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  1. #1
    Ralph Spurlock's Avatar
    Ralph Spurlock Guest

    Default Standard Inspections

    I performed a preliminary inspection today for a customer considering the purchase of a home located in Miami Lakes Florida. When yesterday, he called I went to Google Earth and inserted the address given. Judging by what I saw on screen of my computer and as one born in Miami Florida I knew a few things about this building without going out to physically look at the property. From the address given I knew that this house had been built on muck land which for hundreds of years had been the eastern edge of the Everglades. This meant that the property was of a very low elevation as compared to neighboring properties just a few miles east. I also knew when the rains come in torrents during the summer and sometimes the winter months the combination of the low elevation of the property and the significant inability for this type of soil to percolate (drain) with any degree of proficiency could be and has in fact been problematic in these areas. During the initial telephone conversation with the prospect buyer, my customer I was advised the subject was only five or six years old. The view of the property on Google Earth was of a two story dwelling with upstairs and downstairs living area and a one story attached garage.With these facts in evidence, the second thing I knew about the property was that proper roof flashing procedures had not been followed by the builder-developer. The third thing I knew was that more than likely the exterior window sills had not been afforded the proper slope down to provide for positive drainage to the outside of the building. You may be thinking; how would this guy know this. The answer unfortunately is because in later years this is how things in Miami Florida are being done. They are being done this way in Miami Florida guessed it; it saves a few pennies in construction costs. All of the above I told my customer prior to him making a commitment to engage my services, which of course he did just the same.

    My customer's Realtor met me at the property today and together we began to look it over. During this time the Realtor told two things about the property which frankly I considered heartbreaking. First the property was in foreclosure and if sold, it was to be a short sale. Second I was told that just five years previously this same property's recorded sale price was...was....was, are you ready, seven hundred thousand dollars! In addition to being a building inspector I am also a state of Florida certified general contractor and have been so for over forty years. My dear reader I will unequivocally tell you this. If I couldn't five years ago, built this house for five hundred fifty to six hundred thousand for you, I would have happily kissed your %^6*@# on eight street and Le June in Miami Florida and gladly blessed you with a half hour to draw a really substantial crowd.

    The following is a brief summary of the observations that I made on this day the 20th of January, 2011.


    1. Walked the exterior of the house, no differential settlement observed However this area is a muck area which means drainage at times can be problematic. I noted some evidence of this at the exterior walls of the building. Recommend a few drywells at strategic locations at the
    exterior footprint of the building. I did note that the area has storm drains installed. See photos attached.

    2. Observed the pool although I believe the pool may have been set on pilings I observed some settlement along the southern edge of the interlocking pavers (pool deck). In addition code requires an approved barrier around all pools to prevent small children from drowning. I observed no such approved barrier.

    3. I observed some minor settlement at the west entrance most likely due to the lack of peculation in that area. See photos attached.

    4. I observed the pool deck area elevation and I believe that the difference in elevation between the pool deck and the interior floor slab area should bear additional investigation(s). I did not actually measure but review of photos attached indicated an adjustment may be prudent.

    5. Noted improper flashing at the intersection of garage roof and the building proper. This is causing water intrusion at the intersection of the garage east and east ceiling.

    6. Observation from ground level, of the wall above garage roof reveals some evidence of water intrusion at that location. Flashings in these areas will need to be repaired which will mean removing the roof in same to accomplish the task.

    7. I noted that window sills were not afforded positive drainage. See photos attached.

    8. The back yard has a significant difference in elevation as compared to the pool deck. Heavy rains will create podding in this area and promote the infestation of bugs. May consider drywell here.


    1. Some small areas of the floors have a slight dip.
    2. Dishwasher has been removed
    3. Ceiling lights missing in some areas
    4. I did not see smoke detectors at areas adjacent to sleeping rooms as required by code.
    5. Some electrical outlets and cover plates have been removed.
    6. Slight wall damage upper level hallway.

    Note: water was not turned on could not check for functionality of water heater, faucets and water closets.
    Note: did not check electric outlets as this was simply a preliminary observance inspection

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Knoxville, TN

    Default Re: Standard Inspections

    You did this today?? You did this in January?? You posted this because????

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Washington State

    Default Re: Standard Inspections

    Could you please explain the point of your post? Are you saying you like GOOGLE EARTH? Also, what is "PODDING"?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    so so, California

    Default Re: Standard Inspections

    Whew...that's a long post. Can we get the cliff notes?

    Level III

  5. #5
    Nick Thomas's Avatar
    Nick Thomas Guest

    Default Re: Standard Inspections

    Thanks for the reading material I needed 20 minutes to kill

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Ormond Beach, Florida

    Default Re: Standard Inspections

    Anyone from that area (most of South Florida is the same regarding 'new' construction - that being newer than the 1960s) knows that the entire area was is drained and 're'claimed Everglades (I used 're'claimed instead of 'reclaimed' as it was never otherwise, and you cannot 're'claim something which was not already yours before ).

    The way they drain it is with canals.

    The way they 're'claim it is to dig all the muck out (muck is the decaying organic matter which has been there decaying on itself for thousands of years), sometimes only going down 6 feet to 8 feet, sometimes having to go down 15 feet to 20 feet, then bringing in lime rock from the lime rock quarries, building the thickness of the lime rock up to the original elevation and then adding more to get to what is required to be above base flood elevation and freeboard, sometimes that is another 3 feet to 6 feet.

    When they are done, the entire area is one huge building pad of lime rock ... and then they wonder why there is such poor drainage between homes.

    Anyway, this post was a shorter read than the original post and hopefully cleared up some of the information presented in the original post.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( )

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Standard Inspections

    Great typing skills. Interesting use of Google.
    But the point is???
    Not be a smart A_ _, just curious were you are going with the post.
    I am allitle dense at times and can not see the forest for the trees.


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