Abstract: Gambier Island Home Inspector notes on vacation properties with unique features that require understanding of form, function and safety.
4 Season Recreational Property
A 4 season designation is important as it differentiates from a seasonal cabin or cottage type property in that seasonal usually means it needs to be freeze protected in the winter and shoulder seasons.Therefore the inspection of a 4 season retreat is much more typical of a residential one.
4 Season + Flare = Unique Style
Many of these properties will have large footprints, allowing owners to add flare and styling features to their recreational holding, which are not typical or which might not be permitted in an urban location. Some of these features may include:
- Unique roof lines
- Glass walls
- Expansive decks
- Distinctive fireplaces and chimneys
- Multiple outbuildings
- Landscaping retaining walls
- Soaring ceilings
- Railings, steps and staircases of unusual material
- Abundant skylights
- Stone walls
- Native wood off the property used for columns, beams and siding
- Exposed bedrock inside the home
- Tramway up a steep slope
- Boathouse with winch operated boat cradle on steel rails
Many of the above elements require the use of non-conventional construction techniques. The owner is likely to be the one who built the property. An architect may have been involved too. Some construction standards may have creatively interpreted to achieve a certain look. The property may be as quirky as the owners, but it serves their needs perfectly.
Fall From Gracious Living
Now fast forward 30 years or so… and it’s time to sell the property. The owners have passed on and the property becomes an estate sale. Our purpose built recreational property is now somewhat of a mill stone. There is no one around who knows much about the house or property. No instructions on how many of the peculiar adaptations were meant to be operated. No information on the condition of various systems or appliances that may have been sourced globally before CSA labelling was mandatory.
Better Call the Inspector
When this type of property comes on the market, buyers are wise enough to know that it needs to be inspected. At EKAN Inspections, we certainly appreciate getting into the details on these ‘one off’ properties. For us, the functionality and safety of every house system is paramount, regardless of how unique is the design.
Prior to the site visit and inspection we will discuss with the buyers if additional investigations are called for such as an environmental assessment, or healthy home report or sampling for hazardous material.
At EKAN we take the extra time in these circumstances to ensure a thorough inspection. Where a residential inspection in town can take two to three hours, for these properties, it may take 4 hours plus… time well spent, to complete the condition assessment.