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  1. #1
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    Default Highrise structure

    I just inspected a highrise condo built in 2007. Acyually this is the 1st highrise I got. When I write the report, I hasitate to allege the wall & floor structure are concrete. Sould I say the wall concrete (exterior) and wood framed with drywall (some interior). is it possible the interior & balcony floor are frame, which are not unusual but I foud 3 vents on the balcony ceiling.
    When I followed my mentor, he told me the shower stall joints have to be caulked otherwise the moisture/water may get to down stairs. I do not know how this can happen 'cause it should be concrete floor slabs underneath. are there any joints?

    Thank you

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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    I just inspected a highrise condo built in 2007. Acyually this is the 1st highrise I got. When I write the report, I hasitate to allege the wall & floor structure are concrete. Sould I say the wall concrete (exterior) and wood framed with drywall (some interior). is it possible the interior & balcony floor are frame, which are not unusual but I foud 3 vents on the balcony ceiling.
    When I followed my mentor, he told me the shower stall joints have to be caulked otherwise the moisture/water may get to down stairs. I do not know how this can happen 'cause it should be concrete floor slabs underneath. are there any joints?

    Thank you
    Hello Peter. Nobody wants leaky shower tiles because that means damage to their walls, and maybe mould growth. If water gets under the shower pan, it can find its way to a hole or crack in the slab, such as at the drain and plumbing pipes. It may not leak right away, but water will find a way down eventually.

    There is plenty of wood in a condo building. I have seen where some of the balconies are concrete and some are wood. There's no predicting what an architect will come up with. If you can't be sure, just say it could not be determined.

    Four storey condos are usually wood frame construction on top of a concrete 1st storey. Sometimes only the floors are concrete. They were not allowed to go over 4 storeys until just this year a new rule will allow them to build up to 6 storeys wood frame in BC. This is because the XXXX' Yanks aren't buying enough of our wood these days. We need to sell more wood.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 09-18-2010 at 04:07 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Yes, I think BC is the only place to build 4 story wood frame in CANADA. So to the walls in highrise, should I say mix of concrete & framed wall. I think frame wall is for utility and dividen.


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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    IMO if you can't see it you can't report on it... guessing and speculating is a bad road to go down. When I do high rise condos I'm very clear in the report that it's an interior inspection only.

    Inspecting/reporting on items in a given unit owned by the HOA is pointless since the same item four doors down is of the same financial impact to the buyer as said item in his/her unit.


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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    another question on this highrise.

    This is a concrete highrise with about 80-100 sf balconies. all the ballconies have vents on the ceiling. The unit I checked has 3. I thought They are 2 bath & kitchen. But it has a dryer. does the dryer vent to the cental vent duct for the whole building? or any vents manifolded? any codes legislate this?

    In addition, I am trying to think How the vents addressed under the concrete balcony floor if they are not insulated or built inside concrete? Any condensate damage potential?


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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    another question on this highrise.

    This is a concrete highrise with about 80-100 sf balconies. all the ballconies have vents on the ceiling. The unit I checked has 3. I thought They are 2 bath & kitchen. But it has a dryer. does the dryer vent to the cental vent duct for the whole building? or any vents manifolded? any codes legislate this?

    In addition, I am trying to think How the vents addressed under the concrete balcony floor if they are not insulated or built inside concrete? Any condensate damage potential?
    There is no one rule for that. We would need to look at the age of the building and many other factors. I know of condo towers that have no vents for the dryers. People have added dryers where they were never designed into the place. So the vent blows into a box that filters the exhaust a bit.
    Many highrise units have the vents out under the balconies. You have to turn on the appliance or fan and then go check for air discharge. Unless you see the lint hanging out of the thing, that's a good bet it's coming from the plugged up dryer.

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

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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    I just inspected a highrise condo built in 2007. Acyually this is the 1st highrise I got. When I write the report, I hasitate to allege the wall & floor structure are concrete. Sould I say the wall concrete (exterior) and wood framed with drywall (some interior). is it possible the interior & balcony floor are frame, which are not unusual but I foud 3 vents on the balcony ceiling.
    First, when you are inspecting a condo you are not inspecting the structure, if you are you were you would be there several weeks ...

    When I followed my mentor, he told me the shower stall joints have to be caulked otherwise the moisture/water ...
    Not knowing who you mentor was ... I would have much less respect for him/her based on that absurd lack of knowledge of what they are inspecting.

    The shower pan will have ... er ... make that "should have" ... should have a shower pan liner, and the shower pan liner "should be" installed properly (but probably is not), and water *will* get through corners and joints in the tile and that *is not* a problem because it *will* happen and is planned for, and that water will ... er ... make that "should" ... should drain down to the shower pan if all is installed properly and the water will then weep out through the weep holes in the shower drain - which are there for that very purpose.

    Now, if the shower is not constructed properly ... caulking the joints is not going to do a heck of a lot of good - show you need to presume the worst while looking for evidence to confirm your presumption of it being wrong. If there are not leaks, that does not mean the shower stall and the shower pan was installed properly, it only means there are no leaks - yet - yet.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Hi Jerry

    My Mentor is a very experienced HI. Possibly I shloud be blamed for the absurd questions. Actually it is a tub shower.


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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    Actually it is a tub shower.

    Peter,

    Still do not need to caulk the joints, not if the tub, backer board, and tile are installed properly.

    The corners are grouted when the tile is set, that is all that should need to be done. If something else is needed, then something else is wrong with the installation.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Peter they have me knick named Condo Bob for a reason so feel free to call my number or go to G chat if you have Google e mail anytime.

    Just remember a Condo is between the walls "only" unless you decide to check common elements in your contract.

    You need to tailor the contract differently from a home inspection.
    I can get further in depth but will stop here before it seems like I am writing an article.


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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    I did a 3-story townhome inspection today. The developer built the gas grill on the balcony. Is this a fire suppression sprinkler on the balcony ceilling? Any building codes ask this?
    John, how is that in BC?

    IN addition, I found the dishwasher wire joint box installed as the picture under kitchsink. I claimed it is a safety issue. Is that all right? the listing agent isn't happy about this.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    I did a 3-story townhome inspection today. The developer built the gas grill on the balcony. Is this a fire suppression sprinkler on the balcony ceilling? Any building codes ask this?
    John, how is that in BC?

    IN addition, I found the dishwasher wire joint box installed as the picture under kitchsink. I claimed it is a safety issue. Is that all right? the listing agent isn't happy about this.
    You need to bone up on electrical.
    That is just an extension box extending the whip.

    Agent was right on this one.


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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Should it be installed on the side instead of bottom of the cabinet for leaking issue?


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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    Should it be installed on the side instead of bottom of the cabinet for leaking issue?
    It is not supposed to leak.
    Seriously the only thing I might say is to recommend they change the box cover to a gasketed one.If it is not in the way then wall mount is not really needed unless Jerry Peck chimes in about a NEC code requirement.

    Most DW issues involve lack of mounting bracket being secured or the drain.
    It is a good idea to look underneath and check for leakage also.

    As far as those two lights go I suppose one could be for emergency use.
    Never see them outside though.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    I just inspected a highrise condo built in 2007. Acyually this is the 1st highrise I got...
    RE concrete - Just because the floor may be concrete does not mean the building is concrete. It could be steel construction.

    RE framing - You seem to think there may be wood framing behind drywall but can't confirm it. I'm not sure why you think it's wood, but if you can't confirm what the framing material is then it may be a mistake to assume it's wood. You might simply state, the inspector is unable to confirm type of framing under balcony. There's a very good chance that non-structural framing in a high-rise is metal not wood.

    RE tub/shower and water leaking through floor - Many openings occur in concrete floors, especially at or near tubs, showers, toilets, etc. Water can and does leak through these openings. The insurance company of the unit with the leak generally gets the repair bill.

    Please consider contacting your mentor, again.

    Fred Comb, ACI
    Mahtomedi, MN
    www.homeinspectionsofmn.com

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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Comb View Post
    RE concrete - Just because the floor may be concrete does not mean the building is concrete. It could be steel construction.

    RE framing - You seem to think there may be wood framing behind drywall but can't confirm it. I'm not sure why you think it's wood, but if you can't confirm what the framing material is then it may be a mistake to assume it's wood. You might simply state, the inspector is unable to confirm type of framing under balcony. There's a very good chance that non-structural framing in a high-rise is metal not wood.

    RE tub/shower and water leaking through floor - Many openings occur in concrete floors, especially at or near tubs, showers, toilets, etc. Water can and does leak through these openings. The insurance company of the unit with the leak generally gets the repair bill.

    Please consider contacting your mentor, again.
    Actually those openings would be in the wall


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Comb View Post
    RE concrete - Just because the floor may be concrete does not mean the building is concrete. It could be steel construction.

    RE framing - You seem to think there may be wood framing behind drywall but can't confirm it. I'm not sure why you think it's wood, but if you can't confirm what the framing material is then it may be a mistake to assume it's wood. You might simply state, the inspector is unable to confirm type of framing under balcony. There's a very good chance that non-structural framing in a high-rise is metal not wood.

    Please consider contacting your mentor, again.
    Normally my instructor does not write the condo structure into his report. I just want to learn more. From your writing I think I won't mention the structure on condo inspection later on.


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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    As far as those two lights go I suppose one could be for emergency use.
    Never see them outside though.
    they are 2 lights? I thought the smaller one is fire suppression. I may have to do another visit trip.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    Normally my instructor does not write the condo structure into his report. I just want to learn more. From your writing I think I won't mention the structure on condo inspection later on.
    Peter what I often do under structure is provide general language such as multi-family structure,build date,etc.
    Never hurts to add details as you find them.
    Also it pays to talk to staff if any and find out info such as was it a rehab and what was done.
    Put in the rehab date and any details you find where needed .

    Certain type structures may also have different codes that apply if you get further into inspecting common elements.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    You need to bone up on electrical.
    Yes *you* do ...

    That is just an extension box extending the whip.
    That is a junction box.

    An "extension box" goes onto a junction box and "extends" it. An extension box does not have a back to it and if that is an extension box then that installation is a no-no.

    Agent was right on this one.
    Yeppers.

    Looks like the plumbing is coming up through the bottom to the far left, that should have an escutcheon around the pipe over the opening. (And, yes, seal around the electrical too.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes *you* do ...



    That is a junction box.

    An "extension box" goes onto a junction box and "extends" it. An extension box does not have a back to it and if that is an extension box then that installation is a no-no.



    Yeppers.

    Looks like the plumbing is coming up through the bottom to the far left, that should have an escutcheon around the pipe over the opening. (And, yes, seal around the electrical too.)
    Yea we all need to keep learning right Jerry?
    After that big build up about chiming in with code you simply give opinion so "whats up with that"?
    I personally have no issue with extending the way as shown other than as we both mentioned a steel gasket cover plate is needed.
    Just curious as to what safety issues you have with that other than me calling it a junction box to extend the electrical whip?
    As far as plumbing we do not use that pex stuff around here .(have at it)


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Yea we all need to keep learning right Jerry?
    ABSOLUTELY! I learn things here every day!

    I personally have no issue with extending the way as shown other than as we both mentioned a steel gasket cover plate is needed.
    Does not even need a steel cover, nor a gasket - neither would do any good without that junction box being a weather proof box too (an that is not needed either).

    Would it be 'better' if that junction box was on the wall of the cabinet instead of the floor? Sure. Is it against the code or unsafe being on the floor like that? Nope.

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

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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ABSOLUTELY! I learn things here every day!



    Does not even need a steel cover, nor a gasket - neither would do any good without that junction box being a weather proof box too (an that is not needed either).

    Would it be 'better' if that junction box was on the wall of the cabinet instead of the floor? Sure. Is it against the code or unsafe being on the floor like that? Nope.
    OK mis read you then.
    I would like steel because those plastic covers always seem to be cracked off when used on a whip that way.(soon as they push back the DW).


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Both of you are right. I did learn lots here. Anybody can confirm that small fixture on the balcony ceilling over the gas grill? I did not find the switch for it. So I thought it was fire suppression. It seems I cannot run a 2nd visit soon.

    Thanks


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Highrise structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    I did a 3-story townhome inspection today. The developer built the gas grill on the balcony. Is this a fire suppression sprinkler on the balcony ceilling? Any building codes ask this?
    John, how is that in BC?
    No, it is not a sprinkler.

    I am not all that familiar with codes in Canada but here in the states it depends on the building code (specifically type of construction) and standard used for sprinkler installation.

    Having a grill or not doesn't impact. All balconies are assumed to have, or will have, grills at one time or another.


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