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  1. #1
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    Good morning,

    Is there any liability in calling out a problem, documenting it in your report and summery but not recommending an electrician, plumber, hvac, roofer, structural engineer…?

    I’ve been recommending an electrician for receptacles I find that are three wire without a ground and neutrals that are not isolated and separated from the grounds in a subpanel. This has not been well received by the realtors.

    Do I fulfill my obligation to my client by telling them what is wrong and why it is wrong?

    Do you have to recommend another pro or is it expectable to leave the decision up to the client whether or not they would like a specialist further evaluate or fix?

    Thank you
    mk

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    If you are working for your client, and not the realtor, then you definitely should point them towards the appropriate specialist(s). It might seem a no-brainer that an electrician should be contacted for problems with electrical equipment and devices, but it's remarkable what people don't know.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Krueger View Post
    Good morning,

    Is there any liability in calling out a problem, documenting it in your report and summery but not recommending an electrician, plumber, hvac, roofer, structural engineer…?

    I’ve been recommending an electrician for receptacles I find that are three wire without a ground and neutrals that are not isolated and separated from the grounds in a subpanel. This has not been well received by the realtors.

    Do I fulfill my obligation to my client by telling them what is wrong and why it is wrong?

    Do you have to recommend another pro or is it expectable to leave the decision up to the client whether or not they would like a specialist further evaluate or fix?

    Thank you
    mk
    Good question...

    You are in a licensed state. What does your state say if anything about how and what you are to say in your report. Some states require you to describe what you found, describe an action of what needs to be done, describe what will happen if no action is taken.

    Something like this:
    I found a breaker that has burnt marks on it and it was warm. A qualified electrical contractor needs to make the needed repairs. If this is not done a fire could occur and the home could burn down.

    I got away from using the term "Licensed", I now use "Qualified". I started to use this a couple of years ago after I heard a judge berating an attorney that just because a person has a license does not mean they are qualified.

    To my chagrin I discovered that many states do not license electricians, plumbers or other trades folk. And another little known fact is that in many areas only the owner of the company needs to hold the license, they can have workers doing the work that they picked up at the bus station on the way to the job! TN, is one of those states!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  4. #4
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    This has not been well received by the realtors.


    MK: Therein lies your dilemma. Who gives a rat's ass what the realtors like or don't like? Who are you working for anyway? Man up! Tell the realtors to F-Off!


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post

    MK: Therein lies your dilemma. Who gives a rat's ass what the realtors like or don't like? Who are you working for anyway? Man up! Tell the realtors to F-Off!
    I see A.D. has had his quota of coffee this morning!

    But, he is spot on with his recommendation.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    As someone here suggested a while back:

    1) Obtain a picture of a RE agent

    2) Take it to Sign*A*Rama

    3) Have them blow it up to a life-size cardboard color cutout

    4) Place in in front of your desk, or somewhere else it will always be within you field of view

    5) Practice ignoring it, until doing so becomes second nature

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 03-27-2010 at 02:50 PM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    The Wisconsin State Statutes say these items are not required to be in the report:

    (2) A home inspector is not required to report on any of the following aspects of items identified in s. RL 134.03:
    (a) Their life expectancy.
    (b) The reason for the necessity of a major repair.
    (c) The method of making any repair or correction, the materials needed for any repair or correction, or the cost of any repair or correction.
    (d) The suitability for any specialized use of an improvement to residential real property.
    (e) Whether they comply with applicable regulatory requirements.

    If I make a recommendation, I use " a qualified, licensed ...". I use the licensed with the qualified so the client knows the electrician or plumber needs to be licensed. We see it all of the time that just because they are licensed, it sure doesn't mean they are qualified.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Jarvis View Post
    The Wisconsin State Statutes say these items are not required to be in the report:
    "not required" is far different than "not allowed", and may well be "expected" to be in a report. Just a thought.

    If I make a recommendation, I use " a qualified, licensed ...". I use the licensed with the qualified so the client knows the electrician or plumber needs to be licensed. We see it all of the time that just because they are licensed, it sure doesn't mean they are qualified.
    Being licensed does not mean they are "qualified" in the sense you are using the term.

    We've had this discussion here several times and the end result is that most here agreed (we will never get 100% agreement on anything ) the following:
    - If one is "licensed" they are therefore "qualified".
    - If one is "qualified" they are therefore "licensed".
    - This is because, in the eyes of the licensing boards one is not "qualified" unless one is "licensed" and by being "licensed" one is therefore "qualified".

    The result of the discussions being that licensed=qualified, thus the recommending should be along the lines of "licensed and competent", as we all know licensed people who are not competent, and we all know people who are competent but, because they are not licensed, are not qualified.

    Besides, if they are "competent", then they will do the work correctly - the first time, otherwise they are not competent, are they?

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

  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    electrician
    plumber,
    roofer


    It is ridiculous to suggest

    Qualified
    licensed
    certified
    competent

    It does nothing for you or them. If they use Vinny next door to them that is all on them. To think that you add anything to the electrician or plumber does anything for you in the slightest is ridiculous. You find the concerns...they follow up anyway they wish.

    Nothing is going to change it. To even think that you would mean anything else but competent, qualified or any other "only those that know what they are doing" is ridiculous. There is no need to state it. This is getting really deep. Pick all the words you want and then hand them a twelve page document and it still does nothing for you.

    If an electrical repair is needed recommend an electrician and be done with it. Whether he is competent or not has nothing to do with you. No need to hind behind anything.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    I'm sure any law professor would chuckle at the title of this question (and not that there's really anything wrong with it) - it's just that there's only liability if you get found guilty or negligent.

    But wait, how can we know that until after the fact? Ah, we've just stumbled upon the beauty of our legal system. The biggest moving target there is. You don't know the right answer until you've lost the chance to give it. This is the simple idea that keeps the yellow pages full of scumbags and all of us paying outrageous insurance premiums.

    I agree with Ted..... sooner or later you have to just wash your hands of all the craziness.... enough is enough. Tell them what to do and be done.


  11. #11
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    ---from the texas 1-4 family real estate contract...Section 7.F
    F. COMPLETION OF REPAIRS AND TREATMENTS: Unless otherwise agreed in writing, Seller
    shall complete all agreed repairs and treatments prior to the Closing Date. All required
    permits must be obtained, and repairs and treatments must be performed by persons who
    are licensed or otherwise authorized by law to provide such repairs or treatments. At
    Buyer’s election, any transferable warranties received by Seller with respect to the repairs
    and treatments will be transferred to Buyer at Buyer’s expense. If Seller fails to
    complete any agreed repairs and treatments prior to the Closing Date, Buyer may do so
    and receive reimbursement from Seller at closing. The Closing Date will be extended up to
    15 days, if necessary, to complete repairs and treatments.

    There is also a preamble to the inspection report as well as form OP-1 that explains the inspection, what to expect, and that additional damage or needed repairs may be discovered by the person performing the repairs.

    Enough said.





  12. #12
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    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    True story here;

    Several years ago during an inspection, I found some simple electrical problems, ungrounded 3-slot receptacles, missing GFCI's etc.

    While discussing this with my client, he asked if he could fix these problems himself.
    I asked him 'Are you a handy guy?'
    He replied "yeah, pretty much"
    I said, 'then it's not that difficult to make these repairs'

    He walks away...

    About 10 minutes later he comes back and asks 'Should I turn the breaker off first?'

    I replied, 'No, call a licensed electrician'

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  13. #13
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    1) Obtain a picture of the agent(s) in question.

    2) Blow up the picture to the size of a basketball.

    3) Attach it to a dart board.

    4) Throw darts at it.

    OR

    1) See above.

    2) See above.

    3) Float it on the surface of the water in your toilet.

    4) Take a dump.

    OR

    1) See above.

    2) See above.

    3) Place it on the grass in your yard.

    4) Mow.


  14. #14
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Stanley View Post
    ---from the texas 1-4 family real estate contract...Section 7.F

    F. COMPLETION OF REPAIRS AND TREATMENTS: Unless otherwise agreed in writing, Seller
    shall complete all agreed repairs and treatments prior to the Closing Date. All required
    permits must be obtained, and repairs and treatments must be performed by persons who
    are licensed or otherwise authorized by law to provide such repairs or treatments. At
    Buyer’s election, any transferable warranties received by Seller with respect to the repairs
    and treatments will be transferred to Buyer at Buyer’s expense. If Seller fails to
    complete any agreed repairs and treatments prior to the Closing Date, Buyer may do so
    and receive reimbursement from Seller at closing. The Closing Date will be extended up to
    15 days, if necessary, to complete repairs and treatments.

    There is also a preamble to the inspection report as well as form OP-1 that explains the inspection, what to expect, and that additional damage or needed repairs may be discovered by the person performing the repairs.

    Enough said.
    What they must do!

    It sounds as thought the Realtor has to not hold the hand of the client but must present the needs and course of action taken from the buyer and seller.

    Inspector needs to say electrician, roofer etc. What ever course the buyer, seller, buyers agent, listing agent it is out of your hands. The intention is there with out saying that they need to hire someone competent or licensed or what ever word you want to add to that tradesman.

    The red highlighted part about more may be found is reiterated by me throughout the walk through. I always add that as well in my report about when the tradesman does his eval before pricing the repair he just may find something deeper behind the concern. Eval and price for repairs. I say that all the time and there are always the folks that say a further eval is not needed. You already evaluated it and the tradesman better damn well just fix what you stated is wrong because you know what you are doing anf talking about. Phooey. They are going to eval the concern anyway before they price or touch anything. So, why not say it.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 03-28-2010 at 09:39 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    In regards to electrical work, except for the most simple things like replacing a switch or receptacle cover, I always recommend an electrical contractor and in some cases I go to a licensed master electrician. It so easy to be killed by electricity not to mention direct and indirect injuries caused by electrical shock.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  16. #16
    Eric Shuman's Avatar
    Eric Shuman Guest

    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    One of the changes to the Tx report form last year was to add a lot of info in the preamble of the report. Much of this info appears to be added to help reduce liability on the inspector.

    Here are some of the things now included in the required report form in TX. This is all stuff that is also in my contract in some wordring or the other but I do think it helps to have it stated by the state mandated form as well.

    "…Although some safety issues may be addressed in this report, this inspection is NOT a safety/code inspection, and the inspector is NOT required to identify all potential hazards…

    …This property inspection is not an exhaustive inspection of the structure, systems, or components. The inspection may not reveal all deficiencies. A real estate inspection helps to reduce some of the risk involved in purchasing a home, but it cannot eliminate these risks, nor can the inspection anticipate future events or changes in performance due to changes in use or occupancy…

    …The inspector is not required to prioritize or emphasize the importance of one deficiency over another…

    …When a deficiency is reported, it is the client’s responsibility to obtain further evaluations and/or cost estimates from qualified service professionals. Any such follow-up should take place prior to the expiration of any time limitations such as option periods. Evaluations by qualified tradesmen may lead to the discovery of additional deficiencies which may involve additional repair costs. Failure to address deficiencies or comments noted in this report may lead to further damage of the structure or systems and add to the original repair costs. The inspector is not required to provide follow-up services to verify that proper repairs have been made…"

    Source: TREC mandated inspection form REI 7A-1 (10/2008)


    Now if we could just get the clients to read the reports...




  17. #17
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Shuman View Post
    One of the changes to the Tx report form last year was to add a lot of info in the preamble of the report. Much of this info appears to be added to help reduce liability on the inspector.

    Here are some of the things now included in the required report form in TX. This is all stuff that is also in my contract in some wordring or the other but I do think it helps to have it stated by the state mandated form as well.

    "…Although some safety issues may be addressed in this report, this inspection is NOT a safety/code inspection, and the inspector is NOT required to identify all potential hazards…

    …This property inspection is not an exhaustive inspection of the structure, systems, or components. The inspection may not reveal all deficiencies. A real estate inspection helps to reduce some of the risk involved in purchasing a home, but it cannot eliminate these risks, nor can the inspection anticipate future events or changes in performance due to changes in use or occupancy…

    …The inspector is not required to prioritize or emphasize the importance of one deficiency over another…

    …When a deficiency is reported, it is the client’s responsibility to obtain further evaluations and/or cost estimates from qualified service professionals. Any such follow-up should take place prior to the expiration of any time limitations such as option periods. Evaluations by qualified tradesmen may lead to the discovery of additional deficiencies which may involve additional repair costs. Failure to address deficiencies or comments noted in this report may lead to further damage of the structure or systems and add to the original repair costs. The inspector is not required to provide follow-up services to verify that proper repairs have been made…"

    Source: TREC mandated inspection form REI 7A-1 (10/2008)


    Now if we could just get the clients to read the reports...

    One thing I have noticed since the Trec preamble grew is that more people are actually reading it and commenting on it.

    I like it. It is pretty much what I always told my clients anyway. Close to it anyway.


  18. #18
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Re: Is there any liability in not recommending an electrician, plumber…

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Shuman View Post
    One of the changes to the Tx report form last year was to add a lot of info in the preamble of the report. Much of this info appears to be added to help reduce liability on the inspector.

    Here are some of the things now included in the required report form in TX. This is all stuff that is also in my contract in some wordring or the other but I do think it helps to have it stated by the state mandated form as well.

    "…Although some safety issues may be addressed in this report, this inspection is NOT a safety/code inspection, and the inspector is NOT required to identify all potential hazards…

    …This property inspection is not an exhaustive inspection of the structure, systems, or components. The inspection may not reveal all deficiencies. A real estate inspection helps to reduce some of the risk involved in purchasing a home, but it cannot eliminate these risks, nor can the inspection anticipate future events or changes in performance due to changes in use or occupancy…

    …The inspector is not required to prioritize or emphasize the importance of one deficiency over another…

    …When a deficiency is reported, it is the client’s responsibility to obtain further evaluations and/or cost estimates from qualified service professionals. Any such follow-up should take place prior to the expiration of any time limitations such as option periods. Evaluations by qualified tradesmen may lead to the discovery of additional deficiencies which may involve additional repair costs. Failure to address deficiencies or comments noted in this report may lead to further damage of the structure or systems and add to the original repair costs. The inspector is not required to provide follow-up services to verify that proper repairs have been made…"

    Source: TREC mandated inspection form REI 7A-1 (10/2008)


    Now if we could just get the clients to read the reports...

    I really like the last two statements!!
    I don't think I can get away with that in WI though
    Thanks
    mk


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