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Lack of proper construction supervision will be consequential in the future.

Home Inspector with Sweetwater Home Inspection 7038

Recently a future house was inspected for a client and the lack of proper supervision was visible during the inspection. A well known company is building a house for my clients and  they hired me to inspect their future home. This was a second phase or pre-sheetrock installation inspection that the clients wanted. Observing a multitude of items that had not been finished prior to the installation of insulation it was evident that the supervisor did not place attention to items that are required by the State of Texas under the International Residential Codes for One and Two Family Dwellings. The majority of these code are to properly protect the homeowners and some are even considered safety issues.

Below are samples where an inspector can note and send to his clients so that they can show the supervisor some of the items that are lacking.  

Structural Systems


•·         The right interior portion of the slab foundation appears to have partially cured prior to the leveling therefore making the finished slab appear to be rippled and improperly finished.


•·         The soils around the foundation of the house are saturated. The reason for these conditions is due to the amount of rain that has occurred over the past few weeks.

•·         Proper drainage around a house is needed to prevent water from puddling next to the foundation. Under current building standards (IRC #401.3) the soils level should grade away from the edge of the foundation wall 6 inches over the first 10 feet. A swale must be provided when barriers prevent the 6in/10ft ratio from occurring. 

•·         In areas where clay alluvial soils exist all dwellings must have sufficient drainage to prevent excessive foundation movement.


Roof Covering:

•·         Step flashing techniques at the front brick portion of the roof to wall intersections is properly done. Improper "J" or "L" flashing has been used along the cement board siding where it intersects with the roof shingles. The International Residential Code (IRC), the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) do not recognize "J" or "L" flashing methods for flashing along the shingled roof and vertical wall intersections but require that all courses of asphalt roof shingles use a proper step flashing method that must be employed. Further more on the back of many of bundles of roofing shingles the manufacturers proper installation instructions requirements are that at any wall to roof intersections step flashing is required. Refer Below and Proper Flashing Methods for more information and recommend to place proper step flashing during the construction phase. (Wind shear speed is another factor that must be considered because of the proper nail pattern that is required by the asphalt shingle manufacturer requires a maximum of 1" from the edge and with "J" flashing technique the roofer cannot nail at one inch from the edge of the shingle because the J flashing will otherwise leak. Recommend the contracted roofer, the supervisor and the company that is building the house review the International Residential Codes and asphalt shingle manufacturers requirements.) Below is the simple IRC standards that have not been met. 

R905.2.8.4 Sidewall flashing. Flashing against a vertical sidewall shall be by the step- flashing method.


  Roof Structure and Attic:

•·         Properly sized 2x6 purlins are used to support the mid-span of the rafters. Properly doubled 2X4 struts that support the mid-span of the rafters are spaced every 48" as is required by the International Residential Code (IRC). The struts have not been properly notched as is recommended by today's framing standards. This is a common practice that has not been implemented but should be. The support of the purlin is coming from the nails driven into the doubled strut instead of the strut itself.   

Wall Structure:

•·         Insulation will be impossible to get between the bays on an exterior wall of the utility room. Recommend insulating prior to placement of the wind shear resistant sheathing that is already in place.

 Missing fire block  Lack of fireblocking

•·         An interior second story wooden stud was moved probably to be able to bring in the sheetrock but the wires to an outlet box were not properly connected together and the stud was not properly nailed back in place.

•·         The laminated beam that holds the ceiling joists in the kitchen/family room is insufficiently supported at both ends. Recommend placement of another 2X4 wooden stud in each pocket.

•·         There is lacking studs below the right and left side of the rear kitchen/breakfast nook window. A mid stud along the lower point is also needed for proper support of the exterior sheathing along the midpoint as can be seen in the second photo below. The anchor clip has been torn away and after reviewing the Simpson Strong Tie guidelines, the clip can only be moved twice and must be replaced.

 Lack of proper support

•·                     Above the header of the same window in the rear breakfast nook, the double studded wooden plate has been altered and will need further support, especially if the exterior water line which is dangling is placed further down the same upper plate. Recommend a company structural engineer evaluate and recommend proper placement of the water lines and support of the upper plate that has been altered. In addition some straps are also lacking from the plate through to the header through to the sill plate and this must be corrected prior to insulation and sheet rock installation.

Improper support

•·                     Along the exterior walls, there was multiple areas where brick straps are missing or improperly placed. Suggest the contracted brick layer review proper installation of the straps and follow the requirements set by the brick manufacturer and the IRC.

•·                     The main drain from the second floor protrudes roughly 1.5 inches along the exterior right side. The wooden wall structure is made of 2X4 studs and should have had 2X6 installed along the wall.

•·                     An exterior door is lacking for the exterior second story porch. Recommend installation of the door prior to the installation of insulation and sheet rock.



Ceiling and Floor Structure:

•·         Some ceiling joist in the second floor game room are not fully supported at the wall intersection.

•·         The floor of the second floor exterior porch is not sloped and will eventually cause water penetration into the wooden structure. A minimal of 1/8" slope per foot is required to avoid water puddling.

•·         The floors are dirty with mud and debris.



•·                     The stationary upper windows and the operable window next to the second story exterior cover balcony/patio door are also not verified as being made of safety glass. Recommend the window installation company verify or change the double pane glass windows for verifiable safety glass.

Lack of safety glass verification

•·                     The rear breakfast nook window is not properly flashed along the exterior of the sheathing. This must be properly done prior to brick laying.

  Lacking proper flashing


•·                     The staircase riser height is of proper dimensions of 7 3/4 " +/- 3/8". The stair case is dirty with mud and debris.



•·                     The type of fireplace is a Pre-fabricated metal hearth and has been installed at minimum requirements set by the manufacturer.

•·                     The crown of the chimney was observed from the ground and appears to be at correct height above the roof structure. A proper spark arrester has been placed at the top of the chimney. A metal crown was observed during the inspection process. A metal cap above the crown is missing.


Porches, Balconies:

•·         The flooring, as had been mentioned in earlier section, is not properly sloped so as to avoid water intrusion into the wooden structure.




Electrical Systems

Service Entrance and Panels:

•·         The electrical service conductor wires enter the house on the right side and the multiple 4 ott aluminum wires that are embedded go through a conduit from the underground transformer which is located in the left rear yard.

•·         The grounding wires are properly connected to the foundation ground rod and the exterior ground rod.

•·         The Square D brand circuit panel cabinet is located on the interior right wall of the garage.


Branch Circuits:

•·         The conductor wires for all circuitry wiring leading into the house from the main circuit cabinet are not all properly protected with a plate and the holes (along with many other holes for communication, and plumbing vents along the interior of the house are not fire blocked as is required by the International Residential Code #602.8 as is stated below: (Other areas are also in need of fire blocking throughout the house from first to second floor and from second floor to Attic space as is noted in the photographs below the code. The photos below show some of the hole but that are not all fireblocked and that is needed to conform to today's IRC building standards.)

R602.8 Fireblocking required. Fireblocking shall be provided to cut off all concealed draft openings (both vertical and horizontal)and to form an effective fire barrier between stories, and between a top story and the roof space. Fireblocking shall be provided in wood-frame construction in the following locations.

1. In concealed spaces of stud walls and partitions, including furred spaces and parallel rows of studs or staggered studs; as follows:

1.1. Vertically at the ceiling and floor levels.

1.2. Horizontally at intervals not exceeding 10 feet

(3048 mm). 

2. At all interconnections between concealed vertical and horizontal spaces such as occur at soffits, drop ceilings

and cove ceilings.

3. In concealed spaces between stair stringers at the top and bottom of the run. Enclosed spaces under stairs shall comply with Section R311.2.2.

4. At openings around vents, pipes, ducts, cables and wires at ceiling and floor level, with an approved material to

resist the free passage of flame and products of combustion.

5. For the fireblocking of chimneys and fireplaces, see Section R1003.19.

Fire block missing

•·     Along the rear exterior first floor porch, a proper electrical box is missing and must be placed prior to brick laying.



Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning


Heating Equipment:

•·         The master bedroom furnace unit has a gas line in direct passage of the media filter and the gas line must be changed prior to installation of the sheet rock and insulation to better facilitate the plumber to re-route the gas line. This will be further discussed in the duct system.

•·         The exhaust vent pipe from the gas furnace units are made of a Type B sheet metal and all are correctly routed from the furnace units through the roofing. Both second story attic installed flue vents are not perpendicular to the ground level as can be seen from the front of the house.

•·         Sufficient combustion air is supplied in the attic space and through the soffit vents.

•·         Black steel pipe is routed through the structure with an approved flex line attaching to the furnace unit. The gas line is properly sleeved prior to entering the unit. A proper sediment trap is present prior to the gas operating equipment. The first floor gas line is in direct access to the media filter.


Duct System, Chases and Vents:

•·         Portion of the Media filter was found to be inaccessible for the master bedroom, therefore not allowing the disposable filter to be removed. The gas line is in the way of the filter removal.

•·         Portion of the duct system is touching each other and are bent to much that can restrict air flow. According to the Air Diffusion Council (ADC) a duct needs to a minimal amount of deflection and should not be touching each other.



Plumbing Systems


Water Supply System:

•·         Drains, Waste and Vents:

•·        Plumbing drains and soil stacks vent pipes are made of PVC plastic and the total piping of the system is not fully visible throughout the structure.


Water Heating Equipment:

•·         The Temperature and Pressure Relief (T&P) discharge line has more than 6 elbows and the discharging line is directed to the exterior in the fastest way possible with as few elbows required to allow the very hot and/or high pressure water to discharge as quickly and efficiently as possible. Recommend the qualified plumbing installer read and follow proper installation instructions from the water heating company and T&P valve manufacturers instructions.

P2803.6.1 Requirements of discharge pipe. The outlet of a pressure relief valve, temperature relief valve or combination thereof, shall not be directly connected to the drainage system. The discharge from the relief valve shall be piped full size separately to the outside of the building or to an indirect waste receptor located inside the building. In areas subject to freezing, the relief valve shall discharge through an air gap into an indirect waste receptor located within a heated space, or by other approved means. The discharge shall be installed in a manner that does not cause personal injury or property damage and that is readily observable by the building occupants. The discharge from a relief valve shall not be trapped. The diameter of the discharge piping shall not be less than the diameter of the relief valve outlet. The discharge pipe shall be installed so as to drain by gravity flow and shall terminate atmospherically not more than 6 inches (152 mm) above the floor. The end of the discharge pipe shall not be threaded.





Range Exhaust Vent

•·         The PVC down draft must not be above 1" clearance above the concrete foundation according to the International Residential Code # M1503.2 as stated below. Please read what the installation must comply with below especially what is in red:

Ducting for down draft range hood as defined by the IRC: M1503.2 Duct material. Single-wall ducts serving range hoods shall be constructed of galvanized steel, stainless steel or copper.

Exception: Ducts for domestic kitchen cooking appliances equipped with down draft exhaust systems shall be permitted to be constructed of schedule 40 PVC pipe provided that the installation complies with all the following:

1. The duct shall be installed under a concrete slab poured on grade; and

2. The under floor trench in which the duct is installed shall e completely backfilled with sand or gravel: and

3. The PVC duct shall extend not more than 1 inch (25mm) above the indoor concrete floor surface; and

4. The PVC duct shall extend not more than 1 inch (25mm) above the grade outside of the building; and

5. The PVC duct shall be solvent cemented

 Improper height

Mechanical Exhaust Vents

•·         All bathroom and utility room vent ducts exit the structure at roof hawks. No sealer has been done along the underside of the roof decking at the roof hawks and bathroom exhaust vents.


Dryer Vents:

•·         The dryer vent total run is longer than required by the manufacturer's installation instruction including with the booster. Each 90o elbow is considered a 5 foot run plus the amount of straight run until reaching the booster is longer than the requirement set by the manufacturers. In the photos below minimum of three 90o elbows prior to the booster plus more than 15 feet of straight duct.


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