What I'm Seeing Now

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The Lowest Point Is The Most Important

On this pre-drywall inspection, like with every pre-drywall inspection, the lowest point is the most important.

Hence the word "foundation."

If the foundation of anything is weak, or off center, or leaning, or compromised by cracking, or whatever, the rest of the building above is in jeopardy.

This house has a beautiful third level.  Tall, cathedral ceilings and the walls of three rooms come to rest at the top of a single, load-bearing column.

It is located right on top of another single, load-bearing column.

That column in and of itself also supports the intersection of two walls and beams.

The bottom of that column rests on top of a, so-called, para-laminate beam.

One end of that beam is secured to and properly and deeply sits on the foundation wall.  That end is very secure!

The other end is supported by the lowest column in this group.

The bottom of that column is secured to a Simpson Strong Tie support base buried into the slab, as it should be.

The connection isn't even centered!

And, to boot, the column is attached to the base with drywall screws!

Simpson makes (and recommends) stronger, fatter nails that are supposed to be used with their ties.

You can see that holes are even provided for through bolts, if desired by the architect.  If they were so designed, they were not used.

DRYWALL SCREWS ARE FOR DRYWALL!  DRYWALL SCREWS ARE SELDOM USED FOR DRYWALL!

They are certainly, certainly inappropriate here!  This is the most important point from bottom to top!

The top of this same column is attached to the beam with four, no, count'em five, toe nails!

One is double shot right beside another!

And fully 1/2" of the top of that column is captured by those nails!

Secure, secure, secure!

This, again, it totally inappropriate.

Remember, this is the bottom-most point of some major support in this house.

Simpson, and other companies, makes special attachment straps for this location and post and beam arrangement.

IT CAN BE VERY SECURE!

But here it is not.

This is joke carpentry. 

This is thoughtless carpentry.

THIS IS NOT CARPENTRY!

It is distrubing.  This could only be seen because this buyer had the foresight to ignore the builder's many admonitions NOT to have a pre-drywall inspection.

My recommendation:  ignore the builder's many admonitions NOT to have a pre-drywall inspection on new construction!  Simply smile!  And then insist on one, provided by a competent, independent, objective, qualified home inspector!  You will be happy you did!

 

 

 

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 40 commentsJay Markanich • August 17 2013 04:15AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay.... a framing inpection is as good as the relationship with the framer/builder and the building commissioner.... if the local building inspector meets at the watering hole regularly with those guys, the buyer is dead in the water.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 5 years ago

I wonder often if that is not the case Barbara.  Once the county guy came in while I was there (and he's supposed to throw me out to avoid interaction) and he asked me what I had come up with!  What?

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

For the life of me, I cannot conceive of a situation where anything or any two things should be toenailed.

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

Only for temporary Lenn.  This is a joke.

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

A pre-drywall inspection is a great suggestion for buyers.  Thanks so much for the tip!

Posted by Kelly Barbus, Keller Williams Buffalo Northtowns (Keller Williams Buffalo Northtowns) about 5 years ago

If there is a critical attachment, Simpson has a bracket or hanger for it. I am in the middle of a project at the moment, I have a box full of Simpson hardware. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 5 years ago

Is there anything that a drywall screw can't do? They are slowly becoming the jury rigging material of choice.... supplanting duct tape! Nah... never happen!

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

Thank you for the information. I learn a lot from your posts.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 5 years ago

Kelly - it's one of the two most important inspections on new construction, along with the final just before closing.

Simpson makes great stuff Jim.  I had a great class with them a couple of years ago, and they are big on their stuff.  Something like 6000 products.  Keep us informed about your project!

They could have hidden the screws with that duct tape Fred.  Surely they weren't thinking.

I am glad Gita!  You may stop by anytime!

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

Amazing that some people just don't really care that their actions could end up hurting someone. .

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) about 5 years ago

Jay, I don't see how this could even pass code. When I built my deck, I used the correct brackets and it specifically states to only use the nails provided with the bracket.

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

Jay- Very scary. Imagine what could have happened!

Posted by Scott Fogleman, New Home Team (New Home Team 804-573-9592) about 5 years ago

Jay, that is some nasty carpentry work.  I'm fortunate that 99% of the folks we work with are pretty solid on issues like this.  But, the other group is out there making their mark.

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 5 years ago

Jay, a quick question (or two), would this pass a code inspection?  Does this happen often?

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) about 5 years ago

Darn you Jay! This could have all been hidden from the unsuspecting buyer.  :)

Great description of the importance proper construction.

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 5 years ago

Amazing. And if they had listen to the builder they would have been in a heap of trouble down the line.

I'm surprised he didn't try to secure it with duct tape.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 5 years ago
Great advice, Jay! It pays to have an inspection done by someone that knows what they should be looking for. You can easily solve future problems this way.
Posted by Matt Kombrink, Your #1 Source For Real Estate (RE/MAX All Pro) about 5 years ago

How could the Builder be so incompetent?  Don't they do this for a living?

Posted by Raymond Denton, Simple Man (Academy Mortgage Corporation) about 5 years ago

The only thing worse than the carelessness and recklessness of this is the fact someone paid, IN GOOD FAITH, hard earned money to buy this and they are the ones really impaired by this poor work

Posted by David Shamansky, Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg (US Mortgages - David Shamansky) about 5 years ago

Another good reason to have a professional home inspection before your inspection period ends.

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

"The Building of America...with duct tape & sheet-rock screws..... A FIRM  Foundation" by Liki T. Splitt

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846 (Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330) about 5 years ago

I like your advice: 'ignore complains, smile, do the right thing, order the inspection', they would be thankful you did.

 

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA (Barcode Properties) about 5 years ago

Jay, such shoddy work seems to be everywhere. It's a crying shame that so many take such lazy ways to complete their work.

Posted by Lynn Pineda, Coral Springs REALTOR- Promises Delivered (Keller Williams Realty) about 5 years ago

Drywall screws will hold anything! I have seen them used everywhere!  ;-)

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) about 5 years ago

Every time I read one of your posts, I'm reminded why buyers should have a pre-drywall inspection on new construction. I'm going start sending links to my new construction buyers so they can see as well.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 5 years ago

Why do seemingly competent and successful builders make it so difficult for buyers to have pre drywall inspections, requiring 2 weeks notice and proof of the inspector having every inspection license and private affiliation membership available, in writing in advance. I know smile and thank them and provide it and do it.

Posted by Barbara Jenkins, Its about THE house (Solid Source Realty) about 5 years ago

I would think it is a MUST to have a drywall inspection. If someone insists that it is not necessary, than that is more reason to have the inspection.

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

Many builders will not permit an inspection from a 3rd party.. This is why it concerns me.. often the town does not pick up on these type of issues.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 5 years ago
"Joke carpentry" such as this is why buyers would be wise to hire a knowledgable inspector such as yourself to point out serious potential pitfalls.
Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) about 5 years ago

Fernando - this "pro" might think this is how things are supposed to be done!

The instructions are very clear Mike.  Only certain nails and all the holes.

Scott - this is a major load point and certainly a potential disaster.

Mike C. - they have been making their mark for a while now.  Years ago I was saying that these guys sweeping up now will soon be into the trades and when they are we are screwed.  Well...

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

Gabe - no to the first, but the County already passed this house and to the second yes!  That's why I am doing so many of these - the word is out.

Tom - drywall covers a multitude of sins.  That's one reason the builders don't like these inspections!

Suzanne - wouldacouldashoulda!

Matt - future problems may be minimized!

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

Raymond - that's why I tell people that the supervisor on site every day and the subs hired are crucial to the building process.

David - which is why I call them my clients!  I am objective in the process, but certainly on the buyer's team!

E&C - another of many!

Travis - drywall screw hit on the head with the hammer!

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

Thanks Inna.  That about sums it up!

Lynn - it truly is and it is disgusting.  There is no pride or professionalism anymore.

Than - therefore this must be a proper application thereof!

Tammie - that would be a great file!

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

Barbara - because they have their schedule and people like me throw wrenches into the works.  Plus, it forces a standard.  Who are home inspectors to do such a thing?

Jimmy - when I hear that from my clients my antennas go up higher.

Joan - that is absurd and scary. 

That term pretty much says it all Ralph.  It is not uncommon!

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

Hi Jay,

What happened to the top tie plates? Looks like they were out and decided to through some screws in the beam. Really?

Have a good day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

 

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

Those are shot nails Clint.  And really, really well done!

 

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

Jay -- at least they used nails to toe-nail the top of the column, and not sheet rock screws. ;-)  

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

Likely because they don't have a gun to shoot those drywall screws Steven!

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

One of our favorite uses for drywall screws, huge bolts...etc. is to hang that picture over the mantle...which nearly requires new drywall to repair the hole !

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

Then trade out the picture for the moose head and you'll do less damage S&D!

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

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