On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 9:19 AM, Sandra J. Uele <Sandyonbowen@shaw.ca> wrote:
I am looking for an inspector who is experienced with the inspection of straw bale homes. I am in the San Diego area. Do you have an inspector registered in that area experienced in strawbale?
Thank you for your assistance.
Inspecting strawbale homes is very different from inspecting conventional homes. There are no courses available to qualifiy inspectors to inspect strawbales. Most inspectors don’t even know what they don’t know and any inspector without specific expertise in these unique structures should disclaim the entire exterior walls, which is really what you’re concerned about anyway.
I developed methods for inspecting them several years ago, and you can read my article on them here.
As an inspector, to start with I would want access to a set of plans and photographs taken during construction. Without photographs it’s difficult to determine where the plumbing was installed, which is crucial in these homes. There are ways to do it, but they involve using instruments that are relatively expensive.
It’s only in the last ten years or less that good construction techniques have been developed and there have been many bad homes built. That’s not to say that any older home is a bad one, just that in general, good building methods have recently become more widely known, especially as organizations like the Colorado Strawbale Association have grown and publications like The Last Straw have become available.
If you cannot find an inspector locally who is qualified… and I would ask to see how they’re qualified… you might do best by hiring a contractor familiar with strawbale construction (one who has built more than 1) to perform the inspection alongside an InterNACHI-qualified inspector.
If any inspector offers to inspect it for the same fee as they’d charge for a conventional home of comparable size, quality and condition… they don’t know what they’re doing and will be unable to protect you.