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  1. #1
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    Default Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    I found this mess recently and called for repair by a certified electrician on the Summary Page. (Yes sometimes I say qualified or knowledgable and licensed etc, that's subject of that other thread. )
    My Electrical page is a type of check list, no code language:
    Improper...taps, Older system with modifications, Grounding system - note "Electrician check", missing bushings, clamps, knock-outs open, amateur workmanship evident, plus a note "missing tie-bar on 40 amp range brkr."

    I think it is pretty clear that the homeseller or a buddy thinks he can wire a panel. I have heard that the sale will go through and the seller has agreed to have the electrical repaired. He called me one night to get specifics. I had to tell him it was confidential info, my client has not released that info to be disclosed. I did say that any electrician would see problems if he looked in both panels.

    OK, my question, how can we best ensure that a proper repair is done. I'm mostly concerned with the branch wiring in the service portion of the panel. I expect the realtor has faxed my report page to the seller's realtor, they do that here. So the seller has a fix-it list and an buddy that likes to fix wiring that takes shortcuts. I suggested to the clients and their realtor that an electrician's report in writing be asked for. Is there anything here that could or should be done different?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    OK, my question, how can we best ensure that a proper repair is done. I'm mostly concerned with the branch wiring in the service portion of the panel. I expect the realtor has faxed my report page to the seller's realtor, they do that here. So the seller has a fix-it list and an buddy that likes to fix wiring that takes shortcuts. I suggested to the clients and their realtor that an electrician's report in writing be asked for. Is there anything here that could or should be done different?
    It is not our job or responsibility to ensure that the work has been properly completed. Once we defer to another professional, we have passed the torch to them. It is now up to that professional to do their job.

    Now, some inspectorfolks do offer to reinspect after the work has been done. I do not recommend doing this. This is when the "Last man in" theory takes hold of the inspection. If you bless the repairs and six months down the road the house burns down! Well, you can use your imagination and figure out the rest..........

    If on the very rare occasion that I do a reinspection; I require the original receipt from the contractor that did the repairs; I charge 75% of my original fee and I only inspect and look at what I reported on in the original report.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    OK, my question, how can we best ensure that a proper repair is done.

    We can't, and as Scott said, it is not our job.

    However, the other answer to that is the same answer I gave Sparky Steve on another thread - when the electrician pulls permits, and gets inspections, and you have advised you client of the same, the people who can ensure that it is corrected is the municipal code inspector, and, if not, then have the buyer hire their own electrical contractor to verify it has been corrected and look for anything which has been missed, and anything created during the repairs. It is quite common to find NEW problems CREATED by the "correction work".

    Even by fully licensed and competent electricians.

    Okay, not "competent", but that was my way of showing the importance of using that word - *IF* they are "competent", they will have corrected all problems AND *not* created new problems.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    When I first started in this this business I had the naive fantasy that most of the defects I reported were going to get fixed. Didn't take me long to realize that the the average client was going to take his credit from the seller and buy a 50 inch plasma TV.

    There are two things I try to do about this:

    1) When I encounter defects that experience has led me to believe create significant health and safety hazards or which will cause my client to incur substantial costsI do my best to reinforce verbally at the inspection and again in my written report that these are hot button issues which in my opinion should be addressed irrespective of whether other work is done.

    2) When I encounter a client who wants to get the work done, and asks for recommendations, I make available a list of the sources that I use for work on my own buildings (always at least three for a given trade), making it clear in writing that I'm recommending these only as sources for "reference quotes", and that I cannot be responsible for the quality of the work performed.

    There are also several things I do not do about this:

    1) I don't perform reinspections to determine the adequacy of repairs of items noted on my reports unless this is done as a completely new inspection with a separate and complete report, and the scope of my observations is limited to my normal standards of practice- my reason is that my E&O is not in force otherwise.

    2) I don't tell my clients what their priorities should be, because I don't know my client's priorities or their financial resources. I recommend that certain repairs be given priority, but I also state in writing that the client's decision should be made after obtaining vendor evaluations and written quotes for any corrections I recommend.

    My reasoning - stated in writing - is that a vendor may discover additional work which is required, or may employ techniques that make it easier or more difficult than I expected to correct the defect.

    3) I never succumb to temptation to estimate costs for repairs. (I do understand that in some parts of the country it is customary to provide them).

    My reason - stated in writing - is that in my experience quotes for similar work can vary widely, and apparently small differences in the choice of materials or the quality workmanship can make very large differences in the cost of performing it.

    Therefore:

    "The only estimate you should rely on when making decisions is a written estimate provided by a vendor who has evaluated the work to be done and has stated specifically how the work will be performed and guaranteed ".

    That's it - if I'd done these things, that's all I can do, and nothing I can do will guarantee that work I think is critically important will be done, or done properly.

    Other people may have different opinions and different business practices and find that these work well for them, this is what I've found works well for me - the key however is to make sure my clients understand what I will and will not do, and why, in advance of the inspection.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Basically your "legal" responsibility ends with your report being delivered to the person who is paying for the inspection and signs your contract.

    If the buyer chooses to proceed with the sale then it's on them to arrange for the repairs should they choose to.

    It's a well known fact that a good percentage of repairs / concerns noted on HI reports are never addressed.

    If it's a serious life safety issue discuss it with the local authorities


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Basically your "legal" responsibility ends with your report being delivered to the person who is paying for the inspection and signs your contract.

    If the buyer chooses to proceed with the sale then it's on them to arrange for the repairs should they choose to.

    It's a well known fact that a good percentage of repairs / concerns noted on HI reports are never addressed.

    If it's a serious life safety issue discuss it with the local authorities
    NOT IN TEXAS!!!!


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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    1. Identify the problem.

    2. Say why it's a problem.

    3. Tell them to hire "whatever" qualified professional to fix it.

    Done!

    Stick with this plan and you'll be fine.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    NOT IN TEXAS!!!!
    Don't leave us hanging with a 3 word sentence!
    Explain it,so others may learn.


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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Thanks. BTW, I'm not worried as far as risk to me, at least no more here than for any other inspection . I'm done.
    My suspicion is that 1. the work was done without a permit. It was obviously not inspected by the electrical authority. 2. Nobody on the selling end wants to admit the fact now, possibly needing expensive rework. So 3. buddy will patch it up agin. Does he know what's wrong?

    When I report something like this, should I describe in more detail the work I feel needs doing, thus helping Dufus correct it?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Thanks. BTW, I'm not worried as far as risk to me, at least no more here than for any other inspection . I'm done.
    My suspicion is that 1. the work was done without a permit. It was obviously not inspected by the electrical authority. 2. Nobody on the selling end wants to admit the fact now, possibly needing expensive rework. So 3. buddy will patch it up agin. Does he know what's wrong?

    When I report something like this, should I describe in more detail the work I feel needs doing, thus helping Dufus correct it?
    No. Just tell them to have the electrician fix the mess.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Basically your "legal" responsibility ends with your report being delivered to the person who is paying for the inspection and signs your contract.

    If the buyer chooses to proceed with the sale then it's on them to arrange for the repairs should they choose to.

    It's a well known fact that a good percentage of repairs / concerns noted on HI reports are never addressed.

    If it's a serious life safety issue discuss it with the local authorities
    As Rick said, not in TX. I will also add, most likely not in any state. Unless your limit of liability is spelled out in the home inspection license law, your liability can last for years.

    Depending on how well you have written the report, communicated the problems and the consequence of not taking care of the problems, you can be on the hook for a long time. You need to tell your client the possible consequences of not repairing the problem. If you do this they can not say the did not realize the urgency of repairing the problem.

    Discussing "Serious Life Safety Issues" with the local authorities, will not help your client. They don't own the home, the homeowner is the one with the problem. Now if the home has a gas leak of something like that, then I (the inspector) will call the powers to be if I think it is warranted.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Don't leave us hanging with a 3 word sentence!
    Explain it,so others may learn.
    Ken,

    Here in the Great State of Texas, we can be held legally responsible on HI's for several years.

    No tail-light warranty type inspections done here.

    rick


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Depending on how well you have written the report, communicated the problems and the consequence of not taking care of the problems, you can be on the hook for a long time. You need to tell your client the possible consequences of not repairing the problem. If you do this they can not say they did not realize the urgency of repairing the problem.
    This is the point I'm wondering about. A double-tapped neutral on the service lug seems serious enough to me, but I was expecting a properly trained electrician would come in to set it right. Now I hear it's the seller will fix, and wish I'd been more specific. I did follow up with a phone call and e-mail, but that's not in writing.
    And that I can do different next time, thanks.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    This is the point I'm wondering about. A double-tapped neutral on the service lug seems serious enough to me, but I was expecting a properly trained electrician would come in to set it right. Now I hear it's the seller will fix, and wish I'd been more specific. I did follow up with a phone call and e-mail, but that's not in writing.
    And that I can do different next time, thanks.

    John,

    Check your construction licensing laws.

    In Florida, a home owner *is not allowed* to do their own repairs or work when the house is for sale or lease.

    Thus, *everything* on an inspection report which falls under any license must be done by a contractor with such a license.

    Not only when for sale or for lease, but also going back 12 months prior to being put up for sale or for lease.

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

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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    John,

    Check your construction licensing laws.

    In Florida, a home owner *is not allowed* to do their own repairs or work when the house is for sale or lease.
    All electrical installation must be done with a permit, and if done by the homeowner, gets an inspection by the govt inspector. No law against them doing it, but they should notify the authorities by applying for the permit and paying the fee.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    There is nothing you can do to ensure that anyone fixes anything.

    Indeed, if you think your discoveries will ever result in any action being taken, you are naive.

    The short version? All your report does is supply your customer with bargaining leverage. Once the customer gets his anticipated price cut, your report gets tossed.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    There is nothing you can do to ensure that anyone fixes anything.

    Indeed, if you think your discoveries will ever result in any action being taken, you are naive.

    The short version? All your report does is supply your customer with bargaining leverage. Once the customer gets his anticipated price cut, your report gets tossed.
    Not so. The buyers in this wants a repair before they buy.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    There is nothing you can do to ensure that anyone fixes anything.
    Correct.

    The short version? All your report does is supply your customer with bargaining leverage. Once the customer gets his anticipated price cut, your report gets tossed.

    Quite a arrogant outlook there.

    MANY clients WANT TO KNOW what is wrong, and, when it is a resale, MOST want the credit and not the repair as the client wants to have a say in how the repair is done and who does it.

    With new construction, there are no credits to take, so, obviously, John, you really have no idea what you are talking about - the client WANTS the repairs done. (Said in the same frame of reference as John's post was made to serve to show what his post was like.)

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

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    I've been on the 'exploited' end of these reports far too often to have any faith in the motives of anyone involved.

    "Want it fixed" morphs into 'set some money aside from the sale' to, finally, 'do nothing.'

    Which is why these evaluations are the one sort of 'inspection' or 'estimate' that I will not do for free. Most folks, when they ask you for a quote, they have a serious intent to have the work done by somebody, at some time. This is the opposite of my experience with home sales.

    "Arrogant" is probably not the word; perhaps "cynical" is a better adjective. I'll carry it one step further: everyone involved KNOWS this is what's happening ... hence the continual search for 'free' estimates, always presented with the false promise of "lots" of work. Been there, Done that - and not about to make the same mistake twice.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    I've been on the 'exploited' end of these reports far too often to have any faith in the motives of anyone involved.

    "Want it fixed" morphs into 'set some money aside from the sale' to, finally, 'do nothing.'

    Which is why these evaluations are the one sort of 'inspection' or 'estimate' that I will not do for free. Most folks, when they ask you for a quote, they have a serious intent to have the work done by somebody, at some time. This is the opposite of my experience with home sales.

    "Arrogant" is probably not the word; perhaps "cynical" is a better adjective. I'll carry it one step further: everyone involved KNOWS this is what's happening ... hence the continual search for 'free' estimates, always presented with the false promise of "lots" of work. Been there, Done that - and not about to make the same mistake twice.
    Then maybe the better phrase is 'have not learned yet', as in 'sure, I will come out and give you an estimate on those repairs, the cost for that is ... '.

    John,

    Don't get mad at the world for doing what you would want done under similar circumstances, instead, make it into a new avenue for income, with the knowledge which you have stated above - that they will only 'take the money'. Your response, then, should be 'No problem, ma'am, I only charge $150 to come out, look at the report and the installation conditions present at the house, and give you an estimate of the repair cost'.

    You would average more than a lot of service calls, and, if no one takes you up on that offer, then it is they are walked away, not you.

    If enough contractors did that and understood what you understand, then all contractors could charge for doing that.

    Thus, instead of getting mad at buyer and sellers, you should be directing your attention and anger at your fellow contractors ... for trying to undercut each other to get work YOU (and most likely them too) KNOW will not happen.



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

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Can we be sure this gets fixed correctly?

    Thanks for your concern.

    I don't get mad ... I am just blunt as I can be in outlining my expectations to 'realtors' before a situation develops!

    Naturally, the blunt reply is usually provoked by an unsolicited "I can bring you lots of work' promise from the realtor ..... or, even worse, the "give me a good price this time, and I'll bring you lots of work" sort of insult to my intelligence.

    "Nice" responses did not yield any better results.

    The response is invariably identical to that of a kid found with his hand in the cookie jar. They have absolutely no intention of ever calling you again, or ever paying for anything.

    This is an entirely different situation from the 'I just moved in, and want the deficiencies fixed' sort of call.


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