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  1. #1
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
    Lee Nettnin Guest

    Unhappy Radon certification

    I have a question for the radon specialists.

    I had my remodeling hat on the other day, doing some work for a home seller. They indicated that I could not leave any windows/doors open because they were having a radon test conducted. I had occasion to walk through the downstairs and did not see a radon detector, so I put on my HI hat and asked where the detector was. The homeowner stated it was in the basement. I have done alot of work for this customer and I knew that the basement was unfinished and could by no means be considered livable space. I informed her that the monitor was not located in the proper place. Fortunately the test came back with low numbers.
    I asked her for the name of the inspector, which she gave me. I emailed them asking why they had placed it in the basement.... NO Response. I looked on his web site and it clearly states they do certified radon tests and they comply with the EPA.

    I could not find them in the NRPP and NSRB database. Is there any other certification association that he could be certified with??

    Thanks, Lee

    Similar Threads:
    Last edited by Lee Nettnin; 04-19-2008 at 07:02 AM. Reason: spelling
    Elite MGA Home Inspector E&O Insurance

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Without actually seeing the house I'm kind of in the dark here.

    Was the basement un-finished but capable of having livable space there.
    Was there HVAC to the space?

    I have tested many unfinished basements because the potential buyer was planning on finishing it off, and there was HVAC to the area.

    He may not have returned your e-mail because he didn't see it, he didn't recognize your e-mail, or didn't think he needed to answer to you, and it was none of your business.


  3. #3
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Hi Jack,
    I understand where you are coming from testing the basement but this is straight from the EPA in this document http://www.epa.gov/radon/pdfs/homes_protocols.pdf

    2.2 Measurement Location
    Short-term or long-term measurements should be made in the lowest lived-in level of the house. The
    following criteria should be used to select the location of the detectors within a room on this level:
    The measurements should be made in the lowest level which contains a room that is used
    regularly. Test areas include family rooms, living rooms, dens, playrooms, and bedrooms. A
    bedroom on the lower level may be a good choice, because most people generally spend more
    time in their bedrooms than in any other room in the house (Chapin 1974, Moeller and Underhill
    1976, Szalai 1972). If there are children in the home, it may be appropriate to measure the
    radon concentration in their bedrooms or in other areas where they spend a lot of time, such as
    a playroom, that are situated in the lowest levels of the home.

    To answer your question, Any basement could be converted to a living space, but this basement was used for storage only, no HVAC but the furnace and water heater are in the basement, no laundry room, nothing.

    Even if your clients planned on finishing off the basement a new radon test should be done after the remodel, as we know everything changes after significant remodeling jobs.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    I think that we will be seeing a change in the "living space" protocol and what is considered to be a "living space" in the near future. Basements can be converted into living space by a new owner and it happens all of the time. I guess this is one of the reasons that the EPA & NEHA is looking at a change in this protocol. From my understanding it is being fought by the Realtor and Home Builder lobbyist.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Radon tests being placed in the basement, regardless of condition, is the norm around here.


  6. #6
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Radon tests being placed in the basement, regardless of condition, is the norm around here.
    Same here. I have taken courses around my area by local Radon Lab and they say use the basement. People are down there all the time doing laundry, workshop, kids playing etc. They also said radon levels are typically cut in half for each story you move up.
    Lee. A basement is a livable space. I think your wrong on this one. Why not error on the side of caution and find out what the reading is in the basement?


  7. #7
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    Smile Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I think that we will be seeing a change in the "living space" protocol and what is considered to be a "living space" in the near future. Basements can be converted into living space by a new owner and it happens all of the time. I guess this is one of the reasons that the EPA & NEHA is looking at a change in this protocol. From my understanding it is being fought by the Realtor and Home Builder lobbyist.
    Now that is just plain simply surprising. Why would those groups ever oppose such a change? Certainly, it would be in the best interests of their customers, would it not?

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Lee,
    When I asked about HVAC, I really meant does it have ducts and registers.

    A lot of basement houses in my area have a garage and a big room with no walls or ceiling materials. I do not test in those, since I wouldn't likely get a good test with air gaps around the garage door being inches and all.

    Other than that, I will test basements.
    JF


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Lee,

    The EPA protocol, EPA 402-R-92-003, section 3.3 - "Measurement location" states:

    "Measurements should be made in a room that is used regularly, such as a living room, playroom, den, or bedroom. This includes a basement that can be used as a recreation room, bedroom, or playroom. This provides the buyer with the option of using a lower level of the home as part of the living area, with the knowledge that it has been tested for radon."

    To the best of my knowledge - Radon measurement specialist are certified by NRRP or NRSB only. I don't know of any other organization.

    And Now I wish to share my own observation with you. You stated that you started with this client wearing your remodeling hat, then you switched and put on your home inspector hat, and now you're trying to put on your certified radon specialist hat.

    I suggest you only wear the hat you were contracted for or are licensed and certified for. I recommend you don't take on more than you can chew. It will get you into mucho trouble and set you up for litigation.

    Here is my advice - Questioning for knowledge is fine and encouraged, but unless you have been specifically contracted to do so, and are certified and licensed in that field of expertise, you should butt out of other peoples business and stick to what you have been paid to do.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Difference depends on the guide book used. We were warned in certification class about the problems that could arise over this issue and others due to differences.

    Homeowners Guide To Radon, for testing in a house for the inhabitants, NOT for a real estate transaction. Really intended for the owner who does a DIY test- Test in "LOWEST LIVED-IN AREA". Also, calls for a long-term test (1 yr) in the event the original and a followup short-term test average is >= 4.0 pCi/L (not using CRM equipment)

    Buyers and Sellers Guide to Radon, testing for a real estate transaction - Test in "LOWEST LIVABLE AREA". Anything larger than a laundry room is considered "livable".

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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    Difference depends on the guide book used. We were warned in certification class about the problems that could arise over this issue and others due to differences.

    Homeowners Guide To Radon, for testing in a house for the inhabitants, NOT for a real estate transaction. Really intended for the owner who does a DIY test- Test in "LOWEST LIVED-IN AREA". Also, calls for a long-term test (1 yr) in the event the original and a followup short-term test average is >= 4.0 pCi/L (not using CRM equipment)

    Buyers and Sellers Guide to Radon, testing for a real estate transaction - Test in "LOWEST LIVABLE AREA". Anything larger than a laundry room is considered "livable".
    Stuart I was told the exact same thing in the certification class about the differences in the Homeowners guide and the Buyers and sellers guide.


  12. #12
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    Lee,


    And Now I wish to share my own observation with you. You stated that you started with this client wearing your remodeling hat, then you switched and put on your home inspector hat, and now you're trying to put on your certified radon specialist hat.

    I suggest you only wear the hat you were contracted for or are licensed and certified for. I recommend you don't take on more than you can chew. It will get you into mucho trouble and set you up for litigation.

    Here is my advice - Questioning for knowledge is fine and encouraged, but unless you have been specifically contracted to do so, and are certified and licensed in that field of expertise, you should butt out of other peoples business and stick to what you have been paid to do.
    Hi Ken,
    I can see your point, however I do not agree.
    First, I am a licensed HI and also NRPP certified in radon measurement.
    Second, your telling me that HI's should never advise clients on accepted methods or recommend how to repair things in the home. If you did this you would be a remodeler and you should "butt out of other peoples business".

    Have you ever had someone "butt in" and pick up something you dropped in a store, or come rushing to your aid in a vehicle accident. If this radon test was being done in your house (and you did not know the protocols) wouldn't you want someone to inform you of the proper procedures?


  13. #13
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Radon tests being placed in the basement, regardless of condition, is the norm around here.
    Agreed, Not only the norm but the Licensed requirement for Radon Testing..

    From the PA DEP website with regard to testing protocols:

    Bureau of Radiation Protection--Radon Division--Radon Testing Information

    Where to Test
    DEP recommends testing the lowest livable area of the building and considers the basement, if any, to be the lowest livable area if it can be used as a living area without major structural changes. For real estate transactions, this is true even if the basement is not currently renovated into a finished living space because the buyer may renovate and use the basement as a living space.

    Lee's comment is troubling...
    ..."I informed her that the monitor was not located in the proper place."...

    You told the Client that the placement was improper without having knowledge of the placement protocols that were being used.

    Last edited by Joseph P. Hagarty; 04-20-2008 at 06:58 AM.

  14. #14
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
    Lee Nettnin Guest

    Wink Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph P. Hagarty View Post
    Not only the norm but the Licensed requirement for Radon Testing..

    From the PA DEP website with regard to testing protocols:

    Bureau of Radiation Protection--Radon Division--Radon Testing Information

    Where to Test
    DEP recommends testing the lowest livable area of the building and considers the basement, if any, to be the lowest livable area if it can be used as a living area without major structural changes. For real estate transactions, this is true even if the basement is not currently renovated into a finished living space because the buyer may renovate and use the basement as a living space.

    Your comment is troubling...
    ..."I informed her that the monitor was not located in the proper place."...

    You told the Client that the placement was improper without having knowledge of the placement protocols that were being used.
    Hi Joseph,
    Sorry, everyone does not live in PA, I live in NY and your PA protocols do not apply. We are suppost to use EPA protocols.


  15. #15
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Radon certification

    A question remains....

    ..."I informed her that the monitor was not located in the proper place."...

    If you know that the monitor placement was improper, why are you asking here on this BB about monitor placement?


  16. #16
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
    Lee Nettnin Guest

    Smile Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph P. Hagarty View Post
    A question remains....

    ..."I informed her that the monitor was not located in the proper place."...

    If you know that the monitor placement was improper, why are you asking here on this BB about monitor placement?
    Hi Joseph,
    My original post asked "I could not find them in the NRPP and NSRB database. Is there any other certification association that he could be certified with??"
    Lee


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Radon certification

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

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Lee,
    The only national radon certification bodies are NEHA-NRPP and NRSB. There are many states that do their own licensing of testers and mitigators and states were you need no certification or license.
    In Illinois we need to test in each livable space areas. If a home has a crawlspace, slab and a basement we would have to test in three areas (of course it is above the crawl not in it). In Illinois we do testing in finished and unfinished basements. The unfinished basements can easily be used as a work, leisure or play areas. Many times kids use the basement during our winters for a play area. (Roller skating etc). This past week I did a test in a home with the three areas’ and the basement and crawlspace had elevated results. This basement I tested I would never use (older and very low ceiling) BUT this client planned on putting her washer and dryer in the basement. Now, with the dryer running I'm sure it will draw in much more radon as make-up air. My point is that you may not have all the facts and your not the testers client and he need not answer to you.

    Just my thoughts and no disrespect intended,

    Paul

    Last edited by Paul Ybarra; 04-20-2008 at 05:44 PM. Reason: Update

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    What are the NY state protocols for radon testing? Do they state that the basement cannot be used for placing the test?


  20. #20
    Todd Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    When we teach the protocols for device placement, we make a clear distinction between lowest lived in (Concerned Citizen) and lowest livable (Real Estate transaction).

    It is acceptable if the Concerned Citizen chooses to have the unfinished basement to determine highest risk based on their future use.

    Also keep in mind that short-term tests 48 hours to 90 days are considered adequate for making decisions for Real Estate purchases, but the recommendation for Concerned Citizen is a long-term test (greater than 90 days) since Radon levels vary greatly hour-by-hour and season-by-season. 91 days or more paints the better picture for exposure, while short-term tests illustrate potential.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Lee,
    Correct me if I am wrong but as far as I know the NRPP does not "certify" any radon specialist or technician. They do however provide training and testing which may then be used to join a national or state organization that "certifies or licenses" individuals or companies for radon testing and/or mitigation if all requirements are met and sustained. I was also unaware that the NRPP had a database to query for those who have passed the exam, I thought it only listed the testing number and a pass of fail. Please let me know where you quarried by name?

    Second, EPA protocols (and NRPP training) states clearly that the monitor should be placed in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly, "Whether it is finished or unfinished) in a Real estate transaction. While some arguments have been made to better define "Renovation" it is generally accepted to mean changes to make habitable that require renovation, not to be confused with "finishing".

    I would think you may want to notify your client that you were in error.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Greenwalt View Post
    Lee,
    Correct me if I am wrong but as far as I know the NRPP does not "certify" any radon specialist or technician. They do however provide training and testing which may then be used to join a national or state organization that "certifies or licenses" individuals or companies for radon testing and/or mitigation if all requirements are met and sustained. I was also unaware that the NRPP had a database to query for those who have passed the exam, I thought it only listed the testing number and a pass of fail. Please let me know where you quarried by name?

    Second, EPA protocols (and NRPP training) states clearly that the monitor should be placed in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly, "Whether it is finished or unfinished) in a Real estate transaction. While some arguments have been made to better define "Renovation" it is generally accepted to mean changes to make habitable that require renovation, not to be confused with "finishing".

    I would think you may want to notify your client that you were in error.
    Go to http://[URL="http://www.radongas.org"]www.radongas.org[/URL]
    This is the NEHA-NRPP cite, you can browse by state for certified inspectors, mitigators, and labs. No search by name available NRSB has similar lookup. I check these regularly because we have guys running around testing who have had no official training much less certification. If I can catch them at it, I'll report them to the State Health Department (that's who oversees Radon testing and mitigation in VA). If I had to take that awful test then so does everybody else. THE test, you know, the proctored one with questions created by Federal Government Employee, PhD, Nuclear Physicists.

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

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Nettnin View Post
    2.2 Measurement Location
    Short-term or long-term measurements should be made in the lowest lived-in level of the house. The following criteria should be used to select the location of the detectors within a room on this level:
    The measurements should be made in the lowest level which contains a room that is used regularly.
    Lee,

    Thinking back to the basement in the house we had when we lived up north (40 miles south of Buffalo), that would definitely include the basement.

    No, it was not "finished", nor was it used as a "family rooms, living rooms, dens, playrooms, and bedrooms", it was, however, a workshop area where my Dad used to spend time in the winters 'building things' and where us kids played (keeping out of the storage cellar where potatoes, vegetables, canned foods, etc., and the laundry area where the ringer washer was).

    During the winter, the basement can become "used regularly".

    Thus, testing radon in the basement in the summer is really no different than testing it in a "regularly used area" in the winter.

    I'm not certified in radon or anything like that, but I have been considered 'certifiable' before, and, beside, I have spent several nights in Holiday Inns.

    Before you push yourself too far over that edge, I agree with Michael: "I would think you may want to notify your client that you were in error."

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

  24. #24
    Michael Greenwalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Stuart,
    Got it, NEHA yes, but that is an organization you join AFTER passing a NRPP course and exam, least as I remember it. Being certified by NEHA is understandable but not by NRPP. One can be qualified without belonging to NEHA but must belong to be "certified" by them.
    One cannot be "certified" by NRPP however as far as I remember as well.

    I an not a member of NEHA but I have certainly passed that blasted NRPP exam for both testing and mitigation. When our state passes a licensing requirement for doing so I may but the fees they charge, including a separate calibration test is a tad exhorbant. You won't find my name on the NEHA site, does that mean I am not competent...not in my opinion, or the state of Kansas.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    The NRSB certifies radon professionals, test equipment, and test laboratories.

    I am certified by NRSB.

    Just go to their Web page and look at their introduction
    NRSB: National Radon Safety Board

    Also, the AARP Has been working with the EPA to change the conflicting requirements for the testing location. The EPA is planning revisions to their current documents and have been accepting public comments.

    This is what will most likely be in all EPA revised documents:
    (Notice what I underlined. - Very important - It is up to the testing professional to determine location)

    "EPA recommends that testing device(s) be placed in the lowest level of the home that could be used regularly, whether it is finished or unfinished. Conduct the test in any space that could be used by the buyer as a bedroom, play area, family room, den, exercise room, or workshop. Based on their client's intended use of the space, the qualified testing professional should identify the appropriate test location and inform their client (buyer). Do not test in a closet, stairway, hallway, crawl space or in an enclosed area of high humidity or high air velocity. An enclosed area may include a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or furnace room."


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    I know this is an old post, but I'm new to Inspection News. Unless that basement was full of water, I would have tested for radon in the basement. I look at it this way: My boys and many of their pals were into weight lifting - body building - what ever they call it now. If a house has a basement, even if it was dirt and uneven ledge, that's where the weights were, and the boys may spent hours there. Would I want my boys or their friends, or anyone else's children doing heavy exercise, breathing high concentrations of radon and radon decay products? Of course not!!! So if a basement looks like it could be a place to use exercise equipment, then like it or not, that's where the radon test goes. I hope this answers some questions.

    Second Mile Radon Testing
    Ludlow, Maine
    jcsecondmile@gmail.com
    secondmileradon.com
    207-551-1787

    Reg. # ME24000C
    NEHA/NRPP ID # 105892RT


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Nettnin View Post
    Hi Joseph,
    My original post asked "I could not find them in the NRPP and NSRB database. Is there any other certification association that he could be certified with??"
    Lee

    Look in the NEHA

    Also I test in the lowest possible livable area of the house in ALL real estate transactions. The buyers may do anything with the non lived in space that the current occupants aren't using. Usually I get the worst readings there. It gives the buyer the worst case scenario for radon intrusion.

    Last edited by Barry Lewis; 07-01-2010 at 10:40 PM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    There are questions about certification. I'm looking at my NRPP/NEHA card here. "To confirm validity of this certification call (800) 269-4174." It's a bit unclear where NRPP ends and NEHA begins.One can pass NEHA's proctored exam without becoming certified. Passing their exam is only ONE of the certification requirements. They also require a Quality Assurance Plan, and have continuing education requirements.
    My state, Maine, requires "registration" with the state, but does NOT require "certification". The words are easily confused. I have read articles in Maine news papers telling the public that they need a CERTIFIED person/company to do radon tests .... when a home is for sale, or to comply with the new rental property law ..... No. They need a person/company who is registered with the state.
    NRPP/NEHA is not the only organization to grant certification for radon services. There is also AIC2 ... and probably more. ...
    It's ALWAYS wise to check with your state's radon office. Each state is different.
    I hope this helps.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Radon certification

    Lee, The following is from the EPA Protocols for Radon and Radon Decay Product Measurements in Homes and also is similar recommendation in the Homebuyers and Sellers guide.

    The rule we use is that the buyer could at some future time finish the basement and convert it to living space. We place CRMs in unfinished basements for real estate transactions all the time. We only occasionally will test on first floor levels if it is for a private client and they stated they don't plan to finish the basement.
    Jim
    3.3 Measurement Location
    EPA recommends that measurements made for a real estate transaction be performed in the
    lowest
    level of the home which is currently suitable for occupancy
    . This means the lowest level that is
    currently lived-in, or a lower level that is not currently used (such as a basement, which a buyer could
    use for living space without renovations). Measurements should be made in a room that is used
    regularly, such as a living room, playroom, den, or bedroom. This includes a basement that can be
    used as a recreation room, bedroom, or playroom. This provides the buyer with the option of using a

    lower level of the home as part of the living area, with the knowledge that it has been tested for radon.



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