A contractor-client of ours located a “spec” house on his own lot by himself. He had used us several times in the past to lay out houses, but did not call us this time in an effort to save money. This occurred in 2010, in the middle of the housing crash, when everyone was trying to economize. Unfortunately, what would have cost several hundred dollars at the beginning ultimately turned into a bill in the tens of thousands of dollars. The contractor mistakenly set the house much too close to the road. A county inspector forced a work stoppage until we performed a survey. Our survey revealed the tragic truth. The contractor applied for, and was denied, a zoning variance. The county decided that examples must be made.
I sat on this story for five years because I thought that any mention of it might be perceived as gloating or celebrating over someone’s misfortune. Nothing could be further from the truth. The contractor is a nice guy and I feel sorry for him. He was just trying to eke out a living, as we all were during that terrible downturn. But the fact remains that proper due diligence would have prevented a world of hurt.
The scenario played out as follows. The contractor owned several adjacent lots. The house was originally built on a slab foundation. The contractor had another foundation built on an adjacent lot (this time with our assistance,) and the house shell was moved to the new foundation. The old foundation (the one in violation) was then destroyed. The tally was two foundations instead of one, house mover expenses, demolition expenses, lost time, sleepless nights, and probably a few ulcers. It is a sad, cautionary tale that I never care to see repeated. Please never buy property, or locate infrastructure, without expert help.