Condo Defects in New and Old Buildings

Top Condo Defects

These are the most common condo defects

1.       LOOSE BALCONY RAILING- Newer construction must not allow a 4” sphere pass through the railing openings. Older buildings may have loose railings and cracks at railing bases due to corrosion and concrete spalling.

2.       EXHAUST VENTS– Bathroom vents either have lint build-up or are not working. Dryer exhaust vent needs cleaning. Lint restricts the air circulation, requiring the dryer to run longer and is a fire hazard. The dryer should vent to the exterior and the vent hose should be free of lint.

3.       WINDOW AIR CONDITIONERS- A dedicated circuit and outlet is required in accordance with the manufacturer of the air conditioner unit. Look for the sticker “For Single Use Outlet Only”. Do not use power strips or extension cords as they may overheat and become a fire hazard.

4.       FIXED CEILING FANS- Must be hard wired with the proper wire type. Extension cords and lamp cords are not permitted. The proper wire type is Romex and not lamp cord, which is the wrong type wire gauge.

5.       PLUMBING– Caulking missing at sinks, tub/tile grout missing, toilet loose at base and leaking drain pipe, shut-off valve and washer hoses leak. Leaks may lead to floor; wall and ceiling damage and contribute to mold growth. Dishwasher missing the air gap and direct connected to disposal.

6.       ELECTRICAL- Electrical Double Tapping also called double-lugging. Two wires on one circuit breaker (common practice) are not allowed unless the breaker is rated for two wires. GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets can prevent electrocution near water. Newer construction requires GFCI protection at bathrooms, kitchens, exterior, and garages.

7.       SMOKE DETECTORS– Many homes have smoke detectors with missing or dead batteries creating a false sense of security. Test smoke detectors monthly.

8.       RANGE/OVEN– Can the combination oven/range appliance in your tip home over because the anti-tip bracket was not installed? [Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions. CPSC] The bracket prevents the range from tipping over.

9.       ATTIC FIREWALL– Most townhomes have unfinished and improper construction and termination of the firewall in the garage and/ or attic space.  This condition is a fire safety concern. If the firewall is not constructed properly, a fire in one unit could spread to all units in the building.

10.   WATER INFILTRATION DAMAGE– Water infiltration conditions due to leaking exterior windows/walls, water damaged ceilings, walls from leaks at subject unit or neighboring unit directly above or adjacent. These conditions may cause thousands of dollars to repair and also contribute to mold growth.

Look around and inspect your home for any of the defects discussed above

You may be surprised at what you find

You may also want peace of mind and have your home professionally inspected by an experienced home inspector

Published in Building Management Hawaii Magazine: November 2007