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

Rainer
50,538
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
341,793
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
1,169,870
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
1,169,870
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
Rainmaker
1,169,870

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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An experienced home inspector's look at current home inspection events and conditions along with his useful recommendations.