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  #1  
Old 2008-03-11, 09:31 AM
Inspector Phil Acker's Avatar
Inspector Phil Acker Inspector Phil Acker is offline
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Default Ask Phil - Home Inspector

I'm starting this forum thread for member questions about new homes. By way of introduction, I am a Registered Home Inspector with both the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors and the American Society of Home Inspectors. I am also a member of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. When retaining a home inspector, you should ask for professional credentials, and all professional fee-paid inspectors should be members of at least one of the above associations as assurance for training, experience, education and qualification to perform home inspections. In addition, I am a Professional Engineer, registered by Professional Engineers of Ontario and have the designation P.Eng.

My business is primarily new home inspections, with most of my clients being homeowners wanting home inspections to help them in their warranty claims process.
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Old 2008-03-11, 09:50 AM
1st_home_w_jitters 1st_home_w_jitters is offline
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Default A question for you . . .

I have two questions:

1) When is the best time to get a home inspector (assuming that you only hire an inspector once for the entire building process):

a) during the PDI
b) before the 30 day inspection after closing
c) before the 1st year is up.

The consensus from this forum appears to be option c) - what is your take?

2) My second question is more of a personal question. I am buying a Mattamy Village Home - no basement - therefore the foundation is going to be all covered in drywall and any cracks in the foundation won't be visible. Is this a problem for the inspection process - how do I know its a quality job. I am sure it would be, especially because they also have city inspectors, but should this pose a problem at all?

Thanks and welcome to the forum. Lots of good discussions here!
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  #3  
Old 2008-03-11, 10:49 AM
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Default When to have an inspection

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st_home_w_jitters View Post
When is the best time to get a home inspector (assuming that you only hire an inspector once for the entire building process):

a) during the PDI
b) before the 30 day inspection after closing
c) before the 1st year is up.

The consensus from this forum appears to be option c) - what is your take?
I'm going to answer this based on experience, with the caution that I don't want this to sound self-serving. New homes should have two inspections. The first is at the PDI/30-day period. The purpose is to identify current deficiencies and to document items that are incomplete. If I were asked what are the priority concerns, the first would be deficiencies related to health and safety (for example handrails are missing), the second would be conditions that are performance-affecting (such as the furnace doesn't respond), the third would be future affects (such as insufficient insulation can result in higher energy costs and affect home comfort), and finally cosmetic (e.g. the baseboard is loose). The second inspection is at the year end. Defects are not always apparent at the time of construction but become apparent after the house has been lived in and has seen at least one cycle of seasonal affects. For example, air infiltration due to incomplete air/vapour barrier may not be apparent until you feel a cold draft. Shingles need heat and time to bond, and this is best done at the year end.

When we've done PDI/30-day inspections, its not unusual for us to also perform the year-end for these clients. I've had a few that have also called us back for the 2-year, where they've had problems with builder responses.
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Last edited by GregS; 2008-03-11 at 04:49 PM. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 2008-03-13, 10:17 AM
e.v. e.v. is offline
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Hi. I've got a question about the building code & valance lighting in the kitchen.

We purchased valance lighting through our builder, expecting the trim & lighting would go to the end of the cabinets. We went for our PDI yesterday & found it is several inches from the end, as you can see in the picture. We were told it is required by the building code it be 18" from the stovetop. I just wonder about this as I've seen other homes, including model homes where this does seem to be the case. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 2008-03-13, 09:35 PM
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All too often, I see wood cabinets and trim not done with proper clearance. There are two sources to refer to when checking clearance: the manufacturer's spec and the appropriate codes. An example of a manufacturer's spec is in the following link:

http://products.geappliances.com/App.../r08211v-1.pdf

In absense of local code requirements, the manufacturer's spec will have authority. In the case of clearances for ranges, the Ontario Building Code does specify clearance and therefore is the requirement that must be followed. In a nutshell, there can't be any combustible material (e.g. cabinets, valence, trims, etc) that are within 17 3/4" of the area where the range is installed. So if you have any wood within the arc taken upward and adjacent to the area where the range is to be installed, then this would not be acceptable to the code unless the wood was somehow protected by a non-combustible material (now wouldn't that be ugly?)

From the photo, I can't tell whether or not the valence if flushed to the edge of the cabinet would be less than 17 3/4", but I suspect it would be. So the valence cannot be extended into the area bounded by the 17 3/4" arc. By the way, the end panels exposed below the range hood need to be outside that 17 3/4" arc.

I am sure you and I are not alone in saying this is not the way we'd like the valence to look. However the Code is the way it is to protect your health and safety.
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  #6  
Old 2008-03-13, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st_home_w_jitters View Post

2) My second question is more of a personal question. I am buying a Mattamy Village Home - no basement - therefore the foundation is going to be all covered in drywall and any cracks in the foundation won't be visible. Is this a problem for the inspection process - how do I know its a quality job. I am sure it would be, especially because they also have city inspectors, but should this pose a problem at all?
I think your concern relates to the potential for future foundation issues. The inspection process alone will not provide assurance that there are not going to be any problems; there needs to be a passage of time that would permit problems to present themselves. A home inspection will examine only those aspects of the structure that are visible. Many of the structural parts of homes are hidden, so this is an inherent restriction for a visual inspection. The inspection does look for clues that there may be concerns with elements that cannot be seen, and these secondary observations could include things like settlement in brickwork, deflection in the floor, unexpected separation in wall or ceiling corners, etc.

So how do you know if its a quality job? In large part, you'll probably know within the first two years if there is a major problem if related to construction, but it may take up to 10 years to be confident that there are no significant subsurface problems.
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Old 2008-03-14, 01:07 PM
Katherine&Chris Katherine&Chris is offline
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Dear Phil,

Are you aware of any building code issues, or other known issues, with having an over the range microwave over a gas stove? We would like to put an OTR microwave over our gas stove. The max output on our range is 16200 BTU on the power burner. Is there a minimum clearance required in the building code between the bottom of the OTR and the top of the range? Are there requirements in the code as to how much many CFM are needed to vent it?

Thank you!

this thread has more details and questions about the context of my question:

http://www.buildinghomes.ca/communit...ead.php?t=4699
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  #8  
Old 2008-03-14, 11:35 PM
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Inspector Phil Acker Inspector Phil Acker is offline
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This issue is heating up. Clearances above the range are critical for safety. The builders know clearance requirements and need to know the manufacturer and model of the unit to be installed in order to make sure the unit is correct for the cabinet configuration over the stove. This is a safety issue, and my providing advice on clearances in a generic sense can jeopardize your safety.

I recommend that you work with your builder for cabinet selection; the builder needs to know which equipment you intend to install. If you choose not to go with the builder options, if provided, for the stove or microwave, then as a mimimum you will need to refer to the manufacturer's installation instructions for clearances. The gas stove, ventilation, and above-range equipment should be installed or verified by a technician qualified for gas code installations.

I look at clearances as part of my inspection process, but this is context of seeing the assembly of stove, counters, cabinets, and above-counter equipment installed.
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  #9  
Old 2008-03-16, 10:26 PM
Joseph Joseph is offline
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Hi Phil,

Nice to have someone who knows the building code... now I don't have to go bug a buddy of mine to find the answer all the time

What is your recommendation about having an inspector come during the "frame walk" (some builders call it something differently - but this is the time when the builder walks you thru the home just before the drywall goes up)?

I would assume there are things you could see only (or much easier) without the drywall in the way.

Thanks
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  #10  
Old 2008-03-16, 11:49 PM
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Normally builders don't permit independant inspections unless they are covered by the purchase agreement. Some inspection firms perform multi-stage inspections starting from pouring the footings and foundation to completion. I don't know if they do single-stage inspections.

I don't perform this type of inspection primarily because I don't have a reporting system in place to properly document the inspection.

Its a great opportunity for you to view your home during its construction. I see this as a good way for your builder educate you on your home and how its put together.
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