Who swiped my square footage?

It's getting to the point where I much prefer doing a 1960's rambler over a new home. At least with them, I know what kind of problems to expect. Not so with new homes - and our builders are getting sloppy and the municipal building inspectors are missing defects, a lot of them.

Case is point, yesterday I did a new home, built last year and occupied in December. I followed my usual protocol of inspecting the exterior first, then roof, then interior spaces, starting at the finished basement.

I started at the store room at the back of the house, where the furnace was located. Lots of stuff in there in the rectangular room. That's when a warning bell went off. Made a "unh?" sound and ran up the stairs to fetch my laser measure.

Measured upstairs, from the sliding door to the far edge of the kitchen. 24'2". Add a six-inch wall. Measured the width of the laundry room. 11'1". Total, 35'9". Got it.

Ran back downstairs. Measured from one side of the store room to the other. 24'7".

Ran back upstairs, hurried past my clients. Got into the laundry room and stomped with my heel. Echo-y sound, so definitely not slab-on-grade. Basement or crawlspace. Checked the only closet. No access hatch. Stomp to make sure. Hatches bounce, making them sound slightly different that regular sub-floors. Nope.

Meanwhile, my clients are looking at me as though I am a touch daft. "What's under here?" I asked, pointing to the laundry room floor.

More looks questioning my sanity. Fortunately, I've worked with this couple before, so I get the benefit of the doubt.

I explain myself, that the dimensions don't match. Off we go, down the steps, 'round the corner, and we collectively stare at the store room wall. The husband asks if blueprints would help. "Absolutely!" They're friends with the sellers (it's a FSBO) so they text about plans and the crawlspace.

The reply comes back - they have no plans, nor is there a crawlspace.

Au contraire, I think, got to be something under there. It's not a slab, and it isn't a basement, so crawlspace is the default answer.

This, too, gets explained to the clients. They ask why I need to get in there, given it is a new home. I point out that I need to verify the insulation, vapor barrier, ventilation (I didn't see vents on the exterior wall, so it may not be vented, another code violation), and make sure it is dry. If it isn't dry, we have a potential mold and rot issue waiting for us.

Termites in Pullman are a very rare occurrence, fortunately, or I'd add them to my list of worries.

My clients are bright; they get it. They also don't panic as we analyze the best way to create access. The home is still under warranty, so the builder will be doing the work.

I felt pretty pleased. Like Sherlock in the story "Silver Blaze" with the dog that did not bark, I had done the harder part of inspecting. Any one can see what is there, but a really good inspector will recognize what isn't. It was a good catch.

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."

Holmes: "That was the curious incident."