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Inspecting Crawlspaces


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For those of you that are areas where crawlspaces are common, how many of you will actually go into a crawlspace with an access opening that's only 18 in. by 24 in. when there isn't any mechanical equipment or 22 in. by 30 in. when there isn't any equipment present? If you do, how much of the crawl will you inspect?

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In my young career, I've gone into every crawl space except for one. Although it was not the opening that was the problem, it was another obstruction. Around here a lot of brick foundations for older homes and modern ones commonly have block foundation, so I try to inspect the whole perimeter of the crawl.

Frank

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For the record, I've heard every one of these responses right out of the mouths of other inspectors.

The first response here comes from a fellow who had another franchise in the same franchise network that I was in when I first began this gig. He was a full head shorter than I am, had a small frame, and he weighed at least a hundred pounds less than I do. If it weren't for his claustrophobia, he could have gone into lots of places that I'll never fit into even if I starved myself for a year and dropped that 100 lbs. He used to call me when he had an inspection on a house with a crawlspace coming up and we'd coordinate what time on what day I'd have to show up at his inspection to do the crawlspace on the house and at the end of the month I'd invoice him for the work done. He's since retired.

The second response I heard from a fellow at the ITA show in Vegas and I've heard the others responses at various times from other inspectors during conversations.

So, yeah, I'm curious. I know what I can get into/under/thorugh - a hatch no smaller than 10-inches by 20-inches and a crawl with at least 10 inches of clearance to the underside of joists and beams. I would have loved to have discovered that the standard of care in the business would make my life easier and I could stop crawling through filth but I guess I'm not going to be that lucky.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'll go in any place I think I can get out of by myself. I'll do mud but not standing water. Claustrophobia would be a tough obstacle for an HI. Oikophobia would likely put you out of business. I had to look that one up.

Slightly off topic; I was once in a house in which the walls, floors, carpeting, everything was smeared with human and/or animal feces. I told my client that I would not touch anything and I would not kneel down anywhere. Yes, I did go on the roof.

I’ll try to find the summary I wrote for that job and post it elsewhere.

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Originally posted by Mike Lamb

I'll go in any place I think I can get out of by myself. I'll do mud but not standing water. Claustrophobia would be a tough obstacle for an HI. Oikophobia would likely put you out of business. I had to look that one up.

Slightly off topic; I was once in a house in which the walls, floors, carpeting, everything was smeared with human and/or animal feces. I told my client that I would not touch anything and I would not kneel down anywhere. Yes, I did go on the roof.

I’ll try to find the summary I wrote for that job and post it elsewhere.

I had one of those; excreta hardened in the toilet and bathroom sink and 3-inches deep in the tub, thousands of clumps of soiled toilet paper on every horizontal surface throughout the house.

The inspection lasted less than 5 minutes. I walked from the front of the house to the back and back, exited and told the clients and realtor I was done. When they wanted to know what it would take to get me to do the job, I told them they'd have to pay me twice my normal fee and rent a bio-suit with a self-contained breathing apparatus. They balked, I left.

I picked up a ringworm infection in one house like that; ain't no way I'm going through that again.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 1 year later...

Had a customer ask me "your not going in there are you?"

I said "you paying me, then unless it's not safe I don't have a choice."

Glad I did, the kitchen drain had disconected and under the bathroom the entire structure was rotted right out.

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I had one so tight I could only get halfway back, but I'm glad I did. They had the center beam of the house held up by 4 jacks that had no footers and weren't secured to the beam. I actually was able to grab it and move it around, which scared me right out of there. I could get just close enough to get a picture and let them know the whole set needed corrected. The seller was...not pleased. I can't imagine it's cheap to get people to work in an area with less than 10" clearance. 170 lb frame and I was almost touching my chest to the joists!

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No claustrophobia here. I've been through openings so tight I had to exhale completely to get through them and hope I could exhale that hard again to get back out. It haunts me forever if I didn't at least behold every area of the crawlspace. IN fact, I've grabbed something handy and excavated to make enough of a hole to continue. Even snakes haven't stopped me. (We have an unspoken agreement - if they stay where they are, they can live. And, if you din't know this, they do always stay where they are or make tracks for the exterior.) Now, mama Opossums have stopped me twice. You can't pay me enough to enter any space with a mother and her babies. That's suicidal... [:-graduat

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Need one like this

Click to Enlarge
tn_2010726184740_TP-600-150.jpg

26.36 KB

Marc

That thing rocks! Let's see... RC truck or Infrared camera for this month's budget...
I'll buy one when it's capable of reaching up and moving the insulation aside to look at the floor beneath the dishwasher, laundry room and baths or the rim joist for moisture issues and capable of probing for rot-infested wood - all in less time than it takes me to get around under the house myself.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 4 months later...

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