Everyone likes to cuddle with something furry and fun!
The other day, when I was NOT napping in a crawl space, I came across many seismic straps and bolts that had not been used, and it got me scratching my head for answers—-maybe it was actually the bottle flies in my hair—-but I was thinking, I swear!
Did some engineer 30 years ago give the “go-ahead” to NOT use these straps and bolts?
Was something else done to compensate?
Was the Jurisdictional Inspector taking a nap that day?
Good questions—-the answers of which I have no clue—-as a Seattle Home Inspector I had no choice but to call in a structural engineer to make the final determination. I have a feeling someone is not going to be very happy—-but odds are that the original contractor isn’t alive or is in another country that doesn’t have building codes.
The above pictures are just a few of the missing connections from 5 of 20 crawl spaces inspected at the complex and they had been this way for 30 years. The buildings withstood the 6.8, 2001 Nisqually earthquake with little ill-effect so it is likely that these missing connections may fall into the area of “over-engineering” associated with such connections—but again that cannot be the home inspectors call.
Part two of this story involves Mr. Fixrotus. There was a long-standing leak inside the wood-framed chimney chase that had rotted out the floor under the fireplace. (Actually at several of the chimneys in the buildings–given that they were all built the same way) Mr. Fixrotus was called to repair the damage. As you can see in the picture the patching is obvious along with the new decay rot that has occurred since the repairs were done. Instead of figuring out how the water was getting into the chimney and fixing that, they merely fixed the decay in the floor system.
Looks like job security to me.
At some point in the process of completing the repairs, Mr. Fixrotus must have had a conversation with himself about one of the seismic straps that I mentioned earlier. One of these straps ran right up through the middle of his repairs. I can just imagine him saying to himself: “What can possibly be the harm in getting rid of just this one? There must be others.”
Well he was right about there being many others—-but what he could not have guessed, was that when he cut off the strap there were others that were not connected either.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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