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  1. #1
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    Default 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Hope everyone is well and prospering!

    this was posted on another MB by an Austin inspector

    thought it may be of use to others

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    A brief scan showed reasonable explanations line by line of the SOP. Good place to start making decisions about where each Inspector should draw the line of what to do and not do.

    Depending on who wrote the commentary, it may or may not hold up on court.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  3. #3
    Mike Boyett's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Bruce...it was written by the same TREC Inspector Committee members that wrote the new SOP.


  4. #4
    Eric Shuman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Does anyone know if or where this document was officially posted? Is it officially sanctioned or approved by TREC?

    Eric


  5. #5
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Apparently not official ... yet.


  6. #6
    Mike Boyett's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Eric...the document, as posted, is a very rough draft, preliminary work in progress. Once the entire SOP Commentary has been finalized it will be posted at the TREC website. Don't expect that to happen before mid-summer I suspect though. In the meantime I will try to make any further draft updates available here, at the NACHI message board and at my company blog at Capital City Inspection's Blog: .


  7. #7
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by BARRY ADAIR View Post
    Hope everyone is well and prospering!

    this was posted on another MB by an Austin inspector

    thought it may be of use to others
    Barry:

    From that document:

    "Commentary -- The standards of practice dictate that panels provided for observation of items required for inspection by the standards of practice be opened. These panels include access panels for bathtub drains, hydro therapy bathtub pumps and motors, dishwasher pumps, motors, water supply pipes and electrical components, the electrical components of water heaters and central heaters and the dead fronts on main disconnects, gutters, panel boards and equipment disconnects, and lighting fixture switches and electrical wall receptacles, etc. It is not intended that all junction or appliance boxes be opened or that the interiors of the junction and appliance boxes be inspected. Opening of covers and panels should be made without defacing the property or damaging otherwise sound surfaces other than minor damages to
    painted surfaces."

    Can I get a show of hands from the Texas inspectors who removed all switch, receptacle, and every other conceivable type of cover plate in all houses in 2008?



  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Just as a very rare random check in all aluminum homes looking for pig tails and such. Other than that absolutely never.


    I guess for another hundred dollars and a whole lot more insurance for liability it could be done. Add what, another hour to every home or more. Pretty foolish sounding to me. Better be a very rough draft.


  9. #9
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Just as a very rare random check in all aluminum homes looking for pig tails and such. Other than that absolutely never.


    I guess for another hundred dollars and a whole lot more insurance for liability it could be done. Add what, another hour to every home or more. Pretty foolish sounding to me. Better be a very rough draft.
    Ted and Others: I hope you realize that the quote was from the commentary to the Texas SOP which is to be published this late spring or summer. The way I read it the covers, where they can be construed as "for inspection", from everything are required to be removed.

    For liability purposes, if I were you, I would not make any brash statements here about what you do or do not intend to inspect under the new SOP. These walls have ears, some of the belonging to the lop-eared asses from the TREC.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Ted's just being a badarse on here, Aaron. He told me the other day that he always follows the Tx. SOP rules a 100% and was encouraging everyone to do the same.

    rick


  11. #11
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Ted's just being a badarse on here, Aaron. He told me the other day that he always follows the Tx. SOP rules a 100% and was encouraging everyone to do the same.

    rick
    Rick: Of course, I know that EVERY Texas inspector on this forum is meticulous in his adherence to the ridiculous SOP.

    I just wanted to remind those among the naive crowd that the geniuses in the enforcement branch who don't have the ability to keep the $89 INACHI foreclosure inspectors off Texas streets, or keep agent/inspector fraternization at bay, or eliminate bundled services where lenders, title companies, agents, inspectors, appraisers, et al. work under the same roof, or police inspectors who simply hit the check boxes and produce 6-page reports, or lobby to change the law which allows the virtual continuance of dual agency in the form of intermediary relationships, etc., are certainly listening.

    At least I hope they are . . .


  12. #12
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Aaron,

    What is the precise wording of the SoP requirement that commentary is supposed to be based on?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Aaron,

    What is the precise wording of the SoP requirement that commentary is supposed to be based on?
    JP: The SOP is here:

    http://www.trec.state.tx.us/pdf/rules/535.227-233.pdf


  14. #14
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Aaron,

    Nope, those are not covered, the commentary is incorrect.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  15. #15
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Aaron,

    Nope, those are not covered, the commentary is incorrect.

    JP: I agree. I just needed to get someone to tell me I wasn't dreaming this whole thing. Bear in mind that this SOP and the commentary are drafted in Austin, which is far to the south of me and much, much closer to the major drug sources in Mexico. The authors seem to know this and have taken advanatage of their proximity.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Guys, the way I read the section posted here is that it is merely a commentary on a definition, not a standard of practice. The definition by its nature would have to be very broad. Just because it is allowed for an inspector to open a box without damaging the building finish does not mean the SOP requires it.
    The only time I see it is required to open switch or outlet boxes is if you find aluminum or such in the main panel.
    Am I wrong?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  17. #17
    Mike Boyett's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Bear in mind that this SOP and the commentary are drafted in Austin, which is far to the south of me and much, much closer to the major drug sources in Mexico. The authors seem to know this and have taken advanatage of their proximity.
    Aaron, I'm sure you know the new SOP and preliminary Commentary were drafted by TREC licensed inspectors from Houston, Arlington & Beaumont and not by state bureaucrats nor Realtors. That's not to say they are defensible, far from it.

    Last edited by Mike Boyett; 02-04-2009 at 10:56 AM.

  18. #18
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Guys, the way I read the section posted here is that it is merely a commentary on a definition, not a standard of practice. The definition by its nature would have to be very broad. Just because it is allowed for an inspector to open a box without damaging the building finish does not mean the SOP requires it.
    The only time I see it is required to open switch or outlet boxes is if you find aluminum or such in the main panel.
    Am I wrong?
    Jim: It is intended to be an official TREC commentary on an official TREC definition regarding issues in the official TREC SOP. Just as the IRC and NEC commentaries are to be construed as a part of those codes, this commentary will be so interpreted.

    The commentary reads in part, the bolding and underlining are mine:

    "Commentary -- The standards of practice dictate that panels provided for observation of items required for inspection by the standards of practice be opened. These panels include access panels for bathtub drains, hydro therapy bathtub pumps and motors, dishwasher pumps, motors, water supply pipes and electrical components, the electrical components of water heaters and central heaters and the dead fronts on main disconnects, gutters, panel boards and equipment disconnects, and lighting fixture switches and electrical wall receptacles, etc. It is not intended that all junction or appliance boxes be opened or that the interiors of the junction and appliance boxes be inspected. Opening of covers and panels should be made without defacing the property or damaging otherwise sound surfaces other than minor damages to painted surfaces."

    The bold and underline part states clearly that covers and access panels of all types shall be opened. The very next statement indicates that maybe not all of them are to be opened. Which is it? All or some or what?

    "Panels provided for observation of items required for inspection by the standards of practice." A poorly worded and extremely nebulous statement indeed. Is a bathrap cut by a plumber for a plumbing repair or by a PCO for insecticide application really "provided for observation of items required for inspection by the standards of practice"?

    Are junction box covers installed by the electricians as per NEC "provided for observation of items required for inspection by the standards of practice"?

    Is the cover for an A/C evaporator coil "provided for observation of items required for inspection by the standards of practice"?

    Is the kick-plate panel for a dishwasher "provided for observation of items required for inspection by the standards of practice"?

    I can go on like this through the entire list of MEP appliances, fixtures and fittings.

    Clear as mud to me.




  19. #19
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    It has never been the standard to open receptacles and switch covers.


    That is just a commentary. That is what I said about only on a rare occasion do I open switch covers and receptacles cover. All other panels that I can get to I open as we all should.

    One cannot produce standards of practice and then add commentary to those standards like the commentary is the law. The standards are the law. If it is not stated in the standards (and it is not) then the commentary is meaningless (and useless).

    The comments are a rough draught.

    Hmm. Aaron. There is clean and clear mud???? Clean mud like the mud not made with dirty dirt????


  20. #20
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    It has never been the standard to open receptacles and switch covers.


    That is just a commentary. That is what I said about only on a rare occasion do I open switch covers and receptacles cover. All other panels that I can get to I open as we all should.

    One cannot produce standards of practice and then add commentary to those standards like the commentary is the law. The standards are the law. If it is not stated in the standards (and it is not) then the commentary is meaningless (and useless).

    The comments are a rough draught.
    Ted: What is has been in the past and what it is since 2/1/09 are two entirely different things.

    The commentary is a rough draft, but a draft of an official document nontheless. And, are you giving us the official word, or is this just your personal opinion, which by the way is "meaningless (and useless)?


  21. #21
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Ted: What is has been in the past and what it is since 2/1/09 are two entirely different things.

    The commentary is a rough draft, but a draft of an official document nontheless. And, are you giving us the official word, or is this just your personal opinion, which by the way is "meaningless (and useless)?
    What I am saying is..

    Put em up sucka

    No. Actually I am speeking in the fact, Mr Aaron, kind Sir, that it is not in the standards to take off all switch covers and outlet receptacles covers, Sir, and never has been and the Nice Fella that wrote the schtinking (quiet Billy) commentary needs to do some more work on it, Sir Aaron, because he screwed up and needs to fix the friggin thing. That in itself makes it a rough draft that no one needs to pay freakin attention to, kind Sir, Aaron.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    the Nice Fella that wrote the schtinking (quiet Billy) commentary needs to do some more work on it, Sir Aaron, because he screwed up and needs to fix the friggin thing.
    That's what Aaron is saying.

    That in itself makes it a rough draft that no one needs to pay freakin attention to, kind Sir, Aaron.
    Aaron is not the one you need to tell, the author of that commentary is the one you need to be speaking to.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    If the intent of the commentary is to clarify a standard then some one has to rewrite the standard just one more time because there is not a TREC licensed inspector that is going to take off all switch and outlet receptacle covers no matter what they say on this board. They are not going to do it. Not only will you have to take off the cover but then unscrew the recptacle or switch to see if there are any loose connections for all wires connected to the outlet or switch and then any concealed pigtails where you cannot see the actual connection and then of course unscrew all wire nuts to make sure all wires are twisted properly inside thos wire nuts and while you are at it test every single circuit, end to end. Oh yeah while you are at it you must stick your screw driver into all electric panels to find out if all the neutrals, grounds, hots are all screwed nice and tight.

    Sorry TREC board. If that is your intent then your intent is sadly mistaken. It, I can guarantee you, will not happen with 99% of all inspectors at 99% of all inspections. To pull an outlet cover off just to try and what, see in beside it? What can be seen to the fullest intent. The only reason the random cover plates should come off is checking for all aluminum and or pigtails. If something else is seen, like melted connections, then write it up.

    But I know that is not the intent. Because that would be quite foolish now, would it not? It was just a commentary boo boo that needs to be fixed.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Come on Jerry

    I need to release on someone. You just were not available yet. Let me see. What has Jerry said lately.

    I'll find something.

    I am about to throw up over this no work thing.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Ted, While you're 'resting', how about authoring an alternative commentary for submission to TREC. Maybe we could all contribute - or not.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Stanley View Post
    Ted, While you're 'resting', how about authoring an alternative commentary for submission to TREC. Maybe we could all contribute - or not.

    This guy that is doing his own commentary is not doing bad. Just needs some fixing before someone gets the bright idea of incorporating his commentary into the SOPs.

    Hm A combined effort for commentaries. Does that mean when one of us gets sued we all get sued. And what exactly are these commentaries. Comments to add in to different areas of the report. I try to avoid that like the plague. For one thing it looks like one is trying to hide behind wording of comments. The second thing it turns a reasonable report into a fifty page report and I just do not believe in adding all that to a report that clients have to read thru and around.

    I have borrowed a few commentaries from other inspectors. I may have changed them slightly. I believe in no wring around the Rosy report. I comment directly in my reports about the subject matter with out a commentary upfront in each section.

    A lot of inspectors don't like my direct approach to reporting. Most say that I should add this or don't add that. I say, "my clients love it and could not believe how easy it was to read." The vast majority never have to call for clarification about anything.

    Most say when I hand them the report "where are all the disclaimers and such." They are used to seeing from past inspections a book size report that they slowly and painfully tear away to find what the concerns there are.Front cover, invoice, on to the report. Concerns highlighted in red.

    No summary. There have been a few Realtors to complain about that one.

    As far as relaxing??? Not in the slightest. Calling, mailing, emailing, calling some more, new cards made, checking website, more emailing, mailing, phone calls. This is far more exhausting than doing inspections everyday.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Just so everyone is one the same page let me re-iterate what the Commentary is and how it came about. I will leave out some of the less important political dealings and try to just cut to the chase. We all know that Texas inspectors are governed by TREC, the Texas Real Estate Commission. TREC has appointed, and has for many years, an Inspectors Advisory Committee which does just that, advises TREC on inspection matters. The 9 member Inspectors Advisory Committee is made up of 6 TREC licensed inspectors from across the state plus 3 'public' members who have no ties to the Real Estate community. About 18-24 months ago the Inspectors Advisory Committee endeavored to update and revise the inspection Standards of Practice. They appointed 3 of their members, all 3 being inspectors, to a sub-committee to draft that revised SOP and get the other 6 Inspectors Advisory Committee members buy-in. That process was completed in October of last year and the revised SOP was adopted with a 2/1/09 implementation date. Once the revised SOP was agreed upon in October that very same Inspectors Advisory Committee sub-committee of 3 members then proposed writing a Commentary to explain to the world what their thinking was behind the new, revised SOP. That's what you are seeing in the draft Commentary, their work in progress. But, it's not some lonely guy sitting by himself dreaming stuff up, it's from the same guys that wrote the SOP. The purpose is certainly not for use in reports, it's to explain to you why certain things are the way they are in the new SOP. The Inspectors Advisory Committee sub-committee is certainly anxious to hear feedback and critique if that can be provided in a logical, well thought out manner. Simply bitching and moaning about it does little good. Provide your feedback and comments to them directly or send them to me and I will see that they get them. My experience with the committee has been that if you point out a area of disagreement and provide a good, logical argument then they will take it under consideration. They do tend to not pay much attention to complaining about something without also providing a solution or an alternative. They also tend to disregard diatribes (like this post is turning into) so keep it simple and to the point. Just to be sure, the Commentary is for you, the Texas HI, to better understand where their thought process was when writing the SOP.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Thanks for the clarification

    As I said it looked to me like what many inspectors put into their reports for commentaries explaining the particular section.

    As far as complaining with out opposing input. Well, the particular section has something to complain about and the opposing input was to clear it up before its final writing. Adding confusing and contradictory statements to a legal standard that home inspectors must follow especially when the commentary is written by the same man that the standard is written by, well, simply not cool.

    Lets use that section. "and lighting fixture switches and electrical wall receptacles, etc." Not in the realm of any home inspection of any standards and not in the standards that have been adopted.

    "They also tend to disregard diatribes" Some of the greatest knowledge has come from such. Maybe not the proper way to do things but sometimes one must think out of the little box and absorb surrounding knowledge in any way one can.

    They had a lot of work to due writing up new standards or revised standards. We must remember one thing. A home inspection is not and was never meant to be an exhaustive inspection. We are not only saving buyers and or sellers money with our findings but we are also saving them a small fortune from having to hire multiple contractors to find these concerns. If concerns are found then the appropriate trade comes in after us for the exhaustive eval and or quote/repair.

    Home inspection in and of itself is extremely competitive just in pricing. The deeper we get, the longer we spend, the more certifications we need and the more exhaustive we get will stop being a benefit to our clients.

    As it says "We are there to REDUCE the risk but impossible to eliminate all the risks of home buying." Not everything will be found.





  29. #29
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Boyett View Post
    The purpose is certainly not for use in reports, it's to explain to you why certain things are the way they are in the new SOP.

    You Texas inspectors know full well that what is in that Commentary is what your reports will be judged to when a complaint is filed.

    Not only that, but that Commentary is what your reports will be judged to when the Judge needs to do the judging.

    Whoever is the person responsible for that thinking (I really find it hard to believe all 3 inspector sub-committee members think that way) needs to back away from their computer and submit to a head slapping, and it that does not do it, someone needs to grab the 2x4 for upside the head.

    That Commentary IS GOING TO HANG you guys.

    On something like that, if you need help, I'll work at a reduced cost (not free, but 'reduced cost' to help out), no hourly rate, just a lump sum to help write it, then work with those guys on making sure the Commentary says what the SoP says, and if the SoP *does not say it* that the Commentary *should not say it* either.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 02-04-2009 at 09:45 PM.
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Barry:

    From that document:

    "Commentary -- The standards of practice dictate that panels provided for observation of items required for inspection by the standards of practice be opened. These panels include access panels for bathtub drains, hydro therapy bathtub pumps and motors, dishwasher pumps, motors, water supply pipes and electrical components, the electrical components of water heaters and central heaters and the dead fronts on main disconnects, gutters, panel boards and equipment disconnects, and lighting fixture switches and electrical wall receptacles, etc. It is not intended that all junction or appliance boxes be opened or that the interiors of the junction and appliance boxes be inspected. Opening of covers and panels should be made without defacing the property or damaging otherwise sound surfaces other than minor damages to
    painted surfaces."

    Can I get a show of hands from the Texas inspectors who removed all switch, receptacle, and every other conceivable type of cover plate in all houses in 2008?
    Aaron and all others, also from SOP and that document:

    (C) If the inspector routinely departs from inspection of a part, system, or
    component, the earliest practical opportunity for the notice required by this
    subsection is the first contact with the prospect and the inspector has reason
    to believe that the property being inspected has the part, system, or
    component the inspector routinely does not inspect.


    Commentary -- Nothing in the Standards require an inspector to put himself in a position
    of unacceptable risk to that individual inspector. It is clearly realized that different
    inspectors have different levels of tolerance for heights, for the use of ladders, and from
    exposure to live electrical components, etc. This provision of the Departure Provision
    recognizes those facts and creates a system by which the consumer can be informed
    that there are limitations, for whatever reason, beyond which an inspector will not
    venture. However, the concern of the Texas Real Estate Commission is that the
    consumer has the time necessary to perform the due diligence necessary for the
    consumer to make an informed choice. It is the requirement of this section that an
    inspector who does not perform certain tasks, such as climbing ladders, walking roof
    surfaces, walking through or crawling attic spaces, entering crawl spaces under houses,
    removing covers from panel boxes, electrical cabinets, etc. inform the consumer or the
    consumer‟s representative at first contact
    . This often means when the consumer or the
    consumer‟s representative calls, emails or otherwise contacts the inspector to arrange
    for inspection services.
    It is expected that the inspector respect the need of the
    consumer to have the opportunity to complete their due diligence investigations during
    the limited time period afforded by the option period.
    (c) Enforcement. Failure to comply with the standards of practice is grounds for
    disciplinary action as prescribed by Chapter 1102.


    Jerry,

    We probably couldn't afford your "bail out plan"

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  31. #31
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by BARRY ADAIR View Post
    Aaron and all others, also from SOP and that document:

    (C) If the inspector routinely departs from inspection of a part, system, or component, the earliest practical opportunity for the notice required by this subsection is the first contact with the prospect and the inspector has reason to believe that the property being inspected has the part, system, or component the inspector routinely does not inspect.

    Commentary -- Nothing in the Standards require an inspector to put himself in a position of unacceptable risk to that individual inspector. It is clearly realized that different inspectors have different levels of tolerance for heights, for the use of ladders, and from exposure to live electrical components, etc. This provision of the Departure Provision recognizes those facts and creates a system by which the consumer can be informed that there are limitations, for whatever reason, beyond which an inspector will not venture. However, the concern of the Texas Real Estate Commission is that the consumer has the time necessary to perform the due diligence necessary for the consumer to make an informed choice. It is the requirement of this section that an inspector who does not perform certain tasks, such as climbing ladders, walking roof surfaces, walking through or crawling attic spaces, entering crawl spaces under houses, removing covers from panel boxes, electrical cabinets, etc. inform the consumer or the consumer‟s representative at first contact. This often means when the consumer or the consumer‟s representative calls, emails or otherwise contacts the inspector to arrange for inspection services. It is expected that the inspector respect the need of the consumer to have the opportunity to complete their due diligence investigations during the limited time period afforded by the option period.
    Actually, that SoP requirement states a whole lot more than the Commentary says it does. It gets real scary just thinking about it.

    Jerry,

    We probably couldn't afford your "bail out plan"
    Actually, if I could, I would offer it free, however, at "reduced cost" you ... how do we explain it to our client's ... "cannot afford to not have me" ...

    (underlining and bold are mine)
    (C) If the inspector routinely departs from inspection of a part, system, or component, the earliest practical opportunity for the notice required by this subsection is the first contact with the prospect and the inspector has reason to believe that the property being inspected has the part, system, or component the inspector routinely does not inspect.
    Just how many times do you "routinely depart from" the SoP, not only in 'doing less than' the SoP calls for (which is what the commentary is saying), but 'doing more than' what the SoP calls for (which is what that section is saying). That section simply states that if you "routinely" (and all all do the same things all the time, that is routinely) "depart from" (deviate from, either lesser or more, it does not specify which) then you shall (no choice, you *shall*) tell the client at your "first contact".

    Can you imagine telling your client, at your first contact, without knowing what the structure looks like and what might or might not be there, ... telling your client at first contact ... of ALL THE THINGS YOU INSPECT WHICH ARE ABOVE AND BEYOND the SoP? That *IS* what that section says.

    This is basically as much about what the new SoP committee put or kept in the SoP as it is the commentary which is being written. If they really meant to say one thing, the commentary cannot say something else, and if they really meant what the commentary says, then the SoP is incorrect.

    I should triple my fee for working with people like that, but I would do it at "reduced cost" simply to cover *some of* the time it would take, but not cover anywhere near what it would really take, but that's the intent, to help out.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  32. #32
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Actually, that SoP requirement states a whole lot more than the Commentary says it does. It gets real scary just thinking about it.
    JP: Do not real the whole thing without a bottle of Brandy nearby.

    Just how many times do you "routinely depart from" the SoP, not only in 'doing less than' the SoP calls for (which is what the commentary is saying), but 'doing more than' what the SoP calls for (which is what that section is saying). That section simply states that if you "routinely" (and all all do the same things all the time, that is routinely) "depart from" (deviate from, either lesser or more, it does not specify which) then you shall (no choice, you *shall*) tell the client at your "first contact".

    Can you imagine telling your client, at your first contact, without knowing what the structure looks like and what might or might not be there, ... telling your client at first contact ... of ALL THE THINGS YOU INSPECT WHICH ARE ABOVE AND BEYOND the SoP? That *IS* what that section says.
    This is, in my opinion, the biggest load of crap in the SOP. Not that there are not other contradictory and liability-building passages. This one is just the worst.


    If they really meant to say one thing, the commentary cannot say something else, and if they really meant what the commentary says, then the SoP is incorrect.
    JP: Now you're getting close to the heart of the matter.

    I should triple my fee for working with people like that
    It would not be worth it, believe me.


  33. #33
    Roger Hankey's Avatar
    Roger Hankey Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    1. The TREC revisions, while done in part by a group of inspectors, shows the weakness of relying primarily on persons not trained or experienced in drafting regulations. I suspect that the TREC did not provide the advisory committee with a staff to facilitate the redrafting.

    2. The whole process shows the perils of regulation. It is bad enough when professional societies try to write or revise standards without using attornies or other outside experts. In over 30 years of reviewing HI standards of practice, I've yet to see one that is free of contradictions, poorly defined terms, and language that creates the potential for significant inspector liability. When will we get together and spend the $$ necessary to draft a high quality document that defines our scope of work without creating unnecessary liability.

    3. What organization has enough members willing to spend the $$ to do this. It is NOT a take to be undertaken by volunteers. HI's can advise and direct the drafters, and approve the final content, but not be tasked with primary responsibility of drafting the document. We do not need to re-invent the wheel. I expect that the scope of work from other professions can be used as a skeleton on which to flesh out our scope of work.

    4. The TREC example shows how little progress has been made in improving the scope of work (or SOP) in 20+ years of regulation. When will we move from using volunteers to draft our rules, to hiring experts to assist us in crafting a defensible scope of work? I would welcome a special assessment from any HI organization that would pledge to hire professionals (guided by experienced HI's) to undertake this task.


  34. #34
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    1. The TREC revisions, while done in part by a group of inspectors, shows the weakness of relying primarily on persons not trained or experienced in drafting regulations. I suspect that the TREC did not provide the advisory committee with a staff to facilitate the redrafting.
    Roger: Correct. And, they did not pay the volutneers who drafted it. They did pay the attorneys wh oversaw the process - wasted money.

    2. The whole process shows the perils of regulation. It is bad enough when professional societies try to write or revise standards without using attornies or other outside experts. In over 30 years of reviewing HI standards of practice, I've yet to see one that is free of contradictions, poorly defined terms, and language that creates the potential for significant inspector liability. When will we get together and spend the $$ necessary to draft a high quality document that defines our scope of work without creating unnecessary liability.
    Roger: The mian problem here is that the TREC is attempting to act as a defacto code-authoring agency. This is a stupid move and a wast oe time and effort. Why not just use the models codes that are in place a quit trying to reinvent the wheel? Job justification is all that comes to mind.


    4. The TREC example shows how little progress has been made in improving the scope of work (or SOP) in 20+ years of regulation. When will we move from using volunteers to draft our rules, to hiring experts to assist us in crafting a defensible scope of work? I would welcome a special assessment from any HI organization that would pledge to hire professionals (guided by experienced HI's) to undertake this task.
    Roger: The TREC is not apt to delegate an important matter like this to experts. They think they are the experts.


  35. #35
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    My apologies for not using spell check on that last mess . . .


  36. #36
    Roger Hankey's Avatar
    Roger Hankey Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Aaron, why would you want a home inspection scope of work (SOP) based on building codes? We inspect buildings ranging in age from new to 100+ yrs. old. I know of no building code that would apply. Perhaps some housing maintenance codes might apply, but the minute an HI gets involved in codes she/he is doing someone else's job. Very few jurisdictions in the US enforce house OR building codes on real estate transactions. The liability of basing our work on codes would be unending.

    As to the attorneys, anytime an HI group writes a document controlling our work or behaviour, WE should select the attorneys. Their job should be to aid us in drafting the document to protect US while still providing a valuable service to our clients. Government attorneys will work in the interest of the government. (Agreed waste of $$ from our perspective)


  37. #37
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Aaron, why would you want a home inspection scope of work (SOP) based on building codes?
    Roger: Because it is the only true benchmark to work from.

    We inspect buildings ranging in age from new to 100+ yrs. old. I know of no building code that would apply. Perhaps some housing maintenance codes might apply, but the minute an HI gets involved in codes she/he is doing someone else's job. Very few jurisdictions in the US enforce house OR building codes on real estate transactions. The liability of basing our work on codes would be unending.
    Roger: I totally disagree. So what if the house is over 100 years old. We do not make advances in home safety and technology only to benefit new home buyers. The purchasers of older homes should also know how their home compares with the latest and greatest home. While it is true that the pre-existing issues are not required to be repaired, the clients should have all of the facts at hand in order to make and informed decision. Relying on the HI to make a decision as to how much to tell them is a mistake. And, please demonstrate to me how it is you think that their is a liability issue with addressing everything to code. Good luck.

    As to the attorneys, anytime an HI group writes a document controlling our work or behavior, WE should select the attorneys. Their job should be to aid us in drafting the document to protect US while still providing a valuable service to our clients. Government attorneys will work in the interest of the government. (Agreed waste of $$ from our perspective)
    Roger: And HI groups will always work in the interest of the HI groups. The ICC/NEC does not have a dog in the resale fight and consequently is the best choice.

    FYI: I have been writing my reports strictly to code for the past 7 years. Though the TREC reared its ugly head once about it at the behest of the Building Officials Association of Texas and its errant autocratic Fuhrer, no liability has attached since that time.

    I personally think that the majority of HIs balk at using the building codes as a basis of comparison for one reason and one reason only. Laziness. It takes a lot of work to learn the codes just well enough to pass the certification tests. It is then even harder to keep up with the changes through each code cycle. It is not for the faint hearted.


  38. #38
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    ICC and NEC

    S O P

    Look, a complete code quoted inspection is so far beyond what a home inspection is and or should be.

    Saying that an inspection is based on code is one thing. To quote code on everything in an inspection is another.

    Quite frankly all the legal bull that is constantly talked about on here is because home inspection has gone to far. It is going even further.

    Interpret the code differently. Misquote a particular code for a particular concern. Forget to quote a code or not copy and paste the entire code concern that has to do with what your findings were is what is going to get you in legal trouble.

    Taking the freaking IR camera out for a home inspection IS and I say IS going to eventually going to be picked up by attorneys stating that "Well Mr X. You took a picture of what was being this wall but not behind all the walls and this was found in room C" "Mr X. You seem to go to this depth on this inspection but not on that inspection." Any IR inspector better have a picture of every piece of wall, floor and ceiling in the home and keep it on file for years.

    You quoted the code on all these items but did not note the complete code for this item.

    I don't unless needed (absolutely needed) quote code. I do not bring a 5 or 10,000 dollar IR camera on site for a home inspection.

    I do not pull out my electric tester for every switch, outlet, panel etc and touch down on every wire in the home. I do not test the circuit bards in an HVAC system. I do not do a coolant check either.

    Pushing for home inspectors to have to be code certified and or bring every tool that could possibly be at an inspectors disposal is absolutely ludicrous and just asking for trouble and a serious expense to every home inspection done.

    Look at the sum of inspections done and the amount of difference in the amount of home inspections done between the highest priced and the mid price inspectors. The difference is staggering. The highest priced is almost no existent in the highest priced in comparison.

    Once upon a time a home buyer might have asked a builder friend to look at their possible new home to give them a general idea of what the shape of the home is.

    That is what a home inspection was and is still is meant to be. Take away some of the risk in home buying without tearing everything down to the bone and beyond.

    Instead of a general opinion of their new home it has turned into "well you are the expert and the absolute end all and you missed xxxxxxxx"


  39. #39
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    If I had relied on realtors I would not be in the pickle I am right now. I had almost all my worl from the internet with only a handfull of realtors that chose to appreciate my "no one has any influence over wht goes into my report with the exception of the home itself.

    Further more I wish I had a huge realtor base. Again I would not be in the pickle I am in. I have chosen to rethink that effort and increae my marketing to realtors for the very reason I am in the pickle I am in. The folks that are still very busy in this area have a huge realtor base. I am just going to have to convince realtors that an unbiased no influence report is the only way to go.

    Yes, home inspection has already gone to far. The very people that you seem to dispise are pushing for the code compliant or should I say the more heavily code based inspection which in turn will get you and every one in ionspection into more , can I say, pickles.

    I am gald you agreed with the IR statement. The code thing is the exact same thing if you seriously think about it.

    Afraid of quoting code. Absolutely not. Do I know code. Absolutely not as well as you and some others. Do I pick up a code book and check myself all the time, absolutely. I actually can read (sometimes). That is all that is necessary. Quoting codes is what is going to get you in trouble . It puts you in the know all end all catagory and you and others will get torn apart acting or should I say sounded the the sbsolute end all in knowledge. Miss something, you, the code guru, absolutely unacceptable. Code should only be mentioned when absolutley last ditch effort to explain yourself and added in the report explaining why you quoted the code. Also it should be expressed heavily with all your effort that

    "This is not a code inspection" " A lot of this inspection may be based on code BUT THIS IS NOTE A CODE INSPECTION"

    You quoting code thru your entire report are the one that is asking for it. The SOP and front page TREC contract state specifically that

    "This is not a code inspection"

    You have turned it into and contradict comletely what a home inspection is and is not

    As far as BEING AFRAID of alienating realtors. Gees, I do it all the time. That is why I do not have a long list of Realtors. I mentioned that above. I am regrouping and trying to figure out exactly how to get to and target realtors that are not afraid of "WHAT I SEE IS WHAT I WRITE"

    On the bottom of all my marketing materials I state up front that I am Inspecting and reporting for the sole purpose of my client learning the concerns in there new home and no outside influence will interfere with or reflect to my report.

    I do not hide behind disclaimers and pages of fill. The whole commentary thing is not anything I agree with. What do they think they are doing. Writing a code book. Turning the inspection into what it was never intended to be.

    As far as that statement. You really need to think about it. It is something it was never intended to be. As far as a friend contractor looking someones home over to give the friends he is doing it for an idea of what to expect and to *reduce their risk* in the purchasing of their new home, yes, that is what is suppose to be. Not eliminate all risks with an exhaustive inspection of all components in their home.

    As far as testing all recepticle, switches, panels all electric internal components and any other electric devices and fixtures with an electrical tester. I am not talking your basic test of outlets or panels. I repeat from an earlier post. No inspector does that. Not even you or any TREC board member, ever. If there is anyone that thinks that happens then they are having serious nightmares.

    Now. Of course this is all JMHO. Just like a backside. Everyone has one.


  40. #40
    Roger Hankey's Avatar
    Roger Hankey Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    WOW, so much complete disagreement on the use of building codes in HI from within one state.

    I am well aware of codes, and agree that it is useful to inform the client of potentially valuable upgrades in older houses, but those existing original conditions are not "adverse conditions" or deficiencies, unless other adverse conditions are also present on the inspected item.

    Please consider the used car comparison. Would you advise a friend that a 1980 vehicle does not have anti-lock brakes and recommend an upgrade? Or what about the fact that the car doesn't have air bags? These costly modern technologies are difficult to retrofit. The same can be said for stair riser dimensions. Does A.D. really suggest rebuilding stairs that were built to a prior standard dimension and have no other faults?

    I agree that a 1955 rambler does not have the level of insulation found in modern homes, AND I do report this condition and warn that in our MN climate this may lead to ice dams in addition to wasteful heat loss. However this is an original condition and was not a code violation and is not now a code violation, so where would code enter into the report? There are many other sources that can be used to suggest that in our MN climate R-44 attic insulation is prudent and useful so long as it is feasible, AND that warm air leaks into the attic are sealed BEFORE installing additional insulation.


  41. #41
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    . . .you . . . are having serious nightmares.

    Ted: Agreed.


  42. #42
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Ted: Agreed.
    I know I am having nightmares. Nightmares about fifty Realtors a month referring me directly. I'll have to work 7 days a week to handle all the work

    Now that is a nightmare

    Now you on the other hand don't have nightmares because you are ICC certified


  43. #43
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Without getting into the scrum about new TX standards, I offer this about some of the remarks here:

    IR scans. No attorney who has done his or her homework on IR will try to pin a "missed" item on you. Everyone who has done any meaningful IR work knows that results are highly dependent on atmospheric conditions at time of inspection. Your retort to an aggressive attorney's question would be, "Why counselor, you know or should know that IR results can change even over a period of minutes. On the day I was out there it had not rained in 6 weeks. The camera is just a useful tool that sometimes can reveal adverse conditions." (Jury then looks at atty and thinks, "Well, a**hole, what now?")

    As far as safety is concerned, you better write up non-compliant stairs and the like. The house may be from 1914 but we live in 2009 and when grandma breaks her hip on the stairs your report better have said "stairs are hazardous" or words to that effect or they can come after you for failure to report, and rightly so (try to find a defense atty who will back you on that). In an injury situation, the standard of care is much higher than any SOP. And they will print out in gorgeous color your web page where you boast that you are "an expert qualified licensed certified professional home inspector that will give them peace of mind." (Jury now glaring at you).

    Respectfully

    JB


  44. #44
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Everyone who has done any meaningful IR work knows that results are highly dependent on atmospheric conditions at time of inspection.
    John: Or, in other words, how high the operator is on himself for having bought the pricey, mostly useless device?

    Your retort to an aggressive attorney's question would be . . .
    John: It is likely not the attorney you need to worry about in a case like this so much as it is the expert in the IR field that he has testify against you.

    As far as safety is concerned, you better write up non-compliant stairs and the like. The house may be from 1914 but we live in 2009 and when grandma breaks her hip on the stairs your report better have said "stairs are hazardous" or words to that effect or they can come after you for failure to report, and rightly so (try to find a defense atty who will back you on that). In an injury situation, the standard of care is much higher than any SOP. And they will print out in gorgeous color your web page where you boast that you are "an expert qualified licensed certified professional home inspector that will give them peace of mind." (Jury now glaring at you).
    John: Agreed.


  45. #45
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    I would not say it is useless....I have found leaks that showed no staining (yet). Verified with moisture meters of course. Also stud bays with no insulation, on new construction. Once in a while you get a fist-pump moment. There are pretty good models out there now for $6K that will make you a hero, and cut back on complaint calls later. Everyone has to make up his own mind about the cost-benefit. It gives me some peace of mind when I do a scan after a week of rain and there is nothing showing at the ceiling. I'm not doing it for the client. I'm doing it for CYA.

    The IR expert will be in the same boat. Its a very fuzzy science. While there might be one out there who will say the condition should have been detected, there are 10 other experts that will say otherwise. Since none of them was there that day, who can tell for sure?

    On the other hand I would not advertise heavily that IR will find all concealed problems. That would be looking for trouble. There are IR guys out there who are trying to justify buying the camera to Swmbo, and make a big deal out of the scan.

    FL*R has done a great disservice to the inspector community at large by exaggerating the cameras' advantages. That exterior picture of the mid-rise condo complex where the leak in the laundry wall jumped out, that was a very lucky shot and not necessarily reproducible even later that day, or if the sun came out from behind clouds, etc. If they had just gone into an affected unit and used a little $179 moisture meter on the laundry wall they could have found the same thing.

    Just offering some suggestions here.

    JB

    Last edited by John Brown; 02-14-2009 at 07:39 AM.

  46. #46
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    John;

    "Aaron you are clearly a great inspector and I'll never be at your level. Just offering some suggestions here. "

    Gees

    You forgot to give him a kiss and a hug.


  47. #47
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    I would not say it is useless....I have found leaks that showed no staining (yet). Verified with moisture meters of course. Also stud bays with no insulation, on new construction. Once in a while you get a fist-pump moment. There are pretty good models out there now for $6K that will make you a hero, and cut back on complaint calls later. Everyone has to make up his own mind about the cost-benefit. It gives me some peace of mind when I do a scan after a week of rain and there is nothing showing at the ceiling. I'm not doing it for the client. I'm doing it for CYA.
    John: They have an extremely limited us for HIs that does not warrant the expenditure. Period. And, if you are going to use it to look at a stain on a wall, you may be asked later (in court) why you didn't use it on every square inch of the house. How does that CYA?

    The IR expert will be in the same boat. Its a very fuzzy science. While there might be one out there who will say the condition should have been detected, there are 10 other experts that will say otherwise. Since none of them was there that day, who can tell for sure?
    John: A true hired gun can blow smoke that you have yet to imagine.

    FL*R has done a great disservice to the inspector community at large by exaggerating the cameras' advantages. That exterior picture of the mid-rise condo complex where the leak in the laundry wall jumped out, that was a very lucky shot and not necessarily reproducible even later that day, or if the sun came out from behind clouds, etc. If they had just gone into an affected unit and used a little $179 moisture meter on the laundry wall they could have found the same thing.
    John: Agreed in spades.

    Aaron you are clearly a great inspector and I'll never be at your level.
    John: Don't say things like that where JP and others can hear. I'll never hear the end of it.


  48. #48
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    John:

    You see what I mean? It's already started. . . . .


  49. #49
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    you are clearly . . . at your level.
    Ted: Don't go there . . .



  50. #50
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Wink Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Aaron you are also very funny sometimes. And I appreciate all the great professionals on this site, and actually learn something between fistfights.

    Re IR: I think we are at one of those inspectionNews "agree to disagree" moments and so lets just drop it if thats ok.

    thread drift: I'm noticing that there is more than a handful of TX inspectors who started out in the "internet age" (2001+ or so) who were working full time and have now disappeared. This is just anecdotal but I wonder why this drop off in the past year. Surely not because of E&O and the SOP. Any thoughts?

    JB


  51. #51
    Join Date
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    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    John,

    I believe that E&O insurance requirements along with the economy knocked a dent in the cherry of a lot of newbie inspectors that had come into this field the last several years here in Texas.

    Many have come and gone into the "expired" status with TREC.

    rick


  52. #52
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    It also has a great bit to do with the fabulous ecomomy we are experiencing at this time. As I stated somewhere the ones still doing the best at the moment are the long time folk of around 10 years or so and up. I moved here 4 1/2 years ago. unfortunately I have not gained a huge roll over base to be bhind me as of yet. I am in the in between of kinda sort of holding in there. Three to five years is where the roll over usually kicks in. Hopefully in this ecomomy i will have some of my past clients moving up. Of course I have experienced some of that alrerady. Hopefully it will continue.

    Aaron

    My level is just fine. Even at my Level the flies sre still ot landing on me


  53. #53
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    It also has a great bit to do with the fabulous economy we are experiencing at this time. As I stated somewhere the ones still doing the best at the moment are the long time folk of around 10 years or so and up. I moved here 4 1/2 years ago. unfortunately I have not gained a huge roll over base to be behind me as of yet. I am in the in between of kinda sort of holding in there. Three to five years is where the roll over usually kicks in. Hopefully in this economy i will have some of my past clients moving up. Of course I have experienced some of that already. Hopefully it will continue.

    Aaron

    My level is just fine. Even at my Level the flies are still not landing on me (except when I don't use spell check.

    I think you are pretty funny as well

    I do crack myself up sometimes.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 02-11-2009 at 05:08 PM.

  54. #54
    Roger Hankey's Avatar
    Roger Hankey Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote: "As far as safety is concerned, you better write up non-compliant stairs and the like. The house may be from 1914 but we live in 2009 and when grandma breaks her hip on the stairs your report better have said "stairs are hazardous" or words to that effect"

    So what remedy would you recommend for the 1914 stairs, assuming the only adverse condition was that they where built to 1914 dimensions? Do you advise that the stairs be completely rebuilt to comply with ALL 2009 codes? Be specific, I'd really like to know.


  55. #55
    Join Date
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    26,248

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    They have an extremely limited us for HIs that does not warrant the expenditure.
    I MOSTLY disagree as they are not "extremely limited". They are, however, and like every other TOOL AT OUR DISPOSAL "limited" in what they can do because they are limited in what they are intended to do.

    Can you take your moisture meter and measure the lumens on a surface or the sound level as a smoke alarm? Of course not! Moisture meters where not designed, constructed, or ever intended to be used for those uses.

    I do agree that, FOR MANY HIs, the expenditure is not warranted.

    Which leaves us at the fact that FOR MANY OTHER HIs the expenditure IS warranted.

    How many HIs have and use a SureTest versus using a three-light tester? For those who use a three-light tester, absolutely, an infrared camera is an unwarranted expenditure. For those HIs who own and use a SureTest, and a Tramex (or other quality brand moisture meter), CO measuring devices, and other higher end tools and equipment SO THEY CAN DO A BETTER JOB, then, yes, an infrared camera is something they can CONSIDER adding to their arsenal.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  56. #56
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    I would not report the stairs to be hazardous -unless they are for some reason other than they were built in 1914. I would report that the stairs did not conform to current standards. Then the ball is in the clients court. They can pursue a remedy if they so choose.


  57. #57
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    John;

    I like IR cameras but would never incorporate into my findings in a home inspection. I would offer it as an extra if they wanted to pay the expense for an IR inspection.

    To just help me out in my findings in a home inspection and live and die with the results of me quoting my findings with it, no.

    At 5 to 10,000 and better is it worth adding to home inspections just to help me with possible findings, no.

    As far as what I would write up in stair findings with the turn of the century stairs?? I would note that todays standards for safety the stairs do not meet those standards and then explain items that could be done to correct it. Stating a code for it. Probably not and absolutely not necessary. Just stating todays safety stardards and possible corrections meeting those standards is far good enough. They concider you the expert and final end all. You do not have to act or try to prove to them you are the end all professional. State your findings and defer it to a contractor to get a cost for todays standards corrections. You are not making the corrections. Leave it to the professional in the field with out putting it out that you are the professional and end all answer to all.


  58. #58
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Hi Roger,

    Ted M has answered this quite nicely. In TX the new standard is:

    (o) Interior and exterior stairways. The inspector shall report as Deficient:
    (1) spacing between intermediate balusters, spindles, or rails for steps,
    stairways, guards, and railings that permit passage of an object greater than 4 inches in
    diameter, except that on the open side of the staircase treads, spheres less than 4-3/8
    inches in diameter may pass through the guard rail balusters or spindles; and
    (2) deficiencies in steps, stairways, landings, guardrails, and handrails.
    Information on the specifications for stairways can be found in the IRC and at
    Stairway Manufacturers' Association - SMA: Welcome to Our Home Page.
    (p) Specific limitation for stairways. The inspector is not required to exhaustively
    measure every stairway component.

    (Above quote includes the "unofficial" commentary which specifically cites IRC so that makes it a safety issue IMHO.) Its all about failure to warn, thats all. They can keep their weird steep stairs if they want. As long as they can't say they weren't told. And yes, the remedy is tearing out the stair. Cheaper than what medicare would spend on grandma.

    JB


    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hankey View Post
    Quote: "As far as safety is concerned, you better write up non-compliant stairs and the like. The house may be from 1914 but we live in 2009 and when grandma breaks her hip on the stairs your report better have said "stairs are hazardous" or words to that effect"

    So what remedy would you recommend for the 1914 stairs, assuming the only adverse condition was that they where built to 1914 dimensions? Do you advise that the stairs be completely rebuilt to comply with ALL 2009 codes? Be specific, I'd really like to know.



  59. #59
    Roger Hankey's Avatar
    Roger Hankey Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Ted & John,

    Thanks for the reply. I know I do not have to include cost estimate, but ASHI requires a recommended course of action be included in the report. I wonder if you actually state "have a qualified carpenter rebuild or replace the stairway" in your report. If you don't make this sort of recommendation, what is it that you recommend? I believe that identification of an adverse condition, without presenting a recommended course of action is unprofessional and does not serve the needs of the client.

    The recommended course of action need not design the repair, rather, it simply indicates whether the adverse condition should be investigated further, repaired, replaced, or the item simply be taken out of use if not essential to the structure.

    I completely agree that the prudent inspector will report how the condition of an existing stairs differs from current practice, and that improvements to the stairs would "reduce the potential for falls". I am careful not to use words like hazardous or safety.

    I believe that HI's who operate without a contract provision and/or description of services excluding any obligation to report conditions in an existing house solely because a component does not meet today's standards, have set themselves up for failure and high risk litigation. I do not believe it is possible to identify and report ALL such conditions.

    Once you start down this path, I can envision a plaintiff's attorney will state since you reported the non-compliant stairs as a safety issue, which the client spent thousands correcting, you established a duty to conduct a full code compliance inspection. He could further argue that you were negligent when you failed to report the lack of tamper resistant electric receptacles in the room where their child was shocked. As you can see, there is no end to this mess, UNLESS your contract specifically states that identification of any adverse condition based on non-compliance with today's standards does NOT establish a duty to conduct a code compliance or safety inspection.


  60. #60
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    an infrared camera is something they can CONSIDER adding to their arsenal
    JP: Now don't get all conditional on us. Consider this: I'll keep my 12k and change and you play "thermographer" and we'll see whose wallet ligthens first .


  61. #61
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hankey View Post
    Quote: "As far as safety is concerned, you better write up non-compliant stairs and the like. The house may be from 1914 but we live in 2009 and when grandma breaks her hip on the stairs your report better have said "stairs are hazardous" or words to that effect"

    So what remedy would you recommend for the 1914 stairs, assuming the only adverse condition was that they where built to 1914 dimensions? Do you advise that the stairs be completely rebuilt to comply with ALL 2009 codes? Be specific, I'd really like to know.
    Roger: Even in newer homes you will find lots of "grandfathered", or pre-existing non-compliant installations and systems. It is not the HIs job to condemn these and require their removal or replacement with the latest and greatest. It is the HIs responsibility to point out the differences between what they have - the 1914 stairs, and what they could have - 2006 IRC-compliant stairs. Given the facts, the decision as to what alterations to make, if any, is entirely up to the client.


  62. #62
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Hi Roger,

    TX is not an ASHI state and conditions may be different where you are. The new TX report form has extensive disclaimer language in the preamble regarding code application. Some of it (and the SOP) is contradictory but the general gist is that any deficiency condition reported should be examined by a qualified professional specialist. The idea here is to put more of the burden on the client. And the client is constrained because the clock is ticking on inspection window. In other words, its a mess.

    Plaintiff lawyers will try any trick in the book, including applying a "higher standard" to all aspects of the report when only one area happened to have been treated as such. Its part of the spaghetti on the wall strategy.

    The new TX standard if followed exactly, including departure provision, should be a $800+ job, minimum. Any of you TX guys and gals taking off covers on electric water heaters to check element functionality and wire condition? How about electric furnace. Taking cover off or putting ammeter on to watch the sequencer dial up? I didn't think so. Half the recap is reporting the departure provision.

    Maybe the folks who bailed in the past year did the right thing.....

    John

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hankey View Post
    Ted & John,

    Thanks for the reply. I know I do not have to include cost estimate, but ASHI requires a recommended course of action be included in the report. I wonder if you actually state "have a qualified carpenter rebuild or replace the stairway" in your report. If you don't make this sort of recommendation, what is it that you recommend? I believe that identification of an adverse condition, without presenting a recommended course of action is unprofessional and does not serve the needs of the client.

    The recommended course of action need not design the repair, rather, it simply indicates whether the adverse condition should be investigated further, repaired, replaced, or the item simply be taken out of use if not essential to the structure.

    I completely agree that the prudent inspector will report how the condition of an existing stairs differs from current practice, and that improvements to the stairs would "reduce the potential for falls". I am careful not to use words like hazardous or safety.

    I believe that HI's who operate without a contract provision and/or description of services excluding any obligation to report conditions in an existing house solely because a component does not meet today's standards, have set themselves up for failure and high risk litigation. I do not believe it is possible to identify and report ALL such conditions.

    Once you start down this path, I can envision a plaintiff's attorney will state since you reported the non-compliant stairs as a safety issue, which the client spent thousands correcting, you established a duty to conduct a full code compliance inspection. He could further argue that you were negligent when you failed to report the lack of tamper resistant electric receptacles in the room where their child was shocked. As you can see, there is no end to this mess, UNLESS your contract specifically states that identification of any adverse condition based on non-compliance with today's standards does NOT establish a duty to conduct a code compliance or safety inspection.



  63. #63
    John Brown's Avatar
    John Brown Guest

    Talking Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Hey those are my people you are talkin about!? LOL


    "I guess even fundamentalist, bible-thumping, Darwin-cursing, book-burning, NRA-supporting, SUV-driving, muddy-booted, Skoal-drooling, happy-clappy-churchian redneck morons have something to contribute to this world."

    Last edited by John Brown; 02-14-2009 at 07:42 AM.

  64. #64
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    John: The precipitous drop in the number of Texas inspectors appears to be due to a number of factors, and is long overdue. The recent requirements for professional liability insurance coupled with the slowing real estate resale and the crashing homebuilding markets has finally begun to shake out some of the the flakes.

    So then, as much as I hate to say this - excuse me while a take a shot of morphine for the pain that is sure to ensue, I suppose we have the Republicans to thank for the recent tidying up of the Texas HI profession. That would be Commandante Bush for his rape of the economy and the ever present Republican Guard in Austin for their uncanny ability to use HIs as the Guinea pigs for all their questionably constitutional governmental meddling.

    I guess even fundamentalist, bible-thumping, Darwin-cursing, book-burning, NRA-supporting, SUV-driving, muddy-booted, Skoal-drooling, happy-clappy-churchian redneck morons have something to contribute to this world.

    And, as to the IR camera thing . . . if you guys, you er, uh,
    "t-h-e-r-m-o-g-r-a-p-h-e-r-s" could just stop for one moment.

    Inhale and exhale deeply a few times.

    Take a step back.

    Focus.

    Now try hard to envision just how stupifyingly ridiculous you appear to the rest of us; the sane ones.

    Thermographers. Give me a fuquing break. If I were to start selling pirate costumes replete with the eye patches, earrings, parrots and swords, and told the endless sea of gullible home inspectors that donning these would give them secret super powers, I could make a fortune.
    You are a funny guy Aaron

    You just cannot help yourself now can you.


  65. #65
    Mike Boyett's Avatar
    Mike Boyett Guest

    Default Re: 2009 TREC SOP Commentary

    My Notes from the TREC Inspectors Advisory Committee sub-committee teleconference working session on the Commentary can be found at my company blog.


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