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  1. #1
    Trey Humphreys's Avatar
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    Default Comments?

    What'cha think of this? Drain to the main sewer system.

    The toilet drains were placed directly over floor joists in the crawl space and the joists have about 50% of the material removed to make room for the toilet drains. No blocking or additional support either...

    Comments on the drain set up are apreciated...

    I am having trouble coming up with a nice way to say... "this is hideous!!!!!!!"

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  2. #2
    Glen Stevenson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comments?

    It might be a good idea to note in the second picture that there is a presents of a leak!


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Comments?

    I would not tell them to relocate the toilets.

    Their location is not the problem, besides, even if new construction, they are where they most likely have to be.

    So, the alternative, and, to me, the best recommendation would be to have a structural engineer design appropriate repairs for the floor system, have those repairs made, then have the structural engineer provide a letter stating that the repairs were made in accordance with the engineered design.

    Is a structural engineer over kill? Probably, but if you do not use a structural engineer, you may get a contractor who knows what they are doing and can 'do the job right', or one who does not know, or care, what they are doing and does 'whatever', then, either way, you end up with a repair and no one to back up its integrity - hence the need for the structural engineer anyway.

    How would you like it if someone came in to inspect your house and said "you've got to move your toilets"? You would probably respond with something like 'Where in H#ll should I put them? In the friggin' tub? Get real!', and, well, you would be right to say something like that, and the seller would be right to say something like that to anyone who says they have to relocate the toilets.

    The toilet location is not the problem, the structure is - address the problem.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Comments?

    Jerry is right, you will have to do something about the floor. An engineer should have no problem designing a brace system for it.

    For a second there, I thought that someone used a set of small block Chevy headers for drainpipes!

    I once, in an emergency, had to use a lower radiator hose from a slant six 70 duster for the kitchen sink drain line!

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
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  5. #5
    Joshua Hardesty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comments?

    That wouldn't be too hard to fix, depending.

    If that joist runs parallel to the toilet bolts, opt for either a 10" or 12" rough-in, whichever clears it better.

    If it runs perpindicular, slide the toilet to the left or right, assuming there's enough clearance on either side for that.

    If you can't move the toilet enough, cut out the current set-up, replace it with an offset (two 45's or 22's) to get the line below the level of the joist, then put two new joists, one on either side, to make up for the compromised joist.



    I recently re-did a house where the original heating and air guys actually cut the main beam of the house completely in half to run their duct through it. No, there was no reason they couldn't have gone under. No, they didn't support either end any. Yes, the floor was sagging.

    Another house I'm currently working on, there's a patio, underneath a deck, under the third floor hanging over the deck. Each is held up by temporary pillars, bundles of lumber every so many feet. Problem is, the only lumber actually touching the ground is a single 2x4 on each pillar. The third-floor overhang is actually off 2" on a 2' level. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssscaaaaaaaaaary.

    The front entryway overhang is also sagging. Here's a picture of that; those 2x4's were straight when I started.

    PS: Sorry for the threadjack.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Comments?

    Ah, it's just a half bad job.

    Here's a full bad job:

    Cockamamie Home Inspection Photos from B4U Close Home Inspections

    And, as Jerry said, you couldn't relocate the toilet. It needed to be right where it was to maintain clearances.

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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  7. #7
    Michael Greenwalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comments?

    I'm kinda liking the "this is hidous" comment.


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    Default Re: Comments?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erby Crofutt View Post
    And, as Jerry said, you couldn't relocate the toilet. It needed to be right where it was to maintain clearances.
    See, the problem is that 'it is not a plumbing problem', it is 'a structural problem'.

    Granted, though, the plumber 'caused the problem'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Comments?

    don't see a vent for the underfloor trap that serves maybe a shower or tub!


  10. #10
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    I disagree that an engineer should be called.

    Framing/headering in an opening is pretty standard carpentry. A licensed contractor should know how to do it, and they are not required in most cases to have an engineer design it for them.

    I really hate to pull the engineer card just for CYA, especially when it is so "basic" as framing in an opening where a joist needs to be cut.

    If there are joists that need a ledger board or hangers installed, I wouldn't expect to need to call for an engineer either.

    Could it be done wrong? Sure. But we don't call for a mechanical engineer to design a repair when we find some loose ducts. We reply on licensed contractors to do the right thing - and a good part of them do.
    JF


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    Angry Re: Comments?

    I gotta go with Jack on this one as it's a rather simply case of appropriately heading-off the area where the toilet drain lines are located. Happens all the time and I don't care how careful one does their layout because the WC's drain flange will always land on top of a floor joist, Murphy's Law you know. That's also the reason plumbers are equipped with chain saws.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    I gotta go with Jack on this one as it's a rather simply case of appropriately heading-off the area where the toilet drain lines are located. Happens all the time and I don't care how careful one does their layout because the WC's drain flange will always land on top of a floor joist, Murphy's Law you know. That's also the reason plumbers are equipped with chain saws.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Is a structural engineer over kill? Probably, but if you do not use a structural engineer, you may get a contractor who knows what they are doing and can 'do the job right', or one who does not know, or care, what they are doing and does 'whatever', then, either way, you end up with a repair and no one to back up its integrity - hence the need for the structural engineer anyway.
    I think you and Jack are missing the ProtectAll treatment there.

    Yeah, EVERY CONTRACTOR *SHOULD* know how ...

    But do not HIs make a living off contractors WHO DO *NOT* KNOW HOW to do things right?

    Yes, of course!

    So why would you expect anything different for a repair?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian schmitt View Post
    don't see a vent for the underfloor trap that serves maybe a shower or tub!
    My guess is the vent is that one going up in the center.

    Was that a DUH! moment?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  14. #14
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    Jerry,
    I think you are missing my point. I really don't see why we should call in an engineer just because someone "might" not do the repair correctly, even though they are qualified to do it (licensed contractor).

    This repair is carpentry 101 and to call for an engineer just makes my client shell out more $$$. Of course the seller should be the one hiring the engineer, but if we take your scenerio further, "their" engineer might not do the engineering right. Just like the contractor scenerio you painted - one may not do the job correctly.

    Just like I don't call for an engineer to design a repair for joists that need a ledger or hanger. Or a mechanical engineer for duct repair. Or a civil engineer to correct downspout/splashblock problems. To me - that's overkill. It's taking CYA to new heights.

    If I owned a house that had overnotched joists for a toilet, and the inspector called for an engineer to design a repair, I would tell them to take a flying F at a rolling donut.
    JF


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Jerry,
    I think you are missing my point. I really don't see why we should call in an engineer just because someone "might" not do the repair correctly, even though they are qualified to do it (licensed contractor).
    Jack,

    I'm not missing your point, but I think you are missing mine.

    I stated, as you did, any contractor *should* know how to fix that.

    However, as we all see, every day, contractors DO IT WRONG more often than they do it right.

    Thus, the likelihood of it being done wrong is much greater than it being done right.

    I always explained it this way to my clients: As a General Contractor, *I* could repair it better than good, better than an engineer will likely say it needs to be done. HOWEVER, they are many contractors out there who, like the one which did it in the first place, *have no idea what is right*. *IF* I recommend you have a contractor repair it, what is the likelihood that it will be done right?

    Typically my clients would respond with something like: I understand, not much chance of that, is there?

    I would then continue: Exactly, so, by me recommending a structural engineer design appropriate repairs, the issue a followup letter stating that the repair was done in accordance with the repair design not only covers you in getting the repair done right, but you now have an engineer who has signed off on the repair. Keep that letter, you will likely need it when you go to sell. The cost for the structural engineer is now protecting you twice.

    (I pause for a bit)

    Then I add: Or, you could just hire a contractor and cross your fingers, you just might luck out.

    See, I explain why they should do what I recommend, explain what could happen if they don't, and let them decide.

    *I* was "the home inspector", *not* the one trying to save their pennies and waste their dollars.

    For some reason, many, many, home inspectors report items based on what it might cost their client.

    A home inspector should report items based on *I DON'T GIVE A CRAP WHO PAYS FOR THIS OR WHAT IT COSTS*, here's the problem, "Git R Dun".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Jerry P" A home inspector should report items based on *I DON'T GIVE A CRAP WHO PAYS FOR THIS OR WHAT IT COSTS*, here's the problem, "Git R Dun"."

    Exactly. That's why my response to what I think it will cost is always the same. " I have no idea, and I don't want to know. It might influence my response to what we both know to be the right solution. I suggest that you obtain estimates so that you can better understand how to negotiate or better prepare for your future cost if the seller doesn't agree to repair it." (If it's a minor repair, I might give them a reasonable ball park figure.)

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Comments?

    I agree with not caring what some things cost. However, we are talking about framing in an opening in the floor system. Like I said before, this is carpentry 101, and I would think that even some of the bubba's out there could probably get it right. Yes, of course we all have seen it wrong. But for the most part, repairs done by the guys that normally do HI repairs do get it right (at least in my area).

    I don't mind calling for an engineer at times, but in this case (a headered opening) I just think it is way, way overkill. As I said before, I liken it to calling for a mechanical engineer to design a repair for a hvac duct that has come loose.

    I like to treat clients like I would like to be treated, or treat them like a family member. This isn't like we work for the govt and buy $350 hammers because someone else is footing the bill.
    JF


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Comments?

    I would call for an engineer in the above case for a few reasons. The beams that were cut are part of the support structure. I believe that there was more than one cut.

    An engineer could design the appropriate support corrections to prevent the floor from sagging, or to jack it up into its original place if the floor was sagging. Then, any old "Bubba" should be able to follow the plans. And, I emphasize "Should"!

    Here, that kind of work would require a permit and plans to complete. It would also have to be inspected.

    I don't care how much it costs anyone in the transaction. I try to do everything I can to make sure that whoever does the repairs, at least my Client knows how it should be done.

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
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  19. #19
    David R2's Avatar
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    Default huge violations

    since this forum is about plumbing, I'll add what I can about the big mess in the first picture.

    There are two places in the center of the picture where you can see the "person building it" used short-radius fittings. These are 1/4 bends, i.e. 90 degree turns. (They come in short and long sweeps.) The use of short radius bends in drain plumbing is a big warning sign, and it often means that everything else is terrible too.

    A second big indicator that "everything" is wrong, is the use of Wye's and 45 degree slopes -- far overdone. Using San Tees is better for drain plumbing; there are situations where a Wye is the right fitting, but not here, not to create these 45 degree slopes down to the next 45 degree slope.

    It usually corresponds to a lack of venting. And, then, looking over to the left we can see a P trap with NO vent and worse yet, a slope far exceeding the 1/4" per foot recommended. (Slopes can be more, or less, but that has to be included in the arithmetic whenvents are planned).

    I'll stop here. More later, if we wish to discuss and plan a plumbing system.

    about the joist: it is true that the knowledge required to find out what to do to reinforce a single joist is available on the internet. A homeowner can calculate it too. Assuming someone gives him/her the right key words to search on.

    David


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Comments?

    Eric,
    I wasn't there, but from the photos, it appears that just joists were cut, not a beam.

    If, during intial construction, these cut joists were discovered, would an engineer be required? I would say probably not.

    Even when a permit is required for repairs, an engineer would not likely be required by the AHJ for a licensed contractor to complete them.
    JF

    I do agree the plumber should be taken out back and made to stand in the corner for a couple days.


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    If, during intial construction, these cut joists were discovered, would an engineer be required? I would say probably not.
    Jack,

    Not Eric here, but ...

    The original constructions was, presumably, both permitted and engineered, and, during construction, those repairs would fall under the original permit and be the responsibility of the building constructing it.

    Once done and this discovered years later, then it's a whole new ball game. *WHO* is going to be responsible *if* the repairs are done incorrectly?

    I doubt Trey wants to be held responsible. I know I would not want to be. You? That's your choice.

    Maybe they treat home inspectors better in TN than in Florida, but, down here, we have varmints called 'lawyers' who tend to go after home inspectors for simple things. Thus, home inspectors tend to want to feed engineers to the varmints instead of feeding themselves to the varmints.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Comments?

    I agree with Jack. We have lost all reason if we require a structural engineer to design creating a simple opening in a floor joist system.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Comments?

    I would simply report that the joist was cut improperly to accommodate the the plumbing. An expert in foundation repairs will need to make the appropriate repairs.

    The plumbing looks like it was done by an unqualified individual. Have a qualified plumber correct the plumbing.

    How's that for beating around the bush!

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

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Comments?

    Well shucks Jerry, we hardly have running water here in ol Tennessee.

    Doing a fair amount of contracting in CA, I wasn't asked to provide engineering calcs when doing normal construction. City and County of Los Angeles had print-outs with span tables. If what you were doing fell within those tables, you didn't have to provide engineering. I never used trusses, but if I did, obviously I would have to provide the specs from the truss company.

    You haven't said, but to carry your theory out, then you must also ask for the mechanical engineer for those duct repairs, and a civil engineer for those displaced downspouts, or settled driveway.

    To follow your scenerio out, your reports must have been just one referral after another to get another "expert" to sign off on anything you found. I find it hard to believe that you called for an engineer to design a repair for evey over-notched floor joist you found.

    But then, I'm just some back woods bumkin that's not used to your big city ways.
    JF


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