Often times I get asked what do I think of flipped/rehabbed houses and my answer it depends, then many questions start coming to mind:
- Did they modify any structural element in the house ? and if yes, was the modification engineered and permitted ?
- Did they reinforce any structural element in the house ? and if yes, was the reinforcement engineered and permitted ?
- Was the foundation structurally sound and/or foundation walls dry before refinishing the basement?
To all my dear clients, rehabbing a house is like a football game. You will see the talented, veterans and excellent players and you will also see the rookie and unexperienced players.
I've had the pleasure to work with both where I learned stuff from the experienced clients and also I was able to assist the rookies providing them with the proper guidance, calculations and necessary drawings to assist them in pulling the structural permit for the work they were planning to do.
While I've seen plenty of perfectly rehabbed houses I have also seen flipped houses with some structural issues. I had a client calling me to evaluate significant sags in floor, crack on walls and doors not closing properly, after a site visit it was determined that the wall that was removed, right below that area, may have not been replaced with a properly sized beam. The suspicion was confirmed when the client removed the dry wall covering the bulk heard to find the beam was not sized correctly for the span between the supports, and also the beam was spliced in between supports.
Here is a small advice if you allow me to provide:
To the investors, I highly encourage you to work with a qualified structural engineer when a structural modification is being done. The cost for the engineering services is truly minimal when compared to the over all cost also it would be negligible when you think of what can go wrong and doesn't get discovered at earlier stages.
To the new home buyers, asking the questions of what was done, photos of before and after and more so whether any structural modifications were done and permit was pulled is really recommended.
Call us today if you need any further assistance: 724-949-0004
Written by Firas Abdelahad, P.E.
Firas Abdelahad has been practicing structural engineering over 16 years working with teams of consultants, architects, investors, homeowners, contractors and subcontractors to come up with solutions for challenges may arise during design and construction phases.