Sad but true this statement is..
After thousands of home inspections and many years working on homes I can honestly say I have yet to find a home built to even minimal code standards.
How is it we can live in such a heavily tax burdened and regulated world and still they can’t build a home to minimal codes!?
The truth is that the Code Inspectors are just too busy and have too few people to be as thorough as they need to be and there is definitely a learning curve in the area of inspections few have mastered.. even the older guys will tell you there’s no way they can learn it all and they still have to refer to the Code Books to answer some questions concerning the “right way” to install or build some portions of a home, and some, if not many things do get overlooked.
Truth be told Home Builders are the number one problem as it is their responsibility to learn and adhere to current codes and standards as they change but there seems to be a “profit” concern more than an adherence concern in our opinion.
One of the most often neglected deficiency Builders continue allowing is the improper grading of homes, which is likely the most needed portion of the Building Codes to be executed properly due to the high cost of repairs potentially absorbed by the home buyer. Grading should slope away from the foundation for the shedding of water at least 10′ at 20 degrees minimum. This equates to the foundation soil being 6″ higher than soil at 10′ distance from the foundation at all areas.
Improper grading is the number one cause of foundation failure costing home owners thousands of dollars to correct and yet here at Commonwealth Home Inspections we still see this deficiency on most homes.
Improper gutter installation is another issue often present on homes; improper gutter pitches allow rain water to overflow against the foundation also potentially causing foundation failure and/or wet basements and crawlspaces. Downspout extensions are not required by code but are definitely a much needed addition shedding water the same distance of 10′ from the foundation, many are happy with 6′ and is sufficient IF grading is correct.
Improperly installed weep holes or missing weep holes altogether are likely the most common issues our Key Home Inspector Kenny Martin at Commonwealth Home Inspections finds in brick homes. Often he finds either none present or no flashings installed behind the brick when they are present which is needed allowing proper discharge of water from behind the brick veneer. While we must admit this usually doesn’t appear to cause any issues and most all homes with brick veneers have improper installations there is definitely the risk for substantial repair costs in association with improper or missing weep holes. They should be present every 3 or 4 bricks, above steel lintel supports preventing damage from rust and below windows but the window requirement is a much more recent change in codes and still not seen except on extremely rare occasions even on new homes.
Framing in the attic is another area we at Commonwealth Home Inspections find numerous deficiencies such as improperly installed collar ties or missing upright supports or improperly supported purlins and poor nailing and poor cut joints.
Attic ventilation is another area often neglected such as poor or missing cross ventilation above Cathedral ceilings which can cause mold and structural damage not to mention higher cooling costs.
Improperly placed or missing sediment traps at furnaces is another one we see consistently and ungrounded CSST flex gas lines, both of which have the potential for causing gas leaks and explosion.
Sediment traps on gas lines for furnaces and water heaters (not required for gas ovens, stoves, ranges, dryers etc) are required to be at the end of a run and go down, usually 4″ (basically a T sideways) then the gas line capped off at the bottom and the gas line continues to the appliance from the top. This allows impurities in the gas, and in some areas moisture, to drop into the 4″ pipe and the gas continue on cleanly, not causing obstruction or damage to the gas valves which can cause them to stick open allowing gas to continually flow.
CSST flex gas lines (not to be confused with the yellow gas connectors to water heaters, dryers, stoves and furnaces that typically are no longer than 6′) are required to be grounded due to potential damage from lightning strikes away from the home which can travel through the earth and through the line creating small pin holes and obvious gas leaks. The ground should be visible at the first connection to the rigid pipe gas line. At Commonwealth Home Inspections we can honestly say we have only seen it installed once in all the years it has been installed locally.
There are many, many more issues locally and if you choose a Home Inspection Company not as thorough or as knowledgeable as we are at Commonwealth Home Inspections it can not only cost your family lots of money.. it can cost you their lives.
So don’t be fooled by other Inspection websites that “claim” they find more, we were the first ever to advertise such a statement, but for good reason, we REALLY do find more! Other companies who advertise such haven’t been in business near the time as Commonwealth Home Inspections nor do they have the extensive background in construction, maintenance and remodeling.
Oh, and by the way.. don’t get impressed by fancy websites and “Infra-red” inspections or even Home Energy Audits, it still doesn’t hold a candle to what we find in homes every day with just a plain old flashlight and know how! Our average report of a small home yields 65+ photos of items in need or maintenance and/or repairs, not to mention everything the Builder never did properly in the first place.
So don’t put your financial future in the hands of an Inspection Company that Real Estate Agents refer when it is well known across the country there are some major issues with Agents Inspectors working together since the Inspector is relying on them for their referrals and business. You can rest assured we never have and never will help an Agent sell a home by smoothing over the report or the inspection by telling you all those things are normal or we see it all the time. It doesn’t matter if anyone sees anything all the time if your the one paying for all of the repairs or neglected maintenance of the current or previous owners of the home.
And last but never least! Don’t be surprised if you schedule your inspection with us then your Agent tries to get you to use someone else or even worse says Commonwealth Home Inspections is not allowed in the homes they sell. If you do hear this you should fire your Agent and hire one that has your best interest in mind and allows you to use the best, most thorough Inspection Company you can find.. and with Commonwealth Home Inspections, you’ve found it!
Happy home hunting!