Who's fault is it really

Who is really at fault when a six year old house has crawlspace floor system moisture ranging from 20 to 25 percent with heavy fungi growth. Assume the problem started developing when the house was new. The ground was covered with vapor barrier over about 40 percent of the area.

The IRC ?
The code inspector ?
The builder?
The owner?

The owner…

The builder will tell you to pound salt if they are in business
IRC has no liability
Can’t sue the code inspector

The one holding the bag is the one screwed and that is the owner of the house.

Buyer beware…

I am confused when you say there is 20-25%, are you talking moisture content under the vapor or Humidity?

No crawlspaces up there aye?

Wood moisture content, this would be around 15 percent in a good crawlspace this time of year. The difference between having 15 and having
20+ is major issue.

The builder should have explained to the buyer that the crawlspace needs inspecting at regular intervals which I doubt this one did. Not many builders are going to say “Oh, and you should have my work checked often to see if I screwed up”.

The IRC may not be liable but is part of the problem when they want to be involved in construction but allow crap to be built.

Code inspection departments are becoming liable, there have been two major suits around here (NC) and I know the code office lost in court on one so far.
They lost their exemption when they went out and purchashed insurance according to the judge. (no I don’t have time to show anyone this, its Gaston County NC if you can find it, it was in the newspaper awhile back).

The owner is now a bank, so no, they will not get screwed, they will just wait for the right buyer to show up with the wrong home inspector…

The system has a major flaw and our job functions are very important for the buying public. That is, if the public knows who to hire…


Found the old story, for those interested…

The Homeowner…
what is the question???

Its the fault of whomever still thinks it makes sense to build a home on a vented crawlspace. That is old and outdated technology and one that will promote mold growth at least here in the southeast.

It is the Fault
and Liability
that rests with the purchaser…
that does not exercise due diligance…

problem with relying on an
Axxx Inspector…
Local Building Code…
neither of which serve the Consumer…

Those that seek the lowest price…
for a Home Inspection…
get what they deserve…

Not always a question Joe, sometimes I just like to get some conversation going. :slight_smile:

But here is a good question that any owners attorney might ask in court of a builder: Should this buyer have had a reasonable expectation that this house would not develop major problems this soon?

Where did this come from? How did you know the original owner even got a home inspection?

Less than 10 percent of new homes get inspected in this area according to one of the large builder reps.

Thats a good point, I know one builder or two builders that will only build on slabs due to the massive issues that crawlspace houses get.

I have done 3 inspections lately for clients that walked away from crawlspace houses and now needed the 2nd house done. The 4th is monday aft and he’s looking at another crawlspace house…

Whoever didn’t properly cover the other 60%.

And those Home Buyers that Waive Inspections on New Construction also get what they deserve due to lack of Due Diligence…

 Its the fault of whomever still thinks it makes sense to build a home on a vented crawlspace. That is old and outdated technology and one that will promote mold growth at least here in the southeast. 

I don’t think making generalized statements like this is accurate either. Homes have been built on ventilated crawlspace for over a hundred years; most do not have problems.
Sure vented crawlspaces can have problems, but so can sealed crawlspaces. As a matter of fact, I’ve yet to see a retro fitted crawlspace (converted from vented to sealed) that has not had major problems; more problems that the original vented crawlspace.

Jamie, if you ever get into Norfolk, I would be happy to show you some beautifully sealed and conditioned crawlspaces. Does it make sense to invite wet and warm air into a space that is cool? It’s outdated, we can build smarter and should

The latest type of vented crawlspaces arpound here that are working good for the most part have all of the following:

Lots more foundation vents than the older method.
No HVAC ducts at all.
Plenty of height for air volume/movement.
Ventilation also under porches.
Complete vapor barrier with good overlaps.
Grade sloping away from the house on all four sides.
Downspout water diverted via underground drains.
Crawlspace drain at low end to handle plumbing flood and/or unusual prolonged heavy rains.


I’m with you; it’s a great idea and new construction sealed crawlspaces are great.
However, retro fitting vented crawls into sealed crawlspaces is a very difficult task (and I have never seen one that did not have lots of problems; including standing water). The last one I saw was in Norfolk; it was supposed to be a retro fit (their plan was to seal a vented crawlspace); it did not work out too well.
I believe both vented and sealed crawlspaces have their place in the industry; no one system works under every circumstance.

What is the reason or need to assign blame?