What I'm Seeing Now

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A Plumbing Clean Out And A Pre-drywall Inspection

It's a great combination - a plumbing clean out and a pre-drywall inspection.

The two go together well.

This is a three-level townhouse, on a slab.

And this is the lower-level powder room.

Behind it is the staircase cavity, without future access.

Behind that is the laundry room, beside the staircase.

All three of these locations will have drywall.

Plumbing clean-out ports are located inside and outside all new construction.

In this house there are two inside.

This is one of them.

You will notice that it is not only behind the drywall of the powder room, but the toilet as well!

However, once the drywall is up this location will be hidden.

A future plumber, hoping to snake out a clogged drain line, will not know where to find it.

And even if, that's IF, they provide access to that area under the stairs, which would require a very unobtrusive (cough) access door in the entry hall wall (always attractive), it will be facing the back side and getting a snake in there will be difficult at best.

I'm not sure what this installer has in mind, but this is NOT thinking ahead!

Let's hope the F2 is from the supervisor, indicating that a new Set Up Utility is to be put here sometime soon!

But don't hold your breath.

Oh, installing the upstairs toilets with drywall screws isn't thinking ahead either!

These guys are good!

Drywall screws are used for everything and anything EXCEPT drywall!

My recommendation:  once the drywall is up this would NEVER have been seen.  A pre-drywall inspection is as essential with new construction as anything else you will do.  Because once the drywall is up, all of this is invisible!  And yes, I know, there have been many, many inspections up until now, including the County, which approved what you see here.  So be smart!  Get a private, professional, objective, bull dog home inspector to have a look around!  You'll feel better afterward.

 

 

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 44 commentsJay Markanich • July 13 2013 02:37AM

Comments

Good catch, Jay.  I"m wondering if you need to start some training classes for those county inspectors.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 5 years ago

Well Jay all I can say about this one is being half A$$ed is better than having no A$$ at all.  :)

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 5 years ago

Nah, Debbie.  I could say more, but...

James - now, there's a philosophy!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

You wonder how many homeowners even consider a pre-wall drywall inspection when building....this shows them there is a very good reason !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 5 years ago

There was more S&D!  And having to do with the fire code!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

The question now becomes, will the builder make repair these defects????  This appears to be a serious design flaw, not just a defect.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 5 years ago

I have to wonder if this is what the architect designed Lenn, or what the installer decided to put in place! I think this is construction on the fly!  And obviously the County approves...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago
You have to wonder what the plumber was thinking. What if he was the one called back and had tomsnakemhis own drain?
Posted by Bill and MaryAnn Wagner, Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate (Wagner Real Estate Group) over 5 years ago

Wow, can there really be no access -- it is not a code issue? Yikes!

Posted by Marney Kirk, Towson, Maryland Real Estate (Cummings & Co. Realtors) over 5 years ago

This answers the question I get from buyers about why new homes should be inspected.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 5 years ago

Maybe that's what the F2 stands for Bill!

Marney - it certainly is a code issue as it's inaccessible! 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Joe - I have had many such blogs, both before and after the County inspection.  The builder will always, that's always, say a private inspection isn't necessary!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

I suspect that "the county" if they approved, did one of their famous 30 second walk through code ispections.  The buyer, or their agent, needs to have a serious talk with the builder and ask them the question, "If a plumber needs access to the clean out, is it your plan that the toilet, plumbing, drywall, etc. be removed too???"

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Jay, everyone knows you can use dry wall screws everywhere duct tape won't work. lol You sometimes have to wonder what they were thinking. Pre drywall inpections are a must!

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 5 years ago

Lenn - this stuff is rampant!  I have been in properties when the county shows up.  They are supposed to throw me off the site until they are done so we have no interaction.  Instead, once, the county guy asked me what things I had come up with!  And then he left!

Mike - this sounds harsh.  Fifteen and ten years ago I was saying that the people sweeping up then would soon be in the trades and when they are we are screwed.  Well, with all the 7-11 construction around here who do you suppose are in the trades?  Was I right or wrong?  And, we are truly screwed.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Incredible! I have been preaching pre-drywall inspections around here for a long time. I hardly ever get one! People just don't get it... they trust "The Builder" to do it right. They are the creator, it must be right! What they don't realize is that the "Builder" is not out there doing the work! Most of them don't even go behind the people the hire (Subs) that DO the work to insure it's done correctly. ARRRRGGHH!! Maddening!

Way to go Jay!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 5 years ago

Hi Jay,

All the More reasons to get a pre-drywall inspection. The contractors will try anything just to get something by us.

Have a great day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 5 years ago

Love the drywall screws. I saw them holding up a garage door opener the other day. I suppose if they used enough it would be ok. Enough as in a whole box. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 5 years ago

Jay another great catch at pre drywall again. If you have not made a case as to why you need that pre inspection, I don't what more you can say.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) over 5 years ago

I always recommend a pre drywall inspection at all times. One time we found garbage inside the walls.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 5 years ago

Very few new home buyers think It is necessary, until they find out after the 1 year warranty is up and they have problems.

Posted by Edward & Celia Maddox, EXPERIENCE & INTEGRITY - WE TAKE THE HIGH ROAD (The Celtic Connection Realty) over 5 years ago

I would certainly want a pre-drywall inspection. The thought of not knowing what's going on behind my walls would drive me crazy.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 5 years ago

Jay -- one begins to wonder what some of these installers are thinking.  I have to agree with Bill (#8) - why would a plumber install it this way, if he might have to come back and do work on it later?    Could it be he is just putting pipe where the blueprints show, and not considering the impossibility of accessing things after the drywall goes up?  

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 5 years ago

Looks like they assume the clean out will never be needed. They just stick them in because they are required to be somewhere?

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 5 years ago

How could it possibly pass a new construction code inspection?  Thank you for the great information. I will definitely keep this in mind. Much appreciated.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Posted by Christi Farrington, ~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate - Norwalk, CT) over 5 years ago

Pre-drywall inspections are worth their weight in gold when you find a new build in the early stages of construction. Too bad the city's building inspectors were clueless or in a hurry on this one.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 5 years ago

A quality home inspector can sure make all the difference! Buyers who take your suggestion for the wisdom it is will thank you later. Thanks for the post.

Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) over 5 years ago

It is these little things that seem to matter the most.  Thanks for the post.

Posted by Jay & Michelle Lieberman, Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos (Keller Williams World Class) over 5 years ago

Fred - I may have been one of the pioneers in pre-drywall inspections around here, doing them for about 15 years.  They are absolutely necessary.  These are not the only laughable installations in the house!

Clint - I think they try to get away with stuff because they are not followed up on.  Well, not with home inspectors around.

For everything but drywall Scott! 

Chuck - I can make the case with virtually every pre-drywall inspection I do.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Harry - you name it, I have seen it - panties, condoms, hypodermics, poop - well, the list goes on.

E&C - I recommend a pre-drywall, a final inspection prior to walk through, and a one year.  They all have issues.

Suzanne - then you must be crazy now and then!  So to speak...

Steven - maybe a plumber who isn't followed up on often?  And as to blueprints, architects are pretty smart people and I would doubt that is a spec by an architect.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

They are required Jeff, in a couple of places indoors.  As to not being needed, who can predict that?

Christi - it can't pass, if they see it!  They gotta see it!

Sharon - well, I won't go there!  Often the builder balks at what I say because the County as "already approved it."  What a skate job that is!

Ralph - I usually do about 10 of these a month, and they seem to be very appreciated!

J&M - this is a little thing, if the pipes never clog.  If a clog happens, the problem is huge!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

When you are buying new construction and are not aware of construction you should hire an inspector that you can trust to look over the job site as it progresses. If you are out of town you definetly need an inspector to oversee the construction.

Posted by Jimmy Faulkner, The Best Of St. Augustine (Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage) over 5 years ago

Never thought of an inspection while the property is being built. Probably a good idea. Next time I sell a new house I will suggest ongoing inspections.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 5 years ago

An excellent post.  Most builders will not allow an inspection... It is unfortunate as a real estate agent is NOT an inspector, and and independent inspection is needed.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 5 years ago

Jimmy - these folks live so near to the unit and were visiting so much that the builder got fed up with their communications and wouldn't let them onto the site without supervision!

Bill - the pre-drywall is the only time a house can be seen while in a skeletal condition.

Joan - they make it tougher and tougher here with this or that criteria, but I'm not aware of any builders that won't allow an inspection!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Scary if the builder didn't think about something as simple as the placement of the cleanout about the more important things in the house. 

Posted by Jeremy De La Garza, Corpus Christi, TX (Corpus Christi Realty Group) over 5 years ago

That's right Jeremy.  There were many things - but this one was the easiest to use for instruction.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Good post.  How do you say it - always, always, always plan for future maintenance when building and make all access points as easily accessible as possible.

Posted by Roger Stensland, Let's Move! (The Cascade Team Real Estate) over 5 years ago

That is just a tad too much common sense, Roger.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

I recommend strongly to ALL of my new construction clients that if they do any inspections it be the pre-drywall inspection. Once those walls are covered, you have no idea what's happening behind them.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC) over 5 years ago

Jay, After installing my toilet 2 months ago, I can't understand how anyone would use drywall screws. Those would be broken in a matter of months at my house.

Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) over 5 years ago

Nina - that is very true and these inspections are often very revealing!

Mark - drywall screws are used so often where they should not be!  And it's one of my pet peeves.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay, They may be putting in one of those fancy access ports for the clean out. Then most likely not ;)

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Would that fancy port be called the toilet, Don?  This is one weird spot!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

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