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How To Tell When A Structure Is Not Professionally Done

How to tell when a structure is not professionally done.

This house had a very large addition added to the back.  The addition is supported by foundation walls on the exterior perimeter of the room, with two double Micro-laminate beams across the span.  Under the entire addition is a crawl space.

When so many things are not done properly, one begins to expect that what looks proper may not be!

The wood beams enter the foundation walls like this one.  ALL FOUR LOOKED LIKE THIS ONE.

There should be a space all around where the wood does not touch the concrete (or mortar).

The bottom seems supported by what looks like a wood-splitting wedge to me.  These are driven into the end of logs with a sledge hammer to split the log.  It is NOT designed to be a shim in any way.

And you can see how tightly it is held in place!  Now that's a secure structure!

Engineering codes say this double beam should extend 3" into the wall onto a shelf called a "corbel."  Certainly I could not tell if this was so. 

Given what is elsewhere I would wonder.

The double beams should be secured to each other with through bolts.

The supportive columns should  each be through bolted to the beams.  None is.

This column is not attached in any way.

This column is too small.

This column is not centered.

This column is not plumb.

This column is supposed to sink 24" into the ground and rest on a concrete footer.

Does it?

Given what is elsewhere I would wonder.

The room above has a hardwood floor that is not level, but has gentle rises and falls throughout the room.  That would be related to this structure below.

In the attempt to solve this problem various makeshift columns were put into place.

Many look like this one, resting on a board that is itself resting on the ground.

You can see another type of makeshift column to the right.

Above it is not attached to the joist it is "supporting."

But it is resting directly on the ground and not even on a board so it is sinking.

There are other things, but this is enough to give the idea as to the erratic nature of the floor of this  room.  Professional?

Was this work done with a permit?  Was the permit closed?  Was this structure approved for occupancy?

Given what is elsewhere I would wonder.

My recommendation:  it took quite a while to crawl around and see what there was to see.  It was not easy!  This photo shows what a lot of the crawl space looked like!  It is important that a home inspector look carefully at areas like this crawl space.  It's a part of the job.  And it's a good thing this home inspector decided to go in despite all the boards that had nails in them and the rest of the junk in the space. 

 

 

 

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 13 commentsJay Markanich • June 29 2016 04:37AM

Comments

Great article Jay.  You make some very good points.

Posted by Paul Weese, Steamboat Springs Broker and Outdoor Enthusiast (Colorado Group Realty) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. Your description leaves me with a sinking feeling! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 4 years ago

WE will be in the attic today fixing it from previous fire not disclosed by the seller.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia III, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) about 4 years ago

I try to be instructive, Paul.  Thanks.

Play on words, Wayne?  (Says he, with a wink)

There is no disclosure here in Virginia, Harry.  So the home inspection is crucial.  I have found many burned attic structures.  The burned stuff tastes like chicken.  (See the wink comment above)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Answer to your questions. No, No, No, No... glad you got out alive!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 4 years ago

Jay Markanich All I can say when I see issues like this is "Run AWAY! And I will bet that seller still thinks his home is perfect in each and everyway!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) about 4 years ago

It's almost as if they threw all that stuff in the crawl space to prevent access.  I find it amazing how people try to hide things in plain site with a box or piece of furniture.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) about 4 years ago

I very carefully made my way in, Stephen, with very protective knee pads and carefully placing my hands.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

We don't have many basements or crawl spaces in our homes here in Arizona and we barely have attics. If you were an inspector here you wouldn't have to deal with any of that, however, inspecting a home when it's 120 degrees outside is the downside. 

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com (Zion Realty) about 4 years ago

I know your houses are built directly on the soil, Nicole.  We have our 100+ F days though, and ours are coupled with 90% humidity!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay -- that 90% humidity on a 100 degree day sounds like one of the "better" summer days there in VA.

 

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 4 years ago

Steven - they are fun.  When I played baseball and pitched, I would lose 15 pounds of water during a game!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay Markanich "The bottom seems supported by what looks like a wood-splitting wedge to me.  These are driven into the end of logs with a sledge hammer to split the log.  It is NOT designed to be a shim in any way."  Another great example of what NOT to do!

Right on target - and - reblog!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty (Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area) about 4 years ago

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