View Full Version : Who to recommned

Michael Thomas
07-19-2007, 03:16 PM
Bob Harper and Dale Feb (and anyone else): I’m a bit unclear about the various qualifications and certifications for sweeps and other who inspect and/or repair chimneys and fireplaces.

How should I properly specify the qualifications of an individual or company to perform the various sorts of follow-up work recommended in my reports?

Rick Hurst
07-19-2007, 03:28 PM
You shouldn't.

I would just give them their names and phone numbers and leave it at that.

Bob Harper
07-19-2007, 03:51 PM
Uhhh, Rick, that could get you into trouble for a "negligent referral" should the guy mess up. You DO need to be selective when making referrals. A Realtor has the same exposure over which home inspector they recommend, for example.

Dale has put together a nice comparison, which I'm sure he'll post for you. Explains the various certifications and what their primary focus is. We'll give him a little time to fight rush hour traffic in the Valley and get home. You know how those Left Coast types are.....

Michael Thomas
07-19-2007, 04:23 PM
Rick, I should have worded that better - I don't want to recommend names, I want to recommend certifications/qualifications.

Rick Hurst
07-19-2007, 04:32 PM
I don't understand why it is your place as a home inspector to give someone else's qualifications in print to anyone.

I personally don't give out any type of referrals at the advice of my attorney.

Unless you trained with them or graduated with them, it doesn't make good business sense to me.

Jim Luttrall
07-19-2007, 04:44 PM
I don't refer anyone and don't specify the type of credentials for anyone.
I will say a "qualified professional" or if it is a licensed trade a 'qualified, licensed electrician".
I leave it to the customer to determine what qualifications, references, etc. they desire. That takes me out of the loop.
If I tell them to get a sweep that is certified by XYZ association, I am now part of the problem if one develops, just as if I referred a particular person and they turn out to be a drunk.

Michael Thomas
07-19-2007, 06:35 PM
I will say a "qualified professional" or if it is a licensed trade a 'qualified, licensed electrician".

But... who "qualifies" the electrician beyond licensing?

A manufacturer or certification body, that's who: an electrician is "qualified" to perform a COPALUM connection because he or she was trained on the method and is authorized to obtain the crimp tools and materials. A roofer is "qualified" to install a certain brand of PVC membrane (and their work qualities for manufacturer's warranty coverage) because they are an "authorized" installer. And so on.

Dale W. Feb
07-19-2007, 10:16 PM
If you are an ASHI member then you had better take a second look at the requirements. ASHI now requires that you send your client in the proper direction. Failure to do so can and will be used against you. So if the chimney needs sweeping, a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep might apply. If there are repairs to be performed then a licensed State Contractor or an NFI Certified Specialist might apply. But if you need further inspection, then a F.I.R.E. Certified Inspector would be the choice. The best man/woman for the job would have all of these certification and licenses with experience to back it up.

However, a negligent referral could result if you send your client to a sweep or contractor who is not qualified to perform inspections or any other service. The F.I.R.E. Certification is the only tested certification program that fulfills these requirements. If you don’t follow or agree with what I am saying then answer this simple question. Is a licensed contractor without professional inspection education a good choice for a home inspection? I realize that many of us are contractors and that our experience is valuable, but construction is where I made my mistakes. It was the testing grounds for my errors. As an inspector, I have taken it to a higher level. You do not even think the same way.

So, if obvious conditions are visible at the time of your inspection, do you call them out and ignore the other potential problem you did not discover, or do you recommend further inspection by a qualified fireplace & chimney inspector? It’s your choice. As an industry expert, I can tell you which one I can defend. There is no negligent referral if you refer the best and most comprehensive certification. If they fail to follow your advise, then you have a fair amount of protection. I can defend that. So can you.

You can find a detailed article on my website "The Changing Face of the Fireplace, Chimney & Venting Industry" at www.FIREassociates.org for more information.

Michael Thomas
07-20-2007, 04:44 AM
Thanks for the quick response.

Eric Barker
07-21-2007, 04:56 PM
It's easy to forget that what seems logical to us is evasive to the client. I have had clients confused on who should repair a furnace, a roof etc. The terms that I stay with are "qualified" or "certified", saying licensed is rather useless. I tell them to avoid BillieBob or any lowball contractor and to obtain detailed receipts that parallel what was requested. I also advise clients to see if any work is warranted and if that warranty to transferable to them when they move in.

I do refer clients to some contractors that I have experience with - people that I know to be top drawer in their field. I also advise who to stay away from - I have no trouble calling some contractor a moron when I come across a few of his lousy efforts.