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  1. #1
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    Default How would you reply/ respond to this?

    XXXX Homes sent me a letter requesting I remove the content [ Below] that I have in my new home warranty reports, rewrite and re-issue the report to a named customer, and immediatly cease and desist using such language in the future with their homeowners.

    They also request that I remove any statements in any other reports commenting on the contractural relational relationship between a homeowner and their builder directing them to the services of a lawyer...
    If I decline to do their request they will be forced to turn this matter over to
    their legal dept..

    A little history on the named customer.... The named customer in letter complained to some one higher up after they tried to dismiss missing insulation in one of two bay ceilings, that I identified with an IR camera.
    One bay area I was able to access the ceiling from the attic, the other area there was not any access.
    After complaining by the customer they did open the ceiling up on other bay, "surprise" no insulation....


    Statements they want me to remove...........
    >
    >BOTTOM LINE: If it's wrong, it needs correction now, or the defect will
    need correction in the future often at your expense.
    > Agreeing to not having a defect corrected due to the repair will make a mess in your home, or cause additional damages, does not make the defect go away.
    > Accepting the comment "Thats Normal" without proper documentation
    can cost you extensive repair costs after your warranty expires.!

    > Advice by a local construction defect attorney, this, and other professional opinions concerning your rights as a new home owner can be found on the website of www.bbbbbbcom
    --> Complain and Consult: When you find a bad builder or a bad job, blow the whistle on it. Do not accept the builder's version of what is wrong or what is needed to remeditate. They often talk "builderese," a combination of "the plausible" mixed with a dialect of "pure B.S.." Despite that they
    say it with the most sincere face and the grandest of logic, no new-build component or materials frailty or failure should be accepted as "normal." Hire your own expert to evaluate, recommend and deal with the builder. If it goes beyond that, hire a lawyer who truly knows the trades.
    >

    >

    Similar Threads:
    Last edited by Dan Harris; 07-07-2008 at 07:39 AM. Reason: oops the web site I referenced was real.. not approiate.
    OREP Home Inspector E&O Insurance

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Sounds like your getting on the builder's last nerve; good job.
    If someone points out a factual inaccuracy I will change my report, otherwise, kiss off!
    I don't change my report for a bully. Their lawyer may send you a letter to try and make you back down, but as they say, the truth is its own defense.
    I don't see where you have overstepped your bounds, but you might want to run it by your lawyer. I always try to know "my place" and stay within the bounds; I am not a pest control guy, a lawyer, an engineer, etc.

    Good luck!

    Last edited by Jim Luttrall; 07-30-2008 at 09:32 PM.
    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    I've heard the 'we'll send our legal dept. after you' from developers. It's a scare tactic. The people making those statements don't know jack about law. They just like to puff their chests in an attempt to scare away the beneath them contractor. My response has always been "That's great I love a good fight". Since at least some of you findings have been validated sofar, they don't have much to stand on.
    I like what you've written and I use similar lingo in some of my reports. I wouldn't change any of it, except, the last part. "Complain and Consult"
    I suggest re-writing that a little less harsh. Not so much because it is wrong or over the top but because it is very confrontational. I tend to be a bull in a china shop so I am not the one to suggest making it cute and cuddly.
    Under the circumstances, the way it's worded 'one could infer' that you are stating that 'this builder' specifically, is the 'bad builder'. That's a potential mine field for you and a good argument for an attorney.
    On the 'blow the whistle' part; a) it sounds like you are telling the client what to do (not your job); b) whistleblower has a bad connotation to it; The phrasing and thoughts about it really tends to freak people out regardless of industry.
    The last part about developers talking B.S. and smiling is dead on. I think we have all watched that in action and awe. Nonetheless the wording once again is confrontational, sounds like you are specifically targeting that builder and gets people pissed off immediately. I'd think about re-phrasing it a bit. Just my thoughts. Good luck.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  4. #4
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    You need to respond to this letter just the same. do not over look that part. do or say what you will. after looking at you report info. you should go get some legal advise on your report wording. not that its all worng. to me it just looks like you are looking for fight.

    Tell to jump off a cliff.

    Best

    Ron


  5. #5
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Just some observations/ suggestions:

    Depending on state law and legal climate in you area, getting too involved in the deal could be interpreted as tortious interference. You are not a party to the deal. In some states you don't even want to say "all repairs should be done before taking possession."

    Observe and report. You can say "not taking care of these defects COULD result in problems later on." Don't say WILL result. Unless you can predict the future. In which case I want you on my team.

    I have had complaints, but never on something I pointed out as needing attention. Knock on wood.

    We all know when they skim through the report and don't do the repairs, then there is a greater chance of complaint later on. But you can overdo it on the CYA front. You might want to research this more with your lawyer.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brown View Post
    In some states you don't even want to say "all repairs should be done before taking possession."
    Why not?
    Which States?
    When should the defects be corrected (if not before possesion)? - I actually prefer before closing, but that's just me.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brown View Post
    Observe and report. You can say "not taking care of these defects COULD result in problems later on." Don't say WILL result. Unless you can predict the future. In which case I want you on my team.
    I didn't see "WILL result in problems later on".
    I saw, if the defect is not corrected now, it will still be there later.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Brown View Post
    You might want to research this more with your lawyer.
    Agreed.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Contact FOX News FOX Broadcasting Company or CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News You are a consumer advocate that is being threatened with legal blackmail

    They just might want to do a feature on this builder. Should solve the problem, and they might even help you fight the builder.

    Dan, just to be on the safe side you might want to check with your GL and E&O provider to see if you have any coverage in a lawsuit like this. I think that your GL might cover you (mine does), but you need to check.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Thanks for the replys.
    Couple clairifications. The statements are on new home 1 yr warranty inspections.

    The "Consult and Complain" comments are not my words, they a reference from a local construction defects attorneys web site

    Looking for a fight..
    Nah just doing what I can to try and make sure my customers get what they are entitiled to. ..I've been fighting the builders for 6 plus years,
    I still get 1-2 calls a month from builders reps requesting I remove items, telling the customer if I walk on their roof I will void their roof warrany, claiming I don't have the authority to quote workmanship standands, mfg install specs and more..
    It started when they chose to start it by claiming I/ home inspectors don't know what they are talking about on items they are required to correct per AZ workmanship standards ..

    This letter just fired me up more.. Now I just got to get some legal advice before I through the next punch.
    I've always believed "Don't PO the messanger"

    The comments directed to a specific builder.
    This builder stated "This language appears to be boiler plate and not unique to this specific report".

    Law suit.. Dang I hope not, I am willing to go only so far.
    I am going to contact the attorney that I reference in the report.
    He /his web site is committed and dedicated to disclosing builders scams, and bashing local builders by name.

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 07-07-2008 at 06:00 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Dan, I understand your putting those comments on your report. You are right, but is it really necessary. I think if you just report what is wrong, or in need of repair as Texas SOP requires us to do, you have done your job. Its worked pretty well for me in the past, and I do a lot of warranty inspections. I guess Im pretty fortunate, I have never had a builder give me a hard time about anything I have wrote up. Actually they have all been good about fixing the items. I try to spend some time with my clients and discuss it verbally with them. Usually they are trying to get cosmetic things repaired, while I am steering towards problems, usually not cosmetic in nature. I always explain to them sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war. If the small stuff (cosmetic) is truly important to them go after it, otherwise try to get the important stuff fixed.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    I have only had one foolish lawyer looking for money from me with thousands, I don't know how many, of home inspections behind me. They were just looking for money and did nothing I suggested in my report. They were hoping to find an idiot and hoped I would just put in on my insurance.

    Anyway! I have to be the luckiest inspector on Earth. Every single new home inspection or 11 month warranty inspection I ever did that concerns were found the builders fixed them, period. Including missing insulation under attic decks near and around HVAC units.

    God, please forgive me for mentioning this and please, if you could be so forgiving, do not lash out at me for I was not boasting, just stating fact. Thank you Lord. Ted


  11. #11
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Do you enjoy inspecting homes or fielding calls from angry attorneys and builders?

    I'm not sure I see how anything you wrote solved any problem you have other than to inflame and annoy people. Granted, it's your business and you can do as you like. And there's really nothing incorrect with what you say.

    It just seems needlessly harsh, as if you have some predisposition to grinding an axe with a builder you have never met.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Do you enjoy inspecting homes or fielding calls from angry attorneys and builders?

    I'm not sure I see how anything you wrote solved any problem you have other than to inflame and annoy people. Granted, it's your business and you can do as you like. And there's really nothing incorrect with what you say.

    It just seems needlessly harsh, as if you have some predisposition to grinding an axe with a builder you have never met.
    I enjoy the satification of knowing my customers get what they are entititled to.
    As a result I enjoy a large referral and repeat base.
    Getting feed back from customers stating, they hired me because the builders rep told them not to use me helps as well.


    Granted it may be a little harsh. That comes from doing 400 plus new homes a year for the past five plus years, and seeing a large percentage of defects identified on the roof or in the attic never completed on over 50% of homes, or as in this customers case the builder flat out tried to talk his way out of correcting the missing insulation, with out even verifing if it was missing or not.

    Not to mention it's very frustrating to inspect the same home a few years later for a buyer, often with my report on site, only to find I wrote the same defects a couple years earlier.
    Then get the sellers side, [my former customer] stating that the builder told them the defects were ok and did not need corrected, or as my experience on the last 2, one with apx 30' of stucco against the foundation stem wall with no weep, the other 3-4" of insulation over 70% of the attic area, away from the furnace service boards, and several roof installation defects, the builders filed for bankruptcy or are no longer in business.

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 07-08-2008 at 03:30 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Dan

    "That comes from doing 400 plus new homes a year for the past five plus years, and seeing a large percentage of defects identified on the roof or in the attic never completed on over 50% of homes,"

    Where the heck do you work???? 30 plus new homes a month for five years and 50% have items on the roof that are incomplete or incorrect. 3 1/2 days a week you are doing 7 plus new homes, or 1 plus a day for 7 days a week? Do you know all the subs the builders use and tell them to leave things off.

    It sounds like there needs to be a state wide investigation with the builders in your area/state. I find many items in new homes that need correcting and the builders do it with no questions asked.

    The builders around here have an ongoing competition about finding as few things a possible. They are proud of the homes that they are in charge of. Is it a perfect world and everything is wonderful all the time, ahhhh, no.

    Just some curiosity here, no negative vibes intended.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 07-08-2008 at 04:31 PM. Reason: mistake

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Dan,
    .
    Would you mind going to the top left of the page & clicking on User CP and adding your location?
    .
    Thanks

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Dan

    Where the heck do you work???? 30 plus new homes a month for five years and 50% have items on the roof that are incomplete or incorrect. 3 1/2 days a week you are doing 7 plus new homes, or 1 plus a day for 7 days a week? Do you know all the subs the builders use and tell them to leave things off.

    It sounds like there needs to be a state wide investigation with the builders in your area/state. I find many items in new homes that need correcting and the builders do it with no questions asked.

    The builders around here have an ongoing competition about finding as few things a possible. They are proud of the homes that they are in charge of. Is it a perfect world and everything is wonderful all the time, ahhhh, no.

    Just some curiosity here, no negative vibes intended.
    Phx AZ area. There were 800-1000 new home closings per month, a year ago, in a 40 mile radius of my home.
    Last year, for the previous year it was 12-1500 per month.

    2 a day 5--5 1/2days a week.
    Around here it is really sad. I've gone into new subdivisions from day one, identified 25-30 defects per home.
    After 500 plus homes in that one subdivision alone, and 3 years later after it was built out they still had 70-80% of same defects.
    After that sub division was completed, the same builder [ large national builder] started another one, same defects after doing hundred or so, and counting in that one.

    Around here I swear they are banking the odds of not getting caught by private HIs are going to be in their favor.

    The customer service reps are good at convincing many home owners that they don't need outside inspectors, often telling the customer hiring an inspector is a waste of money, and tell them inspectors write a lot of things the builder is not required to correct..
    In family subdivisions they do get away with a lot more than they do in the 55 plus commuinties ..I Love those 55 and older folks that golf and talk to their neighbors.

    Tell the subs to miss stuff, no need to

    Had one customer tell me the builders service rep stated. Oh you got Dan. He hates builders.
    Funny thing with that customer, when I went back to reinspect [60 plus days after they told the customer they were done] the rear patio flat roof that was not draining due to scuppers being 2" above roof surface , they removed the bottom 3 rows of tile of home, overlayed 3/4 of patio roof area of the patio with plywood and left it uncompleted. never finished installing rest of plywood or built up roofing.
    Since then that customer alone referred me to 10 or more of his neighbors.

    I love builders, if they changed their way of doing business I would not be in business.

    I lost count of how many times builders told the customer, [usually the customer that did not stay home, or it was a young mother home with the kids] the roof repairs or attic were completed, went back on re-inspection, the roof or attic was never touched.

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 07-08-2008 at 06:33 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Dan,

    I'm going to side with the builder on this one. If I read your post correctly, you instructed your client to not believe the builder's statements. You also seem to encourage legal counsel. I can see why some feathers were ruffled.

    I will assume that the client has a contract with the builder. Have you not become a party to that contract by directing the client how to interact with the builder? Either way, you may want to re-evaluate that with your attorney

    Just trying to throw out some helpful thoughts.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  17. #17
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Is one of your major builders company start with a C and end with an X


  18. #18
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Dan,

    I'm going to side with the builder on this one. If I read your post correctly, you instructed your client to not believe the builder's statements. You also seem to encourage legal counsel. I can see why some feathers were ruffled.

    I will assume that the client has a contract with the builder. Have you not become a party to that contract by directing the client how to interact with the builder? Either way, you may want to re-evaluate that with your attorney

    Just trying to throw out some helpful thoughts.
    That might be what got this builder excited. I do know for a fact this customer refused to accept no were are not doing it, and raised heck, I'm guessing with higher ups, on the missing insulation.
    She wasn't a happy camper [after she saw they lied to her] when she had me go back to check it before they closed up 6 --16X24" holes in the drywall...


  19. #19
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Is one of your major builders company start with a C and end with an X
    If there are a couple vowels in it. No they are pretty decent here.

    A lot of the builders may be real good in one subdivision the next one they could care less. I think a lot of it has to do with employees, instead of the builders policys..

    The one with consistant same defects starts with P ends with E.

    The one thats after me starts with a S, and claim they have been around since the 1890s


  20. #20
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    I did have a couple sales reps walk in when I was finishing a new home the other day. It was actually a nice home with few defects with the exception of an HVAC system that they took four tries to get operating correctly and a few other items. One of the reps said "I told Earl that he did not need a home inspector. After all its a new home what could be wrong." (actually a few expensive items) I handed him the list as requested by the buyer. He got all antsy and just kind mumble, mumble, then says well every home is going to have a few items on a punch list"

    I was nice, they fixed the items, no questions asked.

    Oh yeah, careful on the 55 plus communities, I'm 54. Trust me 55 is not old. We don't like the old word. We like the term "getting older"


  21. #21
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Not naming names here, but I'm betting their initials are P.U.L.T.E.??

    Sad to hear your stories over there with them, but I had the same stories in South Florida with them, and, when I worked for them (about 9 months back in 1988), I heard those same stories (and worse) internally from that office out there. Can't say what it was, but it was something to do with not understanding expansive soils and all.

    I can tell you this, when Bill Pulte (the man himself) came down to our office, *HE* knew how to build and *HE* wanted it done right, it was, after all *HIS* name on everything. Alas, though, when each time he left and went back up home, nothing was allowed to change, even though he specifically told us to change it. Sad but true.

    I have great respect for Bill Pulte himself, what he wanted to build and how he wanted to build it. However, being 'just a figure head' of a large corporation with his name on it (publicly traded on NYS), he was in a losing battle with the bean counters looking out for the investors.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  22. #22
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Jerry


    (about 9 months back in 1988), ??????????????????????????

    A little short term memory loss going on there????


  23. #23
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Oh yeah, careful on the 55 plus communities, I'm 54. Trust me 55 is not old. We don't like the old word. We like the term "getting older"
    I got you beat by one year. Agree with "getting older"
    The reality of that started with getting an AARP membership in the mail 5 yrs ago..


  24. #24
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    A little short term
    It was a short term, I could not stand their way of doing things anymore than they could stand my way of doing things.

    When I started, the punch out walk through lists were well over 150 items and more, when I left, the punch out walk through lists were under 10 items, sometimes -0- items.

    The drawback - I had to delay closing a few times to get the subs to complete their work.

    Delay closing???? THAT was not a good thing to do (in the company's eyes, the buyers were pleased with it).

    memory loss going on there????
    The only memory loss would be *if only I could forget I worked for them*, that would be good.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 07-09-2008 at 08:50 AM. Reason: speelin'
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    I quit referring my reports to the buying/closing/selling process and/or contracts between my client and anyone else. I just changed my report wording to get the same idea across, but I'm staying out of THEIR contracts.
    I started doing this on very good advice.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I quit referring my reports to the buying/closing/selling process and/or contracts between my client and anyone else. I just changed my report wording to get the same idea across, but I'm staying out of THEIR contracts.
    I started doing this on very good advice.
    Likely much the same advice I've heard - conduct the inspection and write the report as if there was no R.E. transaction.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  27. #27
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    I am not going to comment on your contract or your problems with builders. However, I will say that the best way to improve new construction is to do phase inspections. I specialize in new phase inspections for custom home builders. I do a pre-pour (check things like plumbing placements, electrical grounds and island conduits), a framing inspection before mechanical installation begins, a mechanical inspection (HVAC, elec rough-in, plumbing top-out) that includes framing final, and a final inspection. I have never had a builder argue with me or not fix my write-up. I have gotten to know which subs are good and which try to cut corners. I will also say that phase inspections require a different type of training and expertise.


    Bob Spermo
    Bullseye Home Inspection
    Texas


  28. #28
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Phase inspections also require the cooperation of the builder.

    The builder can, and some do, prohibit you from going on their site (*IT IS* *THEIR* construction site) without permission and sometimes without the superintendent accompanying you.

    Don't say 'they can't do that', they absolutely can, it is their right to do that.

    You can say 'That's dumb, it's the stupidest thing I've heard of', and you would be right. Especially in this market.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  29. #29
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Spermo View Post
    I am not going to comment on your contract or your problems with builders. However, I will say that the best way to improve new construction is to do phase inspections. I specialize in new phase inspections for custom home builders. I do a pre-pour (check things like plumbing placements, electrical grounds and island conduits), a framing inspection before mechanical installation begins, a mechanical inspection (HVAC, elec rough-in, plumbing top-out) that includes framing final, and a final inspection. I have never had a builder argue with me or not fix my write-up. I have gotten to know which subs are good and which try to cut corners. I will also say that phase inspections require a different type of training and expertise.

    Hey Bob

    Speaking of Phase inspections. I do new build inspections all the time. Saying that, I have about 32 hours to catch up on for my license renewal. Instead of wasting my time doing some class over and over like most do every year I am taking a 3 day course on phase inspections. I figure I might as well take something useful.

    It sure is nice spending time in new homes and larger homes. Don't think one can refresh enough on the new builds. Its amazing the little things that come to light when you do that type of refresher course. Now I just have to find something else for the other 8 hours needed.


  30. #30
    Gary Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    I'm a retired builder...built for over 26 years. I inspect now. Am doing the same as you all...phase inspections, etc.

    The wording in your paperwork is harsh and only kicks up dust. If you were doing that in Central Mississppi you might find yourself on the short end of a dead end road. Which I feel that kind of language just might send you one day. Best be careful you don't p**s off the wrong "builder".

    Like that's been spoken already in the thread, it's your business model. Can't and ain't going to tell you how to run your deals...but... That kind of language seems to be asking for a confrontation.


  31. #31
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you reply/ respond to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Likely much the same advice I've heard - conduct the inspection and write the report as if there was no R.E. transaction.
    I like the phrase "conduct the inspection and write the report as if there was no R.E. transaction". That's what I do but have never really ever thought about it since I thought that's what everybody does.


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