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Old 09-30-2018, 11:29 AM
 
20,811 posts, read 38,977,896 times
Reputation: 18991

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Pardon my taking the topic and running with it. A bit of a rant follows:

In this day and age it is just plain stupid that we have areas with little or no building codes. "Anything goes" is not a rational plan; maybe for a 5 year old who wants to build a house out of gum drops, but....

We have a national electric code (NEC) and it has done wonders for safety and efficiency; wiring a home in podunk is done from the same NEC code book as a 75 story condo in a big city. And qualified electricians can work anywhere, just show up and KNOW what to do. Note how when there's a hurricane that electric utility crews can show up from anywhere in the country to start repairing the electrical infrastructure.

If I were king of this ass-backward nation there'd be national codes for zoning, building and transport. If would mandate heavy duty 50-year hail resistant roof shingles in Colorado's 'hail alley;' mandate strong hurricane codes along the entire east and gulf coastal areas; mandate storm cellars and strong homes in tornado alley; mandate levels of insulation in all areas; mandate many more things instead of leaving it hit or miss. We've got to come out of the dark ages and stop the stupid lies that government is automatically the problem or the enemy.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 09-30-2018 at 12:09 PM..
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Old 09-30-2018, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Cortez, CO
32 posts, read 24,527 times
Reputation: 75
Well, I'm all in favor of building codes and building departments. Unfortunately people don't know what they don't know when it comes to construction. The homeowner who did such a great job with this place is currently building another one. And to be fair, I doubt he was trying to cut corners with this place, much of it is actually pretty solid, but he clearly doesn't know what he's doing when it comes to foundation supports, nor did the contractor and without any oversight he's off to the races to do it again.


Thankfully the fix for my place is easy and I negotiated the funds for it, it's just a matter of getting a contractor to show up. I just don't have the equipment or experience to do the work myself (I DO know what I don't know).


I'll put out another word of caution to people, if you do have a structural issue come up with a house you're looking to buy and you need to have an engineer look at it make sure you hire a licensed structural engineer. In my situation, the owner's realtor hired an engineer to look at the foundation which I fully supported because I figured no structural engineer that feared for his license would sign off on it. The problems were blatant. I was shocked when the engineer wrote a letter saying it was all good. It turns out he was a civil engineer from out of state and he sent some guy to take pictures. He never visited the site himself and I don't think he even wrote the letter because when I confronted him about the worst of the issues he said, 'Oh I mentioned that in the letter', and I said, 'Oh no you didn't'. I don't think he even read what he signed and he didn't know enough about structural design and construction to see the other problems.



Then the realtor hired someone who inspects foundations for the FHA but she was also not a licensed engineer of any kind. She deemed the foundation to be the best she'd ever seen and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.


Finally I had to hire my own structural engineer to tell me what I already knew. Thankfully I knew what to do and who to hire but most home buyers probably don't. There is a big difference between a civil engineer, a structural engineer, and some random person with dubious credentials. In Colorado you can check on DORA's website to see if someone is licensed and what that license is for. Again, buyer beware.
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Cortez, CO
32 posts, read 24,527 times
Reputation: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
Actually, we did move twice. We rented in the area while looking for our place, and we extended the rental period while having the house built. Good thing our landlord accommodated us! The worst part was waiting for our former house to be sold; we were paying a mortgage on it plus associated high taxes and utilities, AND rent here. When we found land but had not yet sold the house, we then were paying those AND loan on land for the new place (so we could pay cash for the construction itself when we did sell the old house). By comparison, now having only the land loan balance to pay off is a huge relief. A combination of DIY labor and eschewing popular amenities/average-American quantities of items resulted in us NOT blowing the construction budget despite a horrific overrun in the excavation and foundation stage. We still have more work and expenses coming up but it is not so daunting now given that we reserved cash for it.

Wow, so sorry for all of that. It's what we were really trying to avoid. We almost ended up in that situation and had quite an exciting few weeks before we closed on our new house because we had a contract and closing date for our old house but could not get the structural issues resolved on the new house until pretty much a week before closing on our new place. We ended up extending the contract on our new place and renting our old place back for a week after it sold. Which we couldn't really afford to do because Boulder. But my husband's company paid for it so he would stay another week. Phew, so glad all of that is behind me. Moving is so crazy and stressful but in the end it was worth it. Hopefully yours is worth it as well.
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:19 PM
 
20,811 posts, read 38,977,896 times
Reputation: 18991
Section 2 of the JoHari Window gets at knowing what you DON'T know (foundations) but knowing there are others that DO know (engineers).

https://nursingcrib.com/wp-content/u...ri-Window.jpeg

You don't know foundations but others do, so the smart move is to hire the person who knows foundations.

You were operating in the Blind Spot as Joe and Harry called it.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...ari_Window.PNG
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:35 PM
 
5,278 posts, read 2,723,988 times
Reputation: 9756
And to further reinforce the caveat emptor msg, the house we owned in another CO county for 15 years also had owner-builder OOPSes and omissions. The worst one manifested itself when we hired someone to acid-wash the stained redwood siding before he restained it. Good thing I was at home when brown water began pouring in at the ceiling and wall junction! The guy who built the place had done beautiful finish carpentry and showed a real flair for siting and aesthetics, but he DID cut corners in some things, as well as probably having been stoned while doing some others.

Our genuinely excellent stain finisher halted the pressure washing and identified several problems of omission and commission, which we added to his scope of work to make right. It cost more but was worth doing. Seven years later when we sold the house, people commented that the finish still looked new.

In case anyone is wondering, even though that county was a large, prosperous one in metro
Denver, the lack of statewide requirements for builders still resulted in some strange problems showing up. I described the “secret room” in that garage building in another post...it created a sinkhole in the adjacent dirt driveway, revealing grow lights and broken pieces of lumber with expanding foam.

So, this kind of stuff is not limited to rural or less-affluent places!
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:43 PM
 
5,278 posts, read 2,723,988 times
Reputation: 9756
Quote:
Originally Posted by hikenbike View Post
Wow, so sorry for all of that. It's what we were really trying to avoid. We almost ended up in that situation and had quite an exciting few weeks before we closed on our new house because we had a contract and closing date for our old house but could not get the structural issues resolved on the new house until pretty much a week before closing on our new place. We ended up extending the contract on our new place and renting our old place back for a week after it sold. Which we couldn't really afford to do because Boulder. But my husband's company paid for it so he would stay another week. Phew, so glad all of that is behind me. Moving is so crazy and stressful but in the end it was worth it. Hopefully yours is worth it as well.
I feel exactly the same! Despite all the stressful changes in the last several years, it is great to be home, finally.
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Cortez, CO
32 posts, read 24,527 times
Reputation: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
And to further reinforce the caveat emptor msg, the house we owned in another CO county for 15 years also had owner-builder OOPSes and omissions.

In case anyone is wondering, even though that county was a large, prosperous one in metro
Denver, the lack of statewide requirements for builders still resulted in some strange problems showing up. I described the “secret room” in that garage building in another post...it created a sinkhole in the adjacent dirt driveway, revealing grow lights and broken pieces of lumber with expanding foam.

So, this kind of stuff is not limited to rural or less-affluent places!

My next door neighbor in Boulder was a big time Libertarian and didn't believe in building codes or guvmint intervention and he did all kinds of construction with no permits including an entire addition. Somebody called the city on him for one of his projects but the city barely did anything. And a friend of mine in Lousiville had a contractor tell him not to bother with permits for a shed/workshop he wanted to build. The contractor said he did it all the time with no permits and involving the city would just bring him (the home owner) loads of problems. So the building department/permit thing is only as good as the enforcement.
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