structuaral problems

Brand new three story town home today. It is the builders model unit. On the third floor there are two doors out of square (settlement cracks at the top of both the doors). The floors to both stall showers have sunk about an eight of an inch, large enough for me to stick a thin metal ruler under an poke back to the pan. The window sills have lost their seal in the corners. This is only on the third floor. The other two floors show no problems.

Just wondering how some of you would write this up. Something is wrong here, but obviously it cant be seen because i am looking at a finished product. FYI - there is no indication of any problem on the exterior of the unit.

If it is a new home, it should be under warranty from the builder.

Ask the builder to explain the defects on this new building and fix them. :slight_smile:

Not a matter of whether it is under warranty or not. My client has to make a decision on to buy or not to buy based on this issue, knowing that it could lead to future problems.

I am leaning toward suggesting that my client get a separate structural inspection, at the builders expense, of course.

Observed signs of movement at a couple of locations and signs of settlement to create cracks above doors.
Recommend a licensed qualified builder to evaluate and repair.

William, since this is the third floor and I am assuming it is all wood frame, it is conceivable that some of those walls are bearing walls and possibly picking up the weight of the roof also.
If some of those walls were framed on the second floor of the house and run parallel to the floor framing, this could cause what you are explaining.
Also some of the walls could be offset to far from bearing walls below.
There are a lot of variables to cause this in a new structure.

Pictures would help. :slight_smile:

There’s that course of action and, additionally, you could describe what you noted in post 1 and recommend repairs, as needed, to maintain structural integrity. Hard to tell what is behind walls and floors.

Here are some pictures. FYI- concrete block

William, the block walls don’t affect what I said earlier.
The tile floor gap is minor shrinkage and can be sealed with a silicone to match the grout. This is normal on a wood floor dependant on where it was framed in relation to the span of the floor framing below it.
It could also have been caused by high moisture content in the wood and now it is shrinking.

Like Larry above mention, to make a long story short.
Report what you observed and recommend that it be repaired. :slight_smile:

Recommend your client gets a Mike Holmes inspection:wink:

Larry i agree with Marcel, write it and have the builder repair. all of the pictures are of non-bearing interior walls and are exhibiting common shrinkage. on new construction you will see alot of cracking above door openings because the dry-wall hanger will cut the board at that point to start a new full board because of the avalibility of the framing member. more often than not it will not be at the tapered end of the board which prohibits the finisher from properly filling the tape joint with compound. as soon as the airconditioning is turned on and the building begins to dry out (shrink ) the joint cracks. i would not suggest recomending a structural inspection unless you have definitive evidence to suggest a structural fault and are prepared to defend your conclusion with the general contractor, the engineer of record, the speciality design engineer, and the governing jurisdiction, because that building is multi family they all would have just signed off stating that it meets or excedes the design critera. good luck.


did you not read the whole post? Not only are there cracks, but two of the doors will not close. And what about the separation of the shower floors. It also says that this is the model unit, which means the AC has been running the whole time. I do not know how you can make such remarks with the information given.

Well, he does think I’m you…:stuck_out_tongue:

I have had 2 inspections in the last week that needed follow up by a structural engineer.

The first house was built in 2005. There was a crack in the garage floor. It was about 1/4 to 3/8 wide, with about a 1/4 inch of differential settlement. Inside the home all of the rooms on that side had cracked drop angles, cracks around window and door headers and the baseboards had separated at least a 1/4 inch. I recommended they obtain the opinion of a structural engineer. The buyer decided to look at other houses after reading the engineer report. My first inspection today is for his next house.

The second house was built in 1959. The garage floor had a crack of 3/4 inch about 6 ft away from the exterior block wall. There was about 3/4 inch differential. The garage had a work area that has a step up. I could see that the floor had sunk at least a half inch towards the exterior wall. I recommended that they obtain the opinion of a structural engineer.

I think you are taking on a lot of risk if you don’t recommend that the client obtain an opinion from the expert when there is clear evidence that something is happening.

Bill I would have no problem with telling the client that there is evidence that settlement is occurring and given the number of red flags I would recommend that you obtain the opinion of an expert.

Yes I read the entire post, an yes i am painting with a broad stroke, but with the limited info. shown in the pictures it is my opinion that what is occuring is normal movement due to the local industry standard construction practices and not structural defects. I would be willing to wager an icey cold beverage that the problem with the doors is a lack of shims between the jamb and the framing member on the hinge side. as far as the shower goes the gap between the wall tile and the floor tile is a normal occurance and just needs to be filled with sealant. The building is a multi family reinforced masonry structure. meaning that all of the bearing points for the floor and roof systems are attached to reinforced masonry.with no visable signs of faliure on the exterior my experiance tells me that it is safe to to say that the defects are not structural. Remember a building of that size was probably on a 6 month building cycle and the air cinditioning would not have been turned on until after the certificate of occupancy was issued. I have supervised the construction of high rise condominiums as well as over 1500 single family homes here in south fl. so i do have some experiance on local industry standard construction practices, while i’m not condoning not shimming doors but that in itself does not make it a structural defect. I’m not trying to be a know it all or a jerk off i just want you to be certain of your conclussions so that you don’t end up with egg on your face or worse in court defending yourself against a slander suit