Steep Slope Lot Worries | Bowen Island

Sherpa Certified Inspector

We recently inspected a waterfront property on Bowen Island, built on a steep lot. From the listing information, we could see that this inspection would require ‘Sherpa’ skills. There was no access to the shoreline.

A protective fence was at the end of the backyard, protecting anyone who might approach the cliff. Access to the perimeter of the foundation was only from one side. Plus there was a two story high crawl space going up the bedrock face, something that one does not see very often.

Unique Concerns

Anytime a building is built on a steep hillside, structural issues predominate the exterior inspection. Is the hillside moving? Is the foundation stressed? Are there active cracks in the foundation walls? Are the posts supporting the decks vertical or leaning? Are the footings for the posts secure or show signs of failure? 

What about the driveway? Will it be accessible during inclement weather? On those days that there is substantial snow or freezing rain, is there parking available at the top of the driveway?

What about the landscaping? Is there indication of ground movement? How about the tall trees, are they being affected?

Due Diligence

Anytime buyers are considering purchasing a home on a steep lot, there is a cold, sobering moment where they have to come to grips with their lifestyle and the limitations it may impose upon them. Do you have children visiting the home. Mothers will be very uncomfortable leaving their kids unattended. Do you or your guests have any physical limitations when walking up or down the steep driveway, with or without a load of groceries or other hand carried bags. Are there adequate steps and guardrails around the property to safeguard pedestrians from slips and falls?

Stunning Not Sliding

In the final analysis you want to be sure that your home is built on a stable platform and not sliding into the water. Be sure to do your homework and employ a home inspection firm that can adequately assess the risks associated with a steep lot.