Originally Posted By: csewell
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
I’m good enough to know when I’m not good enough – that’s better than most I would say! I have enjoyed your posts and am learning a lot. I still haven’t started my inspection business, as my power plant consulting still has some life in it. I just recently retired from the big corporation world and have started my post-retirement work, completing training, testing, and licensing in the state of Texas as a Prof. R.I. The reason I responded to the original question was to learn more. I, like many in Texas, was deathly afraid of the idea of evaluating a foundation until I realized what some PI’s were doing is less than what I would deem adequate and they had been successful. So, I began to think about just what I could check to, in the state’s words, “render an opinion as to the performance of the foundation”. That’s a big problem in the Texas Gulf Coast area. I was hoping this forum would yield some additional thoughts to the ones I came up with, which were:
1. Does there appear to be an excessive number of larger than expected size cracks observed in the brick veneer walls or other siding of the house – There is no one standard for determining an excessive number of cracks; however, there are several organizations that offer guidelines for determining if the size of a crack in the siding is excessive – I will use what is called the BRAB #3 guideline (Building Research Advisory Board)
2. Does the top of the foundation (the floor) sloping appear to be excessive – one commonly used guideline is no more than 1 inch over a 20 ft span is acceptable, but opinions vary on this guideline as there is no one standard
3. Do any cracks observed in the interior walls at the corners of windows and doors appear to be excessive in size
4. Do cracks observed in the interior walls at the corners of a fireplace appear to be excessive in size
5. Are there windows that are very difficult to open, possibly due to movement caused by foundation
6. Are there long running or severe cracks observable in the interior floors
7. If an external masonry chimney or “wing walls” exist, are they showing signs of pulling away from the house structure
8. Are there doors, interior or front/side/rear entrance, that appear to be out of square or apparently won’t fit properly within their jambs, possibly due to foundation movement
9. Does there appear to be a visibly sagging, exterior ridge line when viewed from a distance
10. Do the rafters appear to be pulling away from (separating from) the ridge board
11. Does there appear to be signs of previous foundation repairs or siding repairs
By the way, I would pull out the water manometer tubing if I was suspicious of the levelness -- there are two very good instruments I have found that some folks use, but I plan to use the cheap tubing and have already put together a hose/reel assembly.
Nothing would please me more for someone to add to this list, so I could feel even more relaxed about rendering an opinion on foundations. I now feel reasonably good about slab inspections, but still antsy about septic system inspections (I have owned, cleaned, and maintained my systems for 30 years and had a couple replaced).
I really still feel un-qualified to inspect the rafter, joists, and support structure as these are often complicated systems not matching the standard code requirements of a joist across the entire structure connected to the ends of the rafters. However, I should be able to muddle along on this part of the inspection as well as most inspectors. I even posted a question on this last month but got little response.
Sorry about the lack of brevity!