A home was infested with flies each summer. I was asked to try to isolate the source so that it could be remedied. In the process, I started to notice other deficiencies and here is a list, with photographs, of what I found…

“A river cuts through a rock not because of its power but because of its persistence.” -Jim Watkins

Knowledge of products is important. If a special application is required, contacting the manufacturer to finding out how it may affect the outcome can be crucial. Not all hazards are as extreme as those in the videos below, but the off-gassing of VOCs can be an issue to some people, or even unpleasant odors caused by faulty installation.

I was at a job site most recently to discover that an unlicensed worker had been hired by the homeowner to do some tile work and plumbing. Inspecting his work, I found the slope of the drain to be too shallow, an S-Trap (prohibited for decades) newly installed, and it was relayed to me that instructions were not followed and there was a struggle installing Schluter Ditra, a substrate for tile. Proper adhesion may not have been achieved and the tiles may fall off the walls over time.

These are a couple of related videos that greatly demonstrate the roll of government in creating rules, the importance of good design from an experienced professional and the hiring of a contractor with strong ethical values. These videos are of large scale projects, but the principles generally apply.

THE FIRES THAT FORETOLD GRENFELL – BBC Documentary 2018 – This documentary tells the story of the United Kingdom’s failure to properly define and then enforce new regulations in construction that should have come about due to some very tragic and avoidable fires.

GRENFELL: THE FIRE OF LONDON – This documentary tells of the direct failures of a bureaucratic government agency, the Architect involved, the General Contractor and even the product manufacturer in a devastating fire that killed 72 people.

Last updated May 7th, 2019

There are multiple issues in these first two photographs.

  1. The painted metal corner trim has been completely torn off, leaving the fastening strip exposed and partially torn away from ice and snow. Inspection of the corner revealed that too few fasteners were applied, therefore creating more stress per fastener than required.
  2. The siding is of low quality and will no hold up in areas where it is exposed to extended periods of moisture.
  3. Flashing at the wall is of minimal height and letting moisture damage the house wrap and sheathing underneath.
  4. The downspout in the upper right of the photo releases accelerated water horizontally across the lower roof from the roof above. This may be the cause of the premature rust in the roof panel as it could be getting forced under the panel where the paint is not as thick or UV protected.
Downspout poor orientation
Water and ice damage
No trim at windows
Only staples hold these windows in place
Badly installed windows
Horrible window installation
No screws are holding this window in place

Closer inspection revealed that the windows were not screwed on, but held inadequately only with staples that were not fully set to depth. Staples without bulges indicates no caulking was used.