New application and more inspections

Given the recent record rain fall in the Chicago area, the remnants of Hurricane Ike, we have had many instances of “wet building syndrome”.

The condition is caused by many issues, both together and in combination:

  1. The use of split faced block. Not a good material for this area.
  2. Failure to seal, or properly seal, the block.
  3. Improper or missing flashing (walls, weep wicks, windows, coping stone on parapet wall, deck connection, etc).
  4. Improper sealing of exterior wall penetrations.
  5. Just plain bad workmanship.
  6. Roof decks.

See a sample of a report, here:

I have, personally, seen 6 buildings (2 single family, 4 condo), all built in the last 1 - 3 years, that are complete mold farms, inside, with mold formation not only on the drywall, but also on the floor / ceiling joists, with deep penetration. All of these buildings will have to be torn down.

Chicago has an addenda to the building code, called the “split block ordinance” which is interesting. Simply put, it states that if the building leaks (through the walls) that the builder is responsible, regardless of the building technique used.

A copy can be found here:…OID=-536883465

I attended 3 hearings in building court, last week, where the hearing officer just plain slammed the builders. They claimed that, since they built the buildings under LLCs and that the LLCs were now disolved, they were not liable. The hearing officer would have none of it. They where held personally responsible and were ordered to fix the situations within the next month or go off to Cook County Jail :mrgreen:.

Bout freakin time!

Meanwhile, with home sales and inspections down, I had many such inspections. Good money and very good learning (and teaching) opportunities.

Home inspectors are not just for pre-purchase home inspections any more. I have linked up with a few lawyers and they use me for their cases. I also refer them when the owners or associations hire me.

Litigation inspections can be very lucrative.

Hope this helps;


Unless something is written into law that transfers liability directly to them (personally) I cannot see how this will withstand appeal. Was the hearing officer a judge?

The purpose of an LLC is to limit personal liability. Unless the statute specifically states that an individual is liable, as opposed to a corporation or LLC, there is a corporate veil. Smetimes, liability does pass in the event of criminal charges where the public was harmed or bodily injury occurrs. Unless the builder can be proven to have been willfully negligent, I dnt understand the verdict.

Keep us informed if an appeal is launched. I’m surprised your county or state builders association hasnt gotten involved yet.

Thanks Will. Are builders licensed in your state?

Yes, I agree. I have been involved in a few of them. It has been my experience that the proper documentation of findings in my written work (inspection report) is critical.

Will, may I offer a suggestion?

While I thought your report was very thorough, I did find exception to one of your statements (page 15) in which you wrote "The walls in the rear basement area display advanced mold formation, with some colonies of Stacobactris evident (no samples were taken)."

  1. The word “Stacobactris” is spelled wrong. I assume you meant** “**Stachybotrys”

  2. By making this statement you have made a conclusion based on unsubstantiated facts. If no samples were taken, how did you know the fungi growth was in fact “Stachybotrys chartarum”?

Don’t mean to be critical, just caught my eye :slight_smile: I would have just stated that wall in the rear basement area had a significant amount of fungi growth, then differed to an Environmental Hygienist.

All the best,


Good point Kevin


Goggle “piercing the corporate veil”. Very revealing. There is no absolute protection given by LLCs (Which, in Illinois, are handled somewhat differently) ESPECIALLY when used to cover incompitence and/or negligence (which any GC who does not know about the local building codes (like the referenced ordinance is) or, jut plain commonly accepted building practice (SEAL THE DANG SPLIT BLOCK, INSTALL LINTELS ABOVE GLASS BLOCK WINDOWS, INSTALL FLASHING UNDER COPING STONE, etc, etc).

You gotta understand, these GCs are real idiots!

The hearing was administrative, not criminal. Building code violations are administrative law (at least in chicago).

And, Joe, remember, this is Chicago. Administrative law, under the Daley’s, is the LAW!!! In this case, a good thing, too, or about 18 families would be left out in the cold.

The building codes, in Chicago, put all the liability on the builder. The codies have NO liability for screwing up, by Illinois Appeals court rulings. Not only in Chicago, but in the whole state.

Heck, I know people who were put in Cook county jail for too many parking tickets.

Welcome to the land that spawned Barack Obama. His campaign manager is the same guy who manages the Mayor!

I know it sounds silly, but thems the facts. Look it up for yourself.

All GC licensing is merely:

  1. obtain (at least) a one mil G/L policy
  2. pay a $35 (or $50) fee, yearly.
  3. You can build houses (or in this case, 3 or 6 unit condos).

There is only one, local municipality (Evanston) that has any testing requirements.

The only state licensed trades are roofers and plumbers.

And, a 30 year, master plumber from another state cannot get an Illinois state license unless he first joins the union.

But, plenty of people getting roofs and plumbing done from unlicensed people.

The reason?

People hire them ;-).

Welcome to Chicago and Illinois. ASHI’s home state :mrgreen: and home of all electrical wires REQUIRED to be in EMT.

Good points, and very correct (especially the spelling :shock:)

See below;

Thanks for kepping me honest.

Having been fined (civil not criminal) years ago by an administrative judge (fake judge who’s court was 1 floor above the government office who filed the complaint against me, and prohibited me from having my own legal counsel during the hearing) I can assure you that the corporate veil means nothing to them. Don’t let their black robes fool you. They aren’t real judges. The coroporation they busted me over wasn’t even mine. I had sold all my stock in it years earlier.

In court (just a meeting room), I asked the judge if IBM does something wrong will he go after all of IBM’s former stockholders including his own mother? Anyway, I learned the hard way, never bring up a judge’s mother… even a fake judge. :roll: I won the argument but lost the case.

Good point, Nick.

They may be just “administrative”, but they can still put you in jail.

This is freakin’ Chicago. People have been known to (finally) be found in the back branches of the Chicago river over less.

And, they take all your money, throw you in jail, sieze all your assets and sit back and wait for you to hire (and pay for) an expensive lawyer and spend the next 5 years fighting “city hall”.

The only difference, here, is that the guy being “tuned up” was the incompitent and idiotic GCs who built these mold farms and (tried) to walk away.

Finally, the “system” gets the guilty party.

Go figure :mrgreen:

… yes, and with total disregard to the 5th amendment which prohibits them from depriving anyone of liberty or property without due process… and one of the reasons I have never paid the fine and never will.