What I'm Seeing Now

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Clogged Drain?

On a one-year inspection, of which I do many, I asked the clients as I always do to tell me what things they have noticed about the house that I might not be able to know otherwise during the inspection.

Some things you only know about because you live there.

Is this a clogged drain?

All year long the homeowners have told the builder that this front downspout, buried and invisible, spurts water out the top of the connection every time it rains.

Would I know that on a home inspection?  Not likely, unless it was raining!

Even with that information, the builder still put the final asphalt coat on the driveway.  Often driveways, and streets, are left for some time with the rough coat, waiting for construction, and heavy trucks, to stop running over the roads.

That time was apparently here for this house.  The builder dutifully put on the final, smoother asphalt coat.

BUT DID NOTHING PRIOR ABOUT THE SPURTING DRAIN PROBLEM!

I suppose the termination of this downspout was to connect underground to the street storm sewer.  That's where the water would end up anyway.

But the configuration of this house, driveway, yard and sidewalk, made it difficult to drain this rain water in such a way that it would be carried away from all of that, or re-infest the foundation.

So they buried the drain line.  They also left the very attractive, plastic bar code stickers on the plastic connectors.  Being plastic the stickers are hard to remove.  Not getting sunlight these are likely to stick around for a while!

So, what can be done?  Certainly a camera needs to be inserted at this end to see what is going on, whether the line is clogged or the termination is covered by the round, concrete sewer tubing!  And what if that's the case?  What do you think the builder will do?

In the meantime, this homeowner has Old Faithful, spurting every time it rains.  How wonderful...

My recommendation:  one-year warranty inspections are very important.  And they can find things that might be difficult to fix.  But it is important to work with the builder to get these things fixed, even at the "risk" of being a pest!

 

 

 

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 24 commentsJay Markanich • August 30 2011 08:54AM

Comments

Jay, Hopefully the builders fulfil their obligation and fix this drainage issue.  Not cool for them to have ignored it initially.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) almost 8 years ago

Ah the tangled web that builders create in order to get out of what might have been a simple fix on the first inspection.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 8 years ago

Jay-I think the Builder is likely to do nothing, unless the homeowner is constant and persistent in demanding a fix.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) almost 8 years ago

One thing is certain - there is an obstruction somewhere or at least a partial one.  The stickers with bar codes is such a nice touch! Hope you follow up with the actual diagnosis.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Bliz - I have a two-year inspection on Saturday and the homeowner said there are still things left from the one-year list the builder has not gotten to!

Cindy - I did not do the first inspection, but even if I had unless it was raining we would probably not know that this was as it is.  Even so, this will never get better.  Putting another coat of asphalt over it just exacerbates the problem!

Wayne - I think you are right.  They need to be real pests.

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

Gary - I haven't heard from them.  It could be anything from a squirrel in there to a covered termination as I suggested.

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

Jay - I thought you were going to tell us how to clean out a drain!  

Builders are not nice when they leave these issues unsolved and go away.

Posted by Dagny Eason, Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo (Dagny's Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Who knows what this needs Dagny, but you already know how to clean out a drain!  Do you know how to get builders to get to the items on their repair list?

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

Jay, 

In our property management business, we always ask the question on move-out if there is anything else we should attend to in the house that we wouldn't know as we don't live there.  Folks frequently mention great items that we can attend to and solve a small problem from becomming much more expensive.

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) almost 8 years ago

That's a great policy Michelle.  I always ask homeowners to help me begin my list for the report.

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

Jay,

I think it is very wise to have 1 year inspection prior to any warranties expire. Hopefully the builder will be an up and up one and correct any issues that were from the original build.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Don - one trick a bunch of builders are using is to require the one-year inspection at the beginning of the 11th month!  Then the people call to have their inspection and the builder can say they didn't see the fine print that it should have been done the previous month.  Pretty devious...

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

Always a hurdle to jump or a trick to the warranty. Although, they have been telling the builder, I hope they did it in writing, so the 1 year warranty won't expire.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) almost 8 years ago

Than - usually on these my report is submitted to the builder along with the homeowner repair list.

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

Jay, a one-year inspection is a must, as it is a homeowners last chance, in most cases, to have the builder address issues

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 8 years ago

Jay - Little care is often given to buried drains, yet they often require significant planning and maintenance. My favorites are those buried in corrugated plastic pipe--a guarantee of a future clog.

The builder's lack of response doesn't surprise me, it seem indicative of a lack of concern for the customer and lack of common sense.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 8 years ago

Instead of a camera, one could send a hose down from the top - and see how far it goes.  If it seems to get stuck at a certain point then you have reason to send down the camera.  Or, one could put the hose at the top of the drain and turn it on high, and see if you get the same fountain as reported by the homeowner.  This could be filmed for further proof to the builder.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 8 years ago

Chris - I agree.  If, that is, the builder does the stuff!

John - this particular builder has a poor customer service record in this area.

That's a good idea, Steven, if the hose can stay straight.  But from that point to the street is only about 20', so the distance is basically known.  Something's going on!

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

As I have said before and will say again without fear of repartition;  a good home inspector is not expensive, they are PRICELESS!

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Ken.  Had I done this inspection when the house was first built I would have found out if it worked or not.  That would have been a hoot!

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

I know what the builder will do.  They'll tear up the driveway, replace the drain, and repair the driveway in a professional manner.  

Bwahahahaha!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 8 years ago

And work diligently with the local public sewer and road authorities to make sure all connections to public services are properly done. You forgot a part Reubs...

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

Great Post Jay on why we need to get Home Inspections on New Contruction and a re-inspect before one year is up. 

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Just did a two-year inspection today Gene!  Including thermal images of problems.  The house had a lot going on!

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

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