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House inspection

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Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2007
1280 posts
1782 upvotes
Montr

House inspection

Hi,

We bought a house with a fully renovated basement (8ft ceiling). The inspector asked for the plans since they had to dig out and wants to make sure it was done properly and the foundations are fine. Now the problem is the owner says they don't have the plans.

What should i do, should i cancel the offer? Guess there's no way to tell if the foundations are fine...
20 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 26, 2003
1286 posts
355 upvotes
Lots of stuff can go seriously wrong with basement underpinning if it isn't done properly. Yours may have been, or it may have not been. Personally I wouldn't take the risk, but others might.
Deal Addict
Dec 21, 2011
3507 posts
688 upvotes
Allenford
Does he have the contractors name who did the work? They might have the details you want.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Oct 16, 2008
11234 posts
5416 upvotes
Vaughan
Does the owner have permit for this work? If not then OP just walk away from the deal. There is no lingering question.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 19, 2008
7406 posts
2998 upvotes
Whitby
A job of that scope would be done with a permit...and building dept would inspect the footing forms before the contractor was allowed to pour. Ensure that process was followed (permit) and you should be good, the municipalities are overly cautious on soil load etc
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2007
1280 posts
1782 upvotes
Montr
He didn't have the permit. He only gave me the name of the contractor (he owns many buildings and hires the same contractor all the time).
Deal Fanatic
Jul 3, 2011
6517 posts
3798 upvotes
Thornhill
frederixx wrote: He didn't have the permit. He only gave me the name of the contractor (he owns many buildings and hires the same contractor all the time).
If in Montreal a permit is required for that type of work you can check with the city to see if there was one issued and closed. If it was closed then maybe the city will have documents to satisfy your inspector. If there was no permit issued but required, buyer beware!
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2007
1280 posts
1782 upvotes
Montr
licenced wrote: If in Montreal a permit is required for that type of work you can check with the city to see if there was one issued and closed. If it was closed then maybe the city will have documents to satisfy your inspector. If there was no permit issued but required, buyer beware!
It is required by the city and he did not have one. He says he does it all the time (as he owns many buildings)... Very unfortunate since i really like the house.
Sr. Member
Aug 6, 2014
830 posts
300 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
if there's some contractor going around underpinning/benching houses without a permit you should report him asap. i'm generally pretty relaxed when it comes to residential work, but digging out a foundation improperly is serious.

absolutely walk away from this if the work was done without a permit. in addition to not having any idea if the work was done correctly, it also means that an engineer hasn't checked things out to make sure the house won't collapse.
Deal Addict
Sep 20, 2008
1186 posts
336 upvotes
Toronto
fisher44 wrote: if there's some contractor going around underpinning/benching houses without a permit you should report him asap. i'm generally pretty relaxed when it comes to residential work, but digging out a foundation improperly is serious.

absolutely walk away from this if the work was done without a permit. in addition to not having any idea if the work was done correctly, it also means that an engineer hasn't checked things out to make sure the house won't collapse.
Report the owner of the house. There's never a case that I've been through where I don't get a permit for underpinning. If, one day, I do get a client that doesn't want a permit for underpinning, I would walkaway immediately.

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Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2007
1280 posts
1782 upvotes
Montr
fisher44 wrote: if there's some contractor going around underpinning/benching houses without a permit you should report him asap. i'm generally pretty relaxed when it comes to residential work, but digging out a foundation improperly is serious.

absolutely walk away from this if the work was done without a permit. in addition to not having any idea if the work was done correctly, it also means that an engineer hasn't checked things out to make sure the house won't collapse.
I'm not sure he underpinned. From what the seller told me, it was already 8ft deep (not sure if true) and he only had to remove sand. It was a really old unfinished basement. Not sure it matters...
Deal Fanatic
Jul 3, 2011
6517 posts
3798 upvotes
Thornhill
frederixx wrote: I'm not sure he underpinned. From what the seller told me, it was already 8ft deep (not sure if true) and he only had to remove sand. It was a really old unfinished basement. Not sure it matters...
Unless the average house in Montreal was built very differently or this was a custom build, only very large homes would have an 8ft basement, everything else would have had to have been raised and underpinned to achieve that height.
Deal Addict
Apr 4, 2013
1274 posts
410 upvotes
I would walk away from the deal. Why take on the risk that there is a problem with the foundation?

If you really like the house, would having the foundation inspected now help? Could the work be permitted after the fact? If so, have it do it.
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2007
1280 posts
1782 upvotes
Montr
cbr663 wrote: I would walk away from the deal. Why take on the risk that there is a problem with the foundation?

If you really like the house, would having the foundation inspected now help? Could the work be permitted after the fact? If so, have it do it.
How can you have the foundations inspected without removing the walls and ceiling? Is that even possible
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 2, 2001
5558 posts
3878 upvotes
GTA
frederixx wrote: +-1930
There are houses built now that don't have 8 foot tall basements, closer to 7.5', so for an 85 year old house to have 8' is a bit if a stretch. Is there any space in the basement that's unfinished like the furnace room or the space under the stairs?
Deal Addict
Oct 16, 2007
1280 posts
1782 upvotes
Montr
Since i won't know for sure how it was renovated, i'll just cancel the offer. Maybe it was built as it should, but can't gamble on that much money.

Thanks everyone
Sr. Member
Jul 26, 2010
734 posts
68 upvotes
Burlington
Smart move! Cancel and run as fast as possible!!> :(
Sr. Member
May 18, 2011
531 posts
75 upvotes
NORTH YORK
If it is not finished you could call in an underpinning expert and see if he would inspect it for you for 100$ or to 'give you a quote' if more work is needed. Then he might do it for free. There are plenty of basements that were done without a proper permits and houses are not falling down every day. Was it done a long time ago? Is that why he doesn't have the permit? If you sense something may be fishy then it is not worth having problems in the future and I would walk away if you can't get confirmation it was done properly. Or you could include a clause in the deal that the seller warrants the basement was done properly etc, and that the warranty does not expire. Even create a holdback of funds on closing if you want to get your own inspectors in there before or after close. There are lots of ways to handle this in the deal to make sure it was done properly...

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