Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Construction

new constructionShould new construction be inspected? This question comes up a lot. Many clients call for an inspection after the property is finished and we do what his called a walk thought inspection. In my most current case it would have been wise to have phase inspections completed. In this case there has been a change of contractor. I was called in to inspect only the electrical to look for code violations. The new electrical contractor did not want to take over the work from the old contractor – he wanted to rip it out and start over. And I can’t really say that I blame him. Most of the work was done in an un-workman- like manner – it was very sloppy, and there definitely a few code     violations.

new constrution

The first and biggest violation was the placement of the interior panel box. The picture at the right shows where he ran the wires. They were at the back-end of the slab. That slab was installed for the washer and dryer, which will not longer fit on the slab due to the placement of the box. Even if the box would fit there, it is a violation of work space and access per the National Electric Code. The code calls for 36 inches of unobstructed work space in front of all panel boxes. In order to work blueprintson the box in the future, the electrician would have to climb on the dryer to have direct access. As you can see from the blueprints, the box was supposed to be placed about 30 inches in front of the slab, which was actually opposite the meter on the exterior wall.



new constructionThe next code issue was the service lateral. The original electrical contractor had installed Schedule 40 PVC pipe. This pipe is not allowed in this location. Both the NEC and  FPL call for either galvanized pipe or Schedule 80 PVC pipe to be installed. Schedule 40 pipe should never be used in a location that could be subject to physical damage. Schedule 80 and galvanized pipe are much stronger and can withstand more punishment without damaging the pipe.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc

Coastal Flooding

Coastal Flooding

Coastal flooding

Coastal Flooding is becoming a big and bigger issue around the world. The following is a good article on the subject.

The next big question is whose responsibility is it going to be to inform a potential buyer that the home they are about to purchase lies in one of these areas. While it may be common knowledge to people who live in the area, an out-of-town purchaser may not know or even think to ask about this. In Florida, many homeowners are finding that, due to coastal flooding, when they go to make renovations to their home, depending on the cost of that renovation, that they may have to raise the elevation of their home. That usually costs more than the renovation itself.

Coastal Flooding is an issue that should not be taken lightly by anyone in the industry, from real estate agents, mortgage lenders, title companies, appraisers, to home inspectors.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc.

Consumer Alert! Do It Yourself Claims Handling – InsuranceNewsNet

Source: Consumer Alert! Do It Yourself Claims Handling – InsuranceNewsNet

Do I need an Inspection on New Construction

New construction inspection

Many buyers think that because a home is new construction that they do not need to get it inspected. After all, the city or county should have inspected it, right? This could be the farthest from the truth. Many times the city inspectors never visit the property, as an engineer or architect is allowed to sign off on the work. The following is a quick case study of a recent new home inspection in Miami. The home was permitted in 2014 and we inspected it before it was given its certificate of occupancy for the perspective buyer.

There were safety issues with the pool. The gates did not meet the code for safety. A chain link fence had been installed with the links larger than code allows, which could allow a child to climb the fence. The latch was not the required height of 54 inches and the gate was not-self closing.

The upstairs bathrooms had multiple issues. There was a bench in the master bathroom. Both the bench and the window sill were sloped in the wrong direction. Instead of water running off these slopes, the water collected near the wall and window. Also the shower handles were not sealed to the wall, which can allow water to back down into the wall. and the enclosure glass was not sealed at the wall or threshold, allowing water to seep onto the floor.

There were five bathrooms in the home. One of the upstairs bedroom bathrooms had improper clearance for the toilet. The code requires 15 inches on center on each side of the bowl. This unit had 13 inches. Once again this is a code requirement of the Florida Building Code.

The downstairs bathroom had a bottle trap under the sink, which is not allowed under the Florida Building Code. All other traps were compliant.

Electrically, there was a junction box between the exterior wall and the pool equipment. There was no work clearance around this unit and no way to remove the cover plate. Inside, there was not AFCI protection in three of the bedrooms. Arc fault protection is required under the National Code to be in every bedroom. The bedroom requirement has been in effect since 2003.

One of the biggest issues we are currently researching is the windows. We are in the process of obtaining the building documents to verify if the windows are properly installed. There is a question as to whether or not they were installed backwards. More to come on that. But if they have to be removed and re-installed, it will be expensive for the builder.

This list is just a few of the items on this house. After more research I will make another post. On a house like this research is the key. When you buy a new home you have a choice. You can hire a home inspector to do the basics, but the items listed here probably would not be mentioned. Most inspectors follow their standard SOP (standard of practice) for residential structures and will tell you they are not code inspectors. They will charge anywhere from $400 to $800 (and up) for this inspection and just check to make sure the component of the house function. They will usually spend two to three hours at the house and have a report the next day.

An inspection, such as the one done on this house, requires anywhere from one to two days on site, a trip to the building department to obtain the building documents, further research on items to determine if they were properly installed. This can include obtaining manufacturer instructions and comparing them to the installation practice. This can take anywhere from one to five days, or maybe more. And then the report needs to be written, with the proper code citations. These inspections can cost up to six times the cost of a “home inspection”, but are well worth the time to know what you are buying. No house will ever be perfect. The important thing is that your inspector find the major flaws – ones that may not show problems right away, but will show up 5-10 years down the road due to improper installation practices.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513

New Construction Inspection

New construction

With new construction many buyers do not think they need an inspection. This could be the furthest thing from the truth. With new construction, an engineer or archecticut can sign off on the work and the building department will accept that without ever having made a visit to the construction site. We were able to find visible code violations on this home. I wonder what was missed?

Gate vilation

The chain link fences installed in the yard for the pool do not meet the Florida Building Code standards. If a chain link fence is going to be used the links must be no wider than 2.25 inches, unless vertical slats are installed on the inside to reduce the opening size. The links on this fence were  2.5 inches. The space at the bottom between the fence and the ground can be no more than 2 inches high. Here the gap was 2.5 inches. The handle to open the gate must be 54 inches above grade. This handle was 53 inches. All of this can lead to a child gaining access to the pool, which is an invitation to danger. Not only is this listed in the Florida Building Code. but it is also a law under Statute 555.

gate voilation

Standards of Practice

The state of Florida licenses home inspectors and has created their own standards of practice. Every home inspector association also has their own standards of practice. These standards are the minimum that an inspector must inspect to. It is like the building code. They are the minimum standards that a house can be built to. Would you want a house built to the minimum standard or would you want one built better than the minimum? The same thing holds true for home inspections. Do you want someone who will do the least amount of work inspecting your home, or do you want someone who will go above the minimum and give your more information than the other guy?

As with the building code, if a builder uses better and stronger materials, you will pay more for the home. The same thing holds true with home inspections. When you hire someone who is doing more, you will pay more. It will take the inspector more time both on site and in writing the report. There is always something to investigate and research to ensure that the report is accurate. Do not expect to get a report on site and sometimes it might take more than one day to complete the report. But think about it. You are spending a lot money to buy a house. The more you know about it the better decisions you can make, and you will have more  negotiating power.

As an example of going beyond the standards. Did you now that just because a permit was issued and closed by the city, that does not mean that the item was installed properly, or that the right materials were used. We have found this in many window installations. We have to obtain he permits and sift through them to find out if the correct glass has been installed, and we have found many that have been not. The biggest case I have had involved a home in Coral Gables. The city, the builder, the home inspector, and the wind mitigation inspector all gave full credit for impact windows. After reviewing the permits and contacting the manufacturers we were able to absolutely verify that 90% of the windows in the home were not impact rated. It took four days to get the answer. And this was a custom-built home. The cost to replace those windows was over $300,000.

Believe me, I am not saying I am perfect and will find every defect and wrong item in a home. But we take the time to research each home if our clients are willing to pay the extra cost. When you pay $200.00 for an inspection you will get a minimal inspection. When you pay $1200.00+ for the same inspection you will learn so much more about your home because that will be the only inspection we will do that day and we will be spending as much time as needed to research our findings. We recently did a house where several items were installed without permits. Because an attorney was handling the closing, the seller agreed to have each item properly permitted. I am sure he, or the installing contractor, was fined on top of the initial permit cost.

Dont get me wrong. There are also guys that will charge higher prices and still do minimal inspections. Please do your due diligence and interview your inspector before hiring him or her. Getting a good inspection can save you thousands in the long run. Lets just say you are buying a house with a rather large roof. Would the cost of the inspection more than cover itself if the roof needed to be replaced, but you were not told that because of a minimal inspection report. If you could then negotiate the cost of the roof, you could save $10,000+ for whatever the cost of your inspection was. When you look at the number side of an inspection, the cost would be negotiable.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection team Inc.

Another investor / Flipper home

I recently did a home inspection for a client in Cooper City on a beautiful two story home in Embassy Lakes. The investor put down tile floors on the first floor, painted inside and out, and re-modeled the kitchen and master bathroom.

This is typical of what investors and flippers do. What he forgot to look at was the roof, AC systems, and the pool. Had he gotten a home inspection when he bought the house, he would have known that the roof was original, leaking, and needed replacement, that the spa pool pump and heater were not working, and one of the two air conditioning systems needed replacement. Total cost of those repairs totaled about $35,000.00.

There were other issues, such as minor electrical deficiencies, a few faulty window slides, two loose toilets in the upstairs bathrooms. This investor was asking to p dollar for this home. Had he done his homework prior to buying he would have known what he really needed to repair.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc