Pre-drywall Inspections - 1 of 3


You can ONLY see this kind of thing pre-drywall.  This is post 1 of 3 posts.

I am often asked by clients why a pre-drywall inspection should be done.  After all, the supervisor is there every day and the County (or other local jurisdiction) will also do inspections.

That is true, but they don't do what I do, nor do they look at what I look at.  And, sometimes, I find things the builders likely know about but do nothing about it.

Take, for example, this triple micro-laminate beam.

Micro-laminate beams are very strong.  Tripling them is extremely strong.  A triple beam is almost as strong as steel.


Because of the load carried by these beams, their support underneath is very important.

This triple beam supports the exterior wall of the house above and the master bedroom and bath, including a large tub in the corner.

On one end it rests on a window header.  The other end rests on a quadruple wall stud.

I do question the window header as, difficult to see in this photo, it is already sagging.  There has been no weight to date in the large, corner bath tub.

Noticing the sag at the floor under that beam (and a similar sag at the ceiling) I looked underneath.  It is actually not resting on the foundation wall underneath.  It misses that foundation wall by about 11"!  From this angle you can see that even the squash blocks underneath are angled to try to center themselves under that quadrupled wall stud!

And look at those squash blocks!

One if them is a section of a micro-laminate beam and is already separating under the load!

That is completely insufficient support!

The window header might be insufficient support under the other side also, but that is for an engineer to determine.

I highly recommended that an engineer look at this beam's supports very carefully!

My recommendation:  some things cannot be seen once the drywall is installed.  A PRE-DRYWALL INSPECTION IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO THE BUILDING PROCESS!  If such an inspection is ignored, there would be no way to see this kind of problem or easily diagnose why cracking and movement is happening later.  And later might be beyond the builder's warranty period and therefore very expensive to remedy!

This is the first in a series of one, two and three posts regarding the same house.

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!