Home Inspection - Brick Pier Separation


Old 05-13-15, 06:51 PM
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Home Inspection - Brick Pier Separation

I had a home inspection recently for a property I wrote a contract on. The inspector noted that the brick pier in the crawl space has some separation. You can see it better in the picture on the right. The house is 15 years old.

I'm unfamiliar with structural issues such as this. Can someone give their opinion of what they think would need to be done? How bad is this? Right now the inspection report went back to the seller and the ball is in their court on how to propose to fix it.
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Old 05-13-15, 07:48 PM
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Judging from your location ans type of structural systems used for residential construction, the photos do not seem to be worrisome structurally. The residential loads very low and usually not a problem with the common short masonry piers that really carry loads than t could be resisted by wood framing, but masonry allows the construction to be tailored to fit the geometry of the site and footing elevations. Open joints in masonry really are not a problem with vertical or most lateral loads from structural standpoint. - there is a common classic question - "does mortar keep masonry units apart or hold them together?".

After doing many home inspections, from what I see in the photos, it a is a common remark to show that the inspector saw the situation. Based on the photos, it does not justify a "red flag" that suggests that a structural engineer should be consulted unless the buyer is somewhat paranoid or is looking for a reduced price.

Old 05-14-15, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Charleston111
". . . the inspection report went back to the seller and the ball is in their court on how to propose to fix it . . ."
I'm a Broker here in Vermont . . . . and if a Buyer sent such an inspection back to one of my Sellers, nothing would happen. Are you expecting the Seller to now go out and obtain estimates to perform a "repair" to your satisfaction before you'll buy the place ?

Should it constitute a Buyer request to be released from the Contract ?

Should it be interpreted as a demand that the negotiated price be adjusted . . . . if so, by how much ?

I don't think anyone would interpret the inspector's comment to have automatically transferred the ball into the Seller's Court unless the wording of your P&S Contract specifically outlines such a procedure . . . . and I've never seen one that does.

Otherwise, the ball is still in your court.
Old 05-14-15, 07:44 PM
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I'm not familiar with brick piers used in residential construction. But the differences in mortar color indicate someone has already tried to repair the pier. Meaning its construction is not able to withstand the loads being placed on it. My engineering background would want to know both why is the mortar cracking, and what's inside of the pier? If the mortar is defective, or if the pier is hollow, you may be looking at the beginning of a potentially expensive repair project.

It might not hurt to bring in a foundation repair specialist, most of whom will happily furnish you a free quote for making things right. You would then at least have some ammunition for making a counter-counter-offer to the seller's counter-offer.
Old 05-14-15, 07:57 PM
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The question begs to be asked, why is it there? It looks like its a couple feet from an exterior wall and the joists are running beside it. What is the structural reason it is there? What is above it? I don't think you've provided enough information for anyone to be of much help.
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