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Thread: know of any funny home repair disaster stories?

  1. #11
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    These are not home repair stories, but I used to work commercial construction. We were building a county club that had several rotunda's. Some of the rotunda's were only about 2.5-3' radius made out of red iron that had to be covered by 2 plies of 3/4" plywood so there would be something to attach the roof to. One of the rotunda's was about 10' radius. One day the superintendent got the carpenter foreman and told him he needed these rotunda's covered. The carpenter foreman went to work on one of the small ones and worked on it alone all day, when he finished the plywood cover looked like the cover of baseball with seams running every which direction, screws that weren't even attached to the red iron and looked like it was about to fly to pieces. The superintendent was like what the hell is this. I was the field engineer and the superintendent ask me if I could take a couple carpenters and and get them covered, I told him I could. So I climbed up on top of the large rotunda which was about 10' tall and found the center point and marked it with a punch and measured down the arching red iron to the bottom of the rotunda to get a distance for the radius cut at the bottom, then set up a template in the parking lot where I could mark off the radius on the plywood for the bottom cut. 3/4" plywood was so stiff it wouldn't bend as sharp as the red iron was arched so we had to cut it into about 3' sections and secure it with self tapping screws from the bottom to the top of the rotunda. Everything fit nearly perfectly. Needless to say I was stuck supervising the covering of the rotunda's and even had to rework the one the carpenter foreman blotched. I just couldn't believe a carpenter foreman didn't know how to figure out the radius point, scribe the radius onto the plywood and make the cuts.

    The worst screw up I remember was when an elevator in a jail under construction I was working on broke down one Saturday afternoon, the lady who ran the elevator reported it to the elevator contractor telling them what floor it was on and went home. They told her they would take care of it. She came in on Monday morning it was still dark and the elevators were always left on the first floor so she opened the door and stepped in and the elevator was still on the floor it had broke down on, she fell down the elevator shaft to the basement killing her. They didn't fix it on Saturday afternoon and didn't bother tagging the elevator as being out of service. From then on the elevators were left in the basement everyday when the job was shut down.

    Then there was a time we were pouring footings and setting anchor bolts the for red iron, one of the carpenters read the blueprint for the anchor bolt layout. The bolt pattern was supposed to have been 4 1/4" each way off center line, he read it as a 4 1/4" bolt pattern center to center and that's the way he made his templates, so the next morning after the concrete had set I was checking everything and then OH SHIT I noticed the small bolt pattern and checked the blueprint. The bolt pattern should have been 8 1/2" center to center, all the footings we had poured the afternoon before had the anchor bolts in concrete at 4 1/4" center to center.

    Then there was a time I was working on a precast parking deck and one of the precast planks broke and came tumbling down. Luckily no one was under the plank and no one was hurt or killed.

    One time I was on a job site just as it was getting started and there was cardboard all around the office trailer where deliveries had came in and the superintendent through a cigarette butt outside and nearly burned down the construction office trailer. He and I were the only one's there, I was pulling burning cardboard away from the trailer while he manned the fire extinguisher.

    Then there was a time I was working on a school and a carpenter laid out several feet of footing that was about 6' wide and 2 or 3' deep with a wall that was supposed to set close to one side of the footing and the majority of the footing was to be covered with dirt to help stabilize the wall. He put the wide part of the footing on the wrong side of the wall. All the concrete had to be jack hammered out, the footing re dug and re poured. We had one pissed off construction manager.

    I remember one company I worked for got a job one time on a low bid. Soon they figured out why they were so much lower than everyone else. The estimators forgot to figure the rebar and it's placement. I don't remember what job it was, but if it were a high rise building there's no telling how many tons of rebar there was in it.

    One time I was laying out the footings for a covered drive though entrance to a county club where the drive though road was supposed to have already been at sub grade and the footings just weren't in the right place for where the existing sub grade road was. I went ahead and laid out the footings the next morning when I came in to work the superintendent ask me if I was sure I had laid the footings out properly. I told I was pretty sure, but that I'd go back and double check. It ended up the grading crew had put the road in the wrong place months before while doing the site grading.

    One job had a door going into one of the mechanical rooms on the roof. The architect had placed about a 2' high concrete curb around the mechanical room including where the door was. When the walls were built and everything was finished except putting the door frame in and hanging the door we had an opening about 5' high to put a 7' door into. Ended up having to cut the door frame and a 2 hour fire rated door down to size, re weld the metal to the bottom of the door to to comply with the fire rating and you needed to be a midget to get into the mechanical room.

    One time I was hooking up an outlet or something electrical at home, I had a screwdriver near the electrical outlet which I had killed the power to, but my wife came into the room to ask me a question and I started making frying noises like you'd expect an electrical shock to make and started jerking around, I thought she was going to soil her pants.

    Just because I was a field engineer doesn't mean I had a degree in engineering, most of what I knew I had learned over the years working as a carpenter and working with some good foremen, field engineers, and superintendents. As a matter of fact we had a saying on the job site "yesterday I couldn't even spell engineer, today I are one". One day when I was a party chief a superintendent I didn't get along with because of his smart attitude was trying to explain to me how to figure angles and coordinates using a pencil. I told him I wasn't interested, it was something I'd never use and I didn't have enough mathematical knowledge to do it. He comes up with this question "well what if the batteries go dead in your calculator at work someday"? Since I had approval to leave the job site if needed my reply was, "I'm going to do the same damn thing you would get in my car go to the store and buy some more". That shut him up and even though we still didn't get along great our relationship improved.

    We had a guy come in drunk one morning and the superintendent called him in the office before we started work and told him he wasn't in any condition to be working, to go home and sober up and come back the next day and he would overlook it this time. Everything was fine for a week or two then one morning the the guy comes in drunk again and goes to superintendent and says I'm not in any condition to work today I think I need to go home. The superintendent fired him. Several years later on another job site another guy came in drunk one day, he car pooled with several others on the job site because they all lived about 75-100 miles away. I spent a half day driving him back home and getting back to the job site in a company truck so he wouldn't be on the job site if anyone from the home office showed up. Before I took him home I needed to stop and buy some cigars at a convenience store and didn't notice there was a liquor store there too, he wanted me to let him get something else to drink. I told him no that if I let him I got caught I'd lose my job and he didn't say anything else about it. I was worried all the way there that he was going to pass out and I didn't know where I was going. He was telling me the way to get him home.

    If I just sat here and thought for awhile I could probably tell these types of stories all night long. In my career as a carpenter helper, carpenter, carpenter foreman, instrument man, party chief, and field engineer I made a few mistakes too, but we won't go into that. LOL
    Last edited by FordMan59; 12-20-2011 at 03:35 AM.

  2. #12
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    This is happening to me now.

    We purchased a new construction home, we were the first owners. It is a small home just under 1200 sq ft. We closed on the loan on January 5th 2011.
    The interior of the home is tongue and groove knotty pine. It has a metal roof as well as a large front porch that covers the entire front of the home. The home has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
    We had an inspection pre-sale of the home; this inspection will be referred to as the first inspector. The inspection we had preformed post-sale i.e. after I found problem will be referred to as the second inspector.
    Before purchasing the home we had a property inspection preformed on November 26th 2010.
    The first inspector found only a few items needing correction. The items needing repair were a broken outlet cover, no CO2 detector, needed a little more insulation added to the attic space, and soil needs to be graded 6 inches below siding. The home was winterized so no plumbing inspection could be done at that time, so we arrange for the home to be de-winterized and a re-inspection to be completed before closing.
    We had an addendum added to the sales contract for de-winterization and a re-inspection of the plumbing. The re-inspection was carried out on January 4th 2011.
    The re-inspection found a small leak at water pressure tank fitting, and the main drain line in the crawlspace (had a small swale) need an adjustment to the hangers to correct the slope of drain line. The builder corrected these items.
    On January 15th 2010, I observed a large amount of frost build up on the gable end vents of the home. Upon this discovery I investigated in my attic to determine why this was happening.
    I found that there was no vapor barrier in the attic. Upon this discovery I contacted the inspector who had performed a home inspection before our purchase on November 26th 2010, and then again for a re inspection on January 4th 2011.
    I called the inspector and informed him that no vapor barrier was present in the attic and damage was occurring to the structure of my home and that his inspection report specified that there was a vapor barrier present.
    He agreed to come to my home insisting if he marked it as present, it was there.
    After arriving at my home he inspected the attic and found no vapor barrier present.
    The inspector then explained that he knew what had taken place on his initial inspection of the home. He stated that he had stuck his hand under the insulation and felt, and that he did not look. He expected to find a smooth surface and just felt the smooth surface of the wood, and assumed that it was the vapor barrier, and that it was his mistake and he needed to make it right. He also stated he was going to contact his lawyer, and requested us not to contact our Lawyer. The following day the inspector stated that he had spoke with his Lawyer, and his lawyer advised him to contact his Insurance Company. He stated that he had turned in a claim to his insurance company.
    Based on his admission he only felt for a vapor barrier, and did not look I called and informed him I was going to contact another firm to conduct an inspection of the home to document this, I had no idea the new inspector would find anything of any significance.
    This inspection occurred on mid January 2012.
    This second new inspector conducted their inspection of our home and found a number of problems which affect the entire home, including electrical, plumbing, and structural. Items the first inspector should have found. Keep in mind that our Home is a new construction. It was not an existing residence.
    Both the first property inspector and the second property inspector accessed the crawl space during their inspections as well as the attic.
    Other than the vapor barrier in the attic not being present other items second inspector found are as follows.
    Electric System- Undersize wiring 30 amp rated wire on 40 amp circuit, and incorrect breakers they are all the wrong kind for "code" at the time of build, none of the outlets are tamper proof, non GFI outlets near water source, improper hanging of wire, not grounded properly i.e. outlets show there grounded during test but cannot visually find source of grounding, plus a few other items.
    Plumbing- Incorrect sweeps on drains, improper venting along with other venting problems, improper fittings and pipe size changes are improperly done in cold spaces not hot spaces and wrong size venting pipe used. Second inspector recommends that both the electrical and plumbing systems be reviewed by a licensed tradesman.
    The crawl space is accessed through a trap door and is approximately 5ft in height. The second inspector found structural problems. Center support beam for floor joists- the post bases are not properly attached to footings, wrong size washers used on foundation, and where the rim joist meets the sub floor there is a 2 inch air gap and there is no vapor barrier in the rim joist area. Our floors are freezing cold.

    There is no blocking on porch rafters. No skirting on outside of home to protect foam insulation, improper soffit ventilation, roof trusses where they meet roof sheathing showing moisture damage. The nail spacing on the exterior is to wide, and all the nails were over driven they are about 1/4 the way through the T-111, and the venting for the kitchen stove is non-existent, just blows air around the kitchen.

    Second inspector states, “The frost buildup in the attic space may cause or have already caused water damage and fungal growth in areas of the home that are not visible on a standard home inspection, i.e. wall cavities. I suggest checking concealed areas for signs of damage and fungal growth as part of the repair. If fungal growth is found, I recommend contacting a licensed industrial hygienist for further direction”.

    A few other items are mentioned as well but you get the picture.

    Continued on next post


  3. #13
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    Continued

    If it were not for the first inspectors GROSS NEGLIGENCE in inspecting our home we never would have entered in to a contract to purchase this home. We are now in harm’s way. This is our second winter in this home. At this time the moisture in our attic is frozen. Last winter’s ice and frost in the attic melted causing what was up there to already have melted down between our walls all unknown to us because we were unaware of any problems to the home.
    With no Vapor barrier being present at all in the attic my concern is of mold (which could already be present) in the walls throughout the entire structure. We have no way of knowing what is behind these knotty pine interior walls.
    I have contacted home builder to give me a quote for repairs. He said he will work on a quote but it will probably be cheaper to tear it down and start over. Off the top of his head he said it could be 175K to 200K to retrofit. Mostly because you have to pretty much gut the house to make the vapor barrier connection with a 6 inch overlap and taped between the ceiling and the walls, and possibly remove all the interior walls to check for condensation mold growth from the water that has melted from last winter. That’s more than we paid for the home. I called several other contractors and no one wants to get involved, they just say good luck.
    Finally contacted a contractor, with mold certification who is going to look at home and give me a estimate for repairs, problem is his consulting fee is 3% of what the estimate for repairs ends up being plus travel costs. He has to drive 150 miles one way over some fairly severe winter road conditions The drive in winter can take 6 hours, so he will end up staying in a hotel over night. But I have to go with this because I need to have a dollar amount to give to the insurance company for a demand of my damages, and I cant rely on what their adjuster will come up with.
    I received a call from the insurance carrier. We spoke briefly and I e-mailed them a copy of both inspection reports of the home. I had another call from the insurance company late Friday January 27th 2012 in the late afternoon and this person did not have any copies of the reports, I e-mailed a copy of the reports to them as well.
    I tried to explain the issues to this person. They stated that eachinspector’s, inspection is a snapshot in time for the condition the home was in at the time they inspected”. They were going home soon (there on the east coast) and would call this next week.
    State statutes states you have 1 year to bringing action against a home inspector except for in the case of gross negligence, which I think this meets that requirement.
    Through the process of finding out other things concerning this home we also found out the owner builder is not licensed to build homes in Alaska. State law says an owner builder can build 1 home every 2 years and not be required to have a contractor’s license with a residential endorsement. He’s built 9 homes that we know of, building more than 1 a year in some cases going back to 2004 through 2011. The Engineer inspector who conducted inspections for every phase of the construction on our home from the plans, footings foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, insulation, and vapor barrier, roofing and final inspection documented on a PUR-102 ICBO inspection form that the, home meets the minimum standards, also marked that the owner builder was not licensed. The Seller agent for the owner builder kept this form on file in his office. The owner builders real estate broker during a phone call stated he has all the PUR-102 ICBO forms for all the homes the owner builder constructed. Clearly he ignored the fact the owner builder was not licensed and withheld that information. The Engineer Inspector has also conducted these construction inspections on all the other homes built by the owner builder. Same owner builder, same inspector and same real estate business working together to sell these poorly constructed homes.
    We’ve spoke with the owner builder via the phone which went nowhere. This owner builder apparently lives out of State, and carries an local carrier cell phone. We asked for a mailing address and additional phone contact numbers. He stated he has no address to give because he’s in the process of moving. Since our initial phone conversation this phone number was disconnected.
    We also contacted the ICBO inspector via phone, e-mail and invited him to our home to discuss this matter. That was a fiasco! This man said he didn’t know anything about Alaska Statutes, even though he used the PUR-102 ICBO form (which states the statutes) to document the construction inspection occurred and met Alaska Standards. No accountability whatsoever. He yelled at us that he’s been an engineer and inspector for 50 years. My wife then commented to him you should know the laws then! I tried to give him the opportunity to admit he made a "mistake" several times and to do what was right. All he would say was that we could not hold him accountable for what the builder did, I told him I was not holding him accountable for that but for what he did. He said that the home only needs to "generally conform" to the standards. So I told him ok you have a car in my driveway I will take the brakes off of it, and you have a ten mile long hill to go down on your way home, your car has tires, a hood, fenders, seats, and a steering wheel, it "generally conforms to being a car but when you get to the bottom of the hill you’re not going to be happy. He did not appear to get it. Shortly after this he was asked to leave my home.
    We’ve spoke with the seller agent via email, and on the phone and have invited him to come over and for him to have an opportunity to be accountable and resolve this issue. All three of these parties have acknowledged to me that they have been talking over the phone with one another. Also, that it was not disclosed to us via the seller agent that the owner builder built other homes and was not licensed. This entire ordeal is overwhelming. Something is not right with any of this. We feel deceived in to purchasing this home so that these parties could benefit financially.
    Does anyone else see what I do?
    Builder builds a crappy home, hires an inspector to check his work, he fraudulently fills out form that the home meets standards, real estate agent repeatedly sells homes of a non licensed builder. This looks like it is Fraud and Conspiracy on so many levels as well as failure to disclose. Time for the State to investigate.

  4. #14
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    Sorry to read about your trials and tribulations. I always hate to read about poor construction, poor inspection at build time and even worse poor inspections at time of sale (home inspections). None of the above should happen inspections are there for one reason and that is to protect the end user, the home owner.
    From what you wrote it clearly seems that there is a case to answer, part of the problem will be a fight about "who" is ultimately responsible, your 1st home inspector has passed it on to his insurance company, they may well find him partly at fault and try to toss the ball back to the original inspector, his insurance company may well try to punt the ball back the the builder, who no one can find.
    Real problem is you need a safe place to live, most cannot afford to just go get a hotel until insurance works it all out and the problem needs to be repaired before it gets to a point of no return.

    Keep the pressure on the insurance companies, that's my best advice.
    Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
    Every day is a learning day.

  5. #15
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    Thanks for the reply

    The balls in the insurance company’s court for now waiting to see what they’re going to do. Before I can do anything else I have to see what stance their going to take. If I could afford to take them to court I think I would have a good chance of winning and hope it does not have to go that way (I’ll accept donations for an attorney LOL).

    The way I see it is I have 2 liable actions each separate from each other even though they are about the same property. 1st action is if the pre-sale home inspector had found even 1/2 the items I would not have purchased, we had been looking for 9 months for a home that would meet our needs and looked at a lot of homes and walked away from all of them so this would have been no different if he had found the construction problems.

    2nd action is against all other parties for their deceptive practices etc.

    I have reported all other parties to the state and filed complaints with attorney general’s office, consumer protection office, and occupational business licensing office. Hoping they see my point of view and take criminal as well as administrative action. But that won’t help me get home repaired but hopefully stop them from continuing to do this to folks.

  6. #16
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    It really looks a mess...but to get justice I think you are taking on a lot of people ..as you are going to take 2 liable suits...and this could go on for a long time.....I am not a lawyer by any means but I think I would take a different line of attack...first I would get the building inspector in my corner rather than suing him..... as yes he screwed up but not as bad the the builders...he could give some ammunition to your suit rather than defending himself...I know it would be a hard pill to swallow ..but to get justice you need help and expertise....anyway it's just a thought good luck

  7. #17
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    Well the inspector the builder hired will be no help, found out through court records he has been sued mulitpal times and has had several judgements and leans on him and his property. one lean is in excess of 90k. From looking at the court records he has a history and has lost on all suits, so probably not a very reliable person to count on.

  8. #18
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    I agree that guy will be of no help...I was thinking of a case in which my son in law had a very large retaining wall built at the end of his property it was about 15 ft high...well after a few months the City came around behind his property and was dicking around with foot paths....the wall started to give way so my son in law took the city and the contractor that built the wall to court..as it looked like the contractor had not built the wall properly and the city did not help much with what they were doing...so the Judge first told the contractor to leave the court as there would be no judgement against him as it was between the city and my son in law....he lost the case and had to fit the bill to have the wall fixed....

    hindsight..it would have been better to have approach the city and get them in your corner... then go after the contractor..as the citywould have had to give him an engineering report etc to show it was not them..as it was the contractors fault to begin with
    I thought this was along the same lines as your problem... again good luck

  9. #19
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    Question

    I should have a ton of these (but, don't.)

    I have a Air Pressure activated Air Blower in my Spa. . . The tubing failed (after 10 years) so I went to the local pool company to get some. . . I thought it may be too short and it was. . . Went back and got the correct lenght after a few days because I took all they had the 1st time. I know not that funnie (or, not at all) but, the addage of measure-twice cut-once is always helpful to hear works.

  10. #20
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    One more thing. Tonight I was reading the first inspectors report, the first page of the report it has the release of liability for the inspector and his findings in the report seems like the standard release for a home inspector..... In fact I have 2 copies of the report one is in a soft cover booklet type format and also in a yellow carbonless copy format (you can see where it was removed from the booklet) as well as a CD format with PDF files and the photos he took.

    Well he signed the release it has a space for me to sign it and date it as well....... but I did not sign the release from liability my signature line is blank! So now that may explain why his insurance company is taking so long to take any action.

    It’s been a week since they called and said they were going to contact an independent adjuster to come out and review the damages and they were "going over the liability" they have.
    Last edited by ithurtswhenIvote; 02-06-2012 at 01:49 AM.

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