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slight mishap


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At todays inspection there was a slight mishap.

It's a piggyback style TH with that small entry at ground level. There was a washer and dryer there as well as the electrical panel. Mind you, the access to the panel was obstructed by both the dryer and a cabinet installed on the wall above the washer/dryer.

I had to use a penny to get one of the panel screws out but I got it done. Some time later while talking with clients on the next floor up, we hear a SMASH BAM CRASH from the lower level. I look down the stairs to discover the cabinet above the washer/dryer had fallen off the wall, knocking off and breaking one of the dryer buttons on the way.

It had been installed with screw in drywall anchors but it looked like drywall screws were used to hang the thing instead of other proper fasteners. Some of the anchors pulled out entirely and others had the screws pull out of the anchor. I swear I never put any force on it that would have caused the failure. It was just poorly hung. Now, can I say I never touched it? No, I can not. So, while insisting that it was not my fault it had fallen, I offered to the both agents that I would return and re-install the cabinet if the seller wanted me to. I said I would also get a new dryer button for them if they want. Anyway I picked things up and put back into order as best I could before leaving but left the cabinet siting on top of the washer dryer.

What would you have done in this situation? Did I handle it correctly?

Again, I did NOTHING that would have caused the failure. However, I would not have felt right saying it wasn't my fault and turning my back.

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I think it's cool that you offered to try and keep the peace and maintain a good working relationship with everyone involved, however, unless you were really pulling down on that shelf unit, no way you were at fault and that would be made real clear. Did you open the cabinet doors while you were down there? Did it seem loose at the wall already?

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I think it's cool that you offered to try and keep the peace and maintain a good working relationship with everyone involved, however, unless you were really pulling down on that shelf unit, no way you were at fault and that would be made real clear. Did you open the cabinet doors while you were down there? Did it seem loose at the wall already?

Did not open the cabinet doors until after it fell. At that point, the goal was to straighten things up.

Never checked to see if it was loose. Had I done that, it would have fell on me and the client.

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John, two questions. Was your client or someone with the client alone down there at all?

Don't you carry stubby screwdrivers? I have a multibit, a slot and a Robertson in my pouch.

(90% of our panel screws and fixture screws are Robertson. Thanks to your Henry Ford, you guys have to struggle with Philips. Or Torx. [:-crazy])

Good luck with the repair. Hope you know if the dryer goes south, it will be all your fault too.

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Of the 6 visible screws, 5 of them look like they were only going into drywall. What kind of crap installation was this?

If the cabinet had been properly installed -- hell if the cabinet had been halfway crappily installed -- you wouldn't have been able to pull it off the wall if you tried. But since it was 5/6 crappily installed it fell off by itself.

I see no reason to offer to fix it. They set a booby trap, you fell into it.

By the way, the last time something like that happened to me, the seller came home toward the end of the inspection, I explained what happened, and she said, "It happened again? My husband said that he finally had it fixed this time."

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John, two questions. Was your client or someone with the client alone down there at all?

Don't you carry stubby screwdrivers? I have a multibit, a slot and a Robertson in my pouch.

(90% of our panel screws and fixture screws are Robertson. Thanks to your Henry Ford, you guys have to struggle with Philips. Or Torx. [:-crazy])

Good luck with the repair. Hope you know if the dryer goes south, it will be all your fault too.

I have a stubby but it was still too long. I don't think anyone else was down there alone.

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Of the 6 visible screws, 5 of them look like they were only going into drywall. What kind of crap installation was this?

If the cabinet had been properly installed -- hell if the cabinet had been halfway crappily installed -- you wouldn't have been able to pull it off the wall if you tried. But since it was 5/6 crappily installed it fell off by itself.

I see no reason to offer to fix it. They set a booby trap, you fell into it.

By the way, the last time something like that happened to me, the seller came home toward the end of the inspection, I explained what happened, and she said, "It happened again? My husband said that he finally had it fixed this time."

I was thinking it looked like it wasn't the first time it had been down.

At the time, I just didn't feel like turning away was the right thing to do. I made my offer and we'll see what happens. I kinda doubt I'll hear anything about it. The sellers agent indicated it unlikely the owners would be worried about it. Almost like she knew something I didn't.

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What Jim said, twice. What if they moved in and someone got hurt later? Then what? By the way, are you sure you didn't get hurt?

It had been installed with screw in drywall anchors

What kind? Sounds like a Zipit type, but school teachers can't even load a cabinet enough to rip those out.

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I gotta disagree, mostly. Poorly installed cabinetry or not, if it fell while John was in the house, simple logic is going to suggest to most folks that he was in some way responsible. Which is not to suggest that he was.

I don't think this is a one-size-fits-all situation. Rather than talking to the realtors and HOPING nothing was misconstrued when it was relayed to the owner, I would have left a note or asked for the owner's phone number. Depending upon how the conversation went, I MAY have offered to give the person forty or fifty bucks to have the cabinet rehung. Even if I didn't feel responsible, that's a small price to pay to keep one's reputation intact.

I absolutely would not have offered to re-anchor the thing myself. You would truly own the problem if something wacky happened after you'd stuck the cabinet back on the wall.

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Heads up fella's. If you need a stubby anything, I've been using this guy for almost 15 years. Best on the market, I can't count how many speakers shoved up against windshields this dude has gotten out for me. If you ever find yourself cramped for space, the skew is were it's at.

http://www.spectools.com/spec.htm

I bought that about a year ago. Very handy!

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I gotta disagree, mostly. Poorly installed cabinetry or not, if it fell while John was in the house, simple logic is going to suggest to most folks that he was in some way responsible. Which is not to suggest that he was.

I don't think this is a one-size-fits-all situation. Rather than talking to the realtors and HOPING nothing was misconstrued when it was relayed to the owner, I would have left a note or asked for the owner's phone number. Depending upon how the conversation went, I MAY have offered to give the person forty or fifty bucks to have the cabinet rehung. Even if I didn't feel responsible, that's a small price to pay to keep one's reputation intact.

I absolutely would not have offered to re-anchor the thing myself. You would truly own the problem if something wacky happened after you'd stuck the cabinet back on the wall.

I gotta agree with Bain, mostly. I would have pulled the old screws out, located the actual studs in the wall, and rehung the cabinet.

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Had it happen to me - in the kitchen of a new home.

I always look inside to see what kind of screw head I'll see and I give the cabinets a little tug on the bottom at the same time. On that particular house an over-the-counter cabinet came down hard and scared the crap out of everyone - especially me. If I hadn't have jerked my hand back it would have broken my hand.

I said something like, "Jeez, I'm glad you hadn't moved in and filled this cabinet with your best dishes." The agent scampered off to find the listing agent and a little while later the site super shows up and had a hissy fit and wanted to know what the f*** I'd been doing to yank a cabinet off the wall and what kind of f***** idiot inspector goes around damaging new homes.

I kept my cool; barely, and just demonstrated to him how I'd tugged at the bottom a little and asked him whether he'd have preferred that the cabinet fall off the wall after the client had moved in and filled it with their fragile property or before they moved in when it was empty.

I did not offer to pay for it or to remount it but I did offer to show the cabinet sub how to hang cabinets off a lock ledger so that stuff like that wouldn't happen again. He stormed off all red faced and a while later someone showed up to re-hang it and replace the damaged crown molding that had dressed up the tops of the cabinets. I think he was most angry about the marred countertop.

I halfway expected them to send me a bill but one never came.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I gotta disagree, mostly. Poorly installed cabinetry or not, if it fell while John was in the house, simple logic is going to suggest to most folks that he was in some way responsible. Which is not to suggest that he was.

I don't think this is a one-size-fits-all situation. Rather than talking to the realtors and HOPING nothing was misconstrued when it was relayed to the owner, I would have left a note or asked for the owner's phone number. Depending upon how the conversation went, I MAY have offered to give the person forty or fifty bucks to have the cabinet rehung. Even if I didn't feel responsible, that's a small price to pay to keep one's reputation intact.

I absolutely would not have offered to re-anchor the thing myself. You would truly own the problem if something wacky happened after you'd stuck the cabinet back on the wall.

I gotta agree with Bain, mostly.

I would have pulled the old screws out, located the actual studs in the wall, and rehung the cabinet.

I don't carry the right fasteners and I don't have time to mess with someone else's mistakes.

I would treat it as a defect that we were lucky to discover. Set the cabinet out of the way, but, no, I would not install it, without consulting with the owner first, and then I would not take the heat for his screwup. Sure if it becomes an issue, I'll come over and help somebody else drive new screws into studs, maybe.

New construction is absolutely the builder's responsibility. Good thing the clients chose to have an inspection done.

In the end, John, you're Mr Niceguy for going back, and it may pay off with a referral or two.

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I'll third what Jim said. Properly installed cabinets don't just fall off walls. Out of curiosity, was this a new empty cabinet (installed for looks) or one full of stuff?

It had maybe 20-30lbs of stuff in it. The buyers agent questioned the weight of the stuff as a factor but I told him it was irrelevant. It fell because it wasn't hung right, period! If hing right it should handle 3 times that weight.

I appreciate all the differing opinions as they are part of the learning process for me.

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I'll bet the sellers stuffed the thing, cleaning up the house for the inspection, maybe.

Mr Niceguy does get rewards. I fixed a bifold closet door one time, waiting for my clients to arrive. It was leaning there with a split in the base where the hinge pin goes. I pulled some short screws out of my bag, fixed the split and hung the door. Told my clients it could break again, but works for now. Three weeks later, I did an inspection for the sellers.

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