Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    California
    Posts
    10

    Default Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    I recently inspected a two story 1986 condo, 2 bed, 2 bath, ... your standard run of the mill condominium with nothing highly unusual about it. The condo I inspected was sandwiched between 2 or 3 other condo's on both sides.

    When I inspected the attic area, I noticed that the partition wall between my clients attic and his neighbors attic(s) was nothing but wood frame and sheet rocked over. I can't recall the last time I've seen this, since I'm so use to seeing cinder block.


    Here's the problem I see with nothing but sheet rock between the two other attics adjacent to my clients. What is stopping a crooked untrustworthy neighbor from crawling into his attic, cutting a hole in the sheet rock - sliding over to my clients attic - opening the attic access hatch and jumping down into my clients place, steal or do what ever inside ? Nothing right ?


    The sales agent who hired me is a personal friend of mine and we often discuss what I find wrong with the places I inspect for him. I told him in church today - that I almost made a comment about what I found in the attic, and that I would recommend installing some form of a locking cover over the attic access hatch in order to prevent entry from neighbors. He looked at me with a dumb founded look and asked why I would make such a comment in the report ?


    Having been in the Navy and holding positions such as a Safety Officer, Security Team Leader and also having completed a college course on Security Management - I tend to look at things in a different light or perspective. My friend said to me - "Your going to scare my client away if you post something like that in the report !!" Bottom line - Since it's more of a "security issue" and not a inspection discrepancy issue, I decided not to place it in the home inspection report.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    I have seen it many times in multi-family such as this both with holes and without.
    If the separation wall has been damaged it is both a fire and security issue and I put it in the report.
    If there is no damage, then it is no more security risk than kicking a hole in the wall between units and walking through. Yes, it is easier to conceal but the risk is the same. I might mention verbally especially in rougher areas but it does not go in my report.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    574

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I have seen it many times in multi-family such as this both with holes and without.
    If the separation wall has been damaged it is both a fire and security issue and I put it in the report.
    If there is no damage, then it is no more security risk than kicking a hole in the wall between units and walking through. Yes, it is easier to conceal but the risk is the same. I might mention verbally especially in rougher areas but it does not go in my report.
    I agree with Jim, It's just as easy to cut a hole in the vinyl siding and sheet rock exterior wall as it is to cut a hole in the attic partition. Nothing to report in my opinion.

    More important though is a question of ethics. Why would you discuss an issue of a home you inspected with a Realtor and not with your client and ONLY your client.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southeast Virginia, Hampton roads
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Home inspectors don't do security surveys. The gypsum board is perfectly normal in multi-family units and only intended to restrict fire spread.

    When "functional" is not good enough, Call Final Analysis Home Inspections, Virginia Beach VA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
    Posts
    1,394

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    I see sheet rock partitions 90% of the time. No problem if it is intact.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    I put it in my report each and every time I see it. I also recommend client put locks on the little pop up hatches that go to the roof crawlspace.
    Doesn't go in the defect section but goes in the general observations sections. No different than gang graffiti in the alley or needles on the ground.
    As far as it being the same as cutting through vinyl siding and exterior wall board that's just plain stupid. In a roof crawl like that a scumbag is completely concealed and can work on cutting holes when he knows the neighbors have left for work. He can do all his prep work for a later bad act without anyone seeing him.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
    Posts
    1,394

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    As far as it being the same as cutting through vinyl siding and exterior wall board that's just plain stupid. In a roof crawl like that a scumbag is completely concealed and can work on cutting holes when he knows the neighbors have left for work. He can do all his prep work for a later bad act without anyone seeing him.
    Not stupid. A scumbag can cut through house siding while the neighbor is away, too. Putting a lock on the attic access is nothing. The scumbag can use the same drywall saw to cut out the ceiling too. Sheesh, man......go take a chill pill. You're offering advise that raises angst without helping.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    So who is going to be the suspect in a potential attic burglary? Neighbor comes to mind...law enforcement wouldn't have far to go in looking for the perpetrator. However, having said that, a real concern is the access the perp. would have with a spy camera through the ceiling, not necessarily gaining complete physical access and I'm sure that goes on all the time. Depending upon the client, single female versus ex-marine, I typically make a verbal comment without being an alarmist. In hundreds of inspections with similar fire-walls, I have seen only one or two where unlawful access has been made from one condo to another but that's enough to be mindful of the security issue.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    sellersburg, in. work in lou, ky.
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    So who is going to be the suspect in a potential attic burglary? Neighbor comes to mind...law enforcement wouldn't have far to go in looking for the perpetrator. However, having said that, a real concern is the access the perp. would have with a spy camera through the ceiling, not necessarily gaining complete physical access and I'm sure that goes on all the time. Depending upon the client, single female versus ex-marine, I typically make a verbal comment without being an alarmist. In hundreds of inspections with similar fire-walls, I have seen only one or two where unlawful access has been made from one condo to another but that's enough to be mindful of the security issue.

    I would be more worried about the unfinished wall lacking the mud and tape.. access into a condo is far easier through the front door for a criminal but you are thinking right that there is that possibility, however I do not think it is worthy of mentioning.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Security issue, Meh. Certainly possible, especially the spying thing. An easy way to call it out without seeming like a worry wart to your realtor is to write it up as insufficient fireblocking between units. I see these quite a bit and if there is no taping and mudding in the seams, I write it up. Now you've drawn attention to it for the client and pointed out a fire safety issue which is less likely to make your realtor roll their eyes.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Franzoy View Post
    Security issue, Meh. Certainly possible, especially the spying thing. An easy way to call it out without seeming like a worry wart to your realtor is to write it up as insufficient fireblocking between units. I see these quite a bit and if there is no taping and mudding in the seams, I write it up. Now you've drawn attention to it for the client and pointed out a fire safety issue which is less likely to make your realtor roll their eyes.
    That's typically how I approach it if holes or lack of taping exist, of course, and throw in the security potential as a passing comment but not necessarily included in the write-up.
    Actually, more properties are entered via unlocked doors or windows than forcible entry and windows are far easier to break than breaking down a door or going through external cladding.

    Some police depts. may offer a security assessment, many used to but with funding cut-backs it was one of the services on the chopping block.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    It is called a "draftstop" wall.

    It is used to separate the attic into smaller areas, the maximum area being 3,000 sq ft or two units. If the condos attic areas are 1,500 sq ft or smaller, then the attic can be divided over each two units, however, if the total attic area of two units is 3,001 sq ft, then the draftstop wall is required to separate the attic over each unit from the attic over the adjacent unit.

    The draftstop wall is supposed to be aligned over the tenant separation walls below.

    It is to slow the spread of fire by dividing the attic into smaller contiguous areas - but it is *not* a separation or fire rated wall in any sense.

    The drywall is only required on one side only, usually 1/2" gypsum board is permitted, as is 1/2" plywood or OSB, there are also other choices of materials, and, yes, the joints and nails should be mudded and taped, but two coats are not required (at least to my knowledge).

    If wood passes through it, the openings around the wood should also be mudded and taped. The same goes for any penetration through the draftstop wall. Fire caulk is not required around the penetrations, but about the only reason not to use fire caulk is cost (which is usually the reason it is not used as it actually makes sealing around penetrations easier than trying to mud and tape around them).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
    Posts
    1,394

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    It is called a "draftstop" wall.

    The drywall is only required on one side only, usually 1/2" gypsum board is permitted, as is 1/2" plywood or OSB,
    I've never heard it called a "draftstop". It's usually drywall and always on both sides, at least around here.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    I've never heard it called a "draftstop". It's usually drywall and always on both sides, at least around here.
    For townhouses it would be a rated wall, 1 hour or 2 hours, and would have one layer of 5/8" Type X gypsum board on each side (1 hour) or 2 layers of 5/8" Type X gypsum boards on each side (2 hours).

    That would be a fire separation wall between "buildings" (albeit the "buildings" are attached to each other).

    Townhouses are each their own "building", a condominium building is one single building with "apartments" or "condos" in the single building, thus the structure is designed, constructed, and treated different than townhouses.

    Townhouses are designed and (supposed to be) constructed so that when one burns down, the ones on the other side of the attached wall are still standing on their own.

    The condo building is one building, when it goes the building goes, the draftstop wall is just there to (basically) slow the fire down to allow the occupants to egress the building before it burns down.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    California
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    (Accidently deleted this post - so I'm reposting it) ......

    Just as I thought - there's quite a few different opinions on this matter. So who's right - who's wrong ?

    I tend to agree with Jim. The gypsum board was not damaged, so I didn't call anything out on it. And yes - one could kick / cut a hole in the interior wall, or into the vinyl exterior siding, but - it would be an obvious break in and more than likely - a one time occurance. The attic entry into the house is a much more less obvious way, and could be done over and over again.

    Ken - I only mentioned the issue to the Realtor "after" the home inspection report was given to the client - not before hand. I understand the "client - inspector" code of ethics, and I adhere to that. Most of the time, the Realtors I deal with will ask me how the inspection went, and if there's anything the buyer should be concerned about. I basically tell them what I think are the critical issues, down to the minor issues are. They deal with from there. This particular Realtor is a very close friend, and with all the other Realtors - I told him the critical to minor issues involved. I just happen to mention to him the note "I was thinking about putting in the report".

    Markus - I think you just made my point with regard to the bad guys doing their prep work.

    Putting more tape /mud on the unfinished wall does not keep the dishonest neighbor out. Some have mentioned it's easier to break in trough a window or door, and though that is true - it doesn't mean the dishonest creep next door won't go the hard way.

    I find myself sitting on the fence whether I should mention this to any future client. Prior to starting my inspction, talking to the client - I tell them what I'll be doing, that I'll be looking for structural and safety issues. Is someone slipping into your home undetected, possibly over and over again - a safety issue ?


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Schenck View Post
    I find myself sitting on the fence whether I should mention this to any future client. Prior to starting my inspction, talking to the client - I tell them what I'll be doing, that I'll be looking for structural and safety issues. Is someone slipping into your home undetected, possibly over and over again - a safety issue ?
    My answer to your question: If you decide to report that, then you will find - should find - that or similar between EVERY townhouse, duplex, condo (between every two) in the attic, additionally, you will find a similar entry point in from the underfloor crawlspace through the floor (not as easy to penetrate through, but if the "bad guy" wants in, then that "bad guy" will get it.

    COULD it happen? Sure. You betcha.

    COULD the house burn up? Sure. You betcha.

    COULD (anything else) happen? Sure. You betcha.

    Are you going to report everything which "could" happen? Just food for thought.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Does the bad guy drag his ladder through the attic? And he's a repeat visitor? Does he pack along a Dust-buster for the fluffies?

    You could recommend an alarm system with motion detectors. Chances are burglars or bad guys will come in through windows and doors, especially the cheap glass sliders that we see in condos everywhere. A motion detector will catch them from wherever and it is something positive the client can do.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    california
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Would You Call It Out In The Report ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Schenck View Post
    I recently inspected a two story 1986 condo, 2 bed, 2 bath, ... your standard run of the mill condominium with nothing highly unusual about it. The condo I inspected was sandwiched between 2 or 3 other condo's on both sides.

    When I inspected the attic area, I noticed that the partition wall between my clients attic and his neighbors attic(s) was nothing but wood frame and sheet rocked over. I can't recall the last time I've seen this, since I'm so use to seeing cinder block.


    Here's the problem I see with nothing but sheet rock between the two other attics adjacent to my clients. What is stopping a crooked untrustworthy neighbor from crawling into his attic, cutting a hole in the sheet rock - sliding over to my clients attic - opening the attic access hatch and jumping down into my clients place, steal or do what ever inside ? Nothing right ?



    The sales agent who hired me is a personal friend of mine and we often discuss what I find wrong with the places I inspect for him. I told him in church today - that I almost made a comment about what I found in the attic, and that I would recommend installing some form of a locking cover over the attic access hatch in order to prevent entry from neighbors. He looked at me with a dumb founded look and asked why I would make such a comment in the report ?


    Having been in the Navy and holding positions such as a Safety Officer, Security Team Leader and also having completed a college course on Security Management - I tend to look at things in a different light or perspective. My friend said to me - "Your going to scare my client away if you post something like that in the report !!" Bottom line - Since it's more of a "security issue" and not a inspection discrepancy issue, I decided not to place it in the home inspection report.
    You are overly concerned How about a 10 unit condo where the attic hatch in the laundry room has un interrupted access to all units all you need is yourself and a flash light no nothing


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •