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  1. #1
    David Block's Avatar
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    Default New Construction Inspections

    I was recently inspecting a new construction home and found many code violations. I spoke to the builder and he assured me the city had approved all the conditions in the home. One problem I found was an incomplete seperation wall on the ceiling of the garage (there were bedrooms above) The drywall on the ceiling left about 1" to 2" gaps at perimeter, gaps around fixtures, plumbing and ducts. The builder said the city inspector said the seperation wall wasn't even necessary on the ceiling. I also found electrical splices not in junction boxes, junction boxes with no covers, uninsulated flexible air supply ducts in the attic space, approximately half the insulation needed in the attic space, plumbing leaks and on and on. These weren't concealed issues either. Another one that perplexed me was the foundation wall had a beam pocket built in however the main support beam was bearing on the sill plate and not in the beam pocket. Where the main beam was bearing on the sill plate, there was no concrete foundation support beneath the sill plate due to the mistakenly installed beam pocket. How could these things get over looked? Is this common? What kind of assurances could I provide to my clients when I come in after the home is "complete" about the rest of the construction? Should I inquire with the city about code enforcement?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    David, this is very common, some areas are worse than others.
    This is why we stay in business!
    I would recommend multi-phase inspection and advise the client not to let the drywall or brick to be installed until the issues are addressed. If you are doing new construction, you really should be familiar with the codes used in your area and quote them in your report. I'll bet your client can read even if their builder and the AHJ can't.
    BTW, where are you located? You can add that to your profile and it will show up on your posts to help people answer your questions.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  3. #3
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    If you're David Block in Kansas then your clients have the right and your builder the obligation to see that the house is built in compliance with the 2003 IRC. If you're not from Kansas then you need to familiarize yourself with the mandated codes of your area.

    Regardless which state you hail from, if you intend to conduct new construction inspections it is critical that you get certified through ICC. In Texas an ICC R-5 Residential Combination Inspector Certificate is required in order to conduct these inspections. There are many inspectors working in this area that are uncertified to the detriment of their clients. Why? If you can't prove to anyone your proficiency in and knowledge of the building codes why should they listen to your opinion?

    Certified or not you should get copies of the 2003 IRC and the ICC's Legal Aspects of Code Administration. Read these and then use the information in them to conduct your affairs and protect your clients. You can only lead others as far as you yourself have been.

    Builders across the board are likely to cut every single corner they can in order to make a profit. Rampant code violations are the rule and not the exception. As Jim alludes, be happy, this is producing business for competent inspectors. Unfortunately some incompetent folks are benefiting too at the expense of their clients. Get educated, get certified and then go kick some ass . . .

    Aaron


  4. #4
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    David
    I would seriously listen to both Jim and Aaron and the only comment I would add is that most jurisdictions are on the 2006 IRC concerning residential construction. For those on the left coast California has adopted the 2007 CBC.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  5. #5
    David Block's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    I appreciate all the responses. I am ICC certified in several areas. I began my inspection career doing new commercial inspections so my initial training is using the IBC code book. In commercial inspections there was no deviating from code requirments without the written approval of the structural engineer of record or architect. Any discrepancies outstanding kept the building from getting its certificate of occupancy. I recently completed a training program for new construction, I do have the IRC code and am fairly proficient in it, I was just shocked by the blatant lack of concern for safety in a brand new home. Anyway, I didn't realize this was such a rampant problem and I appreciate all the advice.


  6. #6
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    David:

    If you are ICC-certified you need to contact the staff at ICC and let them know that your name does not appear amongst the washed at:

    ICC Online | Certification & Testing

    Aaron


  7. #7
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    David:

    If you are ICC-certified you need to contact the staff at ICC and let them know that your name does not appear amongst the washed at:

    ICC Online | Certification & Testing

    Aaron
    The kicker is that you have to keep paying dues to maintain a listing. I stopped paying about five years ago. I still have the knowledge and know how to look the stuff up in the books, I just stopped paying to be certified by ICC.

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

  8. #8
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    The kicker is that you have to keep paying dues to maintain a listing.
    Cost of doing business. Indicates, at least to the general public that verifiable credentials and on-going education are in your business plan. Not, of course, that they aren't in yours oh w-a-s-h-e-d Scott, just that in my opinion, it's often the appearances that count most to John Q. Public.

    Sure, you keep up with your education, but how can someone else verify that? If it comes down to making a decision between inspectors to hire the prospective client will likely come down on the side of the inspector whose knowledge can be easily proven.

    Example: my wife's Mercedes needs engine work. I can either take it to some mechanic with a verifiable certification from the Daimler-Benz corporation or I can take it to Fritz down on the corner who visited Munich once on vacation and got drunk on German beer. Fritz may well be the better mechanic, but how will I know. I'm not willing to take a chance on the unknown in this case. Which would you choose?

    Aaron


  9. #9
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    Cost of doing business. Indicates, at least to the general public that verifiable credentials and on-going education are in your business plan. Not, of course, that they aren't in yours oh w-a-s-h-e-d Scott, just that in my opinion, it's often the appearances that count most to John Q. Public.

    Sure, you keep up with your education, but how can someone else verify that? If it comes down to making a decision between inspectors to hire the prospective client will likely come down on the side of the inspector whose knowledge can be easily proven.

    Example: my wife's Mercedes needs engine work. I can either take it to some mechanic with a verifiable certification from the Daimler-Benz corporation or I can take it to Fritz down on the corner who visited Munich once on vacation and got drunk on German beer. Fritz may well be the better mechanic, but how will I know. I'm not willing to take a chance on the unknown in this case. Which would you choose?

    Aaron
    Well that is all true.

    I have not had any problems that I'm aware of not being listed on the ICC site, but I guess I wouldn't really know if a person passed me by for not being listed either. Most of my business is referral based. I do a tremendous amount of litigation support and consultations. Normal home inspections due to my choice now comprise about 40% of my business.

    I have given thought about renewing my ICC certifications, simply so I can use that in my litigation work against builders, etc. Right now my litigation work is primarily working for plaintiffs or defendants against home inspectors who are being sued and building product and installation failures in residental construction. So not being listed with the ICC has not come into play, yet.

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

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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    In Texas an ICC R-5 Residential Combination Inspector Certificate is required in order to conduct these inspections.
    Aaron, would you expound on that a little?
    I have not seen any requirement for ICC certification for inspections outside of municipality inspections. Are you speaking of TREC, TRCC, or some other law I have missed?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  11. #11
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Jim:

    TRCC requires that any inspections performed on new construction be by ICC R-5-certified inspectors. Since TRCC is the (lame ass) agency in charge of residential construction in Texas I would guess that their word is final.

    You may be able to skirt this issue with a TREC license, unless of course you end up in court. There the plaintiff's attorney will hand you your ass once you explain that you've no proper certification.

    Additionally, many builders in the D/FW area require proof of ICC R-5 certification as well as general liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 for new construction inspectors - as they should. When I was building homes I would have cut a handle in a 2X4 and whipped the snot out of any sorry, no count Realtor-courting TREC inspector wannabe who had the gall to pretend to know something about building MY houses . . .

    Aaron


  12. #12
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Again I agree with Aaron.
    Scott, the reason I keep my ICC certs active is exactly for the reason you stated, credibility as an EW in construction litigation cases. Besides I serve on a couple of ICC committees and like to keep my hand in. (actually my brain)

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    Jim:

    TRCC requires that any inspections performed on new construction be by ICC R-5-certified inspectors. Since TRCC is the (lame ass) agency in charge of residential construction in Texas I would guess that their word is final.

    You may be able to skirt this issue with a TREC license, unless of course you end up in court. There the plaintiff's attorney will hand you your ass once you explain that you've no proper certification.

    Additionally, many builders in the D/FW area require proof of ICC R-5 certification as well as general liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 for new construction inspectors - as they should. When I was building homes I would have cut a handle in a 2X4 and whipped the snot out of any sorry, no count Realtor-courting TREC inspector wannabe who had the gall to pretend to know something about building MY houses . . .

    Aaron
    But I'll bet you were never a (personally un licensed) 26 y/o kid building 8-10 house every 6 weeks for a Production Builder...

    if I had to guess... :-)

    We know why you fly: because the bus is too expensive and the railroad has a dress code...
    www.atozinspector.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    From the TRCC web site
    Commission Adopts Rules for New Inspection Program
    Builders/Remodelers must have certain projects inspected starting September 1, 2008


    (Austin) — In Texas, residential builders and remodelers have not had to secure inspections on projects in unincorporated areas. On September 1, 2008, however, all that changes.
    Part of House Bill 1038, co-authored by Reps. Allan Ritter and Ruth Jones-McClendon, mandates code inspections on every new home construction and remodeling project built in unincorporated areas of the state or in municipalities that do not conduct such inspections, if the project is required to be registered with the Texas Residential Construction Commission. The law requires inspections on qualifying new construction that starts after September 1, 2008.
    The law requires inspections at the following stages of construction, if they are part of a project: foundation, framing and mechanical systems and a final inspection upon substantial completion of a project. If the home is located in an unincorporated area where windstorm insurance coverage is available, the builder or remodeler must also comply with the Texas Department of Insurance rules and if required, obtain a windstorm certification.
    Builders must use a Texas-licensed professional engineer; a Texas-licensed architect; a professional inspector licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission; or a third-party inspector registered with the commission to conduct the inspections. The commission currently is developing an online reporting system that inspectors will be able to use to file inspection reports.
    Commission Executive Director Duane Waddill said that he is pleased that the commission has rules in place well before the requirements actually begin because having the rules available now gives the building and remodeling community more time to prepare and adapt.
    Waddill said, “More importantly, the new inspection program will help ensure that home or remodeling projects, regardless of where construction occurs, meet certain standards. We expect the program to help the commission meet its mission of ensuring quality residential construction for all Texans.”
    The commission will periodically conduct spot checks across the state to make sure inspections are occurring and will send certificates to homeowners and builders, if the inspections are passed and reports are filed timely. For more information, visit the commission's Web site.

    §307.3. Qualified Fee Inspectors.
    (a) To serve as a fee inspector under this chapter, an individual must be one of the
    following:
    (1) a professional engineer licensed by the Texas Board of Engineering;
    (2) an architect registered with the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners;
    (3) a professional inspector licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission; or
    (4) a third-party inspector registered with the commission under chapter 303, subchapter
    C of this title.
    (b) The license or registration issued by one of the state governmental bodies listed in
    subsection (a) of this section must be in an active status of good standing with the issuing
    body at the time of hire, for the individual to be eligible to serve as a fee inspector under
    this chapter.

    Aaron, the only regulation I am finding is for TRCC third party inspectors who are appointed by the TRCC and the new regulations for code compliance inspections by the inspector hired by the builder. One of the qualifications accepted by this statute is TREC Professional Inspector.

    I don't see anywhere in TRCC or TREC rules that an independent inspector hired by the buyer to protect their interest are governed by TRCC nor any requirement to meet ICC certification.

    I don't have a problem with ICC certification being a good, desirable and profitable thing (it is on my to do list), I just don't see it codified in Texas law. If you have knowledge of something I am missing, please let me know. I tend to get lost in the bureaucratic jungle of our state government and need all the help I can get on this front.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  15. #15
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Jim:

    I'm not an attorney, but have had the same great one for 25 years. Additionally I have worked for at least 20 or 30 attorneys locally that I call on occasion for advice. You'll need to call your own if your interested in what's "codified".

    What I'm telling you is simple. TRCC requires certain certification for its SIRP process (redundant, I know). Period. Any attorney with a brain can extrapolate from that the fact that TRCC considers ICC certification the entry level requirement for new construction inspection.

    I do not give a flying - rhymes with truck- what TREC does or does not do. But, suffice it to say that TREC specifically exempts new construction inspections from their oversight. Why? Because a TREC inspector is not qualified by design.

    I am and have been aware of the 9/08 TRCC requirement for new homes in the sticks to be inspected by somebody, just anybody - please! The idea here is that any inspection, even a worthless-ass TREC inspection is better than nothing. I tend to disagree, but I don't write the rules.

    So, TREC on [sic] and do all of the inspections you like with or without credentials, whatever cranks your shaft. Hope you don't get your tit in a wringer.

    Aaron


  16. #16
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    But I'll bet you were never a (personally un licensed) 26 y/o kid building 8-10 house every 6 weeks for a Production Builder...if I had to guess...
    The only production builders in my area when I was 26, if I ever even was 26, yeah I guess I was at some time, must've been, right?, were Centex (F&J) and Centennial. I did not work for them because they paid nada, just like today.

    I worked for Pierce, Shaddock and Cook, Munir, Stiles (yes, of went to the pen fame Jerry Stiles) and a few other high-end builders when I was a wild one. Oh yes, if you think I have an attitude now, you should've known me in the 70's.

    All of those houses are still with us. The ones I see being built today may not fare so well . . .

    Aaron


  17. #17
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Aaron, I hear what you are saying, but that is not what you said previously.

    Regardless which state you hail from, if you intend to conduct new construction inspections it is critical that you get certified through ICC. In Texas an ICC R-5 Residential Combination Inspector Certificate is required in order to conduct these inspections.
    No offense intended, but your opinion or that of your lawyer for that matter does not carry the weight of law. I realize you have your opinions and are free to share them with anyone, in fact, I want to hear them. I am just trying to separate opinion from fact.

    The facts (as I have been able to determine so far) say that new construction inspections are still under the regulation of TREC unless that person is a municipal inspector, etc.
    If I hold myself out to be a real estate inspector, then any inspection that I perform falls under their regulatory control.
    The misconception that TREC exempts new construction may stem from incorrect reading of the attached, which only pertains to the form used, not the inspection process. I myself held that veiw until recently when re-reading the rules.

    But, suffice it to say that TREC specifically exempts new construction inspections from their oversight.
    (f) This section does not apply to quality control construction inspections of new homes, including phased construction inspections, inspections performed solely to determine compliance with building codes, warranty or underwriting requirements, or inspections required by a municipality and the builder requires use of a different report, and the first page of the report contains a notice either in bold or underlined reading substantially similar to the following: "This report was prepared for a builder or builder's employee in accordance with the builder's requirements. The report is not intended as a substitute for an inspection of the property by an inspector of the buyer's choice. Standard inspections performed by a Texas Real Estate Commission licensee and reported on Texas Real Estate Commission promulgated report forms may contain additional information a buyer should consider in making a decision to purchase." If a report form required for use by the builder or builder's employee does not contain the notice, the inspector may attach the notice to the first page of the report at the time the report is prepared by the inspector. If the inspector attaches the notice, the inspector is not required to use a form adopted by the commission to report the inspection.
    Also, TRCC now by statute specifically accepts TREC licensed inspectors for phased inspection of new or remodel construction.

    Now if I want to work for TRCC in their dispute resolution program, then they require the higher level of certification that you alluded to.

    Again, the validity and value of ICC certification is not my issue here, just the specifics of the law here in TX.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  18. #18
    max kasten's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by David Block View Post
    I was recently inspecting a new construction home and found many code violations. I spoke to the builder and he assured me the city had approved all the conditions in the home. One problem I found was an incomplete seperation wall on the ceiling of the garage (there were bedrooms above) The drywall on the ceiling left about 1" to 2" gaps at perimeter, gaps around fixtures, plumbing and ducts. The builder said the city inspector said the seperation wall wasn't even necessary on the ceiling. I also found electrical splices not in junction boxes, junction boxes with no covers, uninsulated flexible air supply ducts in the attic space, approximately half the insulation needed in the attic space, plumbing leaks and on and on. These weren't concealed issues either. Another one that perplexed me was the foundation wall had a beam pocket built in however the main support beam was bearing on the sill plate and not in the beam pocket. Where the main beam was bearing on the sill plate, there was no concrete foundation support beneath the sill plate due to the mistakenly installed beam pocket. How could these things get over looked? Is this common? What kind of assurances could I provide to my clients when I come in after the home is "complete" about the rest of the construction? Should I inquire with the city about code enforcement?
    David
    first thing i would check to make shore everything was being done the way it was drawn on the plan. In theriory when the plans were approved they were code compliant. When you find that the house is not being built to plan or to code you can force the builder to corect the problems/violations .

    The other think i would do is have the homeowner go and get a copy of all inspection reports from the local code enforcement. then i would make the state L&I aware of the problem and they should take action. you can also check to see that the inspectors are certified to preform the inspection they have done. In PA every inspector certs are listed by name on the state L&I website.

    Thanks
    Max Kasten
    Building Code Official
    Code Inspections Inc.


  19. #19
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Jim:

    Your law degree notwithstanding, we'll just have to agree to disagree. See you in court . . .

    Aaron


  20. #20
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    See you in court . . .
    Precisely why I am so interested in the rules that govern us; I like to stay OUT of court. Knock on wood, inspecting since '95 and have not been there except on jury duty, and I want to keep it that way.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    From a person that has no dog in this hunt, I would say that after reading the TRCC regulation and information that this would be for only code enforcement type inspections.

    TREC would be for all home insepctions, excluding code enforecment.

    To solve this all of this I would think that it should be a simple matter to call each agency and simply ask the powers to be.

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

  22. #22
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Scott:

    Ever the diplomat . . . but I agree. That would be something for Jim to do with his time. I have already mad those calls long ago. Jim and his ilk often overlook or refuse to see that problems can arise from inspecting things in areas of construction where you cannot prove proficiency.

    I have done, am currently doing, and foresee doing many more inspections in the future at an ever-increasing rate where the client has bought a new home and had it inspected by Duey Cheathman and Howe Inspections, an inspection firm with no ICC credentials. The client's firm relocates him in a year or two and a prospective buyer calls me. I inspect the property and provide my client with a 50 -page report of things that Dewey and friends didn't catch. Dewey's client sues Dewey. I get called as an expert witness. Dewey leaves the courtroom with his hat and his ass in his hand, and a much lighter wallet.

    Poor Dewey. He should've set his goals a bit higher perhaps. Maybe he could have become the first man to perform the Vagina Monologues, who knows? The point is he has no business performing in a field in which he is not competent or at least cannot prove his competency.

    It's not like I am really sad about Dewey's predicament. It makes me a good living shutting down wannabe inspection firms. I'm only offering a word to the wise. The wise will consider it and the swine will eat the pearls.

    Aaron


  23. #23
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Jim and his ilk often overlook or refuse to see that problems can arise from inspecting things in areas of construction where you cannot prove proficiency.
    "Jim" is not overlooking or refusing to see... Only asking for clarification from some one who wrote with authority that the regulations REQUIRED a certain thing that it appears they do not.
    You spoke as one having superior knowledge, but then back tracked when asked for supporting documentation.
    I am always willing to learn, but I want to be sure I learn the facts, not opinion.
    That is what this board is here for, correct?

    I am quite confident that ICC and other certifications do help provide some degree of knowledge and credibility, but if ICC certification really proved someone was competent, we would not be needed for new construction because the municipal inspectors would be right on top of any issue since they are ICC certified, right?
    I know that I will never "win" an argument with you Aaron, just know that I am not arguing "against" ICC certification or any training, knowledge or certification for that matter. That in a nutshell is the entire reason for my original question to you, knowledge.
    The more any inspector knows, the better we can serve our client.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  24. #24
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    . . .and the more you can prove that you know, the more I (and anyone else concerned) will believe that you know it . . .

    Aaron


  25. #25
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Agreed.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  26. #26
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    Scott:

    Ever the diplomat . . . but I agree. That would be something for Jim to do with his time. I have already mad those calls long ago. Jim and his ilk often overlook or refuse to see that problems can arise from inspecting things in areas of construction where you cannot prove proficiency.

    I have done, am currently doing, and foresee doing many more inspections in the future at an ever-increasing rate where the client has bought a new home and had it inspected by Duey Cheathman and Howe Inspections, an inspection firm with no ICC credentials. The client's firm relocates him in a year or two and a prospective buyer calls me. I inspect the property and provide my client with a 50 -page report of things that Dewey and friends didn't catch. Dewey's client sues Dewey. I get called as an expert witness. Dewey leaves the courtroom with his hat and his ass in his hand, and a much lighter wallet.

    Poor Dewey. He should've set his goals a bit higher perhaps. Maybe he could have become the first man to perform the Vagina Monologues, who knows? The point is he has no business performing in a field in which he is not competent or at least cannot prove his competency.

    It's not like I am really sad about Dewey's predicament. It makes me a good living shutting down wannabe inspection firms. I'm only offering a word to the wise. The wise will consider it and the swine will eat the pearls.

    Aaron
    I must say that in the eight years that I have done litigation work (you are not an expert until declared so by the court) I have yet to see a home inspector get into trouble for not inspecting a home for code deficiency's when they were not hired to do so.

    It all boils down to the Standard of Care and what is normal for the profession. If you are in a state with state inspection standards, then those become the standard of care that the home inspector must meet.

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

  27. #27
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    If you are in a state with state inspection standards, then those become the standard of care that the home inspector must meet
    I can't quite bite that Scott, at least not hook line and sinker. If the state mandates a building code, here it is the IRC and the NEC, then what is the standard to which one should inspect? The Texas Real Estate Commission licenses inspectors to inspect existing homes at resale, not new homes during construction and prior to being occupied. The SOP set forth by TREC is not intended to address, and even goes so far as to specifically exempt new construction.

    So then, how is it that you feel that the standard of care practiced by a TREC licensee is adequate to address the state-mandated building codes for newly constructed homes? That, my friend, is a v-e-r-y long stretch that I'm not pretending to accommodate.

    Who would you want to inspect your new home? Some a-hole with less than 500 classroom hours in which he is taught to pass the state promulgated exam, or someone who at least has taken the time to familiarize himself with the rules of construction to the point that he is able to prove his proficiency in those rules by passing a battery of exams for certification?

    That should be a no-brainer my perennially-diplomatic colleague.

    Aaron


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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    I can't quite bite that Scott, at least not hook line and sinker. If the state mandates a building code, here it is the IRC and the NEC, then what is the standard to which one should inspect? The Texas Real Estate Commission licenses inspectors to inspect existing homes at resale, not new homes during construction and prior to being occupied. The SOP set forth by TREC is not intended to address, and even goes so far as to specifically exempt new construction.

    So then, how is it that you feel that the standard of care practiced by a TREC licensee is adequate to address the state-mandated building codes for newly constructed homes? That, my friend, is a v-e-r-y long stretch that I'm not pretending to accommodate.

    Who would you want to inspect your new home? Some a-hole with less than 500 classroom hours in which he is taught to pass the state promulgated exam, or someone who at least has taken the time to familiarize himself with the rules of construction to the point that he is able to prove his proficiency in those rules by passing a battery of exams for certification?

    That should be a no-brainer my perennially-diplomatic colleague.

    Aaron
    Aaron, it all amounts to what your clients expectations are and what you have and they agree with in your contract. If you state in your contract and the client agrees that you are not inspecting the house for code compliance, then why do you think that an inspector would be liable?

    As for the who and what is needed to inspect new construction in TX. Again after reading everything about the TRCC requirements, I must say that it looks and sounds like it is for a CO on a home. Not for a builder to sell it once he/she/it has the CO on the home. When a CO is issued the AHJ is done with the property and the builder is pretty much free to sell it or do what they want with it.

    Now Mississippi is the only state in the country that requires its home inspectors to have a special endorsement to inspect new homes (an NH on the license number). To inspect new constriction homes for a buyer the inspector must be a licensed home inspector, a special builders license and have a code certification. The home builders added this to the license legislation in the last hour trying to make it as hard as the could for their work products to be inspected. Little did they know that they just made those who had the endorsement more aggressive during those inspections!

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

  29. #29
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    FWIW and I know that’s not much I applaud Mississippi for passing such an enlightened civil code. (looks like the builders fell into their own trap?) It's been my experience in CA that as the level of ability of our jurisdictional inspectors has been descending over the last several years the average home inspectors is going in the opposite direction. Might have something to do with personal liability, ya think?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  30. #30
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Now Mississippi is the only state in the country that requires its home inspectors to have a special endorsement to inspect new homes (an NH on the license number). To inspect new constriction homes for a buyer the inspector must be a licensed home inspector, a special builders license and have a code certification. The home builders added this to the license legislation in the last hour trying to make it as hard as the could for their work products to be inspected. Little did they know that they just made those who had the endorsement more aggressive during those inspections!
    Scott:

    Interesting. I've never cared much for Mississippi and, after reading Grisham's latest novel, I think even less of the place. Now, in light of this new information you've provided, I may reconsider that pet prejudice.

    Back to the discussion though . . . OK, granted there are obviously home buyers out there who are stupid, I mean, uh, gullible, er uh, ovine enough to hire someone to perform a job for which they have no demonstrable talent. Case in point: George W. Bush. Had the voters known back then what they know now, the country would not be in the shambles we see around us today.

    Hattiesburg, here I come . . . not.

    Aaron


  31. #31
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    It's been my experience in CA that as the level of ability of our jurisdictional inspectors has been descending over the last several years the average home inspectors is going in the opposite direction. Might have something to do with personal liability, ya think?
    Left Coast Jerry:

    I have a client who recently moved from California and had a house built north of Dallas. The builder was the typical bootstrap moron that abounds here in the land of no licensing. Yes, it's true in Texas you do not need education, insurance, bonding, proof of liquidity, or any of the important things one might wish to see in a builder. You simply need a small registration fee and your good to go.

    Needless to say the house is a disaster. The client is quietly gathering his troops to launch a legal assault on builder boy. I was happy to be of assistance. But enough foreplay. My point is that I spent a long time talking to this ex-Californian. He explained a couple of things to me that had been matters I often wondered about. Perhaps you can verify.

    He told me that in California everyone he knew was working two or three jobs in order to make ends meet. There was not time to stop and negotiate with errant contractors or service providers of any kind. If matters of any sort got out of hand, they simply filed a lawsuit. And lawsuits there are not hard to file.

    Here it's quite another story. People seem to have some sort of an aversion to filing a suit in many instances. It's almost as if they are somehow admitting their failure to be capable of handling things on their own. And, to further exacerbate matters, it's not that easy to file a suit, especially against a builder.

    So, could it be that the California HIs are moving in the direction of greater competency due to the laws of your state?

    Aaron


  32. #32
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    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    Scott:

    Interesting. I've never cared much for Mississippi and, after reading Grisham's latest novel, I think even less of the place. Now, in light of this new information you've provided, I may reconsider that pet prejudice.

    Back to the discussion though . . . OK, granted there are obviously home buyers out there who are stupid, I mean, uh, gullible, er uh, ovine enough to hire someone to perform a job for which they have no demonstrable talent. Case in point: George W. Bush. Had the voters known back then what they know now, the country would not be in the shambles we see around us today.

    Hattiesburg, here I come . . . not.

    Aaron
    Aaron, you just can't help yourself with the jabs. Life is too short to have such a negative outlook of the world and society. I know you have bragged about tempering with age, but you know my friend this is not much to brag about.

    Being that I'm a native Texan and having grown up in Houston, TX, I must say that TX has just as many problems if not more than most of the states in the country. I moved out of TX back in the early 1980's, I was the casualty of the Oil Boom Bust! I like TX as with most natives and it will always be home but I don't intend to go back.

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

  33. #33
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Being that I'm a native Texan and having grown up in Houston, TX, I must say that TX has just as many problems if not more than most of the states in the country. I moved out of TX back in the early 1980's, I was the casualty of the Oil Boom Bust! I like TX as with most natives and it will always be home but I don't intend to go back.
    Scott:

    What some mistake for negativity I refer to as a healthy case of skepticism.

    As for Texas's problems they are indeed myriad. Why? Because it is inhabited by people. People create problems. That's what they are best at. Without them there would be no problems, or at least no one to bitch about them. It must be the same where you live.

    I'd leave the Lone Star State, but am having too much fun sparing with the duplicitous builders and Realtors in my ring. But, I'd move to your neck of the woods if you were hiring . . . OK, maybe not.

    Aaron


  34. #34
    Michael Greenwalt's Avatar
    Michael Greenwalt Guest

    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Aaron,
    Kansas does not have a minimum building requirement. Approximately 6 counties and several municipalities have adopted some type of minimum standards (ie, IRC, UBC, etc) but the state has not. In most areas builders are only held to the standards required by the buyer (if a contract exists) and then only if the contract allows the buyer to back out of the contract.
    I also inspect new construction and phased construction. Although ICC certification is nice it doesn't change my standard. If it goes in my report it is backed up via an independent source such as the applicable code reference.
    As there is no minimum standard in Kansas, rather you are ICC certified or not, there is no enforcement to that qualification unless you are an enforcement official. At least in Kansas. If fact, some code enforcement officials in Kansas that work in areas with established ordanances, do not have enforcement capabilities.
    The bottom line in Kansas, your contract trumps all else, Home inspection or no, Code enforcement or no. And then, only with the help of a competent attorney.
    Report what you can back up, then stick to your guns.
    IMHO


  35. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    2,365

    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    With the recent shake-up in the market I've been doing a lot more new construction than usual. I have to agree with those that say the contract and state SoP are what matter.

    It's a temping endevour (too tempting for many it appears) to try to play back-up code inspector. It's something most of us here are not qualified to do and were never asked or expected to do.

    Fairly regularly I'll come on the board to clarify a code issue, usually for my own knowledge but sometimes to help a buyer talk over something with their builder.

    Most of the builders in my area are on the same side as the buyer and myself. They want their house done right. If it's wrong, they want to get it corrected and make sure the mistake doesn't happen again.

    I'm often confused about all the hostility around here towards builders. You should hear the way they talk about inspectors.... scary thing is a lot of times they have a legitimate gripe. Usually, from some guy trying to overstep his postion and do more than he should or knows how to.

    And to answer the next logical question about why anyone would hire us to do a new house.... There are a lot of things that get missed, usually not huge code violations but something that should be done nonetheless. Things like wood scraps in the crawl space, leaking dishwashers, dirty furnaces and ductwork, doors and windows that don't latch, poor grading, etc, etc.

    What Scott says is worth it's weight in gold... he's never seen an inspector get sued for not doing something they never said they'd do.


  36. #36
    Robert Hall's Avatar
    Robert Hall Guest

    Default Re: New Construction Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Aaron, would you expound on that a little?
    I have not seen any requirement for ICC certification for inspections outside of municipality inspections. Are you speaking of TREC, TRCC, or some other law I have missed?
    I believe I may have found the answer to the code reference Aaron is using. It is from the Texas Administrative Code....


    Texas Administrative Code
    TITLE 10 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
    PART 7 TEXAS RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION
    CHAPTER 303 REGISTRATION
    SUBCHAPTER C REGISTRATION OF THIRD-PARTY INSPECTORS
    RULE §303.202

    Application
    (a) An individual applying for registration to serve as a third-party inspector for appointment in the state-sponsored inspection and dispute resolution process must submit a completed application on a commission-prescribed form and the appropriate fee.
    (b) An individual may submit an application for registration with the commission to serve as both a workmanship and materials inspector and a structural inspector. An individual seeking to serve as both a workmanship and materials inspector and a structural inspector must meet the qualifications of each position.
    (c) An individual applying for registration as a third-party inspector for issues related to workmanship and materials shall:
    (1) provide credible documentation that the individual has acquired a minimum of three (3) years of experience working in the field of residential construction;
    (2) provide documentation that the individual has a current International Code Council (ICC) certification as a residential combination inspector;

    Source URL: : Texas Administrative Code

    ORDER FOR ADOPTION OF
    CHAPTER 307, SECTIONS 307.1 – 307.7, RELATING TO INSPECTIONS OF
    HOMES IN AREAS WITHOUT MUNICIPAL INSPECTIONS
    FEBRUARY 13, 2008 OPEN MEETING

    §307.3. Qualified Fee Inspectors.
    (a) To serve as a fee inspector under this chapter, an individual must be one of the
    following:
    (1) a professional engineer licensed by the Texas Board of Engineering;
    (2) an architect registered with the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners;
    (3) a professional inspector licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission; or
    (4) a third-party inspector registered with the commission under chapter 303, subchapter C of this title.

    Source URL: http://www.trcc.state.tx.us/policy/r...er307Rules.pdf

    It appears as though ICC certification applies to 307.3(a)(4) a third-party inspector, however 307.3(a)(3) a professional inspector licensed through TREC is not required to be ICC certified to conduct new home phased inspections.

    Hope this helps clear things up.

    And for those of you wondering, I am not licensed, however I am studying to become a licensed professional home inspector in Baytown, TX (Greater Houston area).


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