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  1. #1
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    Default Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Brand new house, roughly 25k sq. Over 150 doors and windows 80% of tested specimen leaked. After testing was complete (included destructive testing) we concluded the sill pan installation as pictured, was the primary contributing factor. Infrared shows water traveling under the floor.

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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    It has always confounded my logical thinking that a contractor who builds such houses would not as their #1 priority, make sure roofs, windows, doors, basically all exterior water and weather proofing components were installed as the manufacturers state, and if the manufacturer's installation instructions look incompatible with thei particular installation then contact the manufacturer.

    Surel they understand the cost of such failures are great, just replacement costs, not even calculating in cost to their reputations.

    In my years inspecting those types of homes, I only had three custom home builders discuss with me about inspecting their homes during construction to help avoid such issues ... and only one ended up having me do those inspections (the other two said it would cost too much).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    It has always confounded my logical thinking that a contractor who builds such houses would not as their #1 priority, make sure roofs, windows, doors, basically all exterior water and weather proofing components were installed as the manufacturers state, and if the manufacturer's installation instructions look incompatible with thei particular installation then contact the manufacturer.

    Surel they understand the cost of such failures are great, just replacement costs, not even calculating in cost to their reputations.

    In my years inspecting those types of homes, I only had three custom home builders discuss with me about inspecting their homes during construction to help avoid such issues ... and only one ended up having me do those inspections (the other two said it would cost too much).
    Agree... my client spent over $30K on various inspections not including our testing. This issues were estimated in the millions to repair. Problem with the new construction out here is that these builders are walking a very fine line between esthetics and function. Here he lost. BTW, all of the interior grade was equal to the exterior grade. No difference hence the reason the pans were dry-packed.
    AFA the builders welcoming such inspections (as ours)... they were not happy at all. Fought it from day one. "Too much water... staying on the specimen too long...you're using the wrong test..." Finally we went to the laboratory who lab-tested the fenestration and rated it.. they specified the test standard to be used. Guess what...? They all still leaked..


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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Not sure why my images are being loaded like that....

    Anyhow, here you can see what I'm saying with the interior equal to the exterior.

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    Last edited by Marc M; 07-20-2019 at 07:39 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    BTW, all of the interior grade was equal to the exterior grade. No difference ...
    Your codes don't require a minimum height above grade?

    I'm thinking that was a concrete slab on grade, with wood frame walls?

    If so, you don't have something like this in your code: (bold and underlining are mine)
    - R317.1 Location required.
    - - Protection of wood and wood-based products from decay shall be provided in the following locations by the use of naturally durable wood or wood that is preservative-treated in accordance with AWPA U1 for the species, product, preservative and end use. Preservatives shall be listed in Section 4 of AWPA U1.
    - - - 1. Wood joists or the bottom of a wood structural floor when closer than 18 inches (457 mm) or wood girders when closer than 12 inches (305 mm) to the exposed ground in crawl spaces or unexcavated area located within the periphery of the building foundation.
    - - - 2. Wood framing members that rest on concrete or masonry exterior foundation walls and are less than 8 inches (203 mm) from the exposed ground.
    - - - 3. Sills and sleepers on a concrete or masonry slab that is in direct contact with the ground unless separated from such slab by an impervious moisture barrier.
    - - - 4. The ends of wood girders entering exterior masonry or concrete walls having clearances of less than 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) on tops, sides and ends.
    - - - 5. Wood siding, sheathing and wall framing on the exterior of a building having a clearance of less than 6 inches (152 mm) from the ground or less than 2 inches (51 mm) measured vertically from concrete steps, porch slabs, patio slabs and similar horizontal surfaces exposed to the weather.
    - - - 6. Wood structural members supporting moisture-permeable floors or roofs that are exposed to the weather, such as concrete or masonry slabs, unless separated from such floors or roofs by an impervious moisture barrier.
    - - - 7. Wood furring strips or other wood framing members attached directly to the interior of exterior masonry walls or concrete walls below grade except where an approved vapor retarder is applied between the wall and the furring strips or framing members.

    What I used to frequently find here was that, oops, they used non-PT wood for the wood columns which rested on a concrete slab/footing at bumped out rear porches - with the columns at grade, the wood is required to 8 inches above exposed ground (item 2 above)/not less than 6 inches above ground (item 5 above), and the wood sheathing was not even 2 inches above the concrete (item 5 above) as they would use a PT sill plate (1-1/2"), then non-PT wood and non-PT sheathing. For item 5 above, they had to meet both the 2 inches and 6 inches requirement (6 inches above exposed ground, and if there was concrete higher than exposed ground, 2 inches above the concrete).

    It was really a mess when, for wood framed houses, or wood frames walls of CMU houses (such as a bay windows and other locations), the wood framing in the walls was (naturally) non-PT, and the slab was 6 inches above planned grade (oops right there because of item 2), and then they do the final grade incorrectly and end up with the sheathing only about 4 inches above final grade (oops, item 5). Even if they got final grade right on the money at 6 inches, with the sheathing overlapping the concrete slab ... the sheathing was less than 6 inches above exposed ground.

    Some would try to align the outer surface of the sheathing with the edge of the slab, others would align the bottom plate with the edge of the slab to allow the sheathing to overhang the slab and create a better weather protected joint. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, with one of the disadvantages of overhanging the sheathing being the height above grade.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Marc,

    I forgot to ask - I don't see any negative pressure chambers installed on the inside to create the effect of wind pressure on the windows.

    What standard were you told to use which did not require the negative pressure chamber?

    And that leakage was without the negative pressure? Wow! That makes it even 'more wrong'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Your codes don't require a minimum height above grade?

    I'm thinking that was a concrete slab on grade, with wood frame walls?

    If so, you don't have something like this in your code: (bold and underlining are mine)
    - R317.1 Location required.
    - - Protection of wood and wood-based products from decay shall be provided in the following locations by the use of naturally durable wood or wood that is preservative-treated in accordance with AWPA U1 for the species, product, preservative and end use. Preservatives shall be listed in Section 4 of AWPA U1.
    - - - 1. Wood joists or the bottom of a wood structural floor when closer than 18 inches (457 mm) or wood girders when closer than 12 inches (305 mm) to the exposed ground in crawl spaces or unexcavated area located within the periphery of the building foundation.
    - - - 2. Wood framing members that rest on concrete or masonry exterior foundation walls and are less than 8 inches (203 mm) from the exposed ground.
    - - - 3. Sills and sleepers on a concrete or masonry slab that is in direct contact with the ground unless separated from such slab by an impervious moisture barrier.
    - - - 4. The ends of wood girders entering exterior masonry or concrete walls having clearances of less than 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) on tops, sides and ends.
    - - - 5. Wood siding, sheathing and wall framing on the exterior of a building having a clearance of less than 6 inches (152 mm) from the ground or less than 2 inches (51 mm) measured vertically from concrete steps, porch slabs, patio slabs and similar horizontal surfaces exposed to the weather.
    - - - 6. Wood structural members supporting moisture-permeable floors or roofs that are exposed to the weather, such as concrete or masonry slabs, unless separated from such floors or roofs by an impervious moisture barrier.
    - - - 7. Wood furring strips or other wood framing members attached directly to the interior of exterior masonry walls or concrete walls below grade except where an approved vapor retarder is applied between the wall and the furring strips or framing members.

    What I used to frequently find here was that, oops, they used non-PT wood for the wood columns which rested on a concrete slab/footing at bumped out rear porches - with the columns at grade, the wood is required to 8 inches above exposed ground (item 2 above)/not less than 6 inches above ground (item 5 above), and the wood sheathing was not even 2 inches above the concrete (item 5 above) as they would use a PT sill plate (1-1/2"), then non-PT wood and non-PT sheathing. For item 5 above, they had to meet both the 2 inches and 6 inches requirement (6 inches above exposed ground, and if there was concrete higher than exposed ground, 2 inches above the concrete).

    It was really a mess when, for wood framed houses, or wood frames walls of CMU houses (such as a bay windows and other locations), the wood framing in the walls was (naturally) non-PT, and the slab was 6 inches above planned grade (oops right there because of item 2), and then they do the final grade incorrectly and end up with the sheathing only about 4 inches above final grade (oops, item 5). Even if they got final grade right on the money at 6 inches, with the sheathing overlapping the concrete slab ... the sheathing was less than 6 inches above exposed ground.

    Some would try to align the outer surface of the sheathing with the edge of the slab, others would align the bottom plate with the edge of the slab to allow the sheathing to overhang the slab and create a better weather protected joint. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, with one of the disadvantages of overhanging the sheathing being the height above grade.
    Yes they do have a minimum grade clearance out here, but its not really enforced. Obviously.
    AFA your example, do they really check those clearances out there that closely? That would be disastrous out here. Maybe because you get more precipitation?
    But even though some of those clearances were clearly incorrect, there's always that "spirit of the code" thing that seems to take precedence over code with the IOR, AHJ and even to a certain extent the GC. At least thats what I see out here in both prevailing wage and Residential projects.
    But still, it is a code. Which by all accounts is in fact enforceable. Or at least should be.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Yes they do have a minimum grade clearance out here, but its not really enforced. Obviously.
    .
    .
    But still, it is a code. Which by all accounts is in fact enforceable. Or at least should be.
    And, most importantly, reportable on inspections reports.

    Regarding enforcing it here, not so much years ago, but once HIs began writing it up (and explaining the consequences, not the least of which is leakage), the complaints of owners to builders (who then complained to AHJ about the mess HIs were causing), many AHJ began enforcing it better ... "many", as in "many still are not enforcing it".

    But if HIs will keep writing it up, or when it comes up on inspections/consultations such as you do, then the owners have another leg to stand on to go to the AHJ and ask Why?, and one more item (a rather big item at that) to go after the contractor (home builder) for correction (which usually only results in big money being tossed at the owners as there really is no easy fix when the framing is essentially at grade as you described - one either has the contractor 'buy the house back' and move on, or 'take gobs of money' to ease the pain of keeping it, with the knowledge that the next owner may want that 'gob of money' passed on to them when the house is sold).

    That's the only way to get the attention of those who matter and can stop the condition before it happens (contractors and AHJ).

    I fought the fight for many years as inspector, then more years as consultant, mostly retired now ... I see those things slipping backward due to current inspectors not addressing those things as some of us did 'back then'.

    I know, I know, HIs don't do 'code inspections', but if an HI does "new construction inspections" and they DO NOT KNOW THE CODE ... that HI has no business doing "new construction inspections".

    And if they don't have a good base of knowledge on codes for their area in general, they have no business doing inspections of existing homes either - how can an HI report that something is good/okay when they do not know what 'good/okay' even is?

    Just me ranting about that again, it's been a while since my last rant on that.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 07-20-2019 at 09:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    And, most importantly, reportable on inspections reports.

    Regarding enforcing it here, not so much years ago, but once HIs began writing it up (and explaining the consequences, not the least of which is leakage), the complaints of owners to builders (who then complained to AHJ about the mess HIs were causing), many AHJ began enforcing it better ... "many", as in "many still are not enforcing it".

    But if HIs will keep writing it up, or when it comes up on inspections/consultations such as you do, then the owners have another leg to stand on to go to the AHJ and ask Why?, and one more item (a rather big item at that) to go after the contractor (home builder) for correction (which usually only results in big money being tossed at the owners as there really is no easy fix when the framing is essentially at grade as you described - one either has the contractor 'buy the house back' and move on, or 'take gobs of money' to ease the pain of keeping it, with the knowledge that the next owner may want that 'gob of money' passed on to them when the house is sold).

    That's the only way to get the attention of those who matter and can stop the condition before it happens (contractors and AHJ).

    I fought the fight for many years as inspector, then more years as consultant, mostly retired now ... I see those things slipping backward due to current inspectors not addressing those things as some of us did 'back then'.

    I know, I know, HIs don't do 'code inspections', but if an HI does "new construction inspections" and they DO NOT KNOW THE CODE ... that HI has no business doing "new construction inspections".

    And if they don't have a good base of knowledge on codes for their area in general, they have no business doing inspections of existing homes either - how can an HI report that something is good/okay when they do not know what 'good/okay' even is?

    Just me ranting about that again, it's been a while since my last rant on that.
    Its worse than that here... these inspectors out here are merely pawns for the realtors and don't even want to touch the issue of "what's code and whats not". Might infringe on their referral network ya know...
    Besides the inspectors out here don't have to be officially licensed by the state so its a free-for-all. Idiots-o-plenty. And, when you have a guy like you or me out there (and others) we are vilified to a point where we merge into the next best thing, consulting. Cant blacklist you from that.
    I personally believe that ALL home inspections are CODE inspections. If you don't have a good handle on code then you have no business doing this job (HI). As you said... if you don't know the code you will never know if it's wrong. As is the case with this project here. I know this HI... used to give him my overflow about 5 years ago when he was a waiter at an LA resturant getting into this biz.Ive spoken to him, he personally inspects with the mentality that the less he knows, the less liability he has. HUH? Thats just reckless. But whatever, its still a numbers game.
    Im not sure the HIs E&O would have even covered such a screw up.

    AFA this building, this HI NEVER mentioned the negative grade, lack of weep screed or the fact that there is all but ZERO slope away from the building. I was Brought in because a termite inspector noticed a few stains in the wood floor. Amazing huh? Theres an estimated 5M in reconstruction here all because the termite guy had his eyes open. This HI got 10K for his work. He needs to give it back.

    We don't do a lot of resi. Try to stay where the money is... prevailing wage projects. But im sure I could drive in any direction in Beverly Hills and this issue would play out time and time again. Glazing to grade is now the standard out here. But then again, supposedly it doesn't rain out here..

    Last edited by Marc M; 07-20-2019 at 06:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Back to the HI...Im not sure the inspectors E&O would have even covered such a screw up.
    With or without E&O, recommend that the HI be named, maybe it will empty some bank accounts, at the least it should open some HI eyes as to the reason doing 3-4-5 or more per day is not way to do home inspections.

    There are some very knowledgeable inspectors still out there, and some learning to become those inspectors, but there are far too many HIs who either don't know or don't care ... or don't care that they don't know.

    Fortunately, those that visit this site are looking to learn and become those more knowledgeable inspectors who do care, and that's a good sign.

    Adding clarification that I missed with my original post:

    This:

    "Fortunately, those that visit this site are looking to learn and become those more knowledgeable inspectors who do care, and that's a good sign."

    Should have been (clarification added is in bold and underlining - I didn't intend to leave those who already are knowledgeable inspectors out, but when I read it again later on, I noticed that is what I had done):

    "Fortunately, those that visit this site are looking to learn and become, or already are, those more knowledgeable inspectors who do care, and that's a good sign."

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 07-21-2019 at 08:19 AM. Reason: Added a clarification that I missed with my original post
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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    With or without E&O, recommend that the HI be named, maybe it will empty some bank accounts, at the least it should open some HI eyes as to the reason doing 3-4-5 or more per day is not way to do home inspections.

    There are some very knowledgeable inspectors still out there, and some learning to become those inspectors, but there are far too many HIs who either don't know or don't care ... or don't care that they don't know.

    Fortunately, those that visit this site are looking to learn and become those more knowledgeable inspectors who do care, and that's a good sign.
    Agree 100%


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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Marc,

    I forgot to ask - I don't see any negative pressure chambers installed on the inside to create the effect of wind pressure on the windows.

    What standard were you told to use which did not require the negative pressure chamber?

    And that leakage was without the negative pressure? Wow! That makes it even 'more wrong'.
    Oops missed this. No we weren't running any chambers here. The laboratory who rated this system required us to run an ASTM 331 requiring neg air but I suggested not to because for one thing, its a lab test and secondly, we'd wreck the place.

    Even at a baseline pressure for the lowest DP (15), the water would have poured into the building. So we agreed (lab / builder / me) to perform the E1105 procedure A (static) with no differential chamber to keep it simple.
    My racks spray the test standard at approx 10-12 PSI so thats roughly 8-ish inches of water within the test time of 15 minutes. Thats way MORE than necessary for this house.

    I could have spit on this product and it would have leaked.


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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    I could have spit on this product and it would have leaked.
    I know what you mean.

    Some tests that I've been part of, set the spray rig up, set the chamber up, stabilize the pressure at the test pressure, turn the water on, and before the water pressure even reaches the test psi ... water is pouring in.

    Mark the time of first observed leaking
    - water inside on the floor ... 10 seconds of water ... and it might have been sooner except we didn't look sooner as we were watching chamber pressure as the guys outside were turning the water on.

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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I know what you mean.

    Some tests that I've been part of, set the spray rig up, set the chamber up, stabilize the pressure at the test pressure, turn the water on, and before the water pressure even reaches the test psi ... water is pouring in.

    Mark the time of first observed leaking
    - water inside on the floor ... 10 seconds of water ... and it might have been sooner except we didn't look sooner as we were watching chamber pressure as the guys outside were turning the water on.
    Thats exactly it... takes an hour to set up a chamber and 10 seconds to leak all at a ridiculous cost to the client.


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    Default Re: Brand new construction | systemic window and door issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I know what you mean.

    Some tests that I've been part of, set the spray rig up, set the chamber up, stabilize the pressure at the test pressure, turn the water on, and before the water pressure even reaches the test psi ... water is pouring in.

    Mark the time of first observed leaking
    - water inside on the floor ... 10 seconds of water ... and it might have been sooner except we didn't look sooner as we were watching chamber pressure as the guys outside were turning the water on.
    Couple details...from that project

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    Last edited by Marc M; 07-27-2019 at 09:42 PM.

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