Chicago Area Inspectors - Tonight!

We have alls seen the problems with split faced CMU block, and I have also written about the 2nd, new phase, the problems with water wicking into the wooden floor and ceiling trusses and the possibility of structural collapse.

The local TV station, ABC 7 is doing a special on this issues to which I contributed. Typically, the sensationalized it a great deal, calling the piece “Designed to Collapse” or something like that.

Film on the 10:00 PM evening news on Channel 7, tonight (11/22/10).

I will post a video link when it becomes available for all others.

Hope this helps;

Hopefully they will post video on the site

Here is the video link:

In my opinion, they totally messed up the meaning.

  1. I brought the story to them, and the producer said he read my articles. Obviously, the reporter (Cheyrl Burtin) did not. I never met her nor talked to her. She was reporting on a story that she knew nothing about.]
  2. Split faced block, in this area, is a single wythe masonry wall. You cannot, as she said, “remove and replace” the block. That would mean totally demolishing the building and rebuilding it with the same (defective) material! WTF!!!
  3. The Seal Chicago guys are full of it. Why the heck are they power washing the block (already water logged) before “sealing” it. The only effective, lomng lasting solution is an elastomeric, plugger type paint.
  4. It only goes to show you that the “drive by” media is more interested in ratings and sensationalism then they are in informing, educating and getting the truth out there.


At least they got the message out, even if not 100% accurate.

The Seal Chicago, now that’s another story, probably causing more damage.

They can seal the block all day long, if not properly installed, flashed, it won’t help much.

I would never look for accuracy but the message got out a little.
As long as the bulk message was there it counts.
I wonder how they got in touch with Kurt .M ?

I am sorry, I thought I posted the link.

Here it is:

Things that they got wrong.

  1. Notice that the “sealer” company was power washing the block. Why put more water into the block beforeyou “seal” it.
  2. They are using a penetrating sealer (Dynacrete) which only lasts for 3 - 5 years, in this area (UV breakdown). The best solution is an elastomeric “plugger” type paint. It usually lasts some 20 years.
  3. Notice what the “talking head”, Cheryl Burton (who never was involved with the producer of me, during the actual filming), actually said at the end. She said that we (HIs) said that the best solution is to “remove and replace” the block. How does one “remove and replace” a single wythe block wall without dismantling the building? And why would one “replace” this product with the same high maintance material. Just build a double wythe brick and block wall?

Hope this helps;

Will the first link you posted works. I like this first comment below article.

Precisely why BUYERS should select an experienced and knowledgable REALTOR they can trust! I would never let my clients purchase a home that I wouldn’t personally live in myself. :roll:

But this one probably has it right:

As a 32 year Bricklayer that has worked with Split-faced block, the blame falls directly on the contractor that installed the product. Properly installed, these split faced units DO NOT leak. Un-qualified mason contractors are totally to blame, most of whom are using someone elses contractor’s license to get work in the City.

Good expose William…To repair the reporter just replace her brain…

Why do they call actors reading a script reporters anyway?

I would, mostly, agree. Licensed, union trained masons are the best. But that is because the unions, through many court cases and because the City has no liabilty, and because the unions have priced themselves out of the market, they shot themselves in the foot, and left the public in Chicago, with this problem,

BTW: Masonry contractors are NOT state licensed.

Hey I think maybe we are just jealous because as H.I’s we are underpaid and have no benefits.
Might be a great idea if we had a union too.
As even Warren Buffet has just said (the trickle down theory is a joke).

I do not know. I never had any contact with Cheryl, only a young producer and older, (seemed to be very experienced) camera man. No logoed trucks.

I presented a great deal of facts (see my web site, here:

and here:

For the producer to review. But only the pictures (the details of the removed and gutted top floor, used in the report) where mentioned.

Seems like I have to settle for the mention of the problem, and the free props.

Let me make this clear.

Yeah, the props are good advertizing.


Look guys. I know it in my bones (being a life long, until about 7 years ago) Chicago resident, and understanding the facts on the ground, that this is rigged.

  • “Da Mayor” issued a moritorium on calling out new construction defects by the city inspectors. Source? My friend from 1st grade. Former deputy chief electrical inspector.
  • Everybody and their cousin was a GC during the boom years. No expertize qualifications or certification needed to be a Chicago Licensed GC (beyond proof of a 2 Mil G/L policy). And they just hired the cheapest subs.
  • According to the current local codes, any residential masonry building must be inspected, during and after construction, by the Architect or Engineer that designed the structure to ensure compliance with the approved plan. But, these builders were only employing Architects to do the bare minimum plans so as to get the permits.
  • I see so much crap that I am getting just plain discusted! These people (the owners) are loosing MUCH money, or just walking away from the property.

Sorry for my need to vent. I take my clients seriously and HATE to tell them the results. It’s like telling someone that they have cancer.

Sure, they can pay alot and, usually, beat it, but what about the person who designed, built or was “responsible” ( but not really, legally) to code inspect the building that is like their body?

I am sorry.

Been in the new gated subdivision off Diversey /Clybourn yet?

Bob, get a life.

Unions are no longer needed. Child labor laws and OSHA and many other laws have mnade their original reason for being obsolete.

We are talking about our clients, the people who trust us with their LIVES, and who pay us for our BEST opinion, to protect them.

And you want us (i.e., Home Inspectors) to become them?


Want to educate me. I can meet you tomorrow afternoon.

Funny Will.:slight_smile:
You actually trust big government to protect us.
Welcome to the Democratic party my friend.LOL
At least nobody non union can out bid us.

I think you should have been in a union to see that these guilds as you refer to them are a good thing that have members helping one another and teaching much like the great members here who support the others.
Unfortunately if I were to refer my clients towards non union Plumbers,or non Union Electricians there is no telling what they might get.

As I have mentioned many times before Union labor is the best if you can get it.
Having non union workers is what often causes problems as they may not have any training what so ever and you could end up with those two Romanian guys in a white van you often refer to.
How often in this state where Roofers are required to have a License are the guys on the roof actually holding a State of Illinois License?

Now drop those prices.:slight_smile:

There are good and bad union workers and there are good and bad non-union workers. Many unions do offer quality training to their members, but they have just priced themselves out of the market. It’s that simple.

And the Chicago Building Dept. is pretty much a wholey owned subsidiary of the trade unions.

And don’t even get me started on government employee unions.

I have been a member of 3 unions in my life and all have been to my detriment.

Teamsters, Seafarers and Brotherhood of Atomic workers. I didn’t choose to join, but was forced (the companies were union shops and you couldn’t work for them unless you joined). So much for worker’s choice.

In any case, I believe that there is a big change coming up. Too many union members, unemployed and “doing side jobs” for less than union wages. A guy’s gotta put food on the table, doesn’t he.

BTW: Did you know that private sector workers (non-government workers) make up only 3% of all union members. So, of all the people who are union members, only 3% work in the private sector.

  1. As a home inspector I am not concerned with the market value of union vs non union so I will not argue the point here but would leave that to a non public board.
  2. Having been in trade related work much of my life I have a better perspective of the difference between having a union vs a non union job and trust me OSHA is only there when they want to be along with any other government agencies.
  3. Non union employees (no such word anymore) also benefit from unions indirectly but often do not get that fact .
  4. Most involved in trades today are forced to work as sub-contractors as a work around for employers to avoid antiquated notions such as unemployment benefits and health care. Side benefit is employer can put all issues directly on the small individual contractor to avoid responsibility.

Got interviewed by Fine Homebuilding magazine with reagrds to this issue.

Here is the link:

Hope this helps;