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  1. #1
    John Stephenson's Avatar
    John Stephenson Guest

  2. #2
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    Cool Re: Foundation comments

    John
    Good question and first of all I suggest home inspectors never use the word “minor” as its #-1 on the list of words that is a magnate for litigation. (that list can be another thread) We opine conditions that exist at the time of inspection and try not to be fortune tellers as to what has happened or may happen in the future, near or far. If you think it’s a maintenance item that the home owner is capable of doing adequately, say so. If it is repairs or replacement beyond what you would expect a home owner capable of by all means tell them to retain a tech in the discipline you’re calling out. Please do not over use the term “further evaluation bla, bla, bla.” If it’s broken fix it, if it presents a hazard to occupants fix it, if it’s worn out, replace it. In other words keep it simple. I see inspection reports becoming novelettes and way too many photos. Folks can get lost in a 60 page report when in fact the average inspection report requires only 3 to 4 pages or even 5 to cover the current conditions of the major systems and components of an average house. The rest of the report is boiler plate and fluff; at least that’s my opinion.


    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  3. #3
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Foundation comments

    Foundation movement is not normal. Foundation cracking (not concrete curing cracks) is not normal. Drywall cracking is not normal.

    The problem that we, you and I as home inspectors need to realize is that we need to report what we see.

    Cracks in drywall can be caused by many things. I had a house this week with drywall cracks. I found that the builder had not placed any squash blocks at the TIJ floor joist. The foundation was not failing, the TIJ's were being crushed and the walls were cracking.

    The following is what I use to recommend an SE and for whoever that will be doing the repairs to follow the SE's recommendations:

    If I find more than three cracks in a home; If the cracks are on corresponding walls; If the cracks are larger than a pencil; If the walls are displaced or bowing; If windows & doors are not working properly; If trim work is pulling loose; If the frieze boards are pulling apart; and if I just don't like what I'm seeing.

    Major and Minor have no business being in a home inspectors report, ask anyone who does EW work in our profession and they will tell you the same.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Foundation comments

    Quote Originally Posted by John Stephenson View Post
    Foundation performance can be summed up in this manner:

    1) New foundation (no repairs needed)
    That is not always a correct statement or assumption. Should be, but it is not.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Foundation comments

    Quote Originally Posted by John Stephenson View Post
    Okay, I see some cracking in sheetrock walls and floors being unlevel, or even some doors binding - all indicating some ,let's say for a lack of better terminology at this point, "MINOR" to "MODERATE" settlement.
    As West Coast Jerry said, stay away from 'descriptive terms' such as 'minor' and 'moderate'.

    Today, the "minor settlement" does not warrant repairs - - but two years from now, the MINOR/MODERATE could move to MAJOR. Do you go ahead a recommend SE or foundation company look at the foundation even though (AT THIS TIME) the is only minor/moderate settlement?

    I guess what I'm driving at, is what type of verbiage do you all use for foundations in between (1) & (2) that is defensible in a court of law?
    If there is differential settlement (movement out of plane), that's not good.

    If there is separation in a 'V' shape, that's not good.

    If there is a vertical crack through concrete block (or brick or any masonry), that's not good.

    If there is bowing or leaning (go back to movement out of plane), that's not good.

    If there is 'humping' or 'dipping' (two terms I just made up - i.e., what was a level line is now going up and down), that's not good.

    Those, and any others which fall into 'not good' need to be referred to an engineer to 'design appropriate repairs' (not, NOT, 'further evaluation).

    What type of engineer? The structural engineer can state what is wrong with the structure, but a soils engineer will be needed to determine if there was a failure of the soil to provide proper support to the structure. If the soils provide inadequate support, the structural engineer can use the load bearing capacity of the soil to 'design appropriate repairs'. If the soil does provide adequate support, the structural engineer will need to find out what is 'not right' with the foundation and 'design appropriate repairs'.

    A foundation system which works well on solid rock may not work well at all on peat moss.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Location
    Garland, TX
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    605

    Default Re: Foundation comments

    This was provided by Jerry Peck, if I'm not mistaken, during a previous discussion along these lines. I think may have edited it somewhat to fit a particular situation.

    A (brand new), there has not been enough time, climatic, or environmental changes for any noticeable problems to surface

    B (average) this is what you would expect - no real problems visible at this time

    C (sub par) this is what you would expect just before failure, meaning settlement, movement, etc. has occurred and it is time to consult an appropriate licensed engineer. Advise that a qualified foundation contractor, who utilizes the services of the appropriate licensed engineer to design repairs, be contacted to determine the cost estimates of needed repairs, the best repair methods, and to perform any repairs deemed necessary.

    F (failing) this is what you would expect when it is past time to call for an appropriate licensed engineer, but an engineer will have to be consulted to issue any and all statements of remedies. Advise that a qualified foundation contractor, who utilizes the services of an appropriate licensed engineer to design repairs, be contacted to determine the cost estimates of needed repairs, the best repair methods, and to perform any repairs deemed necessary.

    It must be understood that in many instances, including this subject property, the majority of the foundation and other structural components are not available for observation due to the fact they are buried or have floor coverings applied.

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Foundation comments

    Pretty close to what I recall, except that I did not use A, B, etc.

    I dislike letter grades or things which 'taint' the real wording which follows.

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Foundation comments

    CUT IT OUT WITH THE GRADES, alright already .. jeez.

    Using grades such as A, B, C, D or 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., will only get you into trouble.

    Say what you mean.

    Don't just type 'D', say 'It's kinda crappy, you might get another week out of it if you are lucky, I recommend you replace it - NOW.'

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

  9. #9
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    Healdsburg, CA
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    Cool Re: Foundation comments

    Dam, East coast Jerry nailed and I can only add all home inspector's should leave their crystal balls at home and only report what they see at the time they see it and never prophesize what may be the cause or what may happen. In other words all of us in this profession can think ourselves into a law suit quicker by being over anal in the “whys” of what may occur caused by what may be the reason? If there is a mantra about what we do it’s gotta be KISS.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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