work.

It was a little confusing in your post, as it seemed you said the customer did the work himself as the builder was charging too much to install the windows.  But if I read your comments correctly, this work was done by some builder/contractor, correct?  So price became of greater import than quality, I assume?

I'm always seeing work like this that we end up correcting.  And any new or potential employee seems to have been trained to do work like this and I have to spend tons of time to "un-train" them to the right way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) over 8 years ago

Thanks Jeremy.  I added a small sentence to the first paragraph.  This basement will be left unfinished for the buyer to finish sometime in the future.  But all the work to date has been done by the builder, this being new construction.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Thanks for the clarification.  That's really horrible work, but even worse considering a "professional" installed it.  It was so bad that I was certain the homeowner had done it, but I was wrong!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) over 8 years ago

That window is only 18" wide Jeremy.  And one of them is nearly 1/2" unlevel from left to right!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

My dad used to have a saying that fits this example perfectly "that's half-a##*#-ed work, and everyone knows you can't have "half an a**!"  I hope you helped the homeowner set the supervisor/builder straight! That's NOT acceptable by any means.

Posted by Tammy Pearce, Tammy Pearce (Haute Realty 214-994-6474) over 8 years ago

We will see at the final inspection, Tammy, who got straightened and who did not!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

That seriously looks like a preschool art project.  No wait, the preschoolers would have done a better job.  I should not insult them like that.

Posted by doug diller (Goal Line Inspections) over 8 years ago

It rings of true professionalism, doesn't it Doug!?  I used to do stuff like that with toothbrushes and water-based paint...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments