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  1. #1
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    Default Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Do or should home inspectors document code violations?

    Are the two types of inspections inseparable?

    As a home inspector are you really inspecting to code a lot of the time and just not referencing it?

    OK--Jerry--go for it It only contains three questions so don't panic!

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    If we are not inspecting to code--then why are all of the questions on the certification exams all based on the various codes?? Is the magic in the wording of the reports??

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Roland,

    I have often wondered how you can do an inspection without knowing the Codes and accepted practices. If you think that something doesn't feel or look right what would you be basing your inspection on? You need a baseline to refer to in order to make your decisions. I feel that the SOPs that I have read leave much to be desired and leave large loopholes when something is not found. I realize the without opening every device or having x-ray vision this is just shy of impossible, unless you are like certain members here. .

    I have seen things listed on reports that made me shake my head and wonder if the writer had any field experience. I have also seen suggested fixes for the defects that were worse than the initial defects that would have resulted in code violations.

    I remember one that even said the red wires needed to be moved to the red side of the panel. Here field experience would have gone a long way. When this issue was discussed as irrelevant the HO asked why they had paid money to someone that did not know what they were looking at. It only got worse when I found more issues not reported than were. This is not to say that all HIs are this lacking in knowledge but education and certifications and practical experience would go a long way in trying to add some credibility to this profession.

    Sorry if my thoughts drifted off track, but these questions have rattled around long enough.


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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Home inspectors who inspect a home are conducting a code inspection. This idea has been batted around for years and there are still a few who claim "I don't do code inspections." I say Sunshine, "why do you take the dead-front cover off an electrical panel if you're not doing a code inspection?"

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Thanks Jim--you make some very good points. I share much the same opinion. I probably am more of a "code" inspector because of my background but am also a certified HI. The certification exam was based on the codes.

    I certainly don't know how you do your inspection with knowing the codes. So maybe the magic is in the wording of the report and also knowing what you know and don't know. Noting a deficiency is sort of a watered down way of referencing the code. Certainly we, as code inspectors or HIs shouldn't be suggesting the solution.

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    My personal belief is that all the code talk misleads new people getting into this business and distracts them from learning more of the basics of a house.

    Liability and claim wise if you look at a pie chart of where money goes out from an E/O carrier the 'Electrical' wedge is almost invisible while the water penetration and bug infestation wedge is 3/4 of the pie. So, why is the Electrical forum on this (and other boards) the most heavily travelled by far?

    And, taking even further, many of us go out there armed with half a head of knowledge while thinking we know it all. Most electricians laugh at HIs. They always have several recent stories where an HI called out some problem and was dead wrong. There are a handful of guys on here that have a great understanding of the code and it's a great way to learn and get better. Personally, though, I take a lot of it with grain of salt once I'm in the field. Basically, I look for the elephants not the mice.

    Sorry for the drift.... back to the OP's questions:

    I never call anything a code violation

    Things that are wrong are usually agaisnt the code but sometimes there are things that you cannot find a code for but still get written up (admittedly, with electrical this is rare)

    Yes, we are often inspecting to code but not referencing it. If there is shelving in front of the panel I recommend it be moved. I don't cite the measurements required. Some guys likely do. I don't think either one is right or wrong.

    Claiming or offering to do a code inspection on a finished house is not a good idea. The majority of the system is hidden from view and you escalate your client's expectations to a level that's impossible to achieve.... and then the phone rings.

    my 2 cents


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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    OK--Jerry--go for it It only contains three questions so don't panic!
    Yeah, but they are real tuffies ...

    Now let's see if you can read also.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    Do or should home inspectors document code violations?
    Yes.

    I know some will disagree about making code references, some will (as West Coast Jerry said) deny they are doing 'code' inspections, and some will not know the differences we are talking about.

    The only way to "document code violates" (your term) is to reference the code they are in violation of, not in conformance with. Anything short of that you are not "documenting code violations", which is, after all, precisely what you asked about.

    Now, a home inspector could chose to not "document code violations" and simply chose to address code violations, in which case the "documentation" would not be required for all such addressed code violations, but, you chose those words (with intent, I suspect), so I am addressing those words. When I did home inspections I chose to document most (almost all) code violations where there were code violations, however, there are many things which get documented by home inspections which are not code violations.

    Are the two types of inspections inseparable?
    Most definitely they are SEPARABLE.

    A "code inspection" performed as a "code inspection" looks at, and for, all "code violations" and "non-code violations", i.e., all items, systems and components and inspected to see whether they are, or are not, in compliance with the code. No leaf unturned, as it may.

    A "home inspection" performed as a "code inspection" looks at the visible items, systems and components for 'proper operation', 'leaks', 'installation problems' (such as is currently being discussed about regarding HardiePlank siding), and many things which a "code inspection" is not looking at or for, however, the depth of what the "home inspection" is going into is not the same depth that the "code inspection" goes into.

    As a home inspector are you really inspecting to code a lot of the time and just not referencing it?
    Not if you are, as you stated, "documenting code violations".

    The "home inspection" is looking at a structure which was, supposedly, constructed to code, but also looks beyond that (beyond code). An example is that the "home inspection" is looking for leaks and decayed and damaged walls. The "code inspection" was already performed (supposedly) and looked at the way the window was flashed and installed, which are no longer visible to the "home inspection".

    The "code inspection", for example, goes into an older home and is only looking for (as an example) GFCI protection on the receptacle outlets required to be GFCI protected at that time. The "home inspection", in this same example, looks at GFCI protection in all locations, whether or not GFCI protection was required at the time.

    On the other hand, the "home inspection" sees a box stuffed full of wires and calls that out because 'it is obviously wrong', code or no code. And, technically, it may end up being 'not wrong'. So be it, if it was full enough to attract the attention of the "home inspection" the "home inspection" was correct in addressing it. In this example, the "code inspection" see a box which looks acceptable and does not address it further, then sees another box which looks too full, so the "code inspector" does the calculation to determine if the box actually is too full or not.

    As you asked:

    Are the two types of inspections inseparable?
    And as I stated above:

    "Most definitely they are SEPARABLE."

    Three simple questions with three simple answers.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 01-27-2009 at 12:54 PM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Good job Jerry! I think

    I can read--I am just not used to reading in the convoluted circles you write. I think you answered everyone's base question--you don't know how to calculate electrical box fill.

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    you don't know how to calculate electrical box fill.
    That's easy to do, not applicable to home inspections, but easy to do.

    Apparently you 'cannot read', not with you arriving at that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Actually I got that from the last thread where you failed to answer the questions. They were simple I might add, so you should try them..

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    Do or should home inspectors document code violations?

    Are the two types of inspections inseparable?

    As a home inspector are you really inspecting to code a lot of the time and just not referencing it?

    OK--Jerry--go for it It only contains three questions so don't panic!
    IMO, a code inspection relates to new construction and is done by the AHJ.

    A home inspector that backs up his/her findings with various codes is not a code inspection.

    What are codes? Codes are the basic minimum requirement.

    So, I would say that as a home inspector we for the most part are inspecting above and beyond the codes.

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

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Hi Scott--I like that--Inspecting "above and beyond" the minimum code requirements. What a concept!!

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    If we are not inspecting to code--then why are all of the questions on the certification exams all based on the various codes?? Is the magic in the wording of the reports??
    First off the home inspection profession does not have a "True" certification. All of the ones you see now are bestowed by the various organizations and are rather self serving. ASHI is in the process of obtaining NOCA certification to their membership process and then this will be about as close as you will get to a true professional certification.

    If you are talking about the National Home Inspector Examination, it is not a certification exam. It is designed as a basic knowledge licensing exam and not an advanced knowledge exam.

    The reason that codes might be used as a reference is that they are a nationally recognized published source that are readily available.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    Hi Scott--I like that--Inspecting "above and beyond" the minimum code requirements. What a concept!!
    Well it is better than when a builder says that he builds to code. That is not much to brag about!

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

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Q1- Do HI? - Yes; Should HI? - sure why not, if you are willing to pay by the hour for the service (which people do) then by all means.
    But ... unless you are employed by the muni it is virtually impossible to do a full and complete code inspection.
    Q2- NO, if you are inspecting for code you are inspecting for minimum standards, presumably life safety issues
    As I tell clients, The Code is a foundation to work up from, NOT a ceiling to be reached. When doing an HI I would like to think we are doing better than Code.
    Q3- What else would you like to use as a reference point? home depot literature? How much do you think an HI should run if there are 30 violations and a guy references each Code section in his report? Who's going to pay for that.
    This question comes around routinely. When it gets asked by someone besides a newbie (who rightfully should ask it), I tend to think it's just a jerk-around question. Don't get me wrong, I believe a lot of really good insight comes out of these discussions ... but when a guy with supposed experience asks it I get the feeling it's really about stirring the pot.
    Sorry for the negativity, I don't know why this question is irking me today.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Scott Patterson;

    IMO, a code inspection relates to new construction and is done by the AHJ.
    A code inspection relates to when a permit is obtained (which includes new construction).

    I know Scott knows this but just encase that one person that is reading this doesn't.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    It is interesting that nobody from Texas has responded yet. Our new rules dictated by new statute say we have to report items such as "No AFCI for the family room" as a deficiency no matter when the house was built. Obviously a 2008 NEC requirement. Then we have to verbally explain it to the buyer! This is one reason I do mostly new construction phase inspections! Therefore, I can conclude that home inspectors in Texas are code inspectors whether they want to be or not!


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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Spermo View Post
    It is interesting that nobody from Texas has responded yet. Our new rules dictated by new statute say we have to report items such as "No AFCI for the family room" as a deficiency no matter when the house was built. Obviously a 2008 NEC requirement. Then we have to verbally explain it to the buyer! This is one reason I do mostly new construction phase inspections! Therefore, I can conclude that home inspectors in Texas are code inspectors whether they want to be or not!
    TREC strikes again! That is pretty crappy if you ask me.

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

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    I have my .015 cents worth.

    Everyone keeps talking about code being the minimum standard or if you inspect by the SOPs you are doing the minimum standard.

    Personally, there are a vast amount of items that the minimal standard is all there is to go by unless you are a design freak or electrical engineer etc.etc. WE can all build a home with 2x4s. Some homes are constructed with 2x6s. X amount of nails are needed per what ever you are nailing. Some use roof trusses. Some use 2x6, 2x8, 2x10, 2x12 etc. If youn look at span charts and what ever is being used is matching up with the charts, well, there you go. The minimum is cool. The manufacturer says install like this, well, if it is, there you go. Add more and you just blow the wood apart in many cases. More and or bigger is not always better.

    The electric panel. Hmmm. Inspected to the minimum code standards. What else would you do. Would you tell folks to never use 14g wire as a minimum telling them it should be a minimum of 12g. Yes I can quote all day to folks that I would have done this and I would have done that. If that is what I think then am I inspecting above SOPs or codes. Personally I almost always overbuilt. Lumber size, nail patterns in shingles, floor decking, exterior decking etc. etc.. If someone inspected it they would be saying that, gees, why did he use this when all he had to use is this. Then I guess that inspector is inspecting below my standards and inspecting to the minimum.

    This whole things about inspecting to the minimum standards is way over blown as far as I am concerned. If it is suppose to be a particular way and it is, well, there you go.

    This is one subject that is always beat to death with one person saying the other person is useless because he inspects at the standard, code or just good building practices.

    I am not going back over all the other posts but some have said that past experience in the field goes a long, long way. Yes it does. Have some been doing it the wrong way. Yes. Do most have pride in their work and do it the right way. Yes, most.

    Back to the original question.

    Are we doing code inspections and are tests like the NHI exam based on code, yes, to a point.

    A huge amount of our inspections setting aside systems is all based on what is going on in the home. Leaks, cracks, windows, doors walls, weatherstripping, roof shingles, flashing etc. etc. If one has a lick of sense and has done inspecting for a while or has a strong back ground in the trades you are looking at what is right and what is wrong. Much of what I said is inspected based on standard building practices and codes. When I inspect many of those items it is simply common sense.

    As far as quoting codes on most of your inspection. Absolutely not needed. If it is wrong it is wrong. That flashing is leaking. Write it up.

    Is quoting a code necessary in some occasions. Yes

    The water heater is rotten, leaking, corroded, TPR not plumbed to the exterior properly. Write it up. No code quoting is necessary in the slightest.

    People are looking for your opinion. Not a quote out of a book. If it is wrong, write it up and the next man in line fixes it. If no one fixes it. Oh well. You tried. They died. Whos fault is it?? Not yours.

    The people you are inspecting for already believe that you are the man with the opinion to make their buying experience less of a risk. You don't have to dazzle them with code quotes. If it is wrong tell them so and write it up.


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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    I’ve long held the opinion that home inspectors in general do not want to use the C word because it tightens the noose of liability and frankly most home inspectors and even jurisdictional inspectors don’t really know the codes that well. Besides the threat of potential litigation for missing a non complying code issue there’s the loss of “face” when a wrong call is made and the home inspector has a fresh made omelet on his/her face. In other words lack of adequate knowledge triggers fear and fear triggers vagueness. Sure, it’s rather easy to spot a leaking pipe, broken window pane, of cracked foundation, but how many inspectors know what they’re looking at after they remove the dead front panel off an electrical panel or recognize bad framing system or lack of drain line clean-outs and proper venting?

    Just for fun, what’s the difference between a “waste line” and a “drain line” in a residential plumbing system? (JP can't play)


    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Just for fun, what’s the difference between a “waste line” and a “drain line” in a residential plumbing system? (JP can't play)
    One is for waste and the other is not for waste.

    What do I get?


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Drain lines collect water from sinks, showers, and tubs waste lines carry waste such as from toilets or I guess it could be disposals as well.

    Saying that. They are all drain lines and they are all vented.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Waste line - Removes water and other materials from the toilet.

    Drain line - Plastic or metal pipes collecting water from sinks, showers, bathtubs or appliances.

    How close am I?


  24. #24

    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Crap, I just went over this recently.

    Waste line: One that runs to a septic?
    Drain Line: Lines inside the structure?


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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    so far........... all wrong! Come on guys, look it up in your code book.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Drain lines are for condensate.
    Waste lines carry gray and/or black water.

    Did I win?


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Spermo View Post
    It is interesting that nobody from Texas has responded yet. Our new rules dictated by new statute say we have to report items such as "No AFCI for the family room" as a deficiency no matter when the house was built. Obviously a 2008 NEC requirement. Then we have to verbally explain it to the buyer! This is one reason I do mostly new construction phase inspections! Therefore, I can conclude that home inspectors in Texas are code inspectors whether they want to be or not!
    Bob,

    It's not that difficult. The new TREC requirement regarding AFCIs is quite similar when TREC required the inspection of GFCI presence "per current standards" even though the property was built in 1955.

    Easy enough to have various statements ready in your report application to "note" the lack of AFCIs per current standards (IE: 2008 NEC) and that the home was built in 2003 ... etc., etc..

    I provide information as necessary to help 'educate' my clients and explain the related safety issue and the current TREC SOP requirements.

    Actually, if I recall, AFCIs are required at all circuits in a home except where GFCIs are required. Not just living rooms.

    Again ... not a big deal to make the observation.


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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    I'll take a stab after thumbing through the code book... It's a drain until it meets the vent? Then, it's a waste pipe?


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    We need to keep a very clear separation between home inspection and code inspection when we are working as home inspectors.

    It is ok to reference codes when they apply but as a reference only and you need to make that clear.

    A HI job is more difficult than that of residential code inspections because you are giving your opinion on a structure that may not have been built under codes or was compliant with codes from days gone by.

    The real issue is WHEN is it necessary to use a code reference when inspecting an existing home?

    A good example is the lack of GFCIs on a home that was built in 1950 and renovated in 1965. We can recommend that GFCIs be installed for safety enhancement but cannot write that up as a defect. No one can be forced to upgrade their home to current code standards. Remodeling work will have to comply but not for a real estate transfer unless you have local ordinances.

    What I have noticed in the past is that inspectors will write up lack of GFCIs in older homes as a defect when in fact, it is not.

    There are structural defects and there are recommendations and the two also need to be separated very clearly on a report. Some state home inspection laws will define what a structural defect is.

    If we have a home that is only a few years old and we know that the home was built under a specific code then I feel as though we have the right and are obligated to reference a code section and hold the structure to that standard. For older homes with unknown build and or remodel dates it is much more difficult to take that stance.

    Keep everything in context and understand your purpose in the transaction. You are there to educate the buyer on the condition of the home so that they can make an educated decision on whether or not they will purchase it. Just make sure that you are very clear on the difference in your report between a true defect, maintenance issues and recommendation for enhancement of the structure or components of.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    It is ok to reference codes when they apply but as a reference only and you need to make that clear.
    I just wanted to post this part since I strongly believe in this statement.


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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Just for fun, what’s the difference between a “waste line” and a “drain line” in a residential plumbing system? (JP can't play)

    "Waste line" is not defined in the IRC but "Waste Pipe" is piping than conveys only liquid sewage not containing fecal matter. While "drain" is any pipe that carries soil and water borne wastes in a building drainage system.

    So Waste is NO POOP and Drain is WITH POOP.
    According to the definitions in the front of the 2003 IRC.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Remas View Post
    A good example is the lack of GFCIs on a home that was built in 1950 and renovated in 1965. We can recommend that GFCIs be installed for safety enhancement but cannot write that up as a defect. No one can be forced to upgrade their home to current code standards. Remodeling work will have to comply but not for a real estate transfer unless you have local ordinances.

    What I have noticed in the past is that inspectors will write up lack of GFCIs in older homes as a defect when in fact, it is not.
    Not having GFCI protection installed where GFCI protection should be installed BY TODAY'S code *IS* a defect ... it is a recognized SAFETY DEFECT.

    If you are inspecting a 150 year old original house, IT WILL BE JUST AS UNSAFE to not have GFCI protection in that house as in another house constructed last year. Safety knows no bounds, it does not read code books, safety and improvements to make things safer come about because BAD THINGS HAPPENED and people came up with a way to stop or reduce those bad things from happening.

    Can the HI make the client or seller install GFCI protection in that old house? Nope. Neither can the HI make the client or seller install GFCI protection in that one year old house where it was missed either.

    Thus, whether the HI "can make" someone do anything or not is not a valid argument ... HIs *cannot make* anyone do anything.

    As a good friend of mine says "We have no teeth, all we can do is gum them to death."

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  33. #33
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    I will continue to call the main line the waste line and anything uder a sink , shower or tub a drain line. This what the world thinks and I am not going to try and convince the world any differently. The main waste clean out generally in front of the home is what everyone refers to it as, the main waste cleanout. anything under the sinks and such are called drain line. Or sink drain. or tub drain etc.

    I think I will continue to call the pipe the poop goes thru to the street the main waste line that leads to the sewer line.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Ted, you can call them whatever you want to call them. It is your right to do so. I still refer to a "hot water heater" that way so I know where you are coming from.

    The rest of the professional world will call them as they have always called them for clarification and uniformity.

    DRAIN. Any pipe that carries wastewater or water-borne
    wastes in a building drainage system.

    WASTE. The discharge from any fixture, appliance, area or
    appurtenance that does not contain fecal matter.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Not having GFCI protection installed where GFCI protection should be installed BY TODAY'S code *IS* a defect ... it is a recognized SAFETY DEFECT.
    I personally don't like the word "safety defect" and think it's misleading. If it's not there, what is defective? I consider GFCI added protection just like air bags in a car (Example: My 1977 Chrysler LeBaron that somebody else owns but still is on the road).

    If a GFCI is installed and the safety feature doesn't work, that's a different story.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Not arguing. We were asked the difference between waste and drain lines, (initially) and that is what I went with.

    You must admit

    "DRAIN. Any pipe that carries wastewater or water-borne
    wastes in a building drainage system.

    WASTE. The discharge from any fixture, appliance, area or
    appurtenance that does not contain fecal matter."

    All sounds kind of silly to your client. They know the "main waste cleanout" is generally in the front planting bed on a large majority of homes. If you ask 99 percent of home buyers/owners the difference they will pretty much say the way I put it. Drain=water.....waste=poop main waste line=both and leads to the sewer line in the street.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    As I mentioned in another thread, I quote the building codes in my reports. I do so because of my background and ICC certifications. It is a business choice.

    In Texas, where the HI standards are written (or at least approved) by lawyers who work for the Texas Real Estate Commission; have built no houses; have no construction experience; have no inkling as to what the building code requires; have no experience (as well as no interest) in defending home inspectors against lawsuits; have the mandate to protect (in theory) only the consumers; have the mandate (in practice) to protect only the Texas Real Estate Commission, reference to the building codes in HI reports are required. Yes, required by the standards of practice.

    The problem lies in the fact that these reference to code are only required in areas where the TREC has arbitrarily decided that the body count due to this or that property material or system condition is sufficiently elevated so as to warrant noting these conditions as "defective" (their term, not mine) as per current building standards.

    What then will prevent a litigator from insisting that you are liable because you failed to note some other violation of the currently adopted building code cycle in your report? Nothing. So, I put it all in there. All of it. Every last one that I can observe and report. Let the god damned attorney sort through my report for a couple of hours before he sighs and calls his client with a "I think we should pursue the sellers, the agent, and the brokers instead of this guy who has dotted each "i" and crossed every "t".

    Are you, as an HI, doing a "code inspection"? No. Not unless you are doing interim new construction inspections. And only then if you are properly certified. If you do not have the required certification then you are only pretending to be doing code inspections. This is a very thin sheet of legal ice to be treading indeed.

    Are you, as an HI, advised by common sense (and perhaps SOP) to (1) be intimately familiar with the building codes, and (2) report on these issues to include code citations in your reports? Absolutely.

    Aaron


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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    I personally don't like the word "safety defect" and think it's misleading. If it's not there, what is defective?

    No one said 'the GFCI' is defective - how can it be, it's not there, ... 'the SAFETY aspect' is defective ... because it is not there.

    Thus, it becomes a "safety defect". I like the word "deficiency" better than "defect", but home inspectors talk about "defects". Besides, what is a "deficiency" if not a "defect"?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Thank you Jim & Jeff for looking up the correct answers to my question. I used that very same question in my code classes for years and I would estimate only about 5% got it right…. The first time.

    I truly feel sorry for the inspectors in Texas due to the ridiculous standards they work under set by a body of folks representing a self interest group. Who ever believes state licensing is a good thing should practice in Texas. (I would rather have root-canal work)

    Half-dozen. thoughts while shaving:
    1. All home inspectors should lobby to have the name of the profession changed to “Real Estate Inspector.”
    2. All Real Estate Inspectors should be ICC members and organize their own local ICC Chapters.
    3. All Real Estate Inspectors should become ICC Certified Residential Combination Inspectors.
    4. All Real Estate Inspectors should at a minimum triple their inspection fees.
    5. All those entering the Real Estate Inspector profession should serve a minimum of 1 year apprenticeship.
    6. All new Real Estate Inspectors should have a National REI Board approved mentor.


    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  40. #40
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    I truly feel sorry for the inspectors in Texas due to the ridiculous standards they work under set by a body of folks representing a self interest group. Who ever believes state licensing is a good thing should practice in Texas. (I would rather have root-canal work)
    JM: Amen.

    5. All those entering the Real Estate Inspector profession should serve a minimum of 1 year apprenticeship.
    6. All new Real Estate Inspectors should have a National REI Board approved mentor.
    JM: And the qualifications of the mentor should be:

    1. A minimum of 10 years experience as a residential construction general contractor.
    2. A minimum of 10,000 completed residential building inspections.
    3. A minimum of R-5 ICC certification.
    4. A minimum IQ of 105.
    5. A minimum of three times as much patience as I have.



  41. #41
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    A.D.
    What is a......3. A minimum of R-5 ICC certification.

    I see it on the request sheet for certification request but don't see where it defines it? I'll keep looking.

    Last edited by Wayne Carlisle; 01-28-2009 at 01:43 PM. Reason: added last sentence

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    A.D.
    What is a......3. A minimum of R-5 ICC certification.

    I see it on the request sheet for certification request but don't see where it defines it? I'll keek looking.
    Wayne: Residential Combination Inspector. Their designation, not mine.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    I just figured it out! Duuuh!

    Building, Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical and......the last one is Energy???????


  44. #44
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    I just figured it out! Duuuh!

    Building, Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical and......the last one is Energy???????
    Wayne:

    No, just those 4. The R-5 is a combination license that indicates you have those 4. B-5 is the same way.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    It's been a looooong day!

    The brain is dead...stress of driving to work this AM....watching out for the idiots...and you being in the DFW area you know what I mean....ice and DFW drivers don't mix!!!

    I'm 11 minutes from where I live to my work and this AM I left at 7AM arrived at 7:45


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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Residential Combination Inspector is shown as requiring B1, E1, M1, and P1 (Residential Building, Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing)

    It is possible that by having all 4 you get to apply for the "Residential Combination Inspector", which needs its own category, an R5 category, which is simply a "Residential Combination Inspector" (no R5, that is just a certification number).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Thus, it becomes a "safety defect". I like the word "deficiency" better than "defect", but home inspectors talk about "defects". Besides, what is a "deficiency" if not a "defect"?
    So you and I agree that "Safety defect" is not the best to use and can be misleading to a % of home buyers/sellers and Realtors.

    I still have to disagree about the GFCI receptacles. The word "Deficiency" refers to some thing that is needed, essential, required or necessary. I don't think anyone can say that GFCI receptacles are needed, essential, required or necessary. Many other people feel the same way I do since it is not required to upgrade to GFCI receptacles on houses that were built before GFCI receptacles existed (Exception: A permit is pulled which will then require them to installed GFCI).

    Just like smoke detectors. On newer homes they are required not only to be battery operated but also hard wired. If smoke detectors are not hard wired, I would not write it up as a "Safety Defect" on an old house. If there was a permit issued for an addition to a house and some of the smoke detectors are hard wired and some are not (no access to run electrical wiring), I personally don't think the smoke detectors that are not hard wired is a "Safety Defect".

    Just my thought.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    It's been a looooong day!

    The brain is dead...stress of driving to work this AM....watching out for the idiots...and you being in the DFW area you know what I mean....ice and DFW drivers don't mix!!!

    I'm 11 minutes from where I live to my work and this AM I left at 7AM arrived at 7:45
    Wayne: I moved my inspections today to Friday. I refuse to drive on ice in Dallas with other Texas "drivers".


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    So you and I agree that "Safety defect" is not the best to use and can be misleading to a % of home buyers/sellers and Realtors.
    Nope, no sale on that one.

    "Safety defect" is the best of the choices the home inspector has to use, unless and until some better term is given by someone.

    Confusing home/buyers/sellers? Nope, that is a very clear term that they understand.

    Realtors? Who cares what they understand, why even ask?

    Glad you agree with me on those.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    "Safety defect" is the best of the choices the home inspector has to use, unless and until some better term is given by someone.
    JP: On the money.

    Realtors? Who cares what they understand, why even ask?
    JP: Agreed.

    It might be enlightening at some time in the future to further investigate the method approved by the NTSB for flight crew communication. There are three levels of suggested communication between the crew and the pilot that go something like this in order of severity:

    1. Captain, I am concerned about this condition.
    2. Captain, I am uncomfortable about this condition.
    3. Captain, I believe this condition to be unsafe.


  51. #51
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Wayne: I moved my inspections today to Friday. I refuse to drive on ice in Dallas with other Texas "drivers".
    Thats funny. I put one of today until tomorrow for the ice situation. Not a problem with me but do you think a realtor or my termite folks or anyone for that matter that had anything to do with scheduling would answer the phone.

    Not to mention all the roofs were iced up and you could not even see the shingles.

    Oh well, enother day.


  52. #52
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    I like to use this phrase with safety items, like GFCI or AFCI's
    For increased safety a ___insert item___ should be installed in/at ____location____. Although they might not have been required when this home was built, they will increase the overall safety of the home.

    I know it is a little wordy for me, but it has served me well for many years. Folks seldom argue about increased safety!

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 01-28-2009 at 03:10 PM.
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  53. #53
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I like to use this phrase with safety items, like GFCI or AFCI's
    For increased safety a ___insert item___ should be installed in/at ____location____. Although they might not have been required when this home was built, they will increase the overall safety of the home.

    I know it is a little wordy for me, but it has served me well for many years. Folks seldom argue about increased safety!

    We are now suppose to mention the new AFCI thing in our reports. As the home was built it was not required but it is a good safety item to push on. I am not sure I will ever push on it as hard as GFCIs. GFCIs are one of my pet peeves and I always write it up as needed period. No one has ever gotten ticked or POd that I know of, well, maybe one person. I always write up GFCIs like they need to be in all homes, just because, they do.

    AFCI's keeping a little electric arc from forming (do they?) maybe snatching a plug out of a receptacle or dropping a lamp and an arc forming. All of these little tidbit are going to happen when you are there anyway. Is is a major crisis like becoming a ground with no or faulty GFCIs. I don't think so.

    Oh well. We gotta write em up, we gotta write em up. Won't kill my day. A water pressure test, won't kill my day. Where is the shut off or meter, always wrote them up anyway.

    The new standards in Texas. I don't find it any big deal at all. Feeling sorry for the inspectors in licensed states???? Why??? It is just a guideline to go buy and certain things you have to mention. I mentioned all these things anyway. Well. Not always a water pressure test if pressure and volume were just ducky in the home. In that case why would I have checked the water volume or pressure. I just did in my inspection.

    Don't feel sorry for us folks. I think most people are just fine with the new standards. They are really no big deal.

    As far as the legal ramifications. The litigators, so what. If they are going to come they are going to come. To me one of those disclaimer reports looks like you are trying to hide something, skate away from something, skirt the issue, cover your A*s

    Has everyone here been sued out of their shoes or what.. The fear of God is enacted in the home inspection business.

    Stop running scared in life. If someone sues you for what ever foolish reason. Oh well. Sh*t happens. To turn inspection reports into 50 page booklets. Gees. And all of that is to protect you???? From what????? The report could have been 10 pages (not counting pics) I email and print when needed only 6 pics per page so there is no squinting going on. even with the pics mine are maybe 17 18 pages.

    I know. It's the booooooogy man.


  54. #54
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Just a note for you non-Texas interested parties--
    As of 2/1/09 deficiency is the operative word.
    example: No GFI today is in need of repair - 2/1 it will be a deficiency.
    That sounds like an upgrade!!
    ps. I agree with Ted - No big deal - did it anyway.

    Last edited by Richard Stanley; 01-28-2009 at 03:38 PM. Reason: ps

  55. #55
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    "Safety defect" is the best of the choices the home inspector has to use, unless and until some better term is given by someone.
    I think a better word is "Improve".
    make or become better: to make something better in quality or condition, or become better

    Confusing home/buyers/sellers? Nope, that is a very clear term that they understand.
    Must be a location thing. Around here, most people think of the word "defect" as a:
    flaw in something: a physical problem in a machine, structure, or system, especially one that prevents it from functioning correctly
    Realtors? Who cares what they understand, why even ask?
    Man, I'm glad that city inspectors around here don't feel the same way about contractors as you do about Realtors.

    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 01-28-2009 at 03:45 PM. Reason: meant to say improve instead of improvement

  56. #56
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    Must be a location thing. Around here, most people think of the word "defect" as a:
    flaw in something: a physical problem in a machine, structure, or system, especially one that prevents it from functioning correctly
    In a 2008 constructed house, there is no GFCI protection installed for the bathrooms.

    What do you call that when you write it up? What heading do you put it under?

    Just curious.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

  57. #57
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    1. Captain, I am concerned about this condition.
    2. Captain, I am uncomfortable about this condition.
    3. Captain, I believe this condition to be unsafe.

    1. Immediate action required: Captain, I believe this condition to be unsafe. We just took a double bird strike!

    2. Action required: Captain, I am uncomfortable about this condition. I see a flock of birds heading straight toward us.

    3. Maintain full awareness, prepare to act: Captain, I am concerned about this condition. I see a flock of birds out on the horizon.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  58. #58
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    In a 2008 constructed house, there is no GFCI protection installed for the bathrooms.

    What do you call that when you write it up? What heading do you put it under?

    Just curious.
    · Repair: denotes a system or component which is missing or which needs corrective action to assure proper and reliable function.


    I feel it is a component that is missing which needs to be installed as it was required, or should have been required, when the house was built.

    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 01-28-2009 at 04:38 PM.

  59. #59
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    · Repair: denotes a system or component which is missing or which needs corrective action to assure proper and reliable function.
    Why does it need to have a "Repair"?

    You cannot "Repair" something which is not there.

    You did, after all, state:

    flaw in something: a physical problem in a machine, structure, or system, especially one that prevents it from functioning correctly
    Main Entry: 3repair
    Function: verb
    Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French reparer, from Latin reparare, from re- + parare to prepare — more at pare
    Date: 14th century
    transitive verb
    1 a: to restore by replacing a part or putting together what is torn or broken : fix <repair a shoe> b: to restore to a sound or healthy state : renew <repair his strength>
    2: to make good : compensate for : remedy <repair a gap in my reading>
    intransitive verb:
    to make repairs

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  60. #60
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    It refers to this definition:
    verb: set straight or right

    It doesn't matter if the GFCI was not installed in the first place or somebody replaced it with a standard receptacle, the GFCI should be installed as intended.

    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 01-28-2009 at 05:00 PM. Reason: Changed the last sentence to clarify.

  61. #61
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    It doesn't matter if the GFCI was not installed in the first place or somebody replaced it with a standard receptacle, the GFCI should be installed as intended.
    Now that is a valid statement, and that is a repair, a repair of a defect, and *nothing was broken* either.

    Glad you finally agreed with me.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  62. #62
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Si el GFCI receptáculo o amparo estado no requerir por clave hasta el momento construcción no sería escrito como un defecto o deficiencia.

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

  63. #63
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    Si el GFCI receptáculo o amparo estado no requerir por clave hasta el momento construcción no sería escrito como un defecto o deficiencia.

    So, if GFCI protection was not required at the time of construction, you would not write it up as a defect or a deficiency.

    Interesting.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  64. #64
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    O bueno - Sé Inglesa estado no su primero lenguaje. YO would make una nota de él siendo un probar seguridad aparato. En un residencia inspección se vende , estaría ponerse el opción por lo comprador preguntar para ellos ser instalar. UN nuevo clave does no make cosas de construción bajo más viejo clave - deficiente

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

  65. #65
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    Default Re: Home inspections & Code Inspections

    Reminds me of the last words of Captain Edward John Smith of HMS Titanic; “F___ the icebergs boys, full steam ahead!”

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