residential building codes: The Stairs Are Wrong, But What's That? - 06/27/14 07:53 PM
The contractor, of course, said they didn't need a permit, and the stairs are wrong, but what's that?
One should exit the door to a 36" platform, the stairs are not of proper or equal height, there should be two handrails and the stairs cover the siding and rim joist (moisture and termite invitation).
Well, I see that so much lately none of this was a surprise.
But why would solid concrete stairs have a hole in the middle of a stair?  What's that?
I sidled up to have a peek inside.

Thinking that surely the cover could be removed … (48 comments)

residential building codes: Staircase Not Of Brick And Mortar But Brick And Glue. Um, Glue Works? - 05/04/14 08:29 PM
Seeing it first, and investigating it second, I found a staircase not of brick and mortar but brick and glue.  Um glue works?

This Weekend Warrior did everything he could to make this the cheapest hunk of staircase he could!
Obviously done without a permit, which I know because there are so many problems and in this county they require a permit for any exterior staircase with three steps or more, I have to admit to never seeing this before!
What's wrong?
1.  The platform one steps onto from the door is 26" deep.  It needs to be 36" by … (36 comments)

residential building codes: A Camera Can Sometimes See Where The Home Inspector Can't! - 04/17/14 09:08 PM
If spaces are impossible to get to and not visible to the home inspector, a camera can sometimes see where the home inspector can't!
On a recent flip I noticed the upper room of a Cape Cod, which in this house was divided into two "bedrooms," looked different.
You know the space - each room is basically pentagonal shaped, with 4' high side walls, an angled ceiling, and here the flat ceiling at the top was about 2' wide.
I saw where some drywall was new and other drywall was not.  There were some new receptacles.
The usual accesses, on each … (14 comments)

residential building codes: With HVAC Vents, Do A Lot Of Small Holes Let Out Less Carbon Monoxide? - 05/08/13 08:08 PM
So, the age-old question - with HVAC vents, do a lot of small holes let out less carbon monoxide?
This is a house with a brand new gas HVAC system and gas water heater.  They were both high quality and in good shape.  Their efficiencies and installation all met all the recent codes.
But the venting through the house, and their connections were original, and nearly 40 years old.
I was disappointed to see that the HVAC installation company paid no attention to the venting.
You can see that the main exhaust stack is rusting, corroded and has the infamous brown … (13 comments)

residential building codes: Finding Fun Flipper Fodder - 07/14/12 09:26 PM
It isn't hard to do and it's always something to post after finding fun flipper fodder.
Going downstairs I immediately noticed that the staircase was sans handrail.
Mentioning that to my clients they said when they asked about one, Flipper (not his real name) told them he had looked up the code.
The code told him that the requirements said this staircase was not "wide" enough for a handrail.
To that I said, "Ummmm..."  Direct quote.
This staircase is actually wider than a lot at 38". 
It certainly requires a handrail.
So I had a little fun with it.
On the … (40 comments)

residential building codes: A 2 For 1 Works On Blue Plate Specials - But Not Bathroom Vents - 05/19/12 09:15 PM
I like special sales and a 2 for 1 works on blue plate specials - but not bathroom vents.
Bathroom vents have a lot to do.  They exhaust air from the bathroom and should always blow that air outdoors.
Sometimes homeowners know they have a problem.  They know their bathroom vents are not connected correctly to vent tubing, or that the tubing is not blowing the air to the outdoors.
In this neighborhood the homes were built in the mid 70s, and I have been in this neighborhood enough to know that the bathroom vents were not done properly by the … (38 comments)

residential building codes: Damage To The US Embassy Buildings In Haiti - 01/15/10 06:40 AM
I heard a reporter this morning tell the story of entering the capitol city and witness the damage of all the buildings they passed.  Then, almost off hand, he said they passed the largest American Embassy building and saw that it was intact, "without any visible damage."  That's all he said about it.
That was very interesting to me!
I have done some research during the day.  Most buildings in the capitol have collapsed, including various embassies from around the world, a cathedral, the dictator's palace, etc.  Most residential housing is rubble.  The building techniques there involve concrete blocks (which some … (19 comments)

Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) Rainmaker large

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Bristow, VA

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Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Address: Bristow VA 20136

Office: (703) 330-6388

Mobile: (703) 585-7560

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An experienced home inspector's look at current home inspection events and conditions along with his useful recommendations.




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