How to Inspect the Exterior Course - Drainage

Under the section, Check the Site’s Drainage, the section concludes with

“When poor site
conditions exist, they can often be overcome technically, provided there are no land-use
restrictions involved. However, the added cost of design and non-conventional
foundation construction (such as an elevated foundation and/or special drainage
features) should be considered a significant part of the expense of building a house. It is
usually very costly to correct site drainage problems and foundation moisture issues
after the fact. Therefore, the inspector must be very careful regarding
the recommendations s/he makes about a site with poor drainage.

I get that the actuality of correction can be difficult and expensive. This statement could lead one to believe the inspectors recommendations should be based on the difficulty level of repair, not the guidance of best practices/code (yes, we’re not code inspectors…). Is not the job of an inspector to observe and report? Not, observe and temper your report of difficulty of correction/repair.

Thoughts that can help make this make sense?

Welcome Tom! The best recommendations is observe and report, and to have the situation be further evaluated by a qualified contractor that specializes in the particular field at issues. This should be the only thing that goes in your report. Suggestions of corrections should not. Pass the liability on.

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Tom, I think the implied or intended meaning in that italicized sentence, which should be explicit, is to not recommend a solution. However, I’m with you that the reason for that should not be the potential cost of a given solution. I like to think of it as passing the expertise along, rather than the liability… Cost is irrelevant. Either way the point is the same: Don’t speculate or say something you’re not qualified/trained to say.

You’re exactly right about observe and report, which usually doesn’t leave any room for diagnosing the root cause or prescribing the correct fix. “Evidence of poor drainage viewed at the exterior, e.g. pooling near foundation at left side, improper grade, yada-yada. Follow up with a qualified contractor for evaluation and any corrections needed.” Or similar…


Ken - As I step back and look at that italicized statement in a different light, I now can see where the suggestion was most likely to not diagnose and recommend solutions, but to observe and report. Thanks!