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Oregon Floating Home Inspector Needed.


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I just received a call from a lady who needs a floating home inspected in Scappoose, OR. I've never gotten a call for this and have no clue who to send here to...........

I would inspect it just as any dwelling. Just make it clear on your contract and SOP of an additional exclusion: inspection will not confirm compliance with any maritime requirements. And also recommend a maritime inspection.

Don't you just love these unusual cases? Adds dimension to your day!

Marc

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Brandon,

If I were you, I'd do it. It will be an interesting change of pace.

I've done about a half a dozen of those. They are basically a regular house built on a float with a true zero lot line. Most that I inspected had an entire concrete float and the others were on huge old logs all cabled together.

The concrete floats are kind of cool. They build a 5-sided box of reinforced concrete, fill the interior of the box with sprayed-in foam, flip it over and set it on the water. Two I did had a crawlspace cavity on top - one with a perimeter stemwall so that a conventional floor frame could be placed on top like any other house and the other was like a slab on grade with a crawlspace beneath it so that one could access the plumbing.

When I've done those, I've gotten a local fire department rescue diver that does floating home foundation inspections on the side to inspect the bottom and sides of the floats for cracks or damage below the water line.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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"Oregon Floating Home Inspector Needed".

Is there a problem with Home Inspectors sinking in Oregon?

Yes, many have gone under.

She probably just needs a little regrading and a sump pump.

Or a team of large beavers to move the Columbia River channel.

Maybe she was told that she has a floating slab foundation and is just confused????

I doubt she was confused, there are floating houses in Portland and Scappoose that people do live on.

A dowser finally determined there was flowing water under the house, 100 feet down!

That would give new meaning to "Floating Home Inspector Needed" in this situation.

I would inspect it just as any dwelling. Just make it clear on your contract and SOP of an additional exclusion: inspection will not confirm compliance with any maritime requirements. And also recommend a maritime inspection.
If I were you, I'd do it. It will be an interesting change of pace.

With unique inspection requests, if I feel there's someone better for the job, I typically pass. I tell callers such as this one that if we can't find someone that can do it, I will do it as a last resort.

I have no idea what the requirements are for plumbing and electrical connections between dry land and the house, attachment requirements to keep the house in place, etc. I like your attitudes about unique inspections though.

Thanks Jim,

I've forwarded the info. to her.

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And also recommend a maritime inspection.

Don't you just love these unusual cases? Adds dimension to your day!

Marc

Maritime Inspection?!!!

What the heck for? These are not vessels - no way, no how. They are fully IRC compliant homes built on top of a concrete or log float. They don't have engines or a hull or any way to steer them.

Go here: http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/Seattle/ ... ameset.htm and go to chapter 3, section 329.

This link is to a company that builds them.

http://www.floatingstructures.com/menu.php?id=1

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I've never seen anything quite like it. Only houses built on a steel barge that are towed around by small tug boats as the occupants move. One such dwelling was caught up in the middle of hurricane Katrina's wrath, which destroyed New Orleans, and was completely wiped off the barge but the barge itself was undamaged and still in the water. I walked on it to do the SBA inspection. Only the vinyl flooring was left. Couldn't find any photo of the barge but I've attached another photo showing what the surroundings typically looked like:

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Gee Mike, an engineered floating home looks like a good idea for hurricane prone coastal areas!

Marc

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What a concept! How does one supply electrical and plumbing to these units? Do they all have generators and septic tanks??

How do you purchase the "lot"? Are waterways legally titled to the owner or? Seems like a similar issue to mobile homes being titled as auto's? or boats in this case?

These issues alone would cause me great concern.

Thanks for sharing this strange phenomena with us!

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After looking at the link Mike provided, I now recognize them... I have seen them in Vancouver and they are pretty amazing when you think about what is involved in making them. The movie Sleepless in Seattle had one that the Dad lived in.

Here's one for sale at Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, BC. Two beds, two baths. Anywhere near a town, sewage pipes are hooked up to the shore. I'd be checking the grounding of the electrical panel for corrosion, stuff like that.

Maybe I'll get the inspection if someone on here wants to buy this one. [:)]

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What a concept! How does one supply electrical and plumbing to these units? Do they all have generators and septic tanks??

How do you purchase the "lot"? Are waterways legally titled to the owner or? Seems like a similar issue to mobile homes being titled as auto's? or boats in this case?

These issues alone would cause me great concern.

Thanks for sharing this strange phenomena with us!

Strange phenomenon? Not hardly. There are a few floating homes on logs here that are about a hundred years old - this isn't new tech. I remember one particularly cute little yellow craftsman bungalow on a log float I saw years ago that I would have loved to own. I'd guess it was built between 1900 and 1920.

It's a little weird to stand on the dock looking under one of those venerable old homes and see those huge old-growth logs all cabled together and realize that they're several hundred years old and have been down there under the water for about a century.

No generators or septic tanks; although some do have a gentran for when the power goes out - which plenty of folks have up this way. I've never lived in a place that seemed to have as much trouble as Puget Sound does with the power going out during storms.

Power comes directly off the grid and sewage goes to a large holding tank where it's pumped up to the city sewer.

There are two ways to own these. You can own the home and pay moorage fees to a commercial operator and put it in a commercial moorage, kind of like owning a manufactured home and paying a lot fee to keep it in a manufactured home community, or you can join a condo association where you own the dock and the land beneath the dock and your home and pay a monthly fee similar to a condo fee.

Some communities define the spot where the home is ties up as the moorage, while others define the moorage as the entire community and the place where the home is tied up as the homesite.

A moorage is kind of like a condo development only it's on the water. There's typically a locked (sometimes guarded) gate leading from the parking lot down to the docks. Some of them have garage parking. Many homes have their own slips so that the owners can tie up their weekend ride alongside.

They are not titled as autos or boats - they are neither vehicle or vessel. They are not houseboats like you'd see on Norris Lake in Tennessee or house barges like you'd see slipping through inland canals in Europe - as Richard intends to retire to.

The mortgage is conventional; although I was told that the down payment needs to be higher.

The meter and main disconnect are on the dock next to the home and the water supply, sewage, cable, telephone gas and electrical is via umbilicals. The panel is, as you might expect, a sub-panel configuration.

The issue of wake turbulence is valid; that's why these moorages are located in strictly enforced no-wake zones. I've inspected them in Portage Bay, Eastlake and Lake Union and the wake kicked up by a pretty good sized cabin cruiser pushing the speed limit that went by one I was doing didn't even cause it to rock or move.

The foundation has a very low center of gravity and they're really heavy. I guess that has a lot to do with how well they ride. Many of them have flat roofs so that the roof can be used as a patio. Some are on very large floats with the house only taking up about 2/3 ofthe float and the remainder being a large deck/patio with a (snicker) sunken hot tub.

On December 27, 1996 we had a pretty severe (for here) snowstorm that dumped about a foot of snow on Seattle overnight. All over the Sound the lightweight metal roofs over marinas caved in and sunk a bunch of boats and some floating homes were either capsized or swamped due to the weight of snow on top of them.

I had one fellow I spoke to tell me that those that capsized or were swamped couldn't have been built very well because their floats are supposed to be capable of floating twice the weight of the house so that they can more than handle the snow load and because the center of gravity is so low under the float that they should have never gotten that far off balance. I dunno. It seemed to make sense at the time but he was an owner, not an engineer, maybe he was talking through his hat.

Here's and official definition.

I'm pretty sure that this is the one I did for a Microsoft executive in 1999 or 2000. If you look through the window in the ninth photo from the left, you can get a peek of his weekend ride. I'm not 100% because the interior is different, but the exterior is identical to the one I did and he told me when he bought it that he intended to gut it and remodel the interior - the price has more than doubled since then. Guess he got tired of not being able to stroll the lawn at night.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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What's the attraction for owning a home IN the water vs. waterfront?

Very favorable tax structure, i.e., almost none or none at all. Location is better than waterfront for some people.

What happens when you let the dog out to pee late in the night?

You have a very messy deck in the morning.

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. . . Strange phenomenon? Not hardly. There are a few floating homes on logs here that are about a hundred years old - this isn't new tech. I remember one particularly cute little yellow craftsman bungalow on a log float I saw years ago that I would have loved to own. I'd guess it was built between 1900 and 1920. . . .

Yes, they're quite common. In fact, I understand that the entire island of Guam is actually constructed this way.

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. . . Strange phenomenon? Not hardly. There are a few floating homes on logs here that are about a hundred years old - this isn't new tech. I remember one particularly cute little yellow craftsman bungalow on a log float I saw years ago that I would have loved to own. I'd guess it was built between 1900 and 1920. . . .

Yes, they're quite common. In fact, I understand that the entire island of Guam is actually constructed this way.

Yeah but the trouble with Guam is they don't have a dock big enough to tie it up to. They're goin' down! [:)]

There were lots of float camps on the coast here in the glory days of logging. When the timber ran out in one spot they'd tow the shacks to a new bay. By the way, the best logs for a float are Sitka Spruce. Harder than Cedar and lighter than Fir. Maybe they're more resistant to toredo worms, too.

The biggest obstacle nowadays for a floathome owner is to find a spot to legally tie up. The waterfront owners don't want floathouses spoiling their view.[:)]

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