Looking ahead, a downturn is imminent
The real estate market has been in a historic decline now for years, although that seems to be changing. Foreclosures and short sales have been a large part of transactions. One constant that I have witnessed in spite of a poor market is that a nice, well kept house will still sell fairly quickly no matter the economic climate. A good incentive to any homeowner would be to maintain their home.
As a home inspector good looks holds no sway with my assessment. Sometimes the ugly duckling is actually in better condition than the beauty queen. A pretty face can simply be lipstick on a pig.
Pulling up to a recent inspection, I was met with an impressive and newer looking home. A large dormered colonial. As they say appearances run only skin deep. It turned out only half the house was newer. The left half to be exact. The original house had been added on to and made into one larger home, double in size.
Walking the exterior I noted the new section had a small bump out feature at the rear of the house. This was a sitting area in the living-family room on the first floor and the same for the master suite. Beneath the structure was a walkout for the basement. The building projection serving as a roof for the entry. Supporting the outer end of the bump out were two pillars set on to a concrete slab.
It should be clear to most people, that the outer end of this building feature can not be hung out in space. That it would require a substantial means of support. Pillars certainly look ample. But as the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In this instance it is what the columns have been set onto that presents concern, a concrete slab.
What grabbed my attention initially was that the slab has a full length crack along the width. Right at the bearing point of those two posts. Looking things over it was no surprise that the slab had cracked so significantly. The first shot in the foot was the downspout pouring right next to the left side of the slab. The other downspout was just a few feet away on the right with the soil grade nicely sloped right to the slab.
Water has been undermining the slab. Yet, that is not by far the biggest error with this support system. That would be the concrete slab. Posts, pillars, columns, should be set onto concrete footings of a predetermined size (engineered) and depth. Also it would be sensible to set a column squarely onto a substantial portion of the footing or in this case slab. The builder placed each column on the edge with several inches over hanging the concrete. Wrong on so many levels.
The conditions here beg many, many questions. One of the more important ones being, was this work permitted and more importantly inspected. The knowledge and competency of the builder is also very highly suspect.
Repairs should involve engineering of the appropriately sized footings and posts. Followed by installation by a qualified contractor. With permits pulled for the work.
If repairs are not performed, I can project a continued down turn for this portion of the house.