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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Rochester, New York
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    23

    Default Barrier EIFS General Practice Question

    Just curious - when you schedule a home inspection on a home that has Barrier EIFS, do you recommend an EDI Certified Inspector complete an inspection on this (at least a non-invasive inspection using a Tramex WWD scanner of a similar unit) or just rely on a good CYA statement in your report?

    I just had the opportunity to review a home inspection report by another inspection company that inspected a barrier EIFS sided home....it said something like ...homes sided with this type of siding have a high incidence of water damage that is not observable.....then it went on to say that the siding on the home looked o.k. because they didn't observe any issues, and explained that further evaluation would be required to determine if hidden issues were present. (blah...blah....blah....can't see problems...even if they are present blah...blah...blah.... and I didn't see any problems....blah...blah...blah.......house is likely to have problems......blah....blah.....blah...)

    Seems like the right thing to do is to make a client aware of the well-publicized issues with this up front. I see very few EIFS homes in this area, but I wouldn't think twice about recommending an EIFS inspection upfront. I think that it is just as important to cover my client's a.. as my own.

    Any opinions or general practices regarding this would be appreciated.

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    Dave Tontarski
    Act in haste....repent in leisure

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Barrier EIFS General Practice Question

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    Just curious - when you schedule a home inspection on a home that has Barrier EIFS, do you recommend an EDI Certified Inspector complete an inspection on this (at least a non-invasive inspection using a Tramex WWD scanner of a similar unit) or just rely on a good CYA statement in your report?

    I just had the opportunity to review a home inspection report by another inspection company that inspected a barrier EIFS sided home....it said something like ...homes sided with this type of siding have a high incidence of water damage that is not observable.....then it went on to say that the siding on the home looked o.k. because they didn't observe any issues, and explained that further evaluation would be required to determine if hidden issues were present. (blah...blah....blah....can't see problems...even if they are present blah...blah...blah.... and I didn't see any problems....blah...blah...blah.......house is likely to have problems......blah....blah.....blah...)

    Seems like the right thing to do is to make a client aware of the well-publicized issues with this up front. I see very few EIFS homes in this area, but I wouldn't think twice about recommending an EIFS inspection upfront. I think that it is just as important to cover my client's a.. as my own.

    Any opinions or general practices regarding this would be appreciated.
    Yes, EIFS has unique issues but those same problems can be found with other cladding's. Almost all cladding's require like or similar details to keep the water out of a home.

    Many years back I went ahead and attended EDI and AWCI so that I could learn more about EIFS, Stucco and water intrusion into homes and buildings. It was eye opening to say the least. What you learn is that the all building products have problems and require pretty much the same details to keep the water out.

    IMVHO, I think that anyone who is a home inspector should have the basic knowledge and tools to determine if EIFS, stucco, brick, etc has a problem. About 80% of an EIFS inspection is visual so many problems can be seen with the naked eye.

    If you do not know anything about EIFS, you need to learn about it. Until then, Yes you need to defer the inspection to another inspector. You should not even book the inspection as it would be doing your client a disservice by telling them to get another person to inspect the EIFS. Find yourself an inspector in your area that you like and knows about EIFS, work a deal with them so that you can shadow them while they do the EIFS inspection.

    Bottom line is if you do not know about EIFS, Stucco or any other cladding you should not be inspecting the home. Defer to another inspector and learn about the systems.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 04-04-2011 at 07:13 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3

    Default Re: Barrier EIFS General Practice Question

    Here in North Carolina the following is usually added as per our state guidelines. (This may not be the most up to date language but it does offer some help.
    This structure appears to be clad with a product known as exterior insulation and finishing system, “EIFS”, also referred to as “synthetic stucco”. Many EIFS clad houses have revealed moisture related problems such as deteriorated wood framing and pest infestation. Testing of this cladding is beyond the scope of this inspection. Maintenance and testing guidelines are available from the N.C. Department of Insurance, Engineering Division 1-919-733-3901 and on the Internet at http://www.NCDOI.com; enter EIFS in the search box. Additional information is available at North Carolina Synthetic Stucco Class Action or by contacting Senergy/Thoro Claim Administrator at 1-800-350-4730.

    Also many of us are familiar with EIFS and at least do a minimally invasive check of the exterior and based on the finding may or may not put stronger language in the report.

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Rochester, New York
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    Default Re: Barrier EIFS General Practice Question

    Hi Scott -

    Thanks for your input. I've seen a total of 2-EIFS sided homes in my 7-years as a full time home inspector. I'd love to get EDI certified and I'd love to buy a $1,000 Tramex, but this doesn't make a whole lot of business sense in this area, and in these lean times.....I'd rather buy a new fly rod....better use of money and time ! )

    The closest EDI certified inspector is about 90 miles away and I have been in contact with him regarding this since I first viewed the online MLS photos of this property.

    We have a bunch of local home inspectors that think they have ways to inspect this, but they don't have any credentials, nor follow any recognized standard of practice, and it's the 20% of the problems that I'm concerned about....not the 80% that I would hope to catch during my general home inspection.

    Also....not really interested in giving this one up.....this is an established client who I have inspected a number of homes for. We have a degree of trust that I'm planning to maintain.

    I will give this client the best general home inspection available, but I think he needs a specialist to focus on the EIFS. Hey...I recommend chimney and pest pros as required, I don't see anything different in recommending an EIFS pro.

    Thanks again for your input....I visited your website when I was researching this topic and noted that you offered this service - nice site! I'm guessing that you see a lot more EIFS homes in your area.

    Dave Tontarski
    Act in haste....repent in leisure

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Barrier EIFS General Practice Question

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    Hi Scott -

    Thanks for your input. I've seen a total of 2-EIFS sided homes in my 7-years as a full time home inspector. I'd love to get EDI certified and I'd love to buy a $1,000 Tramex, but this doesn't make a whole lot of business sense in this area, and in these lean times.....I'd rather buy a new fly rod....better use of money and time ! )

    The closest EDI certified inspector is about 90 miles away and I have been in contact with him regarding this since I first viewed the online MLS photos of this property.

    We have a bunch of local home inspectors that think they have ways to inspect this, but they don't have any credentials, nor follow any recognized standard of practice, and it's the 20% of the problems that I'm concerned about....not the 80% that I would hope to catch during my general home inspection.

    Also....not really interested in giving this one up.....this is an established client who I have inspected a number of homes for. We have a degree of trust that I'm planning to maintain.

    I will give this client the best general home inspection available, but I think he needs a specialist to focus on the EIFS. Hey...I recommend chimney and pest pros as required, I don't see anything different in recommending an EIFS pro.

    Thanks again for your input....I visited your website when I was researching this topic and noted that you offered this service - nice site! I'm guessing that you see a lot more EIFS homes in your area.
    Now I might inspect a dozen or so EIFS homes a year, in fact I did one this morning. About 10 years ago I was inspecting about 250 EIFS homes a year when the lawsuits were cranking up!

    A word of advice,,,, Tell the person ahead of time that you will not be inspecting the EIFS on the home. Don't surprise them with the report that you did not look at it. It only hurts the wallet for a little while when you walk away from one..

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: Barrier EIFS General Practice Question

    Although you can tell a great deal about EIFS visually... 80% sounds ok by me; it is the other 20% that is the most important (and takes 80% of the time spent at the site). Unless you have the proper equipment, and know how to use it, you cannot tell if there is damage beneath the surface. Which is the bottom line.

    As I'm sure Scott will agree, sometimes there are faults that appear on the surface, and for whatever reason, the wood beneath is not damaged. On the same account, many times the surface looks just fine, yet there is damage below.

    Rarely do I do an EIFS inspection without testing below the surface. And, if you are going to learn about EIFS, learn all you can... and then keep on learning. I understand there are certifications that teach non invasive only. Imagine selling yourself as EIFS Certified, inspecting a home, telling your client all looks good... but you will need a different EIFS inspector to tell you for sure. Or, do you simply report that all is well, when in reality the structure is rotting away. Imagine the lawsuits!

    I imagine if a client is SURE they have EIFS (on the phone), it would be nobel to suggest they get a home inspector that is also proficient in EIFS. Or if you get to the house and see EIFS, you could leave (yeah right!) But I don't see many Home Inspectors turning away work that way. I also don't think it is necessary, since as far as I am concerned, an EIFS inspection is a totally different animal. I almost never do both a home inspection and EIFS inspection in 1 trip (and am fine with that). Besides being a very long day, it would be difficult to charge for 2 separate inspections.

    A home inspector that is not going to seriously learn about EIFS, should certainly know enough about it to identify that it is EIFS. Then recommend a specialist. Remember, an EIFS inspector is the expert. He specifies repairs, and usually butts heads with the "experts" that do the installations. Every failed EIFS installation that I have inspected was installed by an "expert."

    The wisest thing that a Home Inspector can do when encountering EIFS (or sand mix stucco, stone, etc) is to recommend a FULL and COMPLETE EIFS (building envelope) inspection. A WWD is a great tool, but simply scanning a building with a WWD is not going to provide you with complete information.

    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 04-16-2011 at 08:26 AM. Reason: typo
    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Garland, TX
    Posts
    622

    Default Re: Barrier EIFS General Practice Question

    It's very simple to ask every prospect or with today's online access find out what the exterior finish possibly is before booking.

    I ask this: "Do you know if the exterior walls are clad with brick, wood, stucco or another type of siding?" and also research MLS, google earth or other resources...

    One problem is very few listings will name EIFS as EIFS the Realtors may be trained to label as "stucco" too avoid scaring off potential purchasers.

    I get calls, many from sellers or their Realtor, "We need an EIFS inspection to assure that no moisture damage is present and assuage any fears the potential purchaser may have."
    Once they find out probing is involved for accurate assessment they usually pass and limit to noninvasive, nondestructive which puts everyone involved back to a visual inspection and potentially transfers the liability upon the "stucco" inspector. Clear, specific, concise reporting and follow up with the client is key in these situations.

    Run into a many relo purchasers that are forced to drop out once the house is confirmed to have EIFS cladding.

    Added services bring additional fees and I continue to appreciate these referrals and collaborating with other inspectors in our region.

    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: Barrier EIFS General Practice Question

    Quote Originally Posted by BARRY ADAIR View Post
    visual inspection and potentially transfers the liability upon the "stucco" inspector ...Clear, specific, concise reporting and follow up with the client is key in these situations

    I rarely do a visual only, although I do offer it. Clear, specific, and concise reporting, full explanation before, and a clear, specific, and concise inspection agreement is my key.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
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    Default Re: Barrier EIFS General Practice Question

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post

    Also....not really interested in giving this one up.....this is an established client who I have inspected a number of homes for. We have a degree of trust that I'm planning to maintain.
    I don't think you should "give up" your client, nor should they lose you.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tontarski View Post
    [I will give this client the best general home inspection available, but I think he needs a specialist to focus on the EIFS. Hey...I recommend chimney and pest pros as required, I don't see anything different in recommending an EIFS pro.
    There is no difference, you are doing your client a great and valuable service. There is no more that could be done.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

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