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Do You Really Want To Live In A Fireman's' Reno?

Home Inspector with Aspect Inspection

Do You Really Want To Live In A Fireman's' Reno?

balcony reno


I saw this a few weeks ago while inspecting the neighbouring property. I couldn't resist taking a shot of it. The selling agent noticed and told me  a fireman owned the property and was fixing it up, renovating it in his off time.

Her tone and attitude to this told me she thought this was admirable and she was 'wowed' by this industriousness.

That's all fine but as a home inspector and understanding structure a well as I do, am somewhat less impressed.

Yes, the joists are cantilevered but the building is very narrow so this length is over extended and originally was actually build with the outer posts transferring weight to the ground.

 The top floor deck is fully renovated. The second floor one is not, but the ground floor unit is mostly demolished.  Doing things a section at a time is fine but for the fact of gravity in this case. Gravity is serious, both in the sense that it is a serious risk condition and the failure, basically falling from this height, or having something fall on you from that height. That'll be injury, likely serious too.

All these apartments are occupied, including the top one occupied by the fireman. Maybe that's why the top one was done first.

Too bad, cause its just hanging there. Dangerously!

A pro contractor could safely renovate in this sequence but it would all be supported in the interm with no safety risks and all openings to the apartment would be blocked to keep people out of the hazardous zone.

But a real builder would do a full demolition and build it back up, from the ground up.  Buildings are erected from the ground up for a reason; gravity.

This fireman though industrious, is actually working dangerously, both for himself and his tenants.

You don't frame the roof before building the basement. Remember ' ground up' not ' top down'.


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Comments (21)

Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

Doesn't the city inspector approve or condemn properties and or remodels?  I'd call the city asap before something serious happens.

Jul 23, 2013 10:41 PM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

I'm terrified just looking at it! 

Jul 23, 2013 10:53 PM
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

The photo alone is feature worthy Robert!

That is not where anyone needs to be. Block off the entries and rip that thing down before something bad happens. I cringe just looking at the photo!

Jul 23, 2013 11:23 PM
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Hi Robert - that balcony looks quite scary... perhaps you could drop him a helpful note?

Jul 23, 2013 11:34 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

It gave up being a balcony many years ago...Now, it is a death trap

Jul 23, 2013 11:38 PM
Chris Miller Nevada Land with Water Rights
Vegas Grand Realty and Property Management - Mesquite, NV
Land with Water Rights For Sale

You say Reno, I think Nevada. Scary looking balcony for sure, where is this located? I would think with permits required for renovation that in inspection would be done and if you see, they certainly should. An accident waiting to happen.

Jul 23, 2013 11:40 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Friday night's keg party and those hundred partiers are going to be ground level. Hopefully not hurt.

Jul 24, 2013 12:08 AM
Brian Schulte
Allison James Estates & Homes - Sierra Vista, AZ
SFR, Sierra Vista, AZ

YEP! You Betcha Eh? ... GRAVITY IS GRAVITY!  Not even temporary supports and ground up makes way better sense even if ya don't have the cents. Not smilin' at this one.

Jul 24, 2013 12:31 AM
Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection - Branson, MO

Robert, If the balusters are level, looks like the deck floor on the 2nd floor balcony is begining to already buckle, Yikes!

Jul 24, 2013 12:39 AM
Roger Stensland
Keller Williams Realty Puget Sound - Maple Valley, WA
Let's Move!

Even a do-it-yourselfer should know better than to leave the overhanging portion of the building unsupported.  And this is a very easy and inexpensive task to perform.  Even now, all that is required is a post and a bottle jack to raise the structure to level and then pour the appropriate pad and install the new post.  This should have been done first!  I don't know if I would trust the fireman's judgment during a fire it this piece of common sense is missing during construction.  Up here, firefighters are trained in construction so they better understand how to best protect themselves during fires and to understand how fires act in different forms of construction.

Jul 24, 2013 01:49 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
WEDO Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Wow maybe he needs to stick to being a fireman and hire a professional contractor for the job.

Jul 24, 2013 02:11 AM
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

Certainly makes you wonder where the city inspectors are.

Jul 24, 2013 02:31 AM
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

The joists on the second floor look like they are leftover pieces from a fire! That is definitely a scary picture and even scarier knowing people live there.

Jul 24, 2013 02:56 AM
Trisha Bush-LeFore
Preferred Properties Land & Homes - Walla Walla, WA
Providing Realtor Services in the Walla Walla Area

Not a good sight to see! I can't imagine being the one to live there. Not safe at all. I'm assuming something will be done about it soon?

Jul 24, 2013 03:34 AM
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

A couple people mentioned something about inspectors but I'm guessing this is being done without permits and inspectors or it would have been corrected already. 

Jul 24, 2013 03:54 AM
Tamra Lee Ulmer
Arizona Resource Realty - Payson, AZ
NRBA ~FORCE~ Over 1000 REO Assets SOLD!

Maybe the Firefighter should stick to Firefighting. He's safer doing that, rather than trying to be industrious in building things....Some people have it, some people don't...

Jul 24, 2013 06:17 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Ground up like hamburger!  That guy is playing with fire!  So to speak.

Good to see you are around Robert!  Great post!  Keep'em coming!


Jul 24, 2013 08:57 AM
Ralph Gorgoglione
Metro Life Homes - Palm Springs, CA
California and Hawaii Real Estate (310) 497-9407
Frightening to think of how this structure could severely hurt someone-- not what a fireman strives to do of course, but the result of taking shortcuts.
Jul 24, 2013 10:10 AM
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC


I can tell you from first hand experience that just because they are a fireman does not mean they know how to build a home, do electrical work or anything else. I helped a friend of mine (fireman) do some work his home and saw what he and another fireman done and I was not impressed and it was actually a safety concern (which I pointed out).  A bit scary I thought.

Jul 25, 2013 01:10 AM
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Thanks for all your comments. Sorry but I won't have time to make any individual responses right now. I hoven't posted in a while and am supprised to find it featured. Thanks


Jul 25, 2013 10:34 PM