You Can ONLY See This Kind Of Thing PRE-DRYWALL - 1 of 3

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

You can ONLY see this kind of thing pre-drywall.  This is post 1 of 3 posts.

I am often asked by clients why a pre-drywall inspection should be done.  After all, the supervisor is there every day and the County (or other local jurisdiction) will also do inspections.

That is true, but they don't do what I do, nor do they look at what I look at.  And, sometimes, I find things the builders likely know about but do nothing about it.

Take, for example, this triple micro-laminate beam.

Micro-laminate beams are very strong.  Tripling them is extremely strong.  A triple beam is almost as strong as steel.

THERE IS A REASON THE ARCHITECT CALLED FOR A TRIPLE MICRO-LAMINATE BEAM FOR THIS APPLICATION.

Because of the load carried by these beams, their support underneath is very important.

This triple beam supports the exterior wall of the house above and the master bedroom and bath, including a large tub in the corner.

On one end it rests on a window header.  The other end rests on a quadruple wall stud.

I do question the window header as, difficult to see in this photo, it is already sagging.  There has been no weight to date in the large, corner bath tub.

Noticing the sag at the floor under that beam (and a similar sag at the ceiling) I looked underneath.  It is actually not resting on the foundation wall underneath.  It misses that foundation wall by about 11"!  From this angle you can see that even the squash blocks underneath are angled to try to center themselves under that quadrupled wall stud!

And look at those squash blocks!

One if them is a section of a micro-laminate beam and is already separating under the load!

That is completely insufficient support!

The window header might be insufficient support under the other side also, but that is for an engineer to determine.

I highly recommended that an engineer look at this beam's supports very carefully!

My recommendation:  some things cannot be seen once the drywall is installed.  A PRE-DRYWALL INSPECTION IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO THE BUILDING PROCESS!  If such an inspection is ignored, there would be no way to see this kind of problem or easily diagnose why cracking and movement is happening later.  And later might be beyond the builder's warranty period and therefore very expensive to remedy!


This is the first in a series of one, two and three posts regarding the same house.

 

 

 

Posted by

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


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Comments 32 New Comment

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Rainmaker
772,891
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Sad to say, I do see short cuts or simply poor craftsmanship like this more than I would like.  Once the drywall goes up, it doesn't exist.  Right?

August 15, 2012 02:38 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Kathryn - things like this no longer surprise me.  Often the supervisor sees my report and says it's already on his list of things to do!

Yes, Mr. Keller, they will!  And nobody would know why!  Good thing we saw these things now.  Two more posts to follow, and they are just as fun!

Randy - I have had county officials walk in on my pre-drywall inspection and ask me what I came up with!

For sure Brad.  This is why I so highly recommend a pre-drywall inspection.

August 15, 2012 03:55 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Adrian - seeing what is around the windows now is essential.  Including insulation...  which has not been installed yet on this house.

Very Kevin!  Very.  With my tongue firmly in my cheek.

Mike - drywall covers a multitude of sins.  Unfortunately.  Which is why some builders play so many games when it comes to having a pre-drywall inspection.

August 15, 2012 03:57 PM
Rainmaker
255,143
Tim Bradley
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY
Contour Investment Properties

So was this a case of bad design, or a framer who couldn't follow the plans? Either way, I wouldn't buy it!

August 15, 2012 04:07 PM
Rainer
162,825
Rob Ernst
Reno, NV-775-342-4767- Inspector & Energy Auditor
Certified Structure Inspector

That's a little scarry. I'm curious to know what the engineer had origionally designed if there was a design at all. 

August 15, 2012 04:33 PM
Ambassador
1,264,689
William Johnson
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE
RE/MAX Associates
Hi Jay, I am always surprised and really shouldn't be at the shotcuts people are will take and inspections that don't take place. I had a builder just remove a door prior to final inspoection when I showed him that it opened in and when the washer would be in place, the door would not open. The house passed when the builder said he didn't like the laminated door and was going with a solid core with a vented inset in the bottom. The inspection didn't even notice the hinges were on the wrong side of the frame.
August 15, 2012 06:50 PM
Rainmaker
1,032,747
Joan Whitebook
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
BHG The Masiello Group

Oh please -- don't get me started. I have had this debate with so many listing agents.  You have made my case, so I will simply copy this post.  The town's standards are very different than someone like yourself who is inspecting a home for the prospective purchaser.

August 15, 2012 08:10 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Tim - throughout the inspection it looked to me like a few things didn't add up, or were not cut correctly!

Rob - I think everything was to align over that foundation wall.  On the other side was another triple microlam coming in at a right angle to this one that was cut at least 1" short!  The Simpson strap was nailed, but the nails were in the last 1/2"!

William - the wrong side is the wrong side!  Door openings can be things that are often missed on a home inspection.

Joan - these things go on and on.  I have had many pre-drywall posts!  This is not unusual, but it is still wrong!

August 15, 2012 11:32 PM
Rainer
93,549
Mike Gillingham
Eastern Iowa Inspection Services LLC

Well, even though you're not in Iowa, you have some real coRnstruction going on over there!

August 16, 2012 02:14 AM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

That's one way to look at it Mike!  See today's post also!  Just a fun...

August 16, 2012 02:19 AM
Rainmaker
1,050,199
Ginny Gorman
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond
Phillips Post Road Realty ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate

Jay, i find so many buyers go to the builders agent directly to buy a new home...after talking with buyers years after, I have never found one who has done a pre-drywall inspection!  It floors me  so to speak...

August 16, 2012 04:14 AM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Ginny - it does me too.  Methinks that to be naivete at its best!

August 16, 2012 04:20 AM
Rainmaker
626,389
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

If that header was a micro lam or steel, I would not be that concerned. As for the for the structural plywood floor, I'd be concerned too. What, no one noticed? 

August 16, 2012 04:34 AM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

The header is a double 2x, and already sagging Jim.  The floor is OSB.

August 16, 2012 05:04 AM
Rainmaker
965,063
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Personal Service, always.
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC

I wonder how many people have pre-drywall inspections.  If a buyer is buying a new construction and it is already built - a spec home - how will they ever know? Should they not buy spec homes?

August 16, 2012 06:21 AM
Rainer
54,238
John Grossman
Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Aren't inspections required by the municipality at various stages of construction, including a framing inspection, before the builder is allowed to proceed to the next stage?

August 16, 2012 07:45 AM
Rainmaker
357,695
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, Nice workmanship going on there. Point loads can be a "you know what". 

To John #29. Municipal inspectors (AHJ) are usually on site for a very short time. Depending on their inspection load that day and if they know the builder they may not look at much or anything at all.

They depend on the builder to build to a level of compliance which leads to the issues like Jay is pointing out. 

There is a catch 22 here. If people (public) want the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) to inspect to a higher level then the building permits cost will have to increase. So to keep some of the cost down they rely on the builders to have a level of expertise and compliance. 

This is why if you are building a home you should build into the cost factor of having an independent inspector to do phase inspections. 

Even good builders may miss stuff, you have all these trades coming in and timelines to make and things get missed.

 

 

August 16, 2012 04:55 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

I can't answer the last question Gary, but around here anyway I think more and more people are realizing that pre-drywall inspections are necessary.  And I may have been one of the first to suggest and begin doing them.

They are John.  And they are done.  What does this tell you?

Don - during the boom I calculated that based on the numbers of houses built each inspector in the counties here had about 5 minutes total for ALL their inspections!  Point loads, and weight transferrence are very important and something I look at carefully, even measuring distances.  The quality of the job depends on the quality of the supervisor and subs.

August 17, 2012 03:18 AM
Rainer
51,071
Lexa R. Montierth
Real Estate Sales Agent and Marketer
Tierra Antigua Realty

Jay, thanks so much for the visuals and details.  I'm going to share this with my followers as well, as people don't think about home inspections during the construction phase a lot of times.

August 17, 2012 05:50 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Thank you Lexa.  Pre-drywall is the only time the house is in a skeletal state!  You can see things!

August 18, 2012 03:14 AM
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Rainmaker
1,216,118

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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