Jay Maranich, a home inspector and prolific Active Rain Blogger from Bristow VA, posted this information that I feel needs to get out "there". It is the type of issue most home buyers would never think a new home would have.
Buying a new home in New Tecumseth, have a home inspector come with you on the final inspection at the very least... need help choosing one? Call me, Chris Smith @ 1.866.936.3500 and I will be glad to help you out.
There is almost never an inspection on new construction that does not stir up a bees hive! So often I run into things that I KNOW an architect did not design. It is the supervisor and subcontractors on site that are very, very relevant to the final product people buy and end up living in.
Nice house. Pretty porch arrangement. That upper veranda comes off of the master bedroom. Very nice porch.
Very unusually, I could see the underside of the upper porch from the front stoop. There was no covering.
And in that underside I could see how two of the columns rest on top of, and are connected to, each other. The center on the left, and the second from the right, could be seen completely. All the other columns were covered with material and invisible.
From the porch this is what it looks like over that center-left column.
Obviously the wood trim is not the supportive column for that structure. There is a more solid post inside.
What you think you are looking at, a solid post, is not real! What you are looking at is danger!
Can you see how the upper post, coming down from the roof, is NOT resting on the lower post, coming up from the porch? What do they each meet?
They are resting on one and a half 2x6s that are not attached to each other!
What happened here? I think the posts were separated because things were not measured properly. They ended up with a gap. WHEN THE "CARPENTER" * FOUND OUT THAT THE GAP CAN BE FILLED BY A 2X6 HE MUST HAVE FELT REALLY LUCKY!
The other visible column, not surprisingly, is the same!
There MUST be continuity for load transfer. Period.
And, I learned in a recent seminar, for just a few dollars some strapping can be installed to provide a structural, "continuous path" so that a properly-done load transfer is really strong. I sent a few photos to an engineer friend of mine who responded, in part, "I agree with you, there needs to be continuity for the structural post. The continuity can be achieved by various ways, the most common would be using a wood blocking next to band board." He then asked if he could use my photos on his website!
The other problem I have with this incredible, non-thinking installation, is that everything is exposed from the top to water from rain and snow.
None of that wood trim, under the porch or around the columns, is primed or painted on the inside and will rot quickly.
This probably wasn't designed by the architect, but I don't know. I was disgusted with the entire porch.
My recommendation: don't think for a minute that because your client is purchasing "new construction" that it is done to specifications or even properly! Get an inspection. Get an inspector who really upsets the supervisor on site and the builder in general. You never know what he might find!
* I use the word "carpenter" extremely loosely!
REMEMBER, REAL PEOPLE WILL BE LIVING IN THESE HOUSES!!!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage