Cutting inspection holes in walls?

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zepper

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Hey guys,

If this belongs in General or some other place, my apologies (and admin, feel free to move it). But you "wall guys" seemed a good place to start.

On the view side of our house, we're preparing to:
  • Move an exterior door to the adjacent wall, replacing a door-width window there
  • Replace the door with a slightly wider window
We'll have licenced, experienced pros do the work, so it'll be done right. But before we can even start calling around, the (small) town where we are wants a complete plan, and a structural engineer's inspection and sign-off.

So we have a SE coming next week. To my surprise, he wants me to cut 1x1' holes adjacent to the door, and above and below the existing side window so he "can see what's in there".

I figured that here in the 21st century—where we can detect oil hundreds of feet underground, etc.—people like SEs would have instruments for that. (There's no plumbing anywhere near there, and even I can use my $30 stud finder to deduce framing and which way cables run.)

I don't mind using my drywall saw (do any of us? LOL), but my wife wonders if the mess has to happen in our main living area weeks or months before the actual work's done. Thanks!
 

bud16415

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He likely has a new camera he’s dieing to try out is my guess.



Only thing he might see is if there is rot etc. In that case you will find it when you open it up and have to fix it anyway.





It is a new world we live in of CYA if you know what I mean.

My sister went to the ER and the old family doc pushed on her belly and she moaned and he said you need your gallbladder out we will do it tomorrow morning at 8:00 am. We asked why he couldn’t do it that day and he said because now we have to do 6 hours of useless tests to see if she needs her gallbladder out. That’s the world we live in.



If you argue with him he will likely come up with a more expensive job for your doors and windows. Cut the holes and tape over them with a little matching paint till the job starts.
 

zepper

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LOL Bud! Thanks for the perceptive & entertaining reply.

Yes, he told my wife some kind of camera's involved (I wasn't there). I said, "So he'll stick it in there and see the top or bottom of a header or nogging [horiz. frame member]... Then what?" I mean, if it's an x-ray camera he wouldn't need the holes, right? Go figure.

I appreciate what you said about it being "CYA times". But in this case, I don't know what he could claim he was able to prove, test-wise.

My personal theory is, it's so he can tell someone at Town Hall, "Okay, I inspected the walls!" And this functionary will say, "Ah, right, great", and stamp the form so they can collect their fee from us too. 🤷‍♂️
 

bud16415

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My first house I paid a mandatory fee of 50 bucks for a septic inspection and they told me the day and time they would be by. I waited around and no one came so I called and was told yes it was done. I told them no way I was there and i was told it was a drive by inspection.

I just chalked it up a $50 bribe.

A lot of this is why I'm a avid DIYer at 67 years old. Stuff like windows and doors just seem to happen like magic here.
 

RedneckGrump

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It all comes down to money, and in this case, a new toy called a camera... Yeah, I would cut him the holes, or her would have you moving on, and doing even more expensive ways of inspection... Holes are easy to fix as @bud16415 suggested... Little tape and paint till you are ready to finish it...
 

Eddie_T

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I would never seek a permit to alter a window or a door. IMO that's just asking for trouble.
 

zepper

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My first house I paid a mandatory fee of 50 bucks for a septic inspection and they told me the day and time they would be by. I waited around and no one came so I called and was told yes it was done. I told them no way I was there and i was told it was a drive by inspection...

"Drive by inspection", LOL... The least they could've done was let you stand by the road and hold out the money so the guy could grab it as he cruised by.

It all comes down to money, and in this case, a new toy called a camera... Yeah, I would cut him the holes... Holes are easy to fix as @bud16415 suggested... Little tape and paint till you are ready to finish it...

Yes, I know, but my wife dreads drywall dust in the living room (she'll have the whole place cleared out before the actual work begins), so I was trying to save her some stress by avoiding something that seemed ridiculous. Alas, sometimes the world is unavoidably ridiculous.

I would never seek a permit to alter a window or a door. IMO that's just asking for trouble.

Totally with you. Unfortunately, this is a particularly conspicuous mod (overlooking one of the main roads into town), in a town that likes to mind other people's business.

Last spring, someone right across from us got about 2/3 through a significant remodel, without permits, until the town stopped them and said they'd have to pay a bunch of fines, or undo everything and redo it "officially". They couldn't afford either, so they ended up selling the place and paying the town out of the proceeds. 🙄

Anyway, thanks for your input, guys. I'll cut the holes, but you can bet I'll be standing there asking questions and trying to see what good they could possibly do.
 

bud16415

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I would cut them with a hole saw and have the shop vac sucking away below.

I would wait for the day of the inspection and have everything ready to go and then make the inspector stand and wait as I put on quite the production making each hole for him.
 

68bucks

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Buy a cell phone endoscope. Get them on Amazon for <$50. It will fit through like a 1/2" hole. They have lights and long leads and you record to your phone.
 

zepper

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Buy a cell phone endoscope. Get them on Amazon for <$50. It will fit through like a 1/2" hole. They have lights and long leads and you record to your phone.

Maybe I'll just wear a propeller beanie and play a kazoo.
 

68bucks

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Maybe I'll just wear a propeller beanie and play a kazoo.
Well you can see what's in the wall through a little hole rather than cutting square foot holes in your wall, but your attire is up to you.
 

zepper

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Well you can see what's in the wall through a little hole rather than cutting square foot holes in your wall, but your attire is up to you.
Yes on both counts!

For what it's worth (your amusement, I hope, maybe): Today I got through to someone at this structural engineering office. He wasn't familiar with our particular case—so I described it, in very straightforward terms, and asked: "If we cut these one-by-one holes you want, what does your engineer hope to see in there, besides some insulation and the sides of some studs?" He couldn't tell me.

Apparently the guy I need to ask is in only Mon.–Wed. from 8 to 9 a.m. (I'm a night owl, so that isn't going to happen.) So I'll just wait, be there when he turns up, and cut said holes on-the-fly if he manages to give me a rational reason to do so.

Or maybe I should just stand by the road and hold out the cash (LOL).

Thanks for your input, as always... It's always good to know I'm not crazy, necessarily. 🙋🏽‍♂️
 
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