Note that the cornice material has been pulled apart in the photo above. I do not know any other reasonable explanation for the separation. No carpenter would do this. If a carpenter did such sloppy work it would be redone long before the house was sold.
Another explanation could be wood shrinkage, but if that was the case, the separation would be the same from the bottom to the top.
I would diagnose this as being due to the brick veneer wall bending in a center lift distortion mode. TRCC inspectors should look for this but not diagnosis it. Diagnosing could get seen as an infringement on the Engineering Practice Act. When a TREC inspector states the cause of a condition, such as distorted cornice material, he or she is setting themselves up for problems.
I suspect some readers might object. For any doubting Thomas’s consider the following from the governing Policy Advisory:
Analysis and Conclusion:
Analyzing the cause of a condition, recommendations for repair, or providing any other expert engineering opinion associated with a foundation, including the foundations (sic) systems and components, would be considered the practice of engineering per the Act §1001.003(c)(1) and could warrant disciplinary action from the Texas Board of Professional Engineers if conducted by an individual unlicensed as a Professional Engineer (PE). We conclude that a TREC licensed inspector who conducts a visual real estate inspection in conformance with the TREC Standards of Practice does not engage in the practice of engineering.