Jump to content

Ever had that nightmare about falling through,


Kyle Kubs
 Share

Recommended Posts

Ever had that nightmare about falling through the ceiling while inspecting the attic? What could be more professionally embarrising? Well today it happened to the realtor who tried to follow me out across the ceiling joists... I felt bad, he is actually a really good guy. Would have loved to see it happen to one of the know it all, damage control, bastards. Thank god he didn't go all the way through... it was a long trip down to the first floor. After I pulled him out, he pulled a 2" splinter out of his stomach.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif DSCN3355.JPG

414.75 KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phew!

That wouldn't have been a fun ride for the guy. Hope that, other than the splinter, he didn't injure himself.

I fell through a ceiling about 4 years ago. I'd just got done with the attic and was standing next to the hatch when I reached out for the last tall vertical post that I wanted to check and gave it a light tug. Then it started, ever so slowly, to go over.

I lunged across several joists to get underneath the center of it and just as I was aiming for the last one the post reached me and I caught it but missed the joist and ended up straddling the thing holding a 12ft long 6 by 6 and feeling like I'd just split myself from crotch to forehead.

Kept the thing from landing on this joists, though. If it had, it probably would have done a lot of damage. I was directly over the bathroom and, fortunately, the bathtub, so all of that blown-in rockwool and drywall ended up in the tub.

Bag of ice on the old petunkis that evening got me back to work the following day. 'Cuz I was so out of practice, it took me an afternoon to tear out that ceiling, rerock it, tape and mud it and another couple of hours the next day to feather-edge it.

I figure once in 11 years isn't too bad, considering I don't inspect from the hatch and, if I can fit into them, will crawl or walk all of them.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was walking an attic in this old house that had those stupid glue up celotex or whatever they a called panels. Not the small ones. These were like two by three feet. The attic was loaded with rockwool loose fill and I had already made it thru the attic and had gotten out but then went back to check something else again and even though I was stepping on the joists there was enough force at the adjacent insulation contacting my foot stradling the joist that one let go over the kitchen right oven the free standing range/oven.

Luckily the house was a POS and vacant and although I offered to come back and fix the mess the realtor declined and said it would be OK. I guess it was cause that realtor still calls.

Chris, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was once called as a material witness in a case in which the buyer was sueing the builder a few months after I did an inspection. The buyer fell through a the garage ceiling because he walked on the gypboard between the joists and fell to the concrete floor below. He was injured badly and claimed the builder should have informed him that the attic was not floored (duh). I was called because the buyer had given the builder my report and his lawyer knew that it stated that the attic was not floored. The builder used my report and testimoney (I was ordered by the judge to testify as a material witness) to have the case thrown out in summary judgement.

I was lucky that I was a witness and not a defendant. Are we supposed to inform our clients not to be stupid?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve,

The answer is YES;

Here is what I put in every report that does not have a floored attic:

"Client should only enter attics when necessary and care is needed when walking to prevent stepping thru ceiling. Walking on joists is difficult; if attic is to be used as storage, client should have contractor install plywood or boards (properly secured to joists) to help prevent injury."

I know some people may be turned off by some of the stuff I put into my report, but like you say, I don't wanna be the one sitting in the defendants chair.

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Darren

Steve,

The answer is YES;

Here is what I put in every report that does not have a floored attic:

"Client should only enter attics when necessary and care is needed when walking to prevent stepping thru ceiling. Walking on joists is difficult; if attic is to be used as storage, client should have contractor install plywood or boards (properly secured to joists) to help prevent injury."

I know some people may be turned off by some of the stuff I put into my report, but like you say, I don't wanna be the one sitting in the defendants chair.

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

Hi,

Around here, that would cause more problems than it would solve. People would probably read that as tacit approval to put a floor on the bottom chord of manufactured trusses and to use them for storage, when that's absolutely forbidden unless they are specifically designed for storage.

I can tell you that I've written up many dozens of houses where that's been done and the gusset plates and lower chords of trusses were damaged.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Around here, that would cause more problems than it would solve. People would probably read that as tacit approval to put a floor on the bottom chord of manufactured trusses and to use them for storage, when that's absolutely forbidden unless they are specifically designed for storage.

Interesting.

Hausdok, what then do you say about furnaces installed in attics on top of the decked bottom chords of the trusses. You even seen this in new construction. Well they are not actually directly on the bottom chords they usually build things up to clear the insulation.

Chris, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

When you see those, are they placed out over the center of rooms or are they typically over hallways with interior walls relatively close together supporting that lower chord?

I'm not saying homeowners "can't" turn trusses into attic space, because 'can't' denotes the physical act of actually doing it. I'm saying they mustn't turn trusses into storage space, because they invariably place their "platforms" over the center of rooms and compress the insulation beneath. Some of those have so much stuff in them that you can walk into the room, glance up at the ceiling and see the drywall bowing under the pressure of the compressed insulation and the 2 by 4 truss chords sagging under the weight. That's why you won't find a truss manufacturer that approves it, unless the truss has been designed for it.

That said, I think the point load by a furnace placed on top of a plywood deck is going to help distribute the load better, but I wouldn't want to see it placed out over the center of a bedroom ceiling where the only thing supporting that platform is the bottom truss chord. I'd want to see it over a central hallway or I'd want to see some type of reinforcement on those lower truss chords or a document from an engineer specifying the location of the furnace and what needed to be done to reinforce the trusses.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike,

I only recommend flooring when conventional framing is present or when mechanicals are installed (without the required walk-way).

For trusses, this is my macro:

'The truss system is usually not designed to carry any loads on the bottom cord (ceiling joist). It is recommended not to store heavy items in attic as truss failure may result.'

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Darren

Mike,

I only recommend flooring when conventional framing is present or when mechanicals are installed (without the required walk-way).

Good, I'm glad to hear that.
For trusses, this is my macro:

'The truss system is usually not designed to carry any loads on the bottom cord (ceiling joist). It is recommended not to store heavy items in attic as truss failure may result.'

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

Ouch!

Passive voice, inspectorspeak! Somebody,...please, save poor Darren, he's killing himself with gobbledygook! [:-shake]

How about:

The truss system isn't meant to carry any loads on the bottom cord - the part that the ceilings are attached to - so don't store any property in the attic or you're liable to damage your framing.

Write like you're talking to the guy. Would you look a guy in the face and say, "It is recommended that...?" Nah, you'd say something like I wrote above, so write that way.

[End of brain implosion. We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread already in progress.] [;)]

OT - OF!!!

M.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Darren

Steve,

The answer is YES;

Here is what I put in every report that does not have a floored attic:

"Client should only enter attics when necessary and care is needed when walking to prevent stepping thru ceiling. Walking on joists is difficult; if attic is to be used as storage, client should have contractor install plywood or boards (properly secured to joists) to help prevent injury."

I know some people may be turned off by some of the stuff I put into my report, but like you say, I don't wanna be the one sitting in the defendants chair.

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

Darren,

Am I expecting too much for people to take some responsibility for their actions and stop blaming other people for their accidents and/or stupidity?

In addition to telling them that there are missing railings, do I need to tell them to hold onto the railings when they go down the stairs?

Where does it end????

I guess it will only stop when we really enforce penalties for frivilous litigation and/or make the losers of court cases pay for the winner's costs.

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve,

It's sad, I know.

But you also realize that if someone gets injured by falling down a set of steps that doesn't meet code and sues you, they will claim "Steve's the expert, he should have warned me about using those steps "; it the same about the attic.

A CPA doesn't know sheetrock will not support his weight. With these newer 2-story entries, someone may not survive that fall.

The lawsuits WILL stop if, and only if, they make a law that the losing party pays for all the legal costs.

Until then, all bets are off.

Darren

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Darren, but I also know that Terre's question is what keeps things from moving forward.

Prior to a case, it is probably not fair to claim frivolity. But a judge, after reviewing a case and determining it to be frivolous, should be allowed to ream a new one for the person who brought it to court.

Originally posted by Darren

Steve,

It's sad, I know.

But you also realize that if someone gets injured by falling down a set of steps that doesn't meet code and sues you, they will claim "Steve's the expert, he should have warned me about using those steps "; it the same about the attic.

A CPA doesn't know sheetrock will not support his weight. With these newer 2-story entries, someone may not survive that fall.

The lawsuits WILL stop if, and only if, they make a law that the losing party pays for all the legal costs.

Until then, all bets are off.

Darren

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...
Originally posted by Kyle Kubs

Ever had that nightmare about falling through the ceiling while inspecting the attic? What could be more professionally embarrising? Well today it happened to the realtor who tried to follow me out across the ceiling joists... I felt bad, he is actually a really good guy. Would have loved to see it happen to one of the know it all, damage control, bastards. Thank god he didn't go all the way through... it was a long trip down to the first floor. After I pulled him out, he pulled a 2" splinter out of his stomach.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif DSCN3355.JPG

414.75 KB

I had to laugh, though. Glad nobody got hurt. Good reason to have the client or agent stay at the attic access opening and not walk the attic. I don't want to be responsible if they do damage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...