1. The framing or the bones of the house.
Please excuse the drawings, I am not a good artist. Perspective is just too hard. And it is times like this I really wish I'd taken a picture of what I saw. Anyway, on the left is what the framing in a house is supposed to look like. I sort of traced that out of a book, just to get the angles somewhat right. On the left is what I saw in the main part (not the addition) of the house. I am 100% sure that the 2nd floor wall framing sat on the 1st floor wall framing. As you can see comparing it with the image on the left, this is a no-no, and this is why I think whoever moves into 1622 4th Street might die a horrible death as the 2nd floor falls into the 1st floor. And this is why I feel compelled to try to do as much as I can to stop the contractor or inform any perspective buyer. I don't need anyone's death on my conscience.
I will admit that I'm about 60-75% sure about how the floor joists are in there. I did not check on this progress of this project on a very regular basis. But seeing the wall on wall framing on the south wall, after they gutted the place, was really shocking. Another thing I'm not sure about, did they ever undo it. My gut tells me no. Also the many, many short cuts the workers took and the incompetence shown throughout the process points to a 'no' as well.
UPDATE (12/8/12)- Someone gave me a plausible reason for the weird framing and it is possible that it was temporary. But I'd still recommend checking it out to make sure it's kosher.
2. Incompetent dumb stuff.
Seriously, what person supervising the work lets your guys do dumbass wall frame on wall frame crap in the first place? Maybe the same mentally messed up person who leaves out around 20 bags of concrete, uncovered, outside on a night when heavy rains are predicted. Other neighbors have observed stupid things too, but really these things scream that these guys have no freaking clue how to do things right.
3.Shortcuts, cheapskates, and cut corners.
Also when you gut a house, you bother to get the permits first. This house has permit issues. I guess they didn't get the permits so they could go cheap, but in the long run it cost them with the 2 Stop Work orders.
(Update/Clarification)- There were permits but it appeared to be not the 'right' permits when looking at DCRA's permit database.
Don't expect that this house has insulation. If they didn't tear off the roof to replace it
Also it should go without saying, cheap Latino workers were used. But then again, what construction project around here doesn't.
Now the thing that confounds and confuses me is, if they were being so cheap, why would they rip out the original floor joists and roof to replace it with something, I think is, inferior?
4. Pissing off the neighbors.
I will also have to acknowledge that there is motive in all these posts. Besides making me fear for the life of the future occupant of 1622 Fourth Street NW, they've also pissed off the neighbors (which includes me) in the process. There was the trash spilling into the alley, the noise, the dust, destruction of street trees that we just put in a few years ago, destruction of neighboring property, and the flooding basement. What this has motivated was a closer look at the work being done. When I was having my own house gutted my contractor advised me to be good to my neighbors and he did the same (I hope), because one way to get a Stop Work Order slapped on your door while doing a big job is by being an asshole. 1622 4th St NW has 2 stop work orders. Why? Bad work and pissed off neighbors calling the city.
However, someone being a jerk is not a reason why one shouldn't buy or rent 1622 4th St NW at some inflated price. No. Items 1 thru 3 are. Number 4 is just the parsley on the side of the plate, the flourish at the end. My hope is that someone buys this and fixes the structural issues and does it right, for their sake and the sake of all the future occupants.
If anyone has anything to add, comment below. I ask that you try to be factual. I have tagged all my 1622 4th Street Northwest house posts with its own special tag.