Inspecting Nothing

July 5, 2005 · Print This Article

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionTypically in new home construction inspections you basically have 3 types of clients; the panic client, the referred client and the worried absentee client. Last weeks call was from an absentee client who has a foundation ready to be poured and she’d like to have it inspected. Get this, her biggest reason for calling me was that the builder was unresponsive to her inquires. Wouldn’t return her calls? She told me that she felt that the builder could no longer be trusted. This is exactly what happens to you if you don’t get back to a client who calls with a question or compliant. Anyway, I explain to her that the foundation inspection on a post tension slab not only has a county inspection but a special inspection by a certified post tension installer as well. That the need for a private construction inspection may well be overkill on this foundation, but if it would make her feel better about the quality of work I would gladly go to the site and document the present conditions.

The “conditions”, well lets just say I won’t be using the above reasoning of overkill. Lets see, uncompacted and loose fill at the footing in several areas, rebar less than 3 inches from the soil at several locations, dobie chairs knocked over at several locations, dead ends not secured as required (2), cables closer than 6 inches to the forms and at least 6 cables so crooked it looked like five year olds put them in place.

After submitting my report to the client she was rightfully upset and called her sales rep demanding that the issues be corrected before the foundation is poured. This is the 1st of July, 1:00pm Friday. The pour is scheduled so were told at 5:30 to 6:00am on the 5th of July. Almost no time really to get the corrections made. The next call I get is from the office of the post tension special inspector who demands to know my qualifications for doing this type of inspection. So I tell him, I’m a recognized author of reporting software that deals with the installation of post tension cables and went to the post tension institute in Phoenix, which certifies special inspectors such as himself. That seemed to tone him down a bit and we discussed the report findings. He said he’d have a look. Whatever that means.

I just got back from the re-inspection of the foundation and I can now tell you what “have a look” means. Nothing. The pour was scheduled for 5:30am; they started the pour at 4:30am, yes its still dark at 4:30am. I arrived at exactly 5:00am to do the re-inspection only to find that the garage slab was the only thing left visible. Guess what, the only two conditions at the garage left visible were still uncorrected. What do you think was corrected in the rest of the slab? Nothing is my guess. Why move the pour schedule up to 4:30am?

I’m starting to believe in this women’s intuition thing, could she be right not to trust this builder? Or is this just another communication chasm that we so frequently run into with builders who look upon private inspectors with disdain as if were the ones causing the problems. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to say to my client, she spent $$$.00 to make sure the job was done right and got “Nothing” for her money. Anyone with any thoughts about what her next course of action should be? Please leave a comment.

Copyright © 2005 by Bob Kille. To read other home inspection related articles or to view home inspection software and book publications by Mr. Kille, click on this link.


2 Responses to “Inspecting Nothing”

  1. Tom on July 11th, 2005 9:00 AM

    Unbelievable! I’ve never heard of anyone pouring a slab at 4:30am. It really doesn’t sound like any of the corrections would have been a major burden to correct either. This woman may want to talk to a lawyer to find out what, if any, options she has. The job should be done right. Period.

  2. Bob Kille on July 14th, 2005 9:34 AM

    Builders around here are generally hoping that there customers back out of there contracts as this would put an extra 30-40k in there pockets. Its a red hot market here. What did I tell my client? I told him that there is no real recourse that would be prudent at this stage, however, If he’d like to make his point there are several free complaint processes(Registar of Contractors, County Building Department) that he could follow to put a thorn in the side of the builder and inspectors who let this go. I also told him that he should demand reimbursment for my inspection fee’s, and that small claims court was a good place to go with this type of suit if need be. I basically told him that unless he was looking for an outlet to his rage to just “grin and bear it”, accept the huge equity rise in his new home as a good thing and hire me for the pre-drywall inspection.