When hiking or camping you have to plan breaks to allow for resting your heavy load.
And some of us have heavier loads than others!
Take this new construction for example. One of the most important things to look for in new construction is transfer of loads. Do support points above rest on a point directly below, which in turn rests on another point directly below?
There is a reason the first thing built in a house is called the FOUNDATION.
My Oxford dictionary, which I consult nearly every day, has six definitions for foundation. The first says this:
noun 1 the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level.
Generally speaking, the lowest portion of the house has supportive characteristics - slab, foundation walls, steel beams, columns, wood beams, etc. These structures and members are sized to handle much more than the load that rests on them. Load points should rest properly on top of them.
DURING A PRE-DRYWALL INSPECTION IT IS EXCEPTIONALLY IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT LOAD POINTS ACTUALLY REST ON THEIR SUPPORTS. SIMILARLY, IT IS EXCEPTIONALLY IMPORTANT TO SEE THAT THESE SUPPORTS ARE PROPERLY SECURED OR ATTACHED.
The engineered wood column on the left is the major support for a sweeping staircase leading from the basement, through the entry to the upper level, which eventually supports a load point under the attic HVAC unit and edge of one roof valley.
Can you see how well it is attached to a load-bearing, double Micro-laminate beam? Those are two shot nails! Excellent!
The steel column on the right is one of eight in the basement, under four large steel beams. This is a large house with lots of open space. Things are designed to rest on points, and many of those points are steel beams.
Not one of the columns is attached to the underside of the steel beam it supports. In this case holes have been drilled to add bolts, but they don't line up so bolts cannot be used. They will have to weld them. Welding is fine, even preferred, but the drywall was intended for installation very soon. When were they going to get around to it? Most of this would have been covered up and no longer visible.
The builder "forgot" to notify the buyers, my clients, that they could call an independent home inspector. I did a pre-drywall inspection for this buyer's best friend, and they called me late one night. We did this the next morning at 6am. Fortunately.
My recommendation: you must check frequently to see when the builder intends to do the drywall installation. Usually they load the drywall into the house a couple of days prior to installation, so it is very good practice to go by the house to see what is going on! If drywall is there be sure you get your independent home inspection done! Unlike these columns, your inspector will be VERY SUPPORTIVE!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560