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Substandard construction

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What ways do you use to write up substandard construction?

The stuff so messed up you feel inclined to hand them the building code and a dozen or so other standards and say fix it so it complies to this or go hire someone who knows this stuff already to fix it.

Stuff where the explanation of whats wrong with it has you redesigning the whole project.

In most cases we can cite a source or two to back us up but when stuff is messed like an addition done by Bubba where do you start and stop citing?

Chris, Oregon

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Hi Chris,

Well, first, if it's substandard construction and it's that bad, I'm going to tell them that it's a mess, that it looks like the work was done by a non-professional, and that, even if I document everything I can see, there's bound to be other stuff that's just as bad that I can't see. Once I've done that, I just drive on and write up what I can.

At the end I tell the client that they should check with the local code bubba's office to see if any of the slipshod work was done with permits and was final-inspected and, if not, to insist on getting the local code guy out for a visit to issue correction notices and get things fixed before closing.

Codes guys sometimes have the power to order something torn down and rebuilt properly and, depending on jurisdiction, they can sometimes issue fines for un-permitted work. When the quality of the work is that bad, there usually aren't any permits, and the seller isn't going to want the code bubba sniffing around, so he or she won't agree to it. That's usually the end of it and I see the client on the next one.

Sometimes, though rarely, the seller agrees to it and they do actually get stuff fixed and get the codes guy to sign off on it. Either way, I've done what they've paid me for - given them as accurate a report as I can based on what I was able to see.



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When the conditions begin to mount up I become more generalized in my comments. "Many conditions of concern in the electric system exists such as: poor and exposed connections, overfusing, poor support/protection of cables, lack of proper bonding. Extent of these conditions was not determined in this inspection. Entire system should have thorough evaluation by qualified electrician. "

I'll get to the point where I just stop looking at the electric (as an example) and concentrate on the remainder of the home.

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That's pretty much my approach. Give them an overall generalized "it's screwed" commentary, back it up w/a half dozen or more items that are readily apparent, idiotic, and easy to reference, tell them there's very likely more stupid stuff I can't see, tell them it should all be torn out & replaced, and tell them to have a contractor provide specifications & approximate costs.

I know guys that think it's necessary to spend 4+ hours writing up every item they can, but honestly, I don't think it's necessary, desirable, or even smart. I'll usually cut a small deal on the fee, because invariably there's another inspection coming or additional income from consulation on the mess if they buy it.

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