Amateur Renovations Could Spell Disaster if Left Unchecked
Some of the most common problems a building inspector might find are the result of amateur renovations. When buying a property that has been renovated the first thing to determine is whether the renovations were done professionally or by an amateur. If the work was done with permits the vendor will likely provide proof by presenting the building permit or certificate of completion. City Hall also keeps records of all renovation or building permits and copies of these can be obtained.
Are all non-permitted renovations problematic?
Very often home renovations have been done by the home owner or an amateur contractor without a building permit. Non-permitted renovations mean that no municipal building code inspectors checked the work and some potential, and possibly significant, problems may exist. On the other hand, not all non-permitted renovations are sub-standard. Very often it is the same builders doing permitted and non-permitted work. As home inspectors we find that jobs done without permits tend to lead to short-cuts and these are often where problems originate.
What are the signs of amateur renovations?
Many people attempt electrical and plumbing work and these areas tend to show the most deficiencies. We commonly see:
- improperly wired outlets,
- missing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors,
- missing GFCI (safety) outlets,
- improperly wired kitchen counter outlets,
- improper and unsafe wiring in the electrical panel
- poor plumbing supply and drain line installation.
We also find:
- Decks and additions that are inadequately framed or under-structured.
- Insulation and other components inside walls that may not be installed properly.
- Additions to the existing structure that are frequently a source of leaks and moisture problems.
The probability of building problems surfacing as a result of amateur renovations is much higher than for original built construction. A professional building inspector from a company like Primus Home Inspections will scrutinize renovated areas for structural, electrical, plumbing, moisture and safety issues and help you to know whether the renovated property you are considering is a potential source of problems or of greater comfort, convenience and increased market-value when it comes time to sell.