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  1. #1
    Gary Loughman's Avatar
    Gary Loughman Guest

    Default Building Codes & Regulations Not Inspected

    My pre-inspection agreement has the usual "No inspection provided as to building codes & regulations" clause. Being relatively new in the business, no one had ever questioned me about this clause and I really haven't given it much thought. After all, it's not a code inspection -- right? I finally got asked by a customer why I wouldn't be checking code items. He asked, "isn't that an important thing to be looking for"?

    Well, I gave him my best explanation about how things are inspected in accordance with the standards of practice, etc. and that much of what we are looking for on the inspection can be traced to code, but that it still wasn't a code inspection.

    I would like to have a better answer to explain this distinction the next time I'm asked. If anyone has anything to offer about this I would appreciate your input.

    Thanks,

    Gary Loughman
    Assured Home Inspections, PLLC
    Houston, Texas

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  2. #2
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: Building Codes & Regulations Not Inspected

    Codes are specific to the time of the permit. We cannot be expected to know exactly when the permit was gotten to determine how the house/items should have been built/installed.

    I inform clients that we focus on safety and performance and only use codes to help us explain the reason that item is considered improper and proper installation/repair per code. For example: Weep holes are hardly installed at brick veneers around here on houses less then 10 years old. Even though some people feel weep holes do no good, the IRC (which is used around here) informs us that they are needed. So if I see no weephole where needed (per code), then I call it out.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: Building Codes & Regulations Not Inspected

    'I put your interests first, so I report the problems I see whether they are code violations not. But often I can't tell you if a item or system "meets code" - the reason is that what 'meets code' depends on place and time, and on the individual municipal inspector looking at any given system.

    "Every municipality interprets the codes a little differently, and within each of them the codes have changed over time. And even if something would have met code when it was done, if no permit was pulled at the time and the city looked discovered it today, they might require the the owner to bring some items up to current standards - even though the neighbor next door, who pulled a permit to do the same work at the same time, is "grandfathered" in and does not have to upgrade the same items.

    "So determining if something "meets code" often means knowing not only how the work was done, but when it was done, sometimes right down to the month and year. Also, though it probably should not be this way, what passes inspection on a give day depends on the inspector, and each city official interprets the code a bit differently, and maybe not exactly the same from day to day and inspection to inspection

    "So without knowing the detailed history of a property, and the way local officials interpret the code, and how each individual inspector within the building department enforces the code, there is just no way for me or anyone else other than a city building official to tell you that house "meets code" - which is what the lawyers were trying to stop me from doing with that wording."

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 08-05-2007 at 07:23 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Building Codes & Regulations Not Inspected

    I don't do codes but I do talk about safety. So, any safety defect with the house could/should/would be talked about. It is a bit of a slippery slope though at times.

    The case can be made that every electrical code (and a lot of hvac codes) have only one goal in mind, that being safety. So, a round about case can be made that all of those things should be reported on. In my experience that is just not realistic. I try to focus on the larger things (exactly what that is could be a whole other thread, I'm sure)

    Other than those mechanical items I find myself brushing close to 'code talk' when it comes to interior stuff, walkways, stairs and things like that. I always call out missing handrails, stairs and walkways with limited overhead clearance, slippery surfaces, excessive gaps between spindles in safety rails and things like that. Keep in mind they're being called out as safety concerns, not code violations.

    In the end your question could be talked about for hours amongst experienced inspectors and we would all likley have a slightly (or huge) different take on it. The best thing is to really get to know your state standards and your contract.

    Also, try to get aqainted with as many local inspectors as you can so you can get an idea of how things are done in your area. The general term that applies here is 'the standard or care within your industry' - That is the jargon an attorney will typically throw at you if you've fallen below it and your sitting in a courtroom.

    Last edited by Matt Fellman; 08-04-2007 at 05:32 PM. Reason: sp

  5. #5
    Gary Loughman's Avatar
    Gary Loughman Guest

    Default Re: Building Codes & Regulations Not Inspected

    Thanks to all of you for your responses! You have made some good points that will help me to formulate a better answer the next time I get asked this question.

    Gary Loughman


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