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            DIY Message Boards  Hop To Forum Categories  Home Improvement  Hop To Forums  General Home Improvement    Builder inspections
        Builder inspections Sign In/Join 
        I have a question about what occurs when inspectors come and check new house's in process of being built....I really wished I had more knowledge of structural engineering,electrical code,HVAC code and so on when our house was built because in short span of about 3 months I have uncovered several disturbing things.
        First, I'm did simple guest bath remodel (a bathroom we rarely use ourselves),.. So plan is to paint the walls put in granite vanity top, clean/sand/paint the vanity change out light fixtures put in new fan and change wiring around since previous setup was fan/light. then put LED recessed light over shower.
        Simple right,... when I take the old bar light off (above mirror) there is no junction box in the wall,just wire coming out of a hole that is shaped just like hammer face. Ok maybe they ran out junction boxes that day. Next I go into attic (not a finished space) and find the fan/light I'm going to remove is not attached to vent pipe and not only that they are not even lined up and unit has square exit and vent pipe is round, Ok maybe builder went to get adapter to mate the two but they were out of them and then insulation guy's felt they better cover this good so vent didn't let any air from attic come down (or let vent air out).
        Next project is start finishing basement(see other post for details on wall problem) First step after planning is to begin sealing/taping/insulating ductwork,(I haven't checked yet to see what exact code for insulated ductwork in unfinished basements may or may not have been in 92') .But anyway Simple right,...I find gaps/holes etc. mostly in the return section (dead mice inside main ducts) I know it's common practice to use space in joist bay's (plenum is it?). There are knockouts (2" diameter holes) in the engineered wood joists for electrical etc. which in this case they used to pass wire through these return bay's ( one or two wires at most through any hole,nothing sealing remainder of hole which left plenty of space for now expired mice to enter). Ok, maybe its tough looking up at joists. the large part of return above furnace had gaps three quarters of the way around where it met joist bay (plenum) that were about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide (all the way across each side) and sheet metal used for creating the part of bay directly above furnace (supply) was not attached (nailed) for about 20" section and metal bowed down and created gap about 15"s long and 1" wide. Ok, maybe a new guy was having a bad day.
        Now I'm little more concerned because the more I look closly the more I find (I know, I know, stop looking then right??) I then come across this wiring mashed between duct and joist and duct and duct and duct and steel I beam. I don't think that's quite right.Ok, maybe electrician took on the new guy HVAC worker to assist him,..
        So after reading my short story here and I'm sure there are some way worse tales one's out there.
        My question is should we expect a little better from building inspectors or are we the home owners expected to have extensive knowledge of all these thing's. I understand that home inspectors are supposed to spot problems for you but shouldn't the building/electrical/plumbing inspector also be on top of this stuff???? (yeah, I know it's buyer beware)
        This is just my two cents worth and now I need to get back to "labor camp".

        Posts: 106 | Registered: Jan 15, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        In short it sounds like the contractor dropped the ball on this one. If the contractor has grown to be a fairly large company then the fault could have been a lack of supervision of the laborers or craftsman employed by him. Or then again maybe that is the quality of his work. Unless you have some recourse (which I doubt) you have two options. One find another house or rectify the one you have. If you are intent on staying there then tackle the problems one at a time. Easy fix? No. Doable? Yes. Most of which you have talked about (even structural) can be fixed but do you have the resources or finances to complete the repairs. If you are the type of person that loves challanges then you will be in bliss for the next couple of years.

        BTW just to brighten your day here are some building mistakes.
        Posts: 1788 | Location: Applachain | Registered: Feb 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        The builder(company is 100 + years old) is a large company now and was back then too (92')..they even have "commitment to quality" written into their intro plus a few other choice slogans,.. We heard plenty of good things about their construction and we found no red flags to make us think otherwise. I'm not going to mention any names since this forum is no place for a slander campaign and even in my slightly irritated state at the moment I wouldn't feel good about casting aspersions here.
        Thinking back,I do remember getting that "bums rush" feeling during the walk through's at signing time.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: measure2,
        Posts: 106 | Registered: Jan 15, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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        posted Hide Post
        As you have figured out, it is an imperfect system. There are many reasons that the bad stuff you have found 'slipped by', some being:

        1. Not all areas have code departments, or may not have had one in place when your home was built. The metro area where I live formed it's first building code department in the early 80's. Even then, inspections were not made for residential until several years later. In some of the rural counties nearby, there are still no code departments. Build a house in an outlying county and at most you will need to have an electrical inspection.

        2. The inspection process is not a 'check every little area" type of thing. A lot of this comes down to the reputation of the contractor. We've had many inspections where I met the inspector in the driveway, we talked about what we were doing on the project and got a green tag - all without the inspector even seeing what we were working on. But, we have a stellar reputation with the code guys and they know what kind of work we are doing.

        3. If a builder wants to slip something by an inspector, it can be easy to do. There is a lot of time between inspections. Plus, due to time constraints, an inspection is not directed at every single area of the project. Rather, they will look at potential problem areas and if they see that those places are well constructed, will often assume that the rest is too.

        4. The best way to avoid the type of problems you have in the future would be to call the code department for their input after you have chosen a builder. Just as they know who the good contractors are, they also know the guys who try to cut corners. Because of liability issues, they cannot come out with a bad review. They can however, give a good recommendation to a quality contractor - so if they refuse to comment you can draw your own obvious conclusions.

        Posts: 10499 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        True Jaybee, in helping a friend (contractor) with construction work(I'm mostly a trim type person but wind up doing other stuff too)I started helping just after framing,I was tasked with laying unfinished hickory floor, 6 widths 2 1/4 to 7 1/4, lengths from 1' to 12' but I digress. I have witnessed both extreme's of what I'll call for lack of a better phrase "the sausage being made" and to me some of it was not pretty. Once a very meticulous framing inspector came in and wanted to look at the blueprints, examined them closely then went about checking all the roof trusses he could get to them said the nailing patterns were not followed to the letter and I was retasked in marking the exact nailing patterns (we must have put 10 more pounds of extra nails in those trusses, some sections had 3 rows and had nails 4 inches apart) Then the inspector was satisfied.This was one extreme in in the other direction.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: measure2,
        Posts: 106 | Registered: Jan 15, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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