So many times during our inspections we run across "unique" designs or unusual designs that have worked for years at the home, but would not be allowed under current building standards. This type of situation is what makes our job difficult at times! We need to identify improperly installed or built items at the home and make our client aware of the possible implications that might arise out of the item or items we are identifying. But, we also know that this item has functioned for a long period of time and most likely will never cause an issue, but we really cant say that in so many words! Often, as experienced inspectors we also know that the owner will most likely not do anything about the issue!
This is one such find on a 25 year old log home! the stairs to the second floor bedroom, bathroom and loft end at the exterior wall! It is impossible to extend that wall and it is impossible to rebuild the stairs! The owners that built the home, learned to live with this "unique" design and believe it or not the new buyers did not even notice it until I pointed it out! This home was built in a rural setting with no code inspections.
Here we have a set of stairs and the builder could not figure out a way to make the handrail go all the way to the top at the landing! So, you have about four steps that do not have a handrail.... This is really a dangerous design that can be corrected, it will just take some thought and a little talent to correct it. This house was only two years old and it had passed the local city inspections! If the owners had only had a home inspection prior to buying the home from the builder this would have been caught. Now they are being forced to correct it at their own expense
So if you are looking at a new home be sure to take those "blinders" off and really look at that home! Ask yourself if you will be OK with the design of the home and any of those "unique" items in it. Most of all be sure you get an inspection of you new home regardless if it is new construction or of it is 100 years old!
Scott Patterson has been a professional home inspector since 1995 and works out of the Greater Nashville TN area. You can contact him at his office 615-302-1113 or on his cell at 615-870-4162 via text or voice.