Succumbing to Pier Pressure...

By
Home Inspector with Complete Home Inspections, Inc. TN# 050

Succumbing to Pier Pressure...

     Living in an area where pier and beam construction is prevalent, issues with sagging floors, cracks in the walls and myriads of other issues are  not uncommon. Some of these can be attributed to older construction methodologies. Years ago, live and dead loads were not what they are today, and builders often used "rules of thumb" to calculate loads and spans. Construction was not the science it is today.
     Rehabbers and other contractors, wanting to make amends for the "sins of their fathers", often make matters worse by
making cardinal sins of their own. Often, slip-shod, hastily constructed, impromptu piers are fashioned to correct ailing structures.    
     Out of sight, doesn't make it right. Home owners don't know proper construction from Adam. Home inspectors should, although many don't.
     The pictures are all of properties that "passed inspection" by my peers. Properties that undergo pre-inspections should be scrutinized more so. Anything less will cast doubt on the inspector's abilities and integrity. Fingers point, peeing matches start and lawsuits are threatened.
     In scenarios such as this, it is best to do what is right and not succumb to pier pressure. Reputable inspectors will look out for all parties involved in the transaction, not just the folks who hired them. IMHO, some inspectors need to go out of business or, at a bare minimum, go back to school...

 

 

 

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Roland Woodworth 08/11/2010 10:58 AM
  2. Rick Fifer 08/11/2010 04:42 PM
  3. Ellen Dittman 08/12/2010 04:00 PM
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Rainmaker
1,286,270
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I am not a builder, but living in Earthquake country I get shakey just looking at those pictures.

Aug 12, 2010 01:08 PM #76
Rainer
7,658
Truett Neathery
T. Neathery Appraisals - Sacramento, CA

Somewhere in the stream of commerce anyone who snags a sale or listing commission, an inspection fee, a loan commission, etc. is going to get burned when passing faulty property off to an unsuspecting civilian. Just hope it isn't you! Inspectors and appraisers are advocates of the inspection or appraisal ONLY!

Aug 12, 2010 01:48 PM #77
Rainmaker
67,597
Andrea Curtis United Country Premier Properties Certified Military Relocation Professional
United CountryPremier Properties - Fort Hood, TX
Certified Military Residential Specialist

Great pictures and very scary.  A lot of our older homes are pier.   Thankfully I personally have not had any deals that came up looking like those.   I always encourage my clients to get an inspection.   The inspectors I use all take pictures of the substructure so we can all see what it looks like.  

Aug 12, 2010 01:51 PM #78
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Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

I live in an area where many of the same construction methods are implemented as your neck of the woods. Too often I see inspection reports with similar issues regarding the piers. Any inspector that misses this flaw/ defect doesn't deserve their license

Aug 12, 2010 02:11 PM #79
Rainmaker
203,540
John Alesi
Century 21 Award - Mission Viejo, CA
(Orange County California Real Estate)

You are VERY brave for even getting close enough to take these pictures. Sheesh!

Aug 12, 2010 02:16 PM #80
Rainer
39,147
John Ryan
Century 21 Alliance - Havertown, PA

Having been a builder who overdid structure and minimized spans I am always biting my toungue with some home inspectors, truth be told a structural engineer although pricey should be consulted for these repairs.  I am certain that I can fix these problems right but would be much more happy to have an engineer cerify it.

Aug 12, 2010 02:20 PM #81
Rainmaker
241,525
Doug Dawes
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor

Interesting stuff. I believe 100% in pre-listing home inspections so there are no surprises on the back end.

Aug 12, 2010 03:26 PM #82
Rainer
101,891
Brian Clayton
Moudry Real Estate Advisors - Houston, TX
Real Estate Agent - Houston

Great post! As with any "professional" service, you don't always get what you pay for, so it pays to shop around and form solid partnerships with reputable providers.

Aug 12, 2010 03:38 PM #83
Rainer
101,891
Brian Clayton
Moudry Real Estate Advisors - Houston, TX
Real Estate Agent - Houston

Great post! As with any "professional" service, you don't always get what you pay for, so it pays to shop around and form solid partnerships with reputable providers.

Aug 12, 2010 03:38 PM #84
Rainer
101,891
Brian Clayton
Moudry Real Estate Advisors - Houston, TX
Real Estate Agent - Houston

Great post! As with any "professional" service, you don't always get what you pay for, so it pays to shop around and form solid partnerships with reputable providers.

Aug 12, 2010 03:38 PM #85
Rainer
101,891
Brian Clayton
Moudry Real Estate Advisors - Houston, TX
Real Estate Agent - Houston

Great post! As with any "professional" service, you don't always get what you pay for, so it pays to shop around and form solid partnerships with reputable providers.

Aug 12, 2010 03:38 PM #86
Rainmaker
334,473
Ellen Dittman
Watson Realty Corp. - Middleburg, FL
#1 Stop for NE FLA-JAX/OP 904.535.1199 (TEXT OK) r

Wow, those look just like the pictures my seller gave me of under his home after the floor fell through. The seller just did not put "enough" blocks under the house. Bought in 2006, no home inspection. Heat and air quit working too. Just a mess.

Aug 12, 2010 04:00 PM #87
Rainmaker
138,568
Paul Silver
Focus Professionals, Inc. Rhode Island Real Estate - Newport, RI
Rhode Island full service real estate firm

I think I can detect som ebubble gum under those cement blocks holding them together... great post (pun intended)

Aug 12, 2010 04:44 PM #88
Rainer
30,552
Peter Rozsa
Cupertino, CA - Cupertino, CA

In SF Bay Area, California this type of support would last about 1 minute in an earthquake!

At least the ducts didn't have asbestos covering like one of my inspection report pictures. I asked the inspector why he didn't call out this fact and he said it "probably" isn't asbestos. Having flipped many homes in my younger days, I can recognize it when I see it and reported this to my clients who paid for the inspection.

The inspector quickly gave him a refund so he wouldn't be reported to the board. My client reported him anyway (out of my control).

Aug 12, 2010 06:59 PM #89
Rainer
22,597
Linda Zawislak
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Coventry, RI

Came across one of these recently.  I was with a buyer looking at a really cute rehab/flip and wondering what was wrong with it for the price.  Headed down to the basement via an outside entrance and the basement looked fine as well, but in the stairway down, there was a small opening with a handle and when you looked in to this crawl space (underneath a small portion of the house).....low and behold, we saw one of these lovely 'piers'.....looked just like your first picture.  Needless to say, we were out of there quite quickly and that property was scratched off the list.  But shortly thereafter, I saw that the listing was pending.......looks like the next person didn't look too closely......hopefully the inspector will......

Aug 12, 2010 07:20 PM #90
Rainmaker
981,145
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - Fleming Island, FL
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.

Michael, this is something I have never seen. Most of our homes here are on slabs - and the ones that aren't, well, I don't look under tham, that''s what the inspector is for!

Aug 12, 2010 09:55 PM #91
Rainmaker
142,365
Mike Mayer
Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC - Lafayette, LA

We have an abundance of pier and beam homes in Louisiana. This was an informative post even for those of us who are familiar with this type of construction. Thanks for posting.

Aug 13, 2010 11:51 AM #92
Rainer
126,853
Derrick Guevremont
Counselor Realty of Rochester - Rochester, MN
Rochester MN Homes for Sale

If that were my home I would sure hope a buyer's agent told their buyers that they didn't need an inspection!

Aug 13, 2010 07:19 PM #93
Rainer
131,956
Roseanne Campagna
John L. Scott RE Maple Valley, WA - Maple Valley, WA
Kent/DesMoines/Blk Diamond/Renton/Maple Valley, WA

Thanks for this post!!! I happen to live in one of the pier and beam homes. It doesn't look like your examples at all!!! It is sturdy and secure I've experienced two earthquakes one being the Nisqually in 2001. When it quit shaking, nothings was damaged or disturbed inside.

Aug 13, 2010 11:14 PM #94
Anonymous
Anonymous

i have worked for a company in house leveling and own my own company i renovations and that is rediculose. in every pier and beam home they should be sixteen inch solid blocks and that is what we call the pier. the blocks can be stacked how ever high and as many needed to reach the beam or the seal which is normaly a 4x6 running the length of the house. however there should be a pressure treated 2x6 with a 1x6 resting on the top of the pier. i also place a peice of roofing shingle to keep out termites there is a chemical in the roofing paper they dont like. under these should be a 16 binch by 16 inch pad under your piers. Ill put it simple if you want a job done right in house leveling call my buisness partner at Bullhead renovations in Center tx his name is bret 903 812 0814

Sep 27, 2012 11:25 AM #95
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Michael Thornton

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