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Historic Building Inspections Require A Trained And Experienced Home Inspector

             SGAInspection@Comcast.Net

         (360) 485-7123

Steven Abbott owner of SGA Inspection Services has a special love and affinity for older homes. He grew up in the San Francisco bay area, a region rich in history and historic buildings,he started working with his father on historic homes when he was 14 years old.  He has inspected and worked on hundreds of homes and buildings built between 1880 and 1940.  Log, stone, brick, timber, and balloon-frame structures, large and small, have been inspected.

“They don’t build them like they used to!”  In some cases, that’s good, in other cases, maybe not.  While old windows, doors, and woodwork have charm and beauty, antique plumbing, heating, and electrical systems may have serious limitations, problems or safety considerations.  It is important to understand what might and what might not work for today’s living standards and expectations.

The Clunie House Landmark # 128 located in San Francisco CA. North Panhandle received a completet  inspection and  restoration in 1989 to repair damage from the Loma Prieta earth quake and to upgrade the kitchen . The inspections and restorations were performed by Steven Abbott owner of S G A Construction

 


Steven Abbott uses the latest IRC standards to inspect the oldest structures.  Old homes may not and are not expected to meet today’s standards.  It is important for a buyer to understand what these differences may be in order to appreciate, understand and, if necessary, correct or update an older building.  Old doors may not have safety glass. Electrical systems may not have updated grounding or shock protection.


When an older home has been remodeled, it is important to look beyond the new fixtures, cabinets and paint.  When a bathroom or kitchen was remodeled, were the plumbing and electrical systems replaced during the renovation work?  Was a new, high-efficiency furnace installed into an old, unlined masonry chimney? Was knob & tube wiring used in conjunction with newer wiring? or maybe copper plumbing was connected to galvanized water lines without proper fittings.

The Drake House Located in the Genoa Nevada Historic district

Received an exterior renovation in 1979 performed by Steven Abbott. The renovation involved having clear heart redwood siding custom mild to match the existing siding and hand made double hung windows constructed of clear heart redwood also to match existing windows. All material specifications,procurment and installations were performed by Steven Abbott

 


Some old home concerns can be corrected, such as replacing old plumbing or wiring.  Other conditions can not be practically changed but there may be solutions to limit future, potential problems.  If untreated wood is too close to the soil or masonry, a regular wood destroying organism inspection would be advisable to catch WDO infestations early. 
Non-toxic borate treatments can be applied to wood to protect it from damage. 
Modern updates to the systems or floor plan may be desirable.  How can air
conditioning be added to an older home?  Your inspection will provide you with
information about these situations.


Steven Abbott renovated, restored and inspected many historic homes and  buildings in the greater San Francisco area for 20 years with his construction company and 12 years prior as a union carpenter.  He is a third generation craftman who knows the intimate details of homes built on the west coast. As a general contractor I have been involved in the preservation, restoration and renovation and inspection of historically signifigant homes in San Francisco CA, Berkeley CA, Oakland CA, Placerville CA Seattle WA. and Genoa Nevada. I have 40 years of real world hands on experience and knowledge of the building methodology used on the west coast in the last 130 years. If you need an inspection of a Gothic Revival, Queen Ann, Italianate Victorian or Second Empire style structures call an inspector that loves, understands and know the difference between these historically important structures. I am proud to be a member of Society of Architectural Historians ( SAH ) and Association for Preservation Technology ( APT )  and support there activities in the pacific north west  chapters. 

Are you going to tear this place apart, or are you going to cherish
it?”

Older homes have a lot of stories to tell, and inspectors of
historic homes are their storytellers, sharing a building’s history with clients
and helping preserve it for future generations. 

When someone is buying a historic property, I qualify them right away. “Who are you? Why are you buying this house? What sorts of things do you want to do with it? How well do you understand some of these very interesting architectural details?” I am not judging , but “just taking a lot of time to find out who they are and what they expect. A big part of my job is managing expectations.”

Working with prospective buyers, I try to explain that, “when you own a historic home, it’s not a purchase—it’s a marriage. They require research. It’s holistic, everything is connected to everything else. I won’t necessarily try to talk someone out of buying an older property, but I will make it clear that they’re not getting into a “typical” situation. “I never tell people what to buy or not buy, but I go heavy into information mode. “If they just don’t get it and they want to tear stuff out, I just have to drive away and be sad. But I provide compelling arguments for conservation.”