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Water infiltration at a former client


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Last January, I was called to perform a pre-purchase inspection on a 28 yr. old ranch type house. As you can expect, here in Quebec, there were about 2 to 3 feet of snow around the house at that time but the foundation walls were fairly exposed.

The inspection didn't turn anything unusual except for a few cracks at the foundation and minor electrical and plumbing issues. The basement was finished and fully furnished at time of inspection and there were no signs of anything wrong with the walls.

Satisfied, my client buys the house and closes by the end of March. So last week I receive a call from him telling me he had water intrusion in the basement and that he was told by his realtor to call me to go perform an investigative inspection to find out the cause of the water infiltration.

The owner was alright, he understood that there were no signs of infiltration when I performed the inspection and didn't notice anything wrong when painting. He also informed me that he had removed a downspout extension which happens to be at the corner wall where the infiltration occurred.

Curious, I looked up the report and there they were, all the pictures of the foundation cracks, the downspout extension, the room filled with furniture and of course, all the usual recommendations and explanations.

After looking it up with the IR camara and the moisture meters and with the owner's permission, I took part of the drywall off and there it was; mold, damped wood, humid concrete, efflorescence. The floor covering had been affected along with the subfloor. Outside, the cracks were still there. He had put the extension back at the downspout. I noticed that the grading had a slight negative slope toward the house.

So all of these combined, led to the infiltration. He wanted to know if he would have recourse against the former owner. Well, I said, I'm not sure, frankly I don't think so. Yes it's true there were no signs inside but all the information was in the report and you didn't do any of what was recommended.

So there it is, the proof that you can make them read the report (if they read it at all) but it's a whole other story to have them follow the recommendations.

Pictures at time of inspection back in january

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Pictures when I went back

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That's so true. You tell people what you're going to tell them, you tell them, then you tell them what you told them, and they still don't "hear" it.

It's why my reports have developed a minimalist narrative, populated more by pictures with arrows than lots of paragraphs. That seems to have improved customer interest and comprehension.

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