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  1. #1
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    Default knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Inspecting a completed or existing home is one thing. I can do that well. Inspecting a new construction pre drywall is another.

    I have not had any specific training in doing pre drywall inspections. I do not have an extended work expierence in the home construction industry either.

    Now and then I get a call asking for a pre drywall inspection. I refer them to an inspector in my area that I know can do a good job on them.

    Let's talk about pre drywall inspections and what are the important things to know and do. How can a person who is earlier in his home inspection career become confident that he can handle the pre drywall inspection and serve the client well?

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  2. #2
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    OUCH!

    Go look at as many new construction houses as you can. Then ask the guy that you refer them to take you through a few of those houses to show you what to look for.

    Anytime you are slow, drive around to the new houses and see how they're being put together. Over time, you will be inspecting those houses and will have a better understanding on how they were constructed.

    You may get some heat from the question you asked. If you do, ride it out and learn as much and as fast as you can. You may find that you know more than you think.

    Good luck.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    I don't mind the heat. I know there are those who are looking to pounce. Let's see if they can contribute something useful.


  4. #4
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Framing a home today is a far cry from what it was even 20 years ago. There are far more engineered products that aren't as forgiving of mistakes, and which have their own little peculiar installation requirements. To prepare for those, I recommend reading ALL installation manuals that you can find for such materials as I Joists and other engineered trusses. For that matter, even conventional solid-sawn lumber is often improperly hacked after installation.

    Go through a few new homes, taking pics and notes. When you see a product with a manufacturer's name on it, look up the installation requirements online and see what doesn't match. It will likely be a lot.

    And, most importantly, apply good old common sense. Learn to analyze load paths and understand how natural forces will affect the structure. Look at the home from the roof down, tracing where the loads will be transferred to the ground. If something's missing, anticipate a problem...especially after the weight of drywall is added.


  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Inspecting a completed or existing home is one thing. I can do that well. Inspecting a new construction pre drywall is another.

    I have not had any specific training in doing pre drywall inspections. I do not have an extended work experience in the home construction industry either.

    Now and then I get a call asking for a pre drywall inspection. I refer them to an inspector in my area that I know can do a good job on them.

    Let's talk about pre drywall inspections and what are the important things to know and do. How can a person who is earlier in his home inspection career become confident that he can handle the pre drywall inspection and serve the client well?
    What you need to know about pre drywall inspections is do not do them under any circumstances *unless* you spend a serious amount of time with a very experienced inspector. If you have know building knowledge, honestly, it may look familiar, but you do not have a clue (not picking on you by any means) of what to look for.

    When you see someone that has experience doing the inspection it looks about as simple as can be. Little do you know there is not one corner, one piece of wood or hanger or bracket or nail grouping or header size or beam size, or wire or plumbing vent, drain, etc. etc. etc that they are not looking at.

    You are in constant scan mode. If you don't (and you don"t) know what you are looking at then, well, you don't know what you are looking at.

    Your question "what are you looking for?"

    Everything. Windows, door openings, sheathing, walls ties soffit, fascia etc, etc, etc.

    Take some classes and then go on some of the inspections with the other inspector

    I hate talking of liability but you really have to think about it. Everything is exposed for you to judge and scrutinize and write up. If something comes back later then, well, it is all on you, The muni inspectors have no liability. You see everything. You have all the liability.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    First thing you should know are your local codes, because, at pre-drywall, that is basically what you are looking for.

    Additionally, you should know what options and extras your client has ordered as *now* is the time to find them missing and address them. After drywall and at final is a bit late to say 'You know, shouldn't there be a (whatever) right there somewhere?'

    Riding with the inspector you typically refer those inspections to is a good start, but knowing your codes is what you are actually looking for, that and good construction practices.

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

  7. #7
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    When it comes to learning the codes there are four things that I would start off doing.

    First, buy the code books (starting with the IRC).

    Second, Start looking at new construction houses so you can visually see what the codes are talking about and possibly answer questions you might come up with.

    Third, See if you can take the same classes as the city inspectors.

    Fourth, go to AskCodeMan.com and read everything that is written.

    Hopes this helps.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Yeah, I had a strong feeling that referring them was the right thing to do. For now anyway.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    Third, See if you can take the same classes as the city inspectors.

    Something I've always tried to do.

    It not only puts in you on the same learning wave length the local code inspectors are on, but you begin to know them and they begin to know you, and they appreciate knowing you are learning about what is going on as they (at least in South Florida) got a fair number of questions from, and about (complaints from builders and contractors), home inspectors. After they get to know you, the will ask 'What was the home inspectors name?', and, if you are correct, they may say 'Yes, that would be Jerry alright, and he is correct on that as *I* am the one who told him that.'

    Just like right now, I have a call in to the chief electrical inspector (actually, he is the Chief Electrical Code Compliance Official for the Board of Rules and Appeals - what he says goes) I know down in South Florida about the twisting of the strands on SE cable ... he was out of the office yesterday and today, but should be back in the office tomorrow, so I hope to get a call back from him then.

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    I worked as a framer for five or six years, and learned a lot. That being said, I wouldn't be in a hurry to do a pre-drywall inspection because I haven't been doing them and don't have a logical sequence prepared for myself. It can be pretty complex when you are talking about if a house is built to the plans and to code. To do it right would require examining their building plans, probably well before the foundation is poured.

    If they just want to know if what is in place is built in compliance with code, that would be a lot easier. I guess it depends on what the client's expectations are. There is very little demand for it (like none) in my area, so I haven't pursued the phase inspection angle in my business.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  11. #11
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Something I've always tried to do.

    It not only puts in you on the same learning wave length the local code inspectors are on, but you begin to know them and they begin to know you, and they appreciate knowing you are learning about what is going on as they (at least in South Florida) got a fair number of questions from, and about (complaints from builders and contractors), home inspectors. After they get to know you, the will ask 'What was the home inspectors name?', and, if you are correct, they may say 'Yes, that would be Jerry alright, and he is correct on that as *I* am the one who told him that.'

    Just like right now, I have a call in to the chief electrical inspector (actually, he is the Chief Electrical Code Compliance Official for the Board of Rules and Appeals - what he says goes) I know down in South Florida about the twisting of the strands on SE cable ... he was out of the office yesterday and today, but should be back in the office tomorrow, so I hope to get a call back from him then.

    In this case there is absolutely nothing wrong with sucking up, Kissin a*s and so on. Normaly I would never concider that in the slightest. In this case it is acceptable.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    In this case there is absolutely nothing wrong with sucking up, Kissin a*s and so on.

    Not necessary at all. In fact, done properly, debating with them and having them define and explain their position and interpretation has a lot to do with them respecting you as they know you are really trying to learn and understand what you are learning. Just as long as you do not do it all the time on everything - that just shows you are dense and not learning anything.

    There will be times when, during the course of them explaining something to you that they realize ... you are correct. They will then start calling it differently themselves ... one such example recently in Texas was calling them on not installing sediment traps ... now they are requiring it (at least in some AHJ, but it will spread).

    Takes time, years in fact.

    Find something you know they are interested in and ask for details and code history about it. The more you want to learn, the more they like it. But make it real, 'faking it' will expose you real soon and then you will be on their out, they have no need to, nor the time to, try to teach someone who really is not interested in learning.

    Invite them to speak at your local meetings. Invite them to speak at your state meetings when held in their area. In Florida, we hold our FABI quarterly meetings in different places throughout the state: our December meeting is in Orlando, our March meeting is usually on the east coast, typically around the Melbourne area, the June meeting is usually on the west coast, the September meeting is held in South Florida. Most inspectors go to several of the meetings, but they at least try to make the meeting held in their area.

    By moving the meetings around the state (got sidetracked above), you will be in the area of different AHJs, invite the ones you know to speak on what they do. You WILL learn from them, however, and also important, they will learn that the home inspectors are trying to learn and keep up with the codes and the local enforcement methods.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    John,

    I am in the same boat as you and have gained knowledge from "The Home Inspector's Manual-Phase Inspections" from Bob Kille.

    Bob is a respected inspector in my area and can be contacted at Home Inspection Business and Marketing Strategies

    Chris


  14. #14
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    So, would pre drywall inspections also include the ability of an inspector to be able to read and understand building blue prints?

    My guess is there are inspectors out there who accept work doing pre drywall inspections when they are not truely qualified and should not. Is my assumption correct?

    I got two requests in a year. I punted them both. No big loss. Matter a fact, a gain by avoiding the increased liability.

    Even though it exposed my lack of knowledge in this area, I'm glad I started this thread.

    Thanks for the advice everyone.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Not all insurance companies cover phase inspections. Last time I checked, FREA did not.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  16. #16
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Know local and ALL applicable codes.

    Know how to read specifications, and drawings/blueprints.

    Understand framing extensively, as this is where there are a lot of subtle mistakes that cause big problems down the road. Understand TJI framing requirements

    Know local and ALL applicable codes

    I start with the following:

    * Blueprints stay with me to verify all construction.
    * Foundation elevation on the outside, rough grade if already backfilled.
    * Sill plate anchorage.
    * Crawlspace/Basement framing where applicable (beams, support posts, doubled/tripled joists, etc). Blocking on the joists parallel to the foundation on ends.
    * 1st floor framing, 2nd floor framing, etc.
    * Rough plumbing. I like to start from the top down.
    * Rough electrical, bottom up, exterior
    * Rough mechanical

    I like to do this before the insulation is installed as it hides a lot of the framing.

    Did I mention to know and understand local and ALL applicable codes?

    I always tell the client I will need a set of prints for me to keep. This way I take notes on them and mark them since I review them before I do the pre-drywall, it helps to speed up the inspection process.

    Then tell them you will be back for a full home inspection when the job is complete for another full fee.


  17. #17
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    FREA sucks, that is why I dumped them.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    So, would pre drywall inspections also include the ability of an inspector to be able to read and understand building blue prints?
    Yes.

    In many locations you can find community colleges which offer courses in plan reading.

    My guess is there are inspectors out there who accept work doing pre drywall inspections when they are not truely qualified and should not. Is my assumption correct?
    Correct.

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

  19. #19
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    My guess is there are inspectors out there who accept work doing pre drywall inspections when they are not truely qualified and should not. Is my assumption correct?

    Yes. But the same could be said about every occupation.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    So, would pre drywall inspections also include the ability of an inspector to be able to read and understand building blue prints?

    Yes. The ability to read and understand blue prints and having a current certification from ICC as a Residential Combination Inspector (a/k/a know the applicable building codes) are some good minimum qualifications for this kind of work.

    http://www.iccsafe.org/certification...combo_rci.html


  20. #20
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    "Yes. The ability to read and understand blue prints and having a current certification from ICC as a Residential Combination Inspector (a/k/a know the applicable building codes) are some good minimum qualifications for this kind of work."


    Black bold not exactly necessary but maybe a good idea.

    Red Bold, yes, a need to know


  21. #21
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    John,

    Where in Maryland? I lived in the DC area for over 25 years.
    Here is how I learned the pre drywall inspection business:
    I acted as the GC for 4 custom houses and spent 6-8 hours a day on site. I had been a licensed home inspector for 4 years. I hired different tradesmen and asked questions all day long. Nobody got irritated and in fact seemed pleased that I would ask them. I always researched their answer in the books later. I hired an engineer (who specialized in new home design and inspection) to do the framing inspection and I was there for every second. I hired what I thought was the best home inspector in the area who specialized in new construction and I followed him. I took all the tests and became an ICC Residential Combination Inspector which really means that I can pass a test and locate the applicable code when I need to. If you need continuing ed there are some pretty good courses on phase inspections. I know of one in Texas so Maryland should have some. On the first few phase inspections I did another more experienced inspector whom I respected went with me. I also never stop trying to learn! Had I not built those houses I could not have done phase inspections. By the way 4 houses - built never a call back - good inspections must work!


  22. #22
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    I'm in Severna Park which is about 40 mins NE of D.C.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: knowledge needed for pre drywall insp

    Lots of great points made ... and here are a few more.
    - If the guy you are referring the work to won't take you with or gives you static. Screw him, refer the work to someone else. DO NOT give work away for free. You are putting money in his pocket. If he isn't willing to work on a mutually respected level, once again, screw him. It is important to remember not only are you giving him that call, but based on experience, you are giving up the next 2-3 calls from that source. Be there and keep your name in the loop.
    - Give the client a call after your guy does the inspection, make sure all is OK, they are happy blah blah. It's a perfect way to keep your name alive to the client and have them consider you a resource.
    - I won't even consider doing a pre-drywall insp without a set of plans ahead of time (unless it is for an established customer)
    - If you don't have the applicable Code books, don't do the inspection
    - Consider getting one of the building construction illustrated, ching/adams' books
    - Do you have NC subdivisions, etc being built around you? Go check out the places during framing. Either on the weekends when no one is around or during the day when workers are there. I do it from time to time. I like it and at times it's really informative.

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

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