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Thread: Hello

  1. #1
    Tom Payne's Avatar
    Tom Payne Guest

    Default Hello

    I am having a home built and was researching home inspectors and stumbled across this fantastic site. I have some questions and hope it is ok to ask here. I know some forums frown on this since I'm not actually a member of the trade. I'd be happy with an inspector referral in the Prescott Arizona area if anyone feels that would be the best route. Not only do I want my home built right, I want it to be able to pass an inspection 10 years from now if I decide to sell.

    I'll save my complaining about the entire building process and just get to the main issue. Like I said, new construction of a manufactured home. The house is placed and finished inside. We opted for a stem wall, which we understand is mostly cosmetic, but is strapped to the house. The stem wall is hanging off the concrete footer in along 3 walls, in some places up to several inches. I am concerned that if the house is strapped to the block and the block isn't on a secure footing and the block moves, it'll actually pull on the house. The house is also built on the side of a hill that receives those famous Arizona monsoons, pouring several inches of rain down in a very short time. Does this get inspected and approved by a building inspector? Is this a big problem? Just cosmetic? Poor workmanship? Acceptable? Would it even be seen in a home inspection after the grading is done? Any suggested fixes?

    We've halted work until we get some expert opinions. The Arizona Office of Manufactured Housing hasn't been very quick in returning calls for 2 days, and the one home inspector I called said he'd come out for the walk through for $275. I was kind of hoping to hire an inspector to come out now and give opinions, and then come back for the walk through. I'd be perfectly happy spending that plus for the extra trip for the piece of mind. Any thoughts or referrals would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Hello

    From what little is shown in those photos, the home inspector will most likely recommend you contact a structural engineer for what you need right now.

    Save the money for the home inspector for later.

    I don't know what the 'going rate' for a quality home inspection is in your area, but $275 seems REAL LOW to me. Think about what you will be expecting them to look at, and how much time you will be expecting them to look at it.

    Not having any information about the house's size, I would expect them to put in at least 3-4 hours on site and another 1-2 hours doing the report. If you can get someone to spend 4-6 hours or more for $275, wow! I would have expected at least twice that.

    But that's another topic all together.

    Now, though, you need to call a structural engineer.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    The Treasure Coast
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Hello

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Payne View Post
    I am having a home built and was researching home inspectors and stumbled across this fantastic site. I have some questions and hope it is OK to ask here. I know some forums frown on this since I'm not actually a member of the trade. I'd be happy with an inspector referral in the Prescott Arizona area if anyone feels that would be the best route. Not only do I want my home built right, I want it to be able to pass an inspection 10 years from now if I decide to sell.

    I'll save my complaining about the entire building process and just get to the main issue. Like I said, new construction of a manufactured home. The house is placed and finished inside. We opted for a stem wall, which we understand is mostly cosmetic, but is strapped to the house. The stem wall is hanging off the concrete footer in along 3 walls, in some places up to several inches. I am concerned that if the house is strapped to the block and the block isn't on a secure footing and the block moves, it'll actually pull on the house. The house is also built on the side of a hill that receives those famous Arizona monsoons, pouring several inches of rain down in a very short time. Does this get inspected and approved by a building inspector? Is this a big problem? Just cosmetic? Poor workmanship? Acceptable? Would it even be seen in a home inspection after the grading is done? Any suggested fixes?

    We've halted work until we get some expert opinions. The Arizona Office of Manufactured Housing hasn't been very quick in returning calls for 2 days, and the one home inspector I called said he'd come out for the walk through for $275. I was kind of hoping to hire an inspector to come out now and give opinions, and then come back for the walk through. I'd be perfectly happy spending that plus for the extra trip for the piece of mind. Any thoughts or referrals would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    I would agree with Jerry, you need a structural engineer.

    I haven't ever heard of using concrete blocks as "cosmetic" in your application. On the "manufactured" , we call them "mobile" homes here, that I have seen, that wall is a support wall for the structure. The block should be centered on the footer. If the home is going to be tied to the block, I don't think those walls are going to be cosmetic.

    That is just what I see from the pictures. I may be wrong.

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
    www.magnuminspections.com
    I still get paid to be suspicious when I got nothing to be suspicious about!

  4. #4
    Tom Payne's Avatar
    Tom Payne Guest

    Default Re: Hello

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I don't know what the 'going rate' for a quality home inspection is in your area, but $275 seems REAL LOW to me. Think about what you will be expecting them to look at, and how much time you will be expecting them to look at it.

    Not having any information about the house's size, I would expect them to put in at least 3-4 hours on site and another 1-2 hours doing the report. If you can get someone to spend 4-6 hours or more for $275, wow! I would have expected at least twice that.
    Thank you guys. I am getting quite the education reading around the board and will certainly be hiring an HI when work is finished. The one I talked to gave me an estimate of around $250 for a 2000 sq. ft. house. This one is 2500 so he added a bit. He's the only one I've called so far so I don't know about the prevailing area rate. I'm not a huge shopper, just need someone I feel is competent and I'm comfortable with.

    Back to the wall, at this point it is cosmetic. The 3 house sections are assembled and finished inside, and it is only resting on the standard piers. The footer was poured before the house was onsite and not done to proper size. Now the block is going in and they matched the house outline, which is partially off the concrete. The block wall will be attached to the house with something like hurricane strapping. I fear if the wall shifts the hurricane straps would pull down on the wall and create stress, either immediate cracking or a shortened house life before major work would be needed.

    At this point the suggestion to fix has been to do a second footer pour next to the first to give the block a resting point. Anyone have a thought there?

    We have a call in to the AZ Manufactured Housing people, and will be contacting the county inspector's office for advice too. The more imput the better. Is there an HI referral agency or anything of the sort I could be pointed to?

    Thanks again,
    Tom


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    The Treasure Coast
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Hello

    Tom,
    If they poured a footer, erected walls, and the building rests on those walls, I can't fathom how it can be cosmetic.

    Personally, I would cart off the home, take everything out, and start over and this time, do it right. I don't know how the second footer is going to work out. The soil conditions have changed since the first footer was poured and I would imagine that at some point, one footer will settle faster than the other.

    You need an engineer! Calling the manufacturer to look at it first is a good move. Then, supply the engineer with the findings and see what he says.

    Good luck!

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
    www.magnuminspections.com
    I still get paid to be suspicious when I got nothing to be suspicious about!

  6. #6
    Paul Bowman's Avatar
    Paul Bowman Guest

    Default Re: Hello

    Tom,
    Call the county inspector and request an onsite visit. This will kill two birds with one stone. You can have him/her explain his/her interpretation of the prevailing code and provide documentation you will need in case this goes to court.

    I had a client with a similar problem. The contractor poured the footings with the correct footprint but in reverse. It passed the county inspection but when the modular/manufactured home was erected it did not sit on the footers correctly. This case has been in litigation for months.

    Arm yourself with information and document everything.

    Paul Bowman
    Bowmans Home Services
    Bowmans Home Services, LLC


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,829

    Default Re: Hello

    Well, I would not call the AHJ (city, county inspector). They most likely approved it in the first place. Also they will not help you if it goes to court. You will need a person that does EW work. Several good guys in AZ. Chris Prickett and Scott Warga come to mind. They will be well over the fee you have been quoted, in fact that is just about their hourly rate for forensic or EW work.

    I just caught the part in your post about the The Arizona Office of Manufactured Housing. If this is a manufactured house or modular home the foundation will need to be inspected before you can close on the home. Check out this link, it will give you all of the information that you need.
    Manufactured Housing Programs

    Now if you are paying cash for this home, then this would be moot point as far as the inspections go.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  8. #8
    Tom Payne's Avatar
    Tom Payne Guest

    Default Re: Hello

    Thank you all again for your time. Unfortunately this was a cash deal and the home has been paid for. The setup company is still owed $20,000 so that is our leverage. The setup company wants us happy and will work with us to get things to our liking. We'll see.

    We do have a call into the county. Not sure they'll be much help as they've already approved electrical panels that were wrong. It seems like they don't look very close, but it seems like a good place to start.

    I am unfamiliar with the term EW work? What does that stand for? I spent an hour trying to find a structual engineer in the area, most don't do that type of work and haven't had my calls returned by the other. The Office of Manufactured housing isn't any help yet either. The one guy is on vacation and no one else is returning multiple messages that were left.

    I looked in the Member's list here and saw "Chris Prickett and Scott Warga" but they haven't posted and aren't accepting emails. I can try shooting them a private message.

    Thanks again very much everyone.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Hello

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Payne View Post
    I am unfamiliar with the term EW work? What does that stand for?
    Yes, and it stands for Expert Witness. It usually come with a big $$$$ tag attached (if you want a good one).

    I spent an hour trying to find a structual engineer in the area, most don't do that type of work and haven't had my calls returned by the other.
    Call a foundation company, most will have a structural engineer on staff or work with one, same with truss companies. If they work with one, those structural engineers will typically do smaller 'odd jobs', it is often their 'specialty'.

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

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