What I'm Seeing Now

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The Builder Says They Will Only Fix Code Violations. Really?

I am sometimes asked to sign something before a new construction inspection in which the builder says they will only fix code violations.  Really?

So let's look at a couple of things on a recent new construction final inspection.  This is the final "reveal," when the builder is "showing off" the final product.

Looking under and inside things is important.  I never know what I might find!

For instance, I looked into the kitchen cabinet under the six-burner gas cook top.

This is what I found.

What are you looking at?

That is a receptacle without a cover.

My grandmother finished building her house in 1910.  It was state of the art, with floor receptacles and light switches.  All of those receptacles and switches had handsome covers.  All of them.  Was it the code then that receptacles and switches have covers?  I don't know.

BUT IT CERTAINLY IS THE CODE NOW! 

But that isn't all.  The box is blocked by the cabinet; wiring or repairing that receptacle is difficult at best; that is a drywall screw holding the receptacle in place; THE GAS LINE RUNS BESIDE IT (!) AND IS VULNERABLE TO SPARKS; there was another "slot" cut in the wrong place and that hole remains.

ACCESSIBILITY TO THE BOX AND RECEPTACLE ARE CODE.  Repairing the back side of the cabinet is not.

So I ask YOU - what will they do?  What would a "professional" proud of his work do?  Would this "professional" leave anything, hidden inside a cabinet or not, in such a state?

This is the floor of the cabinet under the double kitchen sink.

Leaving other things out of this discussion, it appears that the "carpenter" or "plumber" made a teensy mistake when he drilled the holes for the plumbing. 

No problem!  Just drill some new ones!

What did he intend to do with those unused holes?

That stain would not clean off with water and a rag.  Even the metal rings are stained!  I dont' know what it is, but did he intend to leave it?

NOW, NEITHER OF THESE THINGS, THE HOLES OR STAIN, ARE ADDRESSED BY THE CODE. 

Does that mean the builder will not fix them?  Really?

My recommendation:  I could rant and rave and scream about this sort of thing, but, UNFORTUNATELY, I see it all too often.  It is shameful!!  It is amateur, Mickey Mouse, and junior high school shop class work.  I know what grade my 8th grade shop teacher would have given me for both of these locations offered on a project as a "final" product!  And I give it the same grade - IT FAILS!

 

 

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 22 commentsJay Markanich • September 26 2012 04:14AM

Comments

Good morning Jay,

This builder is certainly all about customer satisfaction...NOT!  Hard to believe these won't be fixed, but very little surprises me anymore.

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) about 6 years ago

Goodness, what on earth was he doing drilling all those holes?  That really does not make sense and it is not acceptable in a brand new house.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) about 6 years ago

We will see Lisa!  I have to think he will, but these things are added to another couple of dozen that I found.

Kathryn - measure twice, drill once.  Obviously the thinker wasn't thinking...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Hopefully the Builder will learn from this experience, I am sure your return inspection trip will be interesting!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) about 6 years ago

Doubtful Lisa.  The builder is only as good as the supervisor on site every day and the subs used.  This is their team!  Have a nice day!  Oh, and please don't call the builder when a problem crops up.  Call the sub!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

I have heard the same excuses here from many builders. It has a CO, so we are not fixing anything. Incorrect is incorrect, code or not. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 6 years ago

And if a schmuck does schmuck work, Jim, someone who is non-schmuck needs to fix it right.  That might not be the builder or his subs!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Hi Jay,

The builders think just because there is a code they will follow just the code. WRONG in my book.

If there is something wrong and even if not covered by a code. Then I will write it up. Then comes the home buyer that has to work it out with the builder. 

Have a good day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie 

P.S. if the buyer is buying a new home, then it should be just that. Not a repaired home. Do it right the first time.

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 6 years ago

Of course it's wrong Clint!  Code is not the standard anyone should employ.  Everyone, especially builders, should be interested in best practice.  If not that, then at least "professional" work!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Interesting builder attitude Jay.

I was mesmerized by the drain configuration in that double sink. The angle of the photo made it hard to see, I'm thinking that there is a post in that also Jay.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) about 6 years ago

Sadly, Jay, this kind of poor "get it done" craftsmanship is too common.  We could field a team of electricians who just fix other people's work.  It's a sad testimony of the trades. 

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 6 years ago

It is Tom.  That trap arrangement looks very weird, but I could not see where they weren't trapping water properly.  The high one is just low enough not to block water trying to get out of the other side!

Mike - you should start that company!  "We Fix Crap Work, Ltd."

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Jay, This is a problem with many in the industry. The thinking that just meeting/achieving the code is an acceptable standard. If you have a tough time achieving the minimum what does that have to say? 

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

This job was no standard period Don.  Minimum?  Ha!  Mr. Brautigam, my 8th grad shop teacher, would have given me a really bad grade for this.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Jay -- what difference does it make if you sign something that says the builder will only fix code issues?  If the buyer doesn't like the workmanship - shown up in the inspection - they can go find another home; and, at least in many places, the builder would then have to notify any future potential purchasers of "deficiencies" they are aware of.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 6 years ago

I agree Steven.  That is to intimidate people.  Doesn't work on me.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Jay - That's why you have inspections and why a buyer should NEVER close on a home with issues outstanding, unless, of course, they have an agreement (best created by the closing attorney) that spells out corrections with time limits. What about the builder's obligation to convey the home in a "clean and workmanlike manner?"

I've written on this topic numerous times, and you have posted hundreds of great examples of why buyers need to understand the builder's standards and obligation to make repairs/corrections before signing a contract.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) about 6 years ago

What else could be said but that John?  Well said.  Indeed.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Good evening Jay. I would love to say I am surprised but it happens way to much which is why we all need a pre-drywall inspection.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) about 6 years ago

'Tis Randy, 'tis.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Not only everything you mentioned, but what about the drain for the kitchen sink? It pitches down so much before the vent that the vent could get blocked with water.  Sheesh.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 6 years ago

Agreeeeeed Reuben.  I wanted to focus on the holes (not a code issue).  The drain arrangement sucks, to be sure.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

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