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Blistex
Oct 30, 2003

Macho Business
Donkey Wrestler


Grimey Drawer

After seeing pics of wiring jobs that look like bird's nests and roofs that seem to be held up by air pressure alone I thought it would be interesting to share the different construction messes we've encountered.

For three summers I worked with my uncle who used to be a mason (works with cement, not and old guy who paddles his friends and has a silly belt buckle). During this time I saw a lot of stuff that would make a half-competent building inspector drink himself to death.

Ice Foundation: We went to do a job for a lady who was having a new house built. It was a smallish bungalow with a full basement. The problem was that the previous block-layers were lazy and put off her job until late November. She was hoping that the foundation would be finished before mid-fall, but they put things off and started late. Well they prepped the area, leveled the gravel, put in the drainage, and poured the floor, leaving room for a sump pump, and generally doing a good job. They let the floor set up for two days and when they returned there was a layer of ice on the foundation about 1/4 inch thick. "Not a problem!" they told the owner. They just went ahead and laid the blocks on top of the ice and when there was a warm day the next week the blocks settled, cracked all the cement and I don't know how, but one corner actually shifted a little bit. Needless to say the whole block job (11 blocks high I think) was a total waste and we had to come in to fix it. The previous guys had to pay my uncle and my wages and refund the lady the cost of the material.

Crummy Cement: Another job we were called in to fix, except this time the cement was bad. We showed up at the job (not knowing what was wrong) and spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out what the problem was. Everything seemed to be straight and level, and rebar was where it should be. Even the doors and windows were all placed correctly. The owner showed up and without saying a word walked over to the basement walkout doorway and kicked one of the blocks on the edge. The whole side of the doorway collapsed with blocks tumbling all over the place. It seems that the guys were cutting corners and used about 5x more sand than they should have. The mortar was more like a sandcastle than cement. We used all the same blocks and the owner spent his time helping us by using a rubber mallet to knock the cement off each and every block.

Glass Chimney: Sometimes people get a reputation for not paying the piper. We were doing a job for one guy who had apparently stiffed the blocklayers. My uncle heard about this and half way thought the chimney we were making for him took a pane of glass and stuck it in the brick chimney and continued to lay blocks until we were done. When we were done the guy decided that he would mail him a cheque. That cheque got "lost" in the mail for a whole summer and fall. When winter came around the man calls up my uncle screaming that his chimney doesn't work. There isn't a blockage because he can see straight up through his fireplace, but for some reason every time he tries to start a fire his whole house smokes up. My uncle said he would fix it if he got paid in cash. We arrived (he wanted me to see this) and the guy gave my uncle the money. My uncle walks over to the driveway, finds a nice apple sized stone on the side and climbs up the roof. He then drops the stone down the chimney (breaking the glass pane that was stopping the smoke from escaping) climbs down and we drive away. All the while the guy was cursing at us.

Slanty Shanty: Another job we were called in to "fix" was a guy who built his own foundation. We get there and honestly, it looked like some kids were playing with bricks and mud. The cement between rows of blocks would vary from 1/16th of an inch to 3/4 of an inch. Walls bowed in and out, there were 2" gaps in places, and when we set up the transit we could see one corner was 3" higher than another corner. When we told the guy that we'd have to have everything knocked down and start again with new blocks he was furious. He figured we could fix the job by removing the top two rows of blocks and relaying them so that the 3" difference was gone. He was having none of that, so we left. A week later we went back again to a totally cleared basement floor and a huge pile of blocks that he had removed the cement from with a hammer and pneumatic chisel. While we were working for the next 4 days he told us about how great the other two houses were that he built. My eyes hurt from rolling so much.

Small Garage: Not so much a crappy building, but more of a customer not having any idea of size and manpower requirements. We get a call from this guy wanting a garage floor to be poured. My uncle asks him how many cars this garage is and he says two. The foundation is already prepped, the forms are already made, all we have to do is show up, pour the cement and level and trowel the floor. My uncle tells him to call the cement company with his exact measurements (length, width, depth of footings, thickness of floor, etc. and they will bring the right amount of cement.

We show up to the job site and the first thing I say is "Jesus Christ!". The owner asks, "what's wrong" and my uncle says, "what kind of cars do you drive?". This garage is massive! I'm talking 70 feet by 50 feet. While my uncle is trying to explain that this is not what he envisioned and that the owner wasn't being very accurate with the description of a "two car garage" he replies, "there are only going to be two cars in here, the rest of the space is for my metal-working shop and some boats, atv's and snowmobiles. My uncle tries to explain that two people, with two wheel barrows, and one troweling machine are not going to be able to do this in time. Just then The cement truck arrives and tells us that the next two are 10 minutes behind him and the two after that have just left and will arrive in 40 minutes. My uncle tells the owner to call two other cement guys and offer them each $500, and maybe they will drop what they are doing and rush over here to help us out before he has a few thousand dollars of worthless cement and a ruined monster-garage floor. Luckily for him we were able to stay on top of things long enough for one of the guys to arrive with 4 extra men (two with wheel barrows, and two with troweling machines). The floor was saved and the owner had to pay an extra $1200 in labour for that job.

Good Wood: I was visiting a cousin down in Southern Ontario when he told me I had to see this. We went over a few lots and saw a house that was in the process of being built. The wood the guy was using looked like it was found in a swamp. It was punky, rotten, worm holes, greyed, warped, and generally horrible stuff with huge variances in dimensions. Seems that the guy was super cheap and was using wood that he had found in a landfill from some condemned houses or something. There were planks that were supposed to be 2x4's, but closer to 1x2" they were so out of spec. One board was so rotten you could pull 3" nails out with your hands, and some of the boards were so warped that they twisted 45 degrees within 8 feet. Needless to say the owner was doing all the work himself as no construction crew would touch materials like that. The next week my cousin emailed me to say that the building inspector showed up, stopped the work, and told the owner that every single piece of wood he had (even the plywood that looked to have been taken from some kid's tree fort) had to be disposed of, and if he wanted to be able to continue work he'd have to show him a pile of new wood from a store or lumber yard.

Septic Sump: We were called in to do a quick block job. A guy had a basement that was only 6 feet tall, and decided that he wanted a full basement. He told us that he only needed us to lay two rows on the foundation, and that when we arrived the house will be jacked up. We show up, see the house jacked up with plenty of room to add the additional two rows. We get to work mixing the cement and setting up the transit. About 30 minutes in we notice that something smells like poo poo. My uncle says it's probably the pipe off the septic hookup since the house has been jacked 4 feet in the air. Another 30 minutes pass and we hear a splattery "plopping" sound. We look over to the corner where the sump pump hole is and see a pipe hanging over it with water and poo poo pouring out. Seems that the guy wanted to continue using his toilet, despite it no longer being hooked up to the septic system any more and rigged up a length of eave trough to direct his toilet pipe to the sump pump hole. That poor sump pump must be having nightmares!

Power Mad: Finally, this was not witnessed by myself, but a friend told me of a house he saw. One of his friends decided to install his own electrical wiring, switches and outlets. He does all the research, checks the codes, and all that jazz. Apparently if he does it himself a building inspector can pass it, and then an electrician will hook the circuit breaker box to the outside line. Well he's researching, making sure everything is to code and finishes his electrical work. My friend comes over one night to see the work and is looking at all the unfinished walls with the wiring running through them, the light switches installed, the fixtures installed, and the outlets installed. He's looking around and everything is done well, up to code, but something is bothering him. It's hard to tell because there are just stud walls with wires running through them, no insulation or drywall, just studs, switches, fixtures, wires and outlets. . . lots of outlets.

"Holy poo poo there are a fuckton of outlets!"

Every 4 feet, in every room there is an outlet. The living room, which not too big,is open concept so it only has two walls has a total of 10 outlets in it. One of the bedrooms has 15! Seems that he totally had a brain fart and placed them every 4 feet. I believe the code in Ontario is 6 feet from any doorway and then every 12 feet. So the bedroom should have had 5, not 15. I think my friend said that he removed every other one so the outlets are 8' apart instead of 4. The plus side is that there is certainly no shortage of outlets, and surprisingly 8 feet apart doesn't look crowded since furniture hides most of them.

Well that's all I'm able to remember right now, but I'm sure some of your stories will jar lose a few more tales that might be interesting.

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The one true heezy
Mar 23, 2004


Working for a roofing company:

One of my last days there my friend Big Guy blew out the transmission in the dump and put it through the wall of some poor dude's garage. He got fired over the phone about a minute later.

Another time there was a new guy on tearoff crew that was a nephew of one of the foremen or something, really nice guy but my foreman hated him. He slipped and fell and cut his face pretty bad at which point my boss told him "You're a liability. Get off of my roof." Meanwhile I'm just driving back from picking up shingles and see this guy crying and bleeding walking down the street the other way.

First day doing corrugated metal and I'm learning from these two guys I don't know. We got blazed as hell before we drove out and they ended up drilling about 10 bad holes in the metal and just left them there.


Yeah the stories go on and on. Pretty fun place to work.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


Not quite a crappy construction tale, more of a crappy code tale.

Most places measure setbacks from the edge of the wall/building face. But the language of this one area made it so you only had to measure from the edge of the FOUNDATION. You can probably see where this is going.

A guy wants to build an addition, but because his lot had a curved corner, they measured the setbacks and said he was about 5' over on the corner and he'd need to make a 45 degree bevel or something. His addition wasn't 5' over, his existing house was over (was built before the bylaws, but by putting in an addition the whole building has to be compliant now). Dude obviously didn't want to cut a 45 degree notch out of the corner of his historic house.

Instead, he just bevelled his foundation and got his architect to make sure his flooring cantilevered over the corner properly. The foundation only stuck up about a foot from the ground so they just hid the overhang with bushes.

City passed the design and the inspector admired his solution. Although situations like this just make me so frustrated at the often kafka-esq zoning bylaws builders/designers have to go through to get a design approved.

Skeleton Ape
Dec 21, 2008



Blistex posted:

Glass Chimney:
http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/flue.asp

Cool to see someone actually did this, it is a clever idea.

Blistex
Oct 30, 2003

Macho Business
Donkey Wrestler


Grimey Drawer

Baronjutter posted:

City passed the design and the inspector admired his solution. Although situations like this just make me so frustrated at the often kafka-esq zoning bylaws builders/designers have to go through to get a design approved.

My lot is about 50% bigger than most lots due to the street, school yard, and a small park. Luckily I only pay for a regular sized lot. As you can see my lot has 6 corners. Only two are 90 degrees!

My Lot:



Green is the garage, red is the house.

ANMAN
May 24, 2007
ehhh...meh

My father's old buddy said his family was pouring the foundation for a new hip roofed hay barn way back when. Being a small town their father knew the cement truck drivers who were building a highway bridge near by. That bridge cement is like the ultimate cement I guess and can only stay in the truck for a certain amount of time before it's worthless for the bridge project. Of course the pour has to be constant and trucks have to be queuing up and waiting constantly...many trucks went over due. So instead of it going to waste, the farmer had them pour the barn foundation (for free when nobody was looking).

That poo poo was made of neutron stars and the old fart still laments how much work it was to work with it.

E: A neighbor's very large barn addition was going to be built on a couple acres of fill they had dumped that spring. Luckily the owner was stopped from construction by a wise contractor: The fill had settled 2-3 feet over the winter. Today the new barn sits a few feet over and a few feet down from the old. I couldn't imagine how bad it would have been if they were connected.

ANMAN fucked around with this message at 05:27 on Aug 19, 2011

Boogeyman
Sep 29, 2004

Boo, motherfucker.

I worked as a sheet metal bitch for an HVAC company during the summer of 2000 (couldn't find an IT job, had to take what I could get). My first jobsite was a building downtown that was being renovated. Because our crew was a bunch of worthless lazy assholes, we ended up falling far behind the other crews, and that made for some interesting workarounds.

We were running some 3' by 1.5' duct down a hallway one Saturday morning around 9AM (because we were behind, we were working 58 hour weeks, 6 days a week). I was hung over as gently caress, and my foreman was as well. The ceiling guys had already put their grid up for the drop ceiling, and we had a little under 2' of room above the grid to fit the duct. We managed to get about 60' or so hung before we ran into a big rear end water pipe for the sprinkler system that crossed the hallway sideways, smack dead in the middle of the space between the ceiling grid and the bottom of the floor above. This happened all the drat time...whoever laid out the plans obviously didn't take any electrical or plumbing into account, and this time we had no room whatsoever to work around it.

After a whole lot of cussing, a whole lot of cigarettes, and a whole lot of staring at the pipe like it was going to move for us or something, my foreman said "gently caress it. Get me my loving snips, and get up there and tell me how far away that pipe is from the last piece we hung." I measured, grabbed the snips, and he slit the duct down the side lengthwise and cut a hole on each side to fit the pipe. We then sandwiched the pipe inside the upper and lower halves of the duct, slathered the joints with duct butter, and moved on to the next piece.

The foreman told me later that he had to wander around with the inspector a few days later to check all of the work we had done in the past week. Apparently the inspector saw our "fix", shook his head, and said "You'd better hope the ceiling guys get their poo poo done before anyone else sees this."

Jordanis
Jul 11, 2006



I work in the office for a roofing company. We're cleaning up after one of those dipshit 'handyman' guys right now on someone's roof. He took this poor slob's money and installed architectural laminate shingles on a dead flat section of roof. Jesus Christ.

Nuevo
May 23, 2006




Fun Shoe

There's been some bizarre poo poo during the renovation of our house, but this one just baffles me to this day. Pulling down some 70s era wood paneling that had been plastered over, the one wall had 1x2s behind it, spacing the paneling out from the wall behind.



That particular wall was no different than any of the other 3 walls in the room, and I still have no idea what the hell whoever did this was thinking. Also, plastering over wood paneling without taping the seams = giant cracks on every wall. There was a lot of that half-assery going on around the house.

Oh, and no thread like this would be complete without the This Old House Home Inspection Nightmare galleries. They're up to 23 galleries now, and they're all this level of



razz
Dec 26, 2005

Queen of Maceration


I used to live in a really lovely basement apartment. One day my friend and I were trying to mess with the wiring in the bathroom because something shorted out. We discovered that all of the electricity from the kitchen and the bathroom was being routed from an extension cord just like this:



I have no idea how we didn't die in a fire.

cakesmith handyman
Jul 22, 2007

Pip-Pip old chap! Last one in is a rotten egg what what.



Boat posted:





Electricity takes the path of least resistance, unless it's confused.

Blistex
Oct 30, 2003

Macho Business
Donkey Wrestler


Grimey Drawer

razz posted:

I used to live in a really lovely basement apartment. One day my friend and I were trying to mess with the wiring in the bathroom because something shorted out. We discovered that all of the electricity from the kitchen and the bathroom was being routed from an extension cord just like this:



I have no idea how we didn't die in a fire.

A bed and breakfast burned down last winter because the fridge was plugged into a cheap extension cord like that. For some reason they pulled the fridge out, and used that extension cord to keep it running, then when they pushed it back where it was supposed to go they forgot about the cord. Whole place burned down the very day they went on a vacation.

ibpooks
Nov 4, 2005


razz posted:



Is that PEX?
Reminds me of one from back when I did some plumbing with my dad. We got called in to fix up some leaks in a bathroom in a lovely apartment building expecting an easy job. Turns out the supply lines in the entire 4/5 unit building had been plumbed using garden hoses and splitters! It was run through the walls just like copper pipe should have been. Walked away from that one.

Who farted?
Another one we were called out by the wife to investigate sewer odors in a house where the husband had recently redone all the plumbing himself. So we were 99% expecting to find a missing P-trap or improper venting into the attic which DIYs almost never do right. Instead, we find that every sanitary tee in the drain system was installed backwards!



For those of you unfamiliar with drains, sanitary tees are installed to join two wastes line to point the flow of "waste materials" in the correct direction to flow downstream away from the house. In this case all the poo poo was trying to flow uphill and clogging up. We basically had to rip a ton of PVC out and redo it including snaking the hell out of a vent that was so caked up with TP and poo poo it was nearly solid. The moral of the story is that poo poo must roll downhill.

Neutrino
Mar 8, 2006



Fallen Rib

I was a project manager on a storm water detention pond project several years back. As part of the project there was a large underground settling tank that needed to be built. This settling tank was 10ftx10ftx150ft so it was big. The contractor could choose the way they wanted to build it and instead of using precast sections they chose to cast it in place in one orgy of concrete pouring.

Setting the forms took over a week and was an impressive job and very well done. There was an impressive amount of reinforcing steel inside the formwork and to simplify matters the contractor did not leave openings for the pipe, deciding to come back and core the holes after the forms were off. (Red Flag!)

The concrete pour was an all day affair and went well. A few days later the exterior forms were stripped and the interior forms were going to be pulled the next day. Unfortunately the next day we had rain. When I say rain we had a storm of epic proportions. If you are familiar with a storm water detention pond, it is a place to hold water from a storm. It usually doesn't stay a pond except during storms and when a storm comes, it will fill up with water. This pond filled up with water fast and if you can imagine a big concrete bathtub sitting in a deep pool of water, what does it do? It floats.

This big concrete structure wasn't designed to be a boat but it tried. It started to raise and when the uneven lifting pressures grew to be too great it broke and sank. Nearby residents heard a large bang when the concrete shattered. Well over $100,000 of work was lost in one rain storm.

poemdexter
Feb 18, 2005

Hooray Indie Games!



College Slice

Neutrino posted:

I was a project manager on a storm water detention pond project several years back. As part of the project there was a large underground settling tank that needed to be built. This settling tank was 10ftx10ftx150ft so it was big. The contractor could choose the way they wanted to build it and instead of using precast sections they chose to cast it in place in one orgy of concrete pouring.

Setting the forms took over a week and was an impressive job and very well done. There was an impressive amount of reinforcing steel inside the formwork and to simplify matters the contractor did not leave openings for the pipe, deciding to come back and core the holes after the forms were off. (Red Flag!)

The concrete pour was an all day affair and went well. A few days later the exterior forms were stripped and the interior forms were going to be pulled the next day. Unfortunately the next day we had rain. When I say rain we had a storm of epic proportions. If you are familiar with a storm water detention pond, it is a place to hold water from a storm. It usually doesn't stay a pond except during storms and when a storm comes, it will fill up with water. This pond filled up with water fast and if you can imagine a big concrete bathtub sitting in a deep pool of water, what does it do? It floats.

This big concrete structure wasn't designed to be a boat but it tried. It started to raise and when the uneven lifting pressures grew to be too great it broke and sank. Nearby residents heard a large bang when the concrete shattered. Well over $100,000 of work was lost in one rain storm.

Holy poo poo, do you have pictures or an newspaper article on that? That had to be a sight to see.

Blistex
Oct 30, 2003

Macho Business
Donkey Wrestler


Grimey Drawer

poemdexter posted:

Holy poo poo, do you have pictures or an newspaper article on that? That had to be a sight to see.

I've seen that happen with septic tanks a few times. They dig the hole, install it, tell the owner to fill it with water, owner says they will, (almost never do), then there is a big rain and they have a septic tank sitting on their back lawn.

inkblottime
Sep 9, 2006

For Lack of a Better Name


Remodeling the back room and found lots of minor issues (like walls not square, siding directly on studs) we mostly could work around. However, when we were installing a door, my friend found the worst problem: he was hammering in a support plate for the studs and the entire wall moved out about an inch. I went outside and was able to push it back in.

We both walked around the room looking for anchors and found none. That's right! The entire room was floating on it's concrete slab!

Fixed the issue and $150 later ($50 for bolts, $50 for plates, and $50 for drill rental) I now have more peace of mind.

Neutrino
Mar 8, 2006



Fallen Rib

poemdexter posted:

Holy poo poo, do you have pictures or an newspaper article on that? That had to be a sight to see.

No newspaper articles - we tried to keep it hushed. I may have pictures somewhere. The contractor and design consultant ate up the costs.

edit: I looked through my digital photos but did not find the pictures. It's possible that I took film photos or may have lost the digital photos due to a hard drive crash at one point.

Neutrino fucked around with this message at 12:48 on Aug 25, 2011

Seventyfour
Apr 5, 2009

Beneath the Pavement
The Beach

Neutrino posted:

No newspaper articles - we tried to keep it hushed. I may have pictures somewhere. The contractor and design consultant ate up the costs.

I'd badly want to see those pictures if you can find them.

Schistosity
May 15, 2009



ANMAN posted:

My father's old buddy said his family was pouring the foundation for a new hip roofed hay barn way back when. Being a small town their father knew the cement truck drivers who were building a highway bridge near by. That bridge cement is like the ultimate cement I guess and can only stay in the truck for a certain amount of time before it's worthless for the bridge project. Of course the pour has to be constant and trucks have to be queuing up and waiting constantly...many trucks went over due. So instead of it going to waste, the farmer had them pour the barn foundation (for free when nobody was looking).

That poo poo was made of neutron stars and the old fart still laments how much work it was to work with it.

To be fair, this is really common, at least around here. State DOT projects (like bridges) require strict adherence to spec, so any load with too high a slump or that has passed the 60/90 minute time limit is automatically rejected. Concrete brokers make their money whether you place or don't place the load, so they're not out any money. Most around here that I work with will sell any extra concrete left over to a local car scrap yard who's paving his parking lot. Other drivers will call up people they know who need 1 or 2 yards of concrete.

The only stories I have are from the perspective of an inspector. The project I've been on for the past year and a half involves this one GC who has a family problem. By that I mean, they're obligated to hire all of the cousins as laborers and foremen, even the incompetent ones. One guy thought it was an awesome idea to bring a gas generator into the tunnel 250' below surface to run all day long. Our gas detectors thought otherwise. Another brother I had to work with when excavating for a manhole. He put in sheet piling that was too thin, banged the hell out of the trench boxes to the point that we had to cut them out to remove them, and left huge gaps in the corners so that each time it rained, lots of sediment infilled. This guy also left a mini excavator in a trench over the weekend, and when we all came back on monday, we could only see the very top of the boom because there was 8' of water due to rain.

babyeatingpsychopath
Oct 28, 2000
Forum Veteran

I work as an electrician, and I like my job, so I'll only talk about things I've seen other contractors do.

Fish wire using a nerf gun and fishing line? Sure. Unsupported over ceiling grid for hundreds of feet? Sounds fine.

PVC conduit in a ceiling joist space? No glue? Thousand feet? Sure. Push the wire in as you go. Clip a new stick on and get the wire down it. Push it further. There's no need for straps or anything. Plenum rated? What's that?

Minimum distance for strapping fire alarm cable? Seems to be n feet, where n is the distance between fire alarm panels. Same goes for data, telephone, and PA systems. Ya know, if it's less than 50 volts, it's not covered by the NEC and never gets inspected! WIN!

pubic void nullo
May 17, 2002


All these pictures are from the same room. How many issues can you find?




And the hall outside:

Nuevo
May 23, 2006




Fun Shoe



Hooooooooooooly poo poo.

Are those pop rivets in that joist? Why are there pop rivets in that joist? Oh god that doorway.

pubic void nullo
May 17, 2002


Yes they are rivets stuck in holes in the stud. Not sure what they're doing in there.

Bonus shot of the ceiling, it's like Grand Central in there and it's not even a large building

Iskariot
May 25, 2010


Those pictures really have it all. I can see water damage in pic 3 and what looks like mouse droppings in pic 4. Plus gnawed on studs or something? Incredible.

poemdexter
Feb 18, 2005

Hooray Indie Games!



College Slice

Does the door open all the way if at all? It's like pee wee's playhouse.

Nuevo
May 23, 2006




Fun Shoe

poemdexter posted:

Does the door open all the way if at all? It's like pee wee's playhouse.

I think the door may be level and the wall's what's at an angle...?

yaffle
Sep 15, 2002

Flapdoodle

Boat posted:

I think the door may be level and the wall's what's at an angle...?

poo poo, my dad's entire house is like that, it's an 18th century french farmhouse, nothing is straight level or parallel. About once a year he'll rip something off, look at the rural horror beneath and carefully replace it without doing anything. The thing is, the place is made of oak, with either flint rubble walls or wattle and daub in between, there is only so much impact you can make without having to do something very expensive and time consuming.
For instance, the wall between the living room and the large bedroom is eight feet thick, it has a weird lean, but it probably weighs as much as a modern house, so gently caress it.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


I've dealt with some old buildings and I have a keen interest in the history of architecture and construction, but 8 feet thick interior wall in a farm house?! You sure there's not a secret room or something in there?

ExplodingSims
Aug 17, 2010

RAGDOLL
FLIPPIN IN A MOVIE
HOT DAMN
THINK I MADE A POOPIE




yaffle posted:

poo poo, my dad's entire house is like that, it's an 18th century french farmhouse, nothing is straight level or parallel. About once a year he'll rip something off, look at the rural horror beneath and carefully replace it without doing anything. The thing is, the place is made of oak, with either flint rubble walls or wattle and daub in between, there is only so much impact you can make without having to do something very expensive and time consuming.
For instance, the wall between the living room and the large bedroom is eight feet thick, it has a weird lean, but it probably weighs as much as a modern house, so gently caress it.

How big is this house? I have rooms in my house that aren't 8 feet across. You sure you don't have some sort of secret treasure in there?

Blistex
Oct 30, 2003

Macho Business
Donkey Wrestler


Grimey Drawer

yaffle: is the wall some manner of stone/masonry or just crazily erected wood?

Jork Juggler
May 22, 2007


A few years ago I was asked by my great uncle to fix the deck at his house. It was originally a 3 foot deep deck that cantilevered off the house, which he later expanded to a 10 foot deep deck with a double 2x12 beam supported at the end by columns and proper footings and whatnot. A later addition to this was a bunch of sloped corrugated steel panels beneath the structure, so that the patio underneath the deck stayed dry.

Well, years of leaves and other detritus built up on top of the suspended roof and created the perfect environment for rot and mold. The double 2x12 deck beam looked like it was solid, but I was able to poke through it with a Bic pen. There was so little support that most of the deck was cantilevering off the house, 10 feet away. The really scary part came when I had to replace one of the joists that tied in to the house, discovering that the joists did not actually tie into the floor joists but were simply toe-nailed on to the sheathing. A 10 foot cantilever was supported by a few toe-nails, the thickness of the siding making up most of its support. How this held up to the weight of any person or heavy Minnesota snow I have no idea. It was a pain in the rear end to fix it up properly, but 5 years later she still looks purdy.

yaffle
Sep 15, 2002

Flapdoodle

Blistex posted:

yaffle: is the wall some manner of stone/masonry or just crazily erected wood?

It's a flint and lime mortar rubble wall, having built rubble walls we are pretty sure there are no secret rooms or anything. The wall is at the center of the house and pretty much everything hangs off it in some way, we fear to do anything to it at all.

ChaoticSeven
Aug 11, 2005



yaffle posted:

It's a flint and lime mortar rubble wall, having built rubble walls we are pretty sure there are no secret rooms or anything. The wall is at the center of the house and pretty much everything hangs off it in some way, we fear to do anything to it at all.

My God! That wall is filled with treasure!

Blistex
Oct 30, 2003

Macho Business
Donkey Wrestler


Grimey Drawer

ChaoticSeven posted:

My God! That wall is filled with treasure!

Let me guess. . . GBS Safe Thread Blue Balls. Right?

artificialj
Aug 17, 2004

You're the gourmet around here, Eddie.


Blistex posted:

Let me guess. . . GBS Safe Thread Blue Balls. Right?

Open the wall Yaffle Mouf.

Neutrino
Mar 8, 2006



Fallen Rib

To be somewhat fair, the walls are most likely non-load-bearing so you can get away with weird framing issues but the door is trippy. The place looks institutional - maybe a psych clinic? Maybe part of the patients' therapy is building poo poo like this???

Jaweeeblop
Nov 12, 2004



I moved to San Antonio awhile back to work at a small AC company. At first I thought my boss was a walking stereotype, Texan/republican/racist. Always saying things like "Why pay for a contractor to do something right when you can get Julio to do it cheaper?" We run into lots of systems that are horribly rigged together so he says this a lot. One of our clients decided last year he was going to get a new roof on his house and changed from shingles to clay tiles. He got a few bids from contractors and in the end had his maids nephew and a few friends do it for $250 cheaper. The roof was done in the fall and this past spring he called us out to clean and service his AC units. From the outside his roof looked ok, but something was a little off and I couldn't quite place my finger on it. After finishing with the first 2 units I climb into the attic to look at the last one. After a few moments of staring at his sagging roof it dawns on me why I thought the roof looked funny from the outside. Aside from it sagging there were no vent pipes sticking up through it. For the entire winter he was running his heat and venting straight into his attic. The jackasses that did the new roof decided cutting circles in clay tiles was too hard and just ignored it. Still not sure how he and his wife didn't die. My boss has been doing this job for 30 years, I guess running into this type of situation over and over again leads to things like his favorite saying.

I got called out to a house a few months ago because the AC was dripping water through a ceiling. First thing I do when I get there is shut off the unit. Why the hell would you keep running it if it is making water leak through your ceiling? Retards. That's not the purpose of the story, though, so moving forward I check the overflow line that came out over the back door and it wasn't dripping any water. I go out to my van to get my nitrogen tank and crawl into the attic to blow out the drain lines when I see the overflow pan is spilling water over the edges, clearly the homeowners were right in thinking the AC was the problem. I blow out the main line first, then I go to blow out the overflow line and it just sprays water back at me. I follow the pvc from the overflow pan and it goes for about 10 feet and then was capped off. Whoever installed the unit while the house was being built put half an overflow line, then stuck a 3 foot piece of pvc with an elbow out the wall over the backdoor to make it look like there was a complete drain line. Also they didn't put in an overflow switch which would have stopped the water spilling over to begin with. For those that don't know what an overflow switch is, it is a little device that will shut your AC off if the water level rises up too high due to blockages in your drain line. These are cheap and they are a smart thing to have. If your air handler is in the attic it is pretty much a must have.

This next one has nothing to do with the topic, I just feel like telling a quick story. One guy called us out this past July because his unit was pushing a horrible smell throughout his house. I go into the attic to check things out and immediately start dry heaving from the stink. There was a dead squirrel up there. I don't think we saw a day below 100 degrees for all of July, so you can imagine how hot the attic was and how much that made the smell worse.

gently caress attics and people who think they are a good place to stick an air conditioner.

Blistex
Oct 30, 2003

Macho Business
Donkey Wrestler


Grimey Drawer

Jaweeeblop posted:

I moved to San Antonio awhile back to work at a small AC company. At first I thought my boss was a walking stereotype, Texan/republican/racist. Always saying things like "Why pay for a contractor to do something right when you can get Julio to do it cheaper?" We run into lots of systems that are horribly rigged together so he says this a lot. . . .

Like my initial post said, I did a lot of "fixing other people's messes" type jobs with my uncle. This pissed him off as well since a lot of the jobs involving fixing other people's messes (obviously not the ones in the OP) resulted in him making less money than having been the original person to do it, and the owners having to spend more. Some people are just too cheap for their own good. You don't cheap out on a contractor, major appliances, or a lawyer.

My cousin in BC has a friend who I think was part of a class action lawsuit. During some manner of building boom in Vancouver during the early 90's or something a bunch of suburbs were made and some of the companies made the houses like that one they did in Arrested Development that Michael and Gob built themselves in a few days that fell apart. 2x4's that were pre-rotted before they even put them into the building. One nail per stud. Floor joists and rafters 2x further apart than code allows, masonry that was essentially cement coloured sand between the blocks, and a host of other such problems. How did they know that their house was one of the affected ones? One of the interior walls fell down. As in fell right over. Seems that the crown molding was the only thing holding it upright. They had it inspected and most of the exterior doors were only held in by 4 screws and some insulation jammed in around them. The attic wasn't properly insulated, resulting in their heating bill being huge, and the wiring was done to save copper. Wires would go diagonally through walls, three rooms would be hooked up together on the same breaker, etc. Basically it was a miracle that the place didn't sink into the ground, fall down, or catch on fire.

Ok, just witnessed another instance of things not being up to code. . . in my own house!

I just bought a wood furnace a month ago and I'm still waiting on the guy to finish another job so he can start on my duct work. There used to be a furnace in the basement but things have been boarded up and all that. Instead there is a wood stove in my living room. The chimney is one of those double walled metal deals and it stops in the ceiling of my downstairs bathroom against a wall. I cut a hole in the ceiling and found it. . . nestled against a bunch of fibreglass insulation and wooden boards. The sticker on the chimney says. . .

Blistex's Chimney posted:

Minimum Clearance 2 inch Air Space to Combustible Materials and Building Insulation.

So now I'm going to have to go nuts with the contractors saw and a bent coathanger to get rid of all the boards it's in contact with and the insulation nestled around it. Great!

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PromethiumX
Mar 5, 2003


I do commercial refrigeration for a living. Think supermarkets. Anyhow we were set to install the refrigeration for a Super Wal-Mart last year when we got a call that the project would be delayed for 9 months minimum.

Generally the refrigeration contractor is allowed into the building after the concrete slab is poured. But we knew the slab had been poured on this particular job so we were wondering what the hell the hold up was. We later found out the reason.

After the slab and all its stub outs of plumbing and electrical conduit had passed inspection the Wal-Mart appointed overseer of construction comes in the building and goes over to the plumber and says yeah that's nice and all but *flips the plumbers plan 180 degrees* that's how it should be.

There was one page in that entire set of drawings that read top to bottom rather than bottom to top. That plan was the plumbers. They had plumbed the ENTIRE BUILDING BACKWARDS. 5 acres of concrete slab had to be torn up and removed. The plumber lost his business. Talk about a monumental oversight.

PromethiumX fucked around with this message at 13:38 on Sep 11, 2011

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