I recently received a call from a homeowner asking if I could do a 1-year warranty property inspection on their new house. They had paid a premium for the brand new 4,300 sq ft house approximately 9 months earlier but had noticed a few things that gave them cause for concern. They had recently had a leak around a large picture window in the living room. Significant erosion had taken place on the left side of the house leaving a 3-foot deep gully. Water had leaked into the basement during heavy rain. The AC had already been repaired twice. At this point, they were nervous about what other problems might arise. When I asked them if they had it inspected at the time of construction they said, “No, our Realtor didn’t say anything about getting an inspection”. Not having an inspection is one of the biggest mistakes buyers make.
We thought the county would have inspected it. However, we met another Realtor recently and she recommended that we call you.” They obviously now felt it was a mistake to not have obtained a private inspection at the time of purchase and they blamed their Realtor for not advising them to have it inspected. It may have been unfair for them to blame their Realtor, but in this instance, the damage was done. They were upset and felt they had made a mistake by using a Realtor who had not guided them through the process by recommending they get the house inspected. Conversely, they were thrilled that they had met another Realtor who, even though she had not been part of the buying process, still had the insight to recommend they get an inspection before the 1-year warranty expired.
When I went out to do the inspection, things were worse than feared. More than twenty code violations were identified during the inspection, including significant grading issues that would require heavy machinery to fix. Here is a list of what was found:
- Foundation is not set back from slope the minimum required a distance of H(Height of Slope)/3 or 40′, whichever is less. R403.1.7.1
- Weep holes are spaced farther than 33″ o.c. at locations on the front porch. IRC R703.7.6
- No weep holes were viewed at the first course of masonry above grade (or above foundation wall) at the front side of the house to the left of the side garage doors. IRC R703.7.5; R703.7.6
- Cement board siding lacks the minimum 1″ clearance above the back deck as required by the manufacturer of the siding.
- Penetrations through the siding are not sealed from the weather/moisture at the front side of the house. IRC R703.1
- End joists on the deck are not vertically supported (missing ledger or metal hangers) at the connection to the house. Tension devices are not rated for vertical loads and do not provide the required support. IRC R502.6
- Some of the deck support posts are not anchored to protect from lateral movement at their bottoms. IRC R407.3
- Foundation with brick veneer is not 4-inches above the finished grade at the right side of the house. IRC R404.1.6
- Staples were noted sticking out of shingles at multiple locations on the roof over the side garage. IRC R903.1; R905.1
- Nails are sticking up from the roof surface at one location over the master closet. IRC R903.1; R905.1
- Drip edge has been installed over tar paper along the eaves of the house. Drip edge should be installed under tar paper along the eaves and over tar paper at the gables. IRC R9052.8.5
- Drip edge has been nailed to fascia instead of the roof decking. IRC 905.2.8.5
- Drip edge is not secured 12 o.c. around the edges of the roof. IRC 905.2.8.5
- Missing kick out flashing was noted where the garage roof meets the house over the front porch. Kick out flashings prevent water from running down the side of the house and potentially entering wall cavities around the fascia. IRC R905.2.8.3
- Sealant between the flashing and the brick veneer above the front porch is missing, leaving top edge of flashing open to the weather. IRC R903.1
- Gutters are sloped improperly for effective drainage and holding water at front of side garage and above the front porch. IRC R801.3
- The platform at top of attic access is less than 22″ wide and does not provide adequate access to HVAC equipment. IRC M1305.1.3
- Insulation in the attic is less than 10.5″ (R-30) at multiple locations. IECC Table 402.1.1
- The upstairs AC unit does not appear to be cooling adequately. Typically an air temperature drop of 14-20F is expected. At the time of the inspection, a temperature drop of 11 degrees F was noted at the coil. Recommend further evaluation by a licensed HVAC contractor. IRC M1401.1
- Refrigerant lines & condensate pipe penetrations through cabinets are not sealed allowing conditioned air to escape at the attic unit. Condensation is leaking down the cabinets due to these unsealed penetrations. IECC 403.2
- Missing insulation was noted on suction line in the attic – this will cause condensation to drip off of the line and is likely to cause moisture stains on the ceiling below.
- GFCI receptacle at the left side of the front porch is inoperable. Recommend further evaluation by a licensed electrician. NEC 210.8
- Loose/detached manufactured stone was noted above the fireplace in the living room. Detached stones may fall and cause serious injury to the occupants. Recommend having builder confirm with the manufacturer that correct polymers were used in the mortar to achieve proper adhesion. R703.12
I wish I could say that this list of code violations is abnormal, but unfortunately, it is often par for the course on new construction inspections in Atlanta. Fortunately for these homeowners, they got an inspection in time to have the builder address all the issues rather than having to pay for them on their own sometime down the road. And the Realtor who recommended the inspection? The homeowner is already sending her referrals.
Read more: The #1 home inspection mistake