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  1. #1
    Anthony Coscia's Avatar
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    Default A question about Standards & Practices

    I have a question about turning on utilities for an inspection. The last 2 inspections I had the utilities were off, Water and gas. The agent wanted me to turn the water on at the street curb, I refused and told him I can't do that. My question is, I seem to remember home inspectors cannot turn these thing on or lite pilots but for the life of me, I can't seem to find where it states this. I've checked every S & P, ASHI, NACHI even the Nevada S & P for home inspectors. Can someone point me in the right direction so I can shove it up the agent*** or am I wrong about this? If so, I'm claiming CRS..

    Tony

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  2. #2
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    You should check with each city for one. We have one city in my area that has a $ 500.00 fine if you turn on the water at the curb. thats for the owner a contractor or an inspector. they do not want any one to turn the valve the wrong way and damage the plumbing.

    You have no information as to the condition of the plumbing, Electrical or the GAS. In Calif. Its a big fine if you turn on the GAS. We had some fumigation companies burn down some homes and thats where the law came from.

    You did the correct thing.

    Best

    Ron


  3. #3
    Anthony Coscia's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Thats what I was thinking, especially the gas. The Gas Company has to come out to the house and light piltts and check for leaks and such. If I were to turn the water on and a pipe or some other mishap occures,(FLOOD) I'm liable. But whats bugging me is I can't find where its a prohibited act for a home inspector in any Standards & Practices. I know I saw it somewhere, not just in the contracts we have. Thanks for you input Ron.. Take care.

    Tony.


  4. #4
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Your SOP Has to fallow the law. Check with each City. They all have ordnance that address these question. you should have a copy of these with you in you truck and the next time some agent ask you to turn on something pull out that cities ordnance.

    Best

    Ron


  5. #5
    Anthony Coscia's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    I'm doing that now. Thanks


  6. #6
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    This sounds like a question of how big your balz are. You either need to grow a pair to tell the Realtor that you do not turn on utilities because it is your business decision not to take unnecessary risks OR have a big enough pair to handle the risk if you decide to take it. You already know the risk, what's it going to be, do you feel lucky? (said with a Clint Eastwood squint)

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  7. #7
    Anthony Coscia's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    I did tell him no and the agent before that too. The client hired me anyways, the agent had nuttin to do with it. As it turned out, he ended up turning the water on himself..lol

    Tony


  8. #8

    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    I tell agents that I will not turn on the water, tell them why, and then will let them use my tools if they so choose to assume the liability. Hopefully, allowing them to use my tool doesn't place too much liability on my company.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Coscia View Post
    But whats bugging me is I can't find where its a prohibited act for a home inspector in any Standards & Practices.

    Tony,

    You won't find ANYTHING PROHIBITED in SoP for home inspectors, you will find "minimum required" things" and the home inspector is allowed to go as far beyond those "minimum required" things as the home inspector wants.

    The only exception I know of is in Kentucky where they are PROHIBITED from writing up code items ... but there is a way out ... they are PROHIBITED from writing up code items ON THE FIRST INSPECTION - so all they have to do is do one "quickie" inspection and then do the SECOND full-blown inspection, which is now no longer the FIRST INSPECTION.

    At least that was the wording given here by Erby from Kentucky last I recall, may have been changed?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Hopefully, allowing them to use my tool doesn't place too much liability on my company.
    No more than, say, ... handing them a loaded gun and saying "Go ahead and shoot your self if you must."

    Your Honor, I DID NOT tell them to shoot themselves *IN THEIR HEAD*, that was THEIR CHOICE.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
    Anthony Coscia's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Thanks for all the input guys. I been searching the local utilities sites for there info on stealing or tampering and they don't really offer any usable info on the subject. What I am going to do is pull up the State Penal code section on Theft of local and municipal utilities and have that on hand to stickup there noses when I get asked again. The penal code is a one stop cover all. Again, thanks for all the input.. Take care.

    Tony


  12. #12
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Coscia View Post
    Thanks for all the input guys. I been searching the local utilities sites for there info on stealing or tampering and they don't really offer any usable info on the subject. What I am going to do is pull up the State Penal code section on Theft of local and municipal utilities and have that on hand to stickup there noses when I get asked again. The penal code is a one stop cover all. Again, thanks for all the input.. Take care.

    Tony
    Better yet, simply tell your client, agents or whoever that you need to have the utilities on and turned on in the home for you to do the inspection. That is all you need to say. You could also add that if the water is off at the street then it needs to be turned on, you do not turn water on when it is off at the meter.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Coscia View Post
    I been searching the local utilities sites for there info on stealing or tampering and they don't really offer any usable info on the subject. What I am going to do is pull up the State Penal code section on Theft of local and municipal utilities and have that on hand to stickup there noses when I get asked again.
    Tony,

    Your easiest way is to CALL the local utilities and ask them what fines there are for turning on their utilities ... then have them sent that information to you in an e-mail.

    Tell the local utilities that your local REAL ESTATE AGENTS are demanding that home inspectors turn the utilities on ... I AM SURE the local utilities will SEND YOU EVERYTHING THEY HAVE to use to slap those agents upside the head - I would not spend all the extra time going the state law route, let the local utilities do the work for you, they will almost assuredly have it at their finger tips.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Post Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Good grief. In these parts, that would be tampering with utility company equipment. I would have to bite my tongue after "feel free to do that yourself" and not continue with "and I'll call the utility to report it while you are in the act". If they want to do the crime, they have to pay the time. Fair is fair. Such arrogance has not place in the business world, in my opinion. Their job is to sell the house, but they have to work within the law. It's too bad so many of them seem to forget that. Maybe they should buy the BMW after closing, instead of counting their eggs before they hatch.

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

  15. #15
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    Post Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    In my service area, the utility owns up to and including the water meter. See here - they'd be going to see THE MAN:

    THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
    Act 328 of 1931

    750.383a Destruction of certain property used in connection with appliance or component of electric, telecommunication, or natural gas infrastructure that is property of utility; violation; penalty; "utility" defined.Sec. 383a.
    A person, without lawful authority, shall not willfully cut, break, obstruct, injure, destroy, tamper with or manipulate, deface, or steal any machinery, tools, equipment, telephone line or post, telegraph line or post, telecommunication line, tower, or post, electric line, post, tower or supporting structures, electric wire, insulator, switch, or signal, natural gas pipeline, water pipeline, steam heat pipeline or the valves or other appliances or equipment appertaining to or used in connection with those lines, or any other appliance or component of the electric, telecommunication, or natural gas infrastructure that is the property of a utility. A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both. As used in this section, "utility" includes any pipeline, gas, electric, heat, water, oil, sewer, telephone, telegraph, telecommunication, radio, railway, railroad, airplane, transportation, communication or other system, whether or not publicly owned, that is operated for the public use.


    History: Add. 1941, Act 190, Imd. Eff. June 16, 1941 ;-- Am. 1947, Act 61, Imd. Eff. Apr. 28, 1947 ;-- CL 1948, 750.383a ;-- Am. 2008, Act 413, Eff. Mar. 1, 2009

    2009 Legislative Council, State of Michigan

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

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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    (added different highlighting in bold, red, larger, text)
    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    In my service area, the utility owns up to and including the water meter. See here - they'd be going to see THE MAN:

    THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
    Act 328 of 1931

    750.383a Destruction of certain property used in connection with appliance or component of electric, telecommunication, or natural gas infrastructure that is property of utility; violation; penalty; "utility" defined.Sec. 383a.
    A person, without lawful authority, shall not willfully cut, break, obstruct, injure, destroy, tamper with or manipulate, deface, or steal any machinery, tools, equipment, telephone line or post, telegraph line or post, telecommunication line, tower, or post, electric line, post, tower or supporting structures, electric wire, insulator, switch, or signal, natural gas pipeline, water pipeline, steam heat pipeline or the valves or other appliances or equipment appertaining to or used in connection with those lines, or any other appliance or component of the electric, telecommunication, or natural gas infrastructure that is the property of a utility. A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both. As used in this section, "utility" includes any pipeline, gas, electric, heat, water, oil, sewer, telephone, telegraph, telecommunication, radio, railway, railroad, airplane, transportation, communication or other system, whether or not publicly owned, that is operated for the public use.


    History: Add. 1941, Act 190, Imd. Eff. June 16, 1941 ;-- Am. 1947, Act 61, Imd. Eff. Apr. 28, 1947 ;-- CL 1948, 750.383a ;-- Am. 2008, Act 413, Eff. Mar. 1, 2009

    2009 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Frankly I would never perfom an inspection without all utilities being on. Otherwise its a partial inspection which cam leave one open to all sorts of potential legal action. This decision came from personal experience in the loss of eyelashs, eyebrows, flooding, call-backs, and hostile phone calls. And this was after I inserted several NOTICES in my report. You can neither teach or protect yourself from stupid.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  18. #18
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Otherwise its a partial inspection which cam leave one open to all sorts of potential legal action.

    On the other hand, I used to do many partial inspections as I charged by the hour and did as much as, or as little as, my client wanted me to ... and never had a problem arise from doing so.

    I am sure that my clients here on the East Coast were not any smarter than clients over there on the West Coast, and many of my clients were attorneys.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  19. #19
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    Cool Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    If you have a contract for the inspection, you can include language for everything you require from utilities on to degrees of access, Realtor present, etc., etc. It should be a condition of inspection just as access to the property is required without picking locks. Then you can add a clause stating specifically things you won't do such as turning on utility service (even if it isn't locked out), enter a building with unsupervised minors, loose pets, etc.

    If it is a distressed property such as REO/ foreclosure then of course you will have some very specific language as to just what you are or are not inspecting. In those cases, usually the client--not your SOP determine the scope of the inspection.

    Practically speaking, there is huge liability turning on any utility. Besides, your insurance probably does not cover you for it.

    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Bob nailed it. A contract is far and away the most vital document in a court of law.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  21. #21
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Around here, if the water meter is not locked off, anyone can turn it on. Now what happens after that might be another story. I turn on the water many a times. But only if the agent brings a minimum of one other person and stands in the house to yell if something goes wrong. Practicality has to rule some times. Open the outside hose bibs and ease the valve open. Never had a problem.
    Gas-never!
    I actually watched an agent clip the tag on the electric meter and pull the tabs so I could work. I did inform him of the ramifications first.
    JLMathis


  22. #22
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Inspector turns on the water service at the meter or house supply that was off upon arrival at the request of the buyer's agent.
    During the move out of a bank foreclosure angry occupant disconnected a toilet supply line or 2. Who do you think is going to pay for the water damage that incurs; the agent?

    Turning on the gas or electric service could even be worse !

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  23. #23
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    jeffrey

    around here. where are you located.PLEASE ADD YOUR LOCATION TO YOUR PROFILE IT HELPS OTHERS KNOW WHAT GOES ON IN DIFFERENT AREAS

    in colorado there are some cities that if they catch you at the outside turn on--you can get a ticket or fined a hefty fee, so i don't touch it--not my job man, if i ask the listing agent if utilities are on and they say YES. then off i go. if it is off when i get there. sorry. get it turned on and i will complete my inspection with an extra trip charge. or it doesn't get tested.i've had no problems getting paid. agents i deal with know time is money and they know my SOO.

    CHARLIE


  24. #24
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    I think there is a law in this country that states "the last poor sucker who touched it" is responsible.

    I know a guy who got blamed for frozen pipes several months after the inspection where he turned on the water and even turned it back off. Cost him $5k he said.

    I have seen several major leaks in houses occur when someone else turned on the valve while I was there.

    When something is off during an inspection, don't just state in the report that it was off, also add this to the summary section:

    The plumbing system needs inspecting when the water is on.
    The furnace needs inspecting when the gas is on.

    Then add whatever, before close of escrow or better yet, before you proceed. Some people don't know what an escrow is.

    I carry a few gallon jugs so I can use the toilet so I could care less if the listing agent lied about the water.

    They have a new one now, they say "the water is legally turned on".
    This means that it is off at the street.............


  25. #25
    Russell Palka's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    In my opinion the realetor has an obligation to the client to have the home "inspection ready" when the inspection is scheduled. It's what they get paid for.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    According to "Principals of Home Inspection" Systems and Standards published by Carson Dunlop and Associates, the book required and issued for study and taking the Home Inspectors Exam in South Carolina,page 15 specifically states that that inspectors do not have to inspect components that have been turned off and goes even further by stating that you should avoid turning them on. Things are usually turned off for a reason.Since there may be a safety issue and you may not have the information it is advised not to turn them on. If the home owner wants them turned on let him call the appropriate utility and have them do it or get the homeowner to turn them on.
    I tell my clients that I can only perform a partial inspection if utilities are not turned on. I tell Realtors to make sure that I have access to all components and that power must be on and the water must be on or I will not do the inspection.
    South Carolina adheres to ASHI standards and practices. Hope this helps.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Gary, can you show me where SC says they adhere to ashi SOPS?

    The last time (not long ago) I read the SC law, it says we will follow a "standard". I asked them about this and the guy on the phone said "there is no standard" we can only enforce what is in the actual law. I told him to send me a copy of the "standard" that is mentioned in the law and he basically ignored me.


    The SC SOP they send you when you apply for a license is not actually mentioned in the law. Unless of course you assume that is the "standard" mentioned in the law. See how they have this setup? Its typical goverment red tape, they can choose to enforce the SOP if they want to and ignore it when they want to. So what this means is that they have no interest in investigating inspectors who do not follow any SOP (some around here do not). SC inspectors are handled under the builders licensing dept so they are already overloaded with work dealing with builder complaints. I heard it took them months to get a letter out to an unlicensed inspector once.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  28. #28
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Palka View Post
    In my opinion the realetor has an obligation to the client to have the home "inspection ready" when the inspection is scheduled. It's what they get paid for.

    I agree, they are winning in the long run, only a certain number of buyers will make them pay for the 2nd trip so they prefer to just let the chips fall where they may. All occupations have many people like this in them.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  29. #29
    Bryan D. Carlson's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    For what ever it is worth, I did an inspection this week but refused to turn on the utilities. the agent turned on the water so I could test when I got there. I walked into a 6,000+ sqft home to the sound of water splashing, the valve on the main level shower was leaking. The damage to the basement was not to terrible, and I shut the water off to prevent further damage. Had I turned it on, I would be remodeling a very expensive basement.
    MTFBWY
    Bryan
    Carlson Inspection Services
    Home


  30. #30
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Bruce, I understand your point and would agree that the state of SC is probably trying to leave the door open for some future litigation in order to get a court opinion on this sort of case. There is however a fall back position that would cover most instances. If the state defers to a licensing body that is the states agent in governing a profession then the actual or implied regulation or standard will, in cases without prior precidence, be used to determine accepted practice.
    Other factors that will ultimately come in to play will be the cival as well as criminal statutes. There are so many factors that could come to bare that it is unlikely that the state will ever get envolved unless the courts drag them kicking and screaming into the frey. Meanwhile, inspectors can only rely on their own desire to have a good reputation and do right by the client while doing everything possible to protect themselves. My rule, if you think it could involve a lawyer give it to someone else.
    Gary Wellborn
    Arch Infrared Consulting,LLC


  31. #31
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    I agree, they are winning in the long run, only a certain number of buyers will make them pay for the 2nd trip so they prefer to just let the chips fall where they may. All occupations have many people like this in them.

    When you say realtor I am guessing you mean Listing agent, not buyers agent.

    The only obligation the buyers agent has is to suggest that a home inspection is recommended. The listing agen has the obligation of getting the untilities on as the are representing the seller. They are the ones signing a contract about the buyer being able to back out after an inspection. No inspection, no contract. No utilities on , no inspection , no sale.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Maybe the agents are afraid of flooding houses too so they just lie about the water being on and hope the inspector will turn it on.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  33. #33
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Funny story. I had an inspector in training with me one day and I was explaining to him how we dont turn on utilities while driving to our first inspection. So the water was off when we got there but I wanted him to get his moneys worth so I proceeded to turn on the water. After we did the exterior we went inside to find the entire bathroom was flooded.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Tony,

    The Texas SOP says that an inspector is not "required" to turn on or off anything.

    However, I do not have a problem turning on the water at the street to inspect the plumbing systems in a house. When I do turn on water, I watch the meter dial to make sure it stops, then quickly go inside to make sure there are no problems with running the water. This makes my clients happy.

    I am however more reluctant to turn on gas and light pilots. I explain to my clients that the risk and danger is to high and that this should be done by a certified, licensed gas company technician. I have not had a client not understand this risk.

    Happy Inspecting,
    David Selman
    Selman Home Inspections
    Home Inspection Professionals With A Free Limited Warranty


  35. #35
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Not turning on any utilities, I only turn them off. Along the lines of turning things on ... yesterdays inspection. Went to turn on the boiler and checked the pressure gauge as I always do first. Pressure gauge was at zero, so the boiler was empty. I'm not filling it to test. I have no idea why it's empty.
    Told the client to ask Seller what's up and have it checked out by HVAC tech.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  36. #36

    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Anthony,

    The California Real Estate Inspection Association Standards of Practice state:

    "III. Limitations, Exceptions and Exclusions
    . . .

    20 Lighting pilot lights or activating or operating any system, component, or appliance that is shut down, unsafe to operate, or does not respond to normal user controls
    21 Operating shutoff valves or shutting down any system or component"

    From: CREIA Standards of Practice - California Real Estate Inspection Association


  37. #37
    Eric Shuman's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    "I have no Idea why it's empty."

    Markus, I think that sums it up pretty well. It's the same reason I don't turn on breakers that are in the off position or light pilot lights, etc.

    It may appear that something is just turned off because the house is vacant or winterized or whatever. Truth is, sometimes there is a very good reaon for a system being in the off position. Finding out why it is turned off is not our job and as stated before, finding out why when you turn something on may be take a very large bite out of your profit!!

    My rules:

    Tell the client both verbally and in writing that utilities must be on prior to inspection (i.e., a signed contract). No exceptions unless they want to pay a return trip charge (also in contract).

    Have the client or agent confirm to you that the utilites, etc have been turned on prior to showing up for the inspection

    Notify the client immediately if any systems or utilities are shut down, then disclaim in writing in the report.

    Recommend (verbally and in writing) that the system should be re-inspected once it is operational, prior to the close of escrow.

    I think all this stuff has been touched upon above but these are my rules on every property. So far it has worked well except for the occasional lyng agent or misinformation by the utility provider.

    Eric


  38. #38
    Cobra Cook's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Go to a good home inspection school. Spend a week or two in a classroom not just an online course. Take acourse that will qualify you your state exam and you will learn that your own sop does not require you to do any thing that is unsafe or can cause physical or collatteral damage. AHIT is a good school and is recognized all across the country. NAHI, ASHI and NACHI all warn against turning on any disconnect,breaker,valve ect that has been turned off. It is not your responsibilty to make the house ready for an inspection, it is the owner or agent. I tell my client that I can not inspect every thing that is not ready to be inspected. I will either have to come back another time or inspect what i can now and come back to finish the inspection when the agent has the house ready at their expence.


  39. #39
    Michael Schirmer's Avatar
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    I would explain to the client that the review would be visual only - or we can return if utilities are made available.

    'This is a visual review only. No functional testing can be performed. Utility was shut off at the time of inspection. Inspector does not re-supply power/water/fuel, etc. if the reason for shut-down is unknown. Functional testing can only be performed if power/water/fuel is made available to the inspector."


  40. #40
    Don Belmont's Avatar
    Don Belmont Guest

    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Coscia View Post
    I have a question about turning on utilities for an inspection. The last 2 inspections I had the utilities were off, Water and gas. The agent wanted me to turn the water on at the street curb, I refused and told him I can't do that. My question is, I seem to remember home inspectors cannot turn these thing on or lite pilots but for the life of me, I can't seem to find where it states this. I've checked every S & P, ASHI, NACHI even the Nevada S & P for home inspectors. Can someone point me in the right direction so I can shove it up the agent*** or am I wrong about this? If so, I'm claiming CRS..

    Tony
    The decision to turn on utilities is yours. As is the liability for doing so when you do it.

    I don't know about the other SOP's but in NACHI's these things fall under the not required area. But I think the logic of not operating main valves and switches as an HI is solid. Unless you are compensated you are only increasing your liability for no reward.

    Now from a practical point of view I have agreed to turn on valves that it was legal for me to do so. (I'm not touching anything that only the utility should touch) For an appropriate fee and only after the owner or agent for the owner signed a waiver defining the conditions and limits to my responsibility. (Essentially open the valve, if it leaks turn it off and notify the owner who was then responsible for all damage and cleanup)

    Times being tough I'm more ten willing to do any reasonable thing for an appropriate fee. Usually that solves the issue as the seller/bank/agebt want me to do it for no money and accept al the responsibility. Smiling and telling them I'll be glad to help them out for XXX.XX after they sign a release almost always ends the argument.


  41. #41
    John Pignatore's Avatar
    John Pignatore Guest

    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    You should have listed on your inspection agreement, Inspector is not responsible for turning on utilities. I do not schedule an inspection unless utilities are turned on prior to my arrival. Foreclosure home inspections are a real concern on this issues..I found several homes that were been sabotaged by displayed owners.


  42. #42
    James Skinner's Avatar
    James Skinner Guest

    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    In NC, just turning on the water at the street, per our local water dept (Nazis), is considered a felony under utility theft. Granted, you've got to get caught, but why risk it. Seems to me, its better to document the utility is not available, move on and charge for return trip rather than slug it out with a DA for no money.
    Also, the local water department usually doesn't lock off the meter, when they do their once a month shut off for non payment.

    Last edited by James Skinner; 10-13-2009 at 05:15 AM. Reason: After thought

  43. #43
    Linda Swearingen's Avatar
    Linda Swearingen Guest

    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    I can't vouch for the other SOP's, but the ASHI SOP has a section 13, "General Limitations and Exclusions" in which 13.2-C states that the inspector is not required to operate 1) "any system or component that is shut down or otherwise inoperable" or 3) "shut-off valves or manual stop valves". As I read it, that covers utilities that are shut off. I know that I personally prefer to let someone else flood the house. (Or burn it down, as the case may be.)
    Interestingly, in western KY we do have some water companies who graciously suggest that the home inspector just turn it on at the meter, and others who fine you if they catch you doing it. (I tell the former ones that my insurance does not cover any damage that could occur from any leaks, and they are pretty good about that.)


  44. #44
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Mesa AZ
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    Default Re: A question about Standards & Practices

    Yesterday I was talking to another inspector about this.
    In his case the water was locked off at the meter, [ per the listing agent everthing was on. ] he called and told them, no water, no inspection, xxx $ to come back.
    A couple days later the listing agent called and claimed he left the faucets on inside , and the home was now flooded, after someone turned the water on.

    He told them to check the supra company records to see who was the last person there, fortunately he did not go in the home,

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 10-30-2009 at 08:51 AM.
    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

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