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  1. #1
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    Default Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    Inspected a house today that had a basement wall bowed in from negative pressure and poor drainage. The wall has been stabilized with carbine fiber strips (FRP) with a local reparable engineer signing off on the wall (letter was provided to me by the sellers agent). My question is should I document this in my report and say something about the wall being out of plumb by approx.
    1 1/2" or just say nothing ??

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  2. #2
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    Windsor Ontario
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    From my personal POV, I would report what you see and inspected. But I would also provide information referencing the report that was provided, that has relevance to what you observed and measured on site.

    Should I assume that your reference to the term you used "a local reparable engineer" is an actual professional "structural" engineer, or just reference to a "repair contractor"? There can be a huge difference if this becomes a legal matter.

    I have always reported what information I can gather, such as "vendor disclosure", etc, simply to assure that my client has all information that was available to me at the time of the inspection.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    Report what you see. If the buyer wants to except the engineer report an method of correction it is their choice.

    Not something I would purchase. Have seen what can happen.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Report what you see. If the buyer wants to except the engineer report an method of correction it is their choice.

    Not something I would purchase. Have seen what can happen.
    I agree with you, I hope the buyers make a good decision


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    A couple of questions:

    a) The engineer's report would be a signed and sealed engineer's letter attesting to the design of the wall as being suitable to withstand the pressure as required, right (not just a letter stating that the wall is okie dokie)?

    b) That the engineer's report is not only for the signed and sealed design of the repair, but includes the design of the repair, inspection log approving the work being performed as it was performed, and a follow-up signed and sealed engineer's letter stating that the completed work is in accordance with the design, right?

    c) That no time has been between the time of the engineer's letter and the inspection, or an updated signed and sealed engineer's letter follows up to confirm that there has been no movement of the wall since the repair, right?

    d) That a second signed and sealed engineer's letter states that the design and repair are proper, right ... okay, this one is the hardest to get ... but it is also the best to get as that now puts two engineer's and their insurance behind that wall and its repair.

    Oh, and, report what you see, mention that you were shown the engineer's letters, but that you recommend your client get their own engineer's evaluation of the condition of the wall, the repair, and the design of the repair - that way, there are now three engineer's and their insurance companies behind the wall and its repair, and the client's engineer is after your inspection and takes precedence over what you say.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    A couple of questions:

    a) The engineer's report would be a signed and sealed engineer's letter attesting to the design of the wall as being suitable to withstand the pressure as required, right (not just a letter stating that the wall is okie dokie)?

    b) That the engineer's report is not only for the signed and sealed design of the repair, but includes the design of the repair, inspection log approving the work being performed as it was performed, and a follow-up signed and sealed engineer's letter stating that the completed work is in accordance with the design, right?

    c) That no time has been between the time of the engineer's letter and the inspection, or an updated signed and sealed engineer's letter follows up to confirm that there has been no movement of the wall since the repair, right?

    d) That a second signed and sealed engineer's letter states that the design and repair are proper, right ... okay, this one is the hardest to get ... but it is also the best to get as that now puts two engineer's and their insurance behind that wall and its repair.

    Oh, and, report what you see, mention that you were shown the engineer's letters, but that you recommend your client get their own engineer's evaluation of the condition of the wall, the repair, and the design of the repair - that way, there are now three engineer's and their insurance companies behind the wall and its repair, and the client's engineer is after your inspection and takes precedence over what you say.
    The first 2 have been done, 1st on Aug. 21, 17 and then again on Sept. 5, 17 (the 2nd trip he made them put 5 more carbon fibers strips up), but i don't think the engineer has been back to reinspect the wall since its only been a couple of weeks since the install


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    Eng. Letter and post work letter completed to eng. satisfaction. All well and good. But this is one occasion that I would not want to be in the position to have to take the engineer to court to collect on the wall failure. 1 year , 5, years or 10 years down the road. Just not worth the worry unless I could just not live without the property or pass up the deal of a lifetime. Purely a personal opinion.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Eng. Letter and post work letter completed to eng. satisfaction. All well and good. But this is one occasion that I would not want to be in the position to have to take the engineer to court to collect on the wall failure. 1 year , 5, years or 10 years down the road. Just not worth the worry unless I could just not live without the property or pass up the deal of a lifetime. Purely a personal opinion.
    The best solution is easy (to say, not so easy to do) - dig out the soil on the outside of that wall, support the structure from inside, remove that wall in sections as the wall is replaced in sections, properly waterproof the wall on the exterior, replace the soil ... you guys in basement country - what did I miss?

    Besides the $$$$$ involved.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    what did I miss?

    You knew there was more.
    Fix the drainage issue that caused the bowing?

    Patching the wall is a band-aid, but they say the strips are good. At least as good as the anchors holding them.

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ... properly waterproof the wall on the exterior ...
    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    what did I miss?

    You knew there was more.
    Fix the drainage issue that caused the bowing?
    I was including that in the "properly waterproof the wall" as not only does the wall need to be waterproofed, there needs to be a drainage plane and a way to deal with the water which goes down. I guess I was being to 'simplistic' or 'inclusive' on my simple comments.

    Yes, sir, there is more when it is broken down into the various steps.

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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    Quote Originally Posted by Claude Lawrenson View Post
    From my personal POV, I would report what you see and inspected. But I would also provide information referencing the report that was provided, that has relevance to what you observed and measured on site.

    Should I assume that your reference to the term you used "a local reparable engineer" is an actual professional "structural" engineer, or just reference to a "repair contractor"? There can be a huge difference if this becomes a legal matter.

    I have always reported what information I can gather, such as "vendor disclosure", etc, simply to assure that my client has all information that was available to me at the time of the inspection.
    I agree. CYA all the way. Engineers aren't perfect. I think there are some you tube videos out there that prove that.

    Mazza Inspections
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Stuff goes here...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Stabilized wall (Engineer letter)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Not something I would purchase. Have seen what can happen.
    Do you pass your opinion on to the client? The broader question, unless the inspector is a PE, should the generalist home inspector tell a client to not purchase a home. Once, I came out of a crawlspace and announced that I didn't know what was holding the house up, but I didn't say "don't buy this wreck." Instead I recommended evaluation and repair recommendations from a structural engineer. Funny enough, the agent told me that the PE said that he didn't know what was holding the house up when he came out of the crawlspace.

    Only once, have I looked at my young naive client and said, "Don't buy this house unless you plan to scrape it." My two cents is to tread carefully, whenever you venture into giving that kind of advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I guess I was being to 'simplistic' or 'inclusive' on my simple comments.

    Yes, sir, there is more when it is broken down into the various steps.
    There are plenty of times for us as home inspectors that describing specific repairs is far beyond what is appropriate for us to offer up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    I agree. CYA all the way. Engineers aren't perfect.
    AND have different opinions. For a structural concern and repair like this, I'd comment to my client that PEs can disagree and recommend evaluation by another structural engineer for a second (or third) opinion in my report.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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