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  1. #1
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    Default Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    For those do litigation work, I am interested from a legal perspective of reviewing reports, how does the court system handle not reporting items that do not exist or were satisfactory?

    The state SOP's state that home inspectors must inspect sump pumps. Here in the land of slab and crawlspaces, sump pumps are few and far between.

    If the house does not have a sump pump, there is nothing to report so the inspector puts nothing in the report at all about sump pumps . Or there is a sump pump which is satisfactory so nothing is put in the report.

    The issue I see is that there is no documentation in the report that the inspector inspected the sump pump if present or that the inspector performed the state mandated inspection looking for a sump pump. Does the court take the opinion that since there is nothing in the report about the sump pump (because it did not exist or was satisfactory) that the inspector failed to perform a complete inspection?

    The list of items that must be inspected but are found infrequently include trash compactors, sump pumps, thermostatically controlled attic ventilation fans, etc.

    The slippery slope part of this question is... what about items that are commonly found but are satisfactory so not mentioned like pipe supports, flues, etc.

    Similar but slight different is reporting the ABSENCE of items. For instance we are required to report the PRESENCE of single strand aluminum branch wiring. If the wiring is copper and we state that wiring is copper do we also need to state the absence of aluminum wiring or is that presumed?

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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    For those do litigation work, I am interested from a legal perspective of reviewing reports, how does the court system handle not reporting items that do not exist or were satisfactory?

    The state SOP's state that home inspectors must inspect sump pumps. Here in the land of slab and crawlspaces, sump pumps are few and far between.

    If the house does not have a sump pump, there is nothing to report so the inspector puts nothing in the report at all about sump pumps . Or there is a sump pump which is satisfactory so nothing is put in the report.

    The issue I see is that there is no documentation in the report that the inspector inspected the sump pump if present or that the inspector performed the state mandated inspection looking for a sump pump. Does the court take the opinion that since there is nothing in the report about the sump pump (because it did not exist or was satisfactory) that the inspector failed to perform a complete inspection?

    The list of items that must be inspected but are found infrequently include trash compactors, sump pumps, thermostatically controlled attic ventilation fans, etc.

    The slippery slope part of this question is... what about items that are commonly found but are satisfactory so not mentioned like pipe supports, flues, etc.

    Similar but slight different is reporting the ABSENCE of items. For instance we are required to report the PRESENCE of single strand aluminum branch wiring. If the wiring is copper and we state that wiring is copper do we also need to state the absence of aluminum wiring or is that presumed?

    Thats a pretty big question not knowing or reading all you state SOPs.

    I will say that why would you think you have to mention every single item in a home. If there is a requirement to make a not on a particular item and it is in the home then I suggest you make a note on it. Again I cannot possibly imagine your state SOPs wanting you to quote the entire SOPs in every inspection report if the item is not in that home or for that matter every single item inspected whether it be in perfect condition (no need to mention, unless it is required) or not (if in fact it is something you feel important to mention to your client or is in your SOPs.)

    As far as mentioning every pipe hanger/support, I don't see it. There is such a thing as enough is enough. Liability stops somewhere. I am not one of those believers in 80 page reports for a 2000 square foot slab home. There are a couple on here that are but my opinion is if we have to go that far I am out of this gig. It has to stop somewhere. If you consistently mention what the concerns in the home are and make note of items that you must in your SOPs you are doing your job. It is inconsistency that hang one.

    Just saying what I did could have some form of liability without it being a couple of chapters in a book for an explanation


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    For those do litigation work, I am interested from a legal perspective of reviewing reports, how does the court system handle not reporting items that do not exist or were satisfactory?

    The state SOP's state that home inspectors must inspect sump pumps. Here in the land of slab and crawlspaces, sump pumps are few and far between.

    If the house does not have a sump pump, there is nothing to report so the inspector puts nothing in the report at all about sump pumps . Or there is a sump pump which is satisfactory so nothing is put in the report.
    Bruce,

    If there was no problem with the sump pump, the client is not going to sue you over it, thus the court would have no opinion about it.

    Now, if there was a problem with the sump pump and you did NOT include it, then yes, your client might well sue you for the damage resulting from the sump pump not working when it needed to.

    Not sure if that is what you were asking or not.

    If you do not report something and there is no problem, why would the court even be involved.

    Sounds more like a licensing board question where you failed to report something and were caught on it, in which case your client would have complained, meaning "you missed something".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bruce,

    If there was no problem with the sump pump, the client is not going to sue you over it, thus the court would have no opinion about it.

    Now, if there was a problem with the sump pump and you did NOT include it, then yes, your client might well sue you for the damage resulting from the sump pump not working when it needed to.

    Not sure if that is what you were asking or not.

    If you do not report something and there is no problem, why would the court even be involved.

    Sounds more like a licensing board question where you failed to report something and were caught on it, in which case your client would have complained, meaning "you missed something".

    I think he may be more concerned that if he does not write something about every single item in a home because there was nothing wrong at the time with that item will he be automatically in the liable mode if suddenly it is not working when the folks move in......I think !!!!


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Bruce, in the NC SOP at every Rule or sub section, .1106 thru .1115, there is "The home inspector shall inspect:" and in most of the rules "The home inspector shall describe:"

    If it is in the "Shall describe" then you have to describe it even if it is functioning as intended. If its not listed you don't have to mention it if its ok. (Sump pumps are not listed as describe just inspect.)


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    OK. There is a state home inspector association. They offer a Peer Report Review. The Peer Report Review Committee uses the licensing board's Report Compliance Worksheet as its basis for reviewing reports. The worksheet is basically the SOPs in a check list form. The SOPs state an inspector must "observe" some items and "describe" some items. The checklist has a YES check box and NO check box next to each Observe and each Describe item.

    When reviewing a report, the reviewer comes to the sump pump item. It is an Observe item. There is no mention of a sump pump in the report. There is no way for the report reviewer to know if A) there was no sump pump, B) the sump pump was in good condition, C) the inspector overlooked the sump pump. The only box the reviewer can check is NO.

    The inspector gets the review back and sees that the report failed the review because there are several boxes checked No. He reads through and sees that one of the NO boxes is sump pump. The home inspector thinks: "Doesn't the dumb reviewer realize that there is no sump pump in a slab house so obviously the report is not flawed, the report reviewer is flawed."

    The Report Review Committee is trying to determine how lenient or strict to review reports. The SOPs do not specifically state that inspected items must be documented that they were inspected. If a citizen files a complaint, the licensing board sends an investigator to reinspect the house and compares the condition of the house during the investigation against the report. The Peer Review committee is only reviewing the report against the worksheet and is not reinspecting for comparison.

    Yes, it makes sense to simply state in the report Sump Pump Not Present, or Sump Pump Inspected, or Sump Pump Satisfactory. That example is easy. When the SOP's state "Distribution systems including fans, pumps, ducts, piping, supports, insulation, air filters, registers, radiators, and fan coil units" it becomes less simple.

    Jerry, you said the law suit is about a specific issue with the report. So is that to say the entire report is not reviewed for deficiencies? The rest of the report could be missing information but if the suit does not care about sump pumps, then it is not an issue?

    The question is not about me or my report, it is more about trying to help the report review committee better understand how reports may be reviewed by the legal system. The report review committee is also questioning the licensing board and investigator to get a better handle on what they think they want.

    Yes, I am on the Report Review Committee. The entire committee is new to reviewing reports and we are trying to be as helpful to the association members as we can be. I was hoping to hear more how this kind of stuff in handled in courts. If the courts don't care and the licensing board does not know what it wants, then they get reviewed in one manner. If the court is strict, and the board lenient, then maybe we offer to reviews for the report.

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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Didn't someone come on this board several years ago and claim he got sued because he inspected a house without an A/C unit; never mentioned the fact the house didn't have an A/C unit but the buyer didn't realize the house didn't have an A/C until after he moved in?

    Since I read that (I don't know if it was here or not), I always write in my report "this house does not have a central A/C unit installed".

    I guess a buyer could claim the same thing if his basement flooded; I didn't realize my house didn't have a sump pump; my inspector never told me that.

    PS My reports have a section for sumps- if a pit is present, I write a no pump in pit. If no pit is present, I write Not present.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    The court is only interested in the complaint item. That is not saying the the lawyer on the other side won't point out defficiencies in your reporting methods to show you miss items that should be commented on.

    If the court is concerned about replacement of an HVAC system because one screwed up so bad and missed it all. The judge is not going to give someone a new water heater if it is not in the complaint.

    If one gets sued the charges or alegations for the law suite have to be mentioned going in. The judge may listen about other items to a point because the lawyer is trying to prove you are a screw up but he is not going to award you for other items not listed in the complaint.


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    There are a lot of line items in my report template that do not apply to various houses. Sometimes while doing the report I will delete them if the report is getting long and I want the space for relevant items. For the most part I leave them in and, as David does, put not present, NA, etc.
    I don't think of it in terms of CYA for potential future problems. I look at these items more for my future reference and client info. A simple line item in a report can jog my memory about the house and I can better answer a clients' question. The client doesn't know if system X is in the house or not. If your report states, not present, then the client no longer has to wonder about it and knows you where looking/doing a good job.
    I have to agree with Jerry, it is unlikely that if X isn't present and could therefore not cause a problem, then it is unlikely to cause a problem and get the client mad enough to sue.
    However a bigger potential problem with 'underreporting' is if you go up against a good attorney. If your report is sparse a good attorney can use that against you to create doubt about how well of an inspection you may or may not have done. The attorney doesn't always have to prove you 'wrong or guilty' to make things go bad for you, depending on the type of case. Creating doubt about your abilities, how much time you actually spent in an area of the home, or how in-depth your inspection WASN'T can be enough. So having line items for multiple components (and noting those) in your report that are either not present or not particularly relevant to that house can help your overall credibility, thereby helping your case. It will be far more difficult for an attorney to make it look like you weren't diligent and therefore guilty of X when your report is detailed.
    It doesn't take much to put a couple (using David's example) line items in your report template: Sump pit - not present/NA; Ejector pit - NP/NA
    I see so many reports that have tons of CYA crap on each page it sickens me. Often times I think, that if the HI would just put real info into those sections, the report would be more relevant and far less CYA would be needed.
    I got my ass kicked by an attorney once in court. I knew it was going to happen. I told Counsel repeatedly the case was crap. 'Oh no don't worry I'll handle it, it will be fine', was Counsel's response. It really sucked. I vowed it wasn't going to happen again, screw what anyone else said. I went up against that attorney a couple more times and gave him the same a$$ whoopin' he gave me.
    Ok, I'll shut up now.

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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Bruce, is't this type of review something like judging a high dive with your back to the pool and only hearing the splash?


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    An old mentor/Inspector told me one time. If you did not see something its because you did not look.

    Take photos of everything on every home. Then if you did not point something out in your report you have a photo to go back on.

    ( You can never do an inspection that some one can not find some little thing to harp about if they look hard enough )

    Best

    Ron


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    I went back to the SOP's for clues as what might be applied. It seems I have stumbled upon a possible conflict within the SOP's.

    .1103 PURPOSE AND SCOPE
    (a) Home inspections performed according to this Section shall provide the client with a better understanding of the property conditions, as inspected at the time of the home inspection.
    (b) Home inspectors shall:
    (1) Provide a written contract, signed by the client, before the home inspection is performed that shall:
    (A) State that the home inspection is in accordance with the Standards of Practice of the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board;
    (B) Describe what services shall be provided and their cost; and
    (C) State, when an inspection is for only one or a limited number of systems or components, that the inspection is limited to only those systems or components.
    (2) Inspect readily visible and readily accessible installed systems and components listed in this Section; and
    (3) Submit a written report to the client that shall:
    (A) Describe those systems and components required to be described in Rules .1106 through .1115 of this Section;
    (B) State which systems and components designated for inspection in this Section have been inspected, and state any systems or components designated for inspection that were not inspected, and the reason for not inspecting;
    (C) State any systems or components so inspected that do not function as intended, allowing for normal wear and tear, or adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling;
    (D) State whether the condition reported requires repair or subsequent observation, or warrants further investigation by a specialist; and
    (E) State the name, license number, and signature of the person supervising the inspection and the name, license number, and signature of the person conducting the inspection.
    (c) This Section does not limit home inspectors from:
    (1) Reporting observations and conditions or rendering opinions of items in addition to those required in Paragraph (b) of this Rule; or
    (2) Excluding systems and components from the inspection if requested by the client, and so stated in the written contract.
    (d) Written reports required by this rule for pre-purchase home inspections of three or more systems shall include a separate section labeled “Summary” that includes any system or component that:
    (1) does not function as intended or adversely affects the habitability of the dwelling; or
    (2) warrants further investigation by a specialist or requires subsequent observation.

    .1105 GENERAL EXCLUSIONS:
    (a) Home inspectors are not required to report on:
    (1) Life expectancy of any component or system;
    (2) The causes of the need for a repair;
    (3) The methods, materials, and costs of corrections;
    (4) The suitability of the property for any specialized use;
    (5) Compliance or non-compliance with codes, ordinances, statutes, regulatory requirements or restrictions;
    (6) The market value of the property or its marketability;
    (7) The advisability or inadvisability of purchase of the property;
    (8) Any component or system that was not inspected;
    [FONT='Times New Roman','serif'](9) The presence or absence of pests such as wood damaging[/FONT]
    [FONT='Times New Roman','serif']If I am reading it correctly under 1103.3 a & b, inspectors should be reporting that they inspected some items and also decribe other items.[/FONT]
    Later under 1105.8, nevermind you don't have to document stuff not inspected.

    Looks like I need to call the legal counsel for the licensing board and have them help me understand the SOP's.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    1105 -8 is just saying that anything not included in the inspection does not have to be reported on. This covers limited inspections where a client may have agreed in writing to not have the hvac inspected because his friend/hvac guy was doing it.


    Part of 1103 3B is saying you have to indicate why something was not inspected, for example you see a screwed on cover and suspect a sump pump is underneath it you have to report why you did not actually look at the sump pump since you are required to "observe" it.


    While it may not be required, its better to just go ahead and indicate some things were present/inspected or indicate n/a or not present so there is no question later. Home owners will add and remove items.

    We had some excessive rains around here in the last year or two that caused some crawlspaces to get wet that had never been that wet. You would not want someone saying that you misled them by not reporting "no sump pump" even on a non-basement home. I even report the presence of condensate sump pumps since failure of these can cause various issues.

    Also, NC requires us to report the presence and type of columns and piers for good reason, what if one was taken out after your inspection and the house sagged? I witnessed a builder rep telling my client that he could remove some interior columns later on if he wanted to. This occured during a predrywall inspection. To make a short story even shorter, the builders engineer ended up getting involved and he agreed with me, the columns had to stay.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
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    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Also, NC requires us to report the presence and type of columns and piers for good reason, what if one was taken out after your inspection and the house sagged?
    Bruce, what if they take out a wall? They ask me if they can all of the time! Should we describe the location of each wall?


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Bruce, what if they take out a wall? They ask me if they can all of the time! Should we describe the location of each wall?

    Only if you want to, even with columns and piers you only have to report the presence and type, not the exact location.

    Last edited by Bruce King; 11-05-2009 at 03:56 PM.
    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Bruce,

    I think the fault is not in the reporting, but in the evaluation system apparently in use. It is not acceptable to fault an inspector for not reporting on a system or component that is not present. It is not possible to use a checklist to accurately identify deficiencies in a report without having been present at the inspection. Changing the scenario that you provided as an example, an inspector reported on the condition of the sump pump but missed the 3rd bathroom. With the checklist that you described, the evaluator would not even know that the third bedroom was missing and the inspector would get a good evaluation. Now, you are apparently only evaluating the report itself and not the inspection, but what use is that? The inspection and report are a complete process and cannot really be separately evaluated.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Bruce,

    I think the fault is not in the reporting, but in the evaluation system apparently in use. It is not acceptable to fault an inspector for not reporting on a system or component that is not present. It is not possible to use a checklist to accurately identify deficiencies in a report without having been present at the inspection. Changing the scenario that you provided as an example, an inspector reported on the condition of the sump pump but missed the 3rd bathroom. With the checklist that you described, the evaluator would not even know that the third bedroom was missing and the inspector would get a good evaluation. Now, you are apparently only evaluating the report itself and not the inspection, but what use is that? The inspection and report are a complete process and cannot really be separately evaluated.

    Well said

    Darn...I forgotta spell sumpin wrong

    Anyway, all kidding aside. Well said Gunnar!!!


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    From what was quoted in prior post:
    .1103
    -3) Submit a written report to the client that shall:
    --(A) Describe those systems and components required to be described in Rules .1106 through .1115 of this Section;
    --(B) State which systems and components designated for inspection in this Section have been inspected, and state any systems or components designated for inspection that were not inspected, and the reason for not inspecting;
    The General Exclusions from the next section rule .1105(a)(8) quoted and highlighted does not apply to what is specifically required by the prior rule section(s) (about not reporting upon what was not inspected beyond what is required by .1103(b)), but refers to items not specifically required to be reported and/or described by the inspector and included in the inspection report.

    It seems clear that if an item, condition, system or component, if present, is designated for inspection; and that item is not present, you are required to report that the item was not inspected for the reason that it was not present, even if said item which if present is designated for inspection but not required to be described by rules .1106 through .1115, It also seems clear that if a system or component is present and is designated for inspection, if said system or component is not inspected, that too must be reported as not inspected and the reason for not inspecting it.

    So if said system or component is not required to be described in .1106 through .1115, but is designated for inspection (if present): if said item was not present, it still must be reported as not inspected and the reason for not inspecting is that the system or component was not present at the time of inspection.


    Simply stated, if the rules state item is a SHALL INSPECT, .1103(B) states the inspector SHALL REPORT. If the rules designate an item is SHALL DESCRIBE it SHALL BE DESCRIBED in the report. If an item/system/component/condition is NOT by rule a "SHALL INSPECT" nor a "SHALL DESCRIBE" and is not present OR NOT INSPECTED, the general exception does not require it be reported as such.

    Similarly, if an item otherwise designated for inspection or required to be described is present but specifically excluded by contract to not be inspected and/or described (the HVAC buddy example) it would should still be reported as present, not inspected (and not described, if applicable) and the reason stated (in this case specifically precluded by contract request of client, or whatever).

    Based on what was posted as the applicable section of the SOPs.

    Therefore, the method and application of report review/evaluation appears correct, as described, and in concert with the language of the two parts of the SOP quoted, as presently practiced.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 11-05-2009 at 06:04 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Here is the document used to "audit" a report in NC.

    http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineerin...eWorksheet.pdf

    If your report is missing the names of the items required to be inspected or described or is missing some indication that they were inspected it is deficient. The "describe" items must have even more information other than just "inspected" in the report.

    Here is a very quick, incomplete check, search your report for these specific words:

    fascia, retaining, convectors, automatic, distribution, support, waste, skylight, penetration, cabinet, balcony or balconies, unfinished, compactor, vegetation or (trees/plants)


    If they are missing, your report needs work since all required items must be in the report with something showing they were in fact inspected.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    Here is the document used to "audit" a report in NC.

    http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineerin...eWorksheet.pdf

    If your report is missing the names of the items required to be inspected or described or is missing some indication that they were inspected it is deficient. The "describe" items must have even more information other than just "inspected" in the report.

    Here is a very quick, incomplete check, search your report for these specific words:

    fascia, retaining, convectors, automatic, distribution, support, waste, skylight, penetration, cabinet, balcony or balconies, unfinished, compactor, vegetation or (trees/plants)


    If they are missing, your report needs work since all required items must be in the report with something showing they were in fact inspected.

    The clients are looking for concerns in there home. I just never got the mentality that every single item had to have a comment about its condition if there were nothing wrong with it. Inspected yes. In good order yes. But anything further than that I just do not understand.

    Bathroom tile floor....yup..it's there. Or...It is a brown nasty looking tile and I crawled on my hands and knees and inspected every nook and crack and cranny and then worked my way up the walls and found some lime green wallpaper over the sink and pink paper on the rest of the walls with orange tile in the tub surround and oh yeah, by the way, I found no concerns at this time. OOOps. The walls under the wall paper was drywall, I think. Could have been 2x4 plaster board with a base and skim coat on it but it sure sounded like drywall when I knocked on it.

    Obviously I am just being foolish here but I think you get my point. When is enough, enough.

    Tell them the concerns in there prospective new home and be done with it.

    Why is it that the home inspection business is put to such scrutiny as to whether or not the inspector list exactly a certain amount of items whether there is anything wrong or not. A builder can come in to remodel the entire home and does not have to be anywhere near as specific about every item and system he looked at. Why is there some strange need to cast doubt on all home inspectors with such scrutiny.

    Things just get deeper and deeper every year.


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    The only box the reviewer can check is NO.
    Quite to the contrary.

    The review can check NEITHER the 'YES' nor the 'NO' box as the standard DOES NOT REQUIRE ANY NOTATION that the sump was "observed".

    That is when the reviewer must take it upon themselves to contact all interested parties and set up a meeting to MODIFY THE RE VIEWER'S FORM as that form is in error and is NOT COMPLIANT WITH THE SoP.

    Yes, it would be advantageous for the inspector to have some indication in the report that the inspector did indeed "observe" the sump pump, however, simply stating that the sump pump was "observed" leads to its own potential problems when one does not follow "observed" with something which indicates the results of that "observation".

    Simply because the reviewer has an inappropriate form which ITSELF DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE SoP is no reason to ASSUME the inspector did not conform to the SoP.

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

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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    The clients are looking for concerns in there home. I just never got the mentality that every single item had to have a comment about its condition if there were nothing wrong with it. Inspected yes. In good order yes. But anything further than that I just do not understand.

    Bathroom tile floor....yup..it's there. Or...It is a brown nasty looking tile and I crawled on my hands and knees and inspected every nook and crack and cranny and then worked my way up the walls and found some lime green wallpaper over the sink and pink paper on the rest of the walls with orange tile in the tub surround and oh yeah, by the way, I found no concerns at this time. OOOps. The walls under the wall paper was drywall, I think. Could have been 2x4 plaster board with a base and skim coat on it but it sure sounded like drywall when I knocked on it.

    Obviously I am just being foolish here but I think you get my point. When is enough, enough.

    Tell them the concerns in there prospective new home and be done with it.

    Why is it that the home inspection business is put to such scrutiny as to whether or not the inspector list exactly a certain amount of items whether there is anything wrong or not. A builder can come in to remodel the entire home and does not have to be anywhere near as specific about every item and system he looked at. Why is there some strange need to cast doubt on all home inspectors with such scrutiny.

    Things just get deeper and deeper every year.

    When a state requires a license they also take on the task of handling complaints from the home buyers against home inspectors. The best way for the state to deal with complaints is to have certain items in place to use as a tool to "diagnose" the complaint. This includes the pre-inspection agreement and the report. For example, if the complaint involved a 2nd water heater that was located way back in a crawlspace and the inspectors report did not indicate any 2nd water heater and did not indicate any difficulty in accesssing the entire crawlspace it is obvious that either the inspector ommitted part of the inspection or failed to write the report correctly.

    I look at the report as a record of what the house had the day of the inspection which includes recording some of the major components that can also be used to show the level of care performed for the client.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    When a state requires a license they also take on the task of handling complaints from the home buyers against home inspectors. The best way for the state to deal with complaints is to have certain items in place to use as a tool to "diagnose" the complaint. This includes the pre-inspection agreement and the report. For example, if the complaint involved a 2nd water heater that was located way back in a crawlspace and the inspectors report did not indicate any 2nd water heater and did not indicate any difficulty in accesssing the entire crawlspace it is obvious that either the inspector ommitted part of the inspection or failed to write the report correctly.

    I look at the report as a record of what the house had the day of the inspection which includes recording some of the major components that can also be used to show the level of care performed for the client.
    Reporting what the house has is not the issue. If it is in the house reporting its condition is a valuable service.

    Is it necessary to fill the report with what the house does not have. I can understand reporting the lack of heat and a/c, or adequate egress, etc. But is it necessary to report that the house does not have sky lights? Unless the buyer is legally blind he/she will know it doesn't have sky lights. And if he/she is blind, I doubt they will read my report anyway! Is it necessary to report that a slab house does not have floor joist or piers, or that there are no stairs or hand rails in a single story house? What is the purpose?


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Reporting what the house has is not the issue. If it is in the house reporting its condition is a valuable service.

    Is it necessary to fill the report with what the house does not have. I can understand reporting the lack of heat and a/c, or adequate egress, etc. But is it necessary to report that the house does not have sky lights? Unless the buyer is legally blind he/she will know it doesn't have sky lights. And if he/she is blind, I doubt they will read my report anyway! Is it necessary to report that a slab house does not have floor joist or piers, or that there are no stairs or hand rails in a single story house? What is the purpose?

    The primary purpose is to meet the NC SOP but you are making it sound convoluted when its not. No where does the SOP say you have to do the things you posted above in the way you posted them. I know its confusing, just make sure all required items are listed as required in the SOP.

    For example:
    Skylights inspected: n/a
    Skylights inspected: yes, three present

    Might help a year or two later when you have a large claim for a leak, sheathing damage, insulation damage, mold and ceiling repairs and you go out and find four skylights present instead of the three you inspected.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    When a state requires a license they also take on the task of handling complaints from the home buyers against home inspectors. The best way for the state to deal with complaints is to have certain items in place to use as a tool to "diagnose" the complaint. This includes the pre-inspection agreement and the report. For example, if the complaint involved a 2nd water heater that was located way back in a crawlspace and the inspectors report did not indicate any 2nd water heater and did not indicate any difficulty in accesssing the entire crawlspace it is obvious that either the inspector ommitted part of the inspection or failed to write the report correctly.

    I look at the report as a record of what the house had the day of the inspection which includes recording some of the major components that can also be used to show the level of care performed for the client.
    I do happen to make comment on all inspected items in a home. If there is no item in the home that I am suppose to inspect then there is a check box for not present. I mention nothing else what so ever about the item that is not present. If an item is in good order (just an example) I state that it is in good order unless we have to comment on different components. If windows are all double pane, aluminum framed and all single hung and all in good order then that is all I say about them.

    How many skylights..my general pics of the roof I keep will tell me later whether there was one or 6. If there is nothing wrong with them then ...there is nothing wrong with them.

    It is good to take your job seriously but please do not become one that keeps on piling item after item after item after item to what has to have a novel of explanation for nothing wrong or whether it is 6ft 3 inches from the right of the frig and 2 ft 4 inches off the floor.

    Home inspection over the serious long years I have been doing it is constantly turned more and more into a longer and longer and longer job on each inspection because items have to be mentioned if you find nothing wrong with them. What that is saying is that I cannot be trusted so I must mention every item on a water heater and exactly where it is and God forbid you don't take a pic of the manufac tag on the unit to back up everything you say. Once again. Out of the thousands of inspectors in each state there is on occasion things that are missed by an inspector here and there. Out of the multiple thousands of contractors of all types in each state there are absolute countless items done wrong or missed altogether. Soooooo. Why is it that home inspectors are under such scrutiny all the time. This kind of goes the way of Home Inspectors being "allowed" to have Supra keys but are not "allowed to just have a single code like Realtors. Why...You just cannot trust those damn over insured home inspectors. Funny, isn't it???? The supra boxes keep a running log of everyone that enters the property!!!!!!!!!!! We also have to either set up an appointment thru the Realtor or some showing service.

    But....When you start using terms like level of care now you are showing your review board status. That type of talk is for lawyers, arbiters, litigators, report review board members and such.

    Like I said it just keeps getting deeper and deeper every year.


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    But....When you start using terms like level of care now you are showing your review board status. That type of talk is for lawyers, arbiters, litigators, report review board members and such.

    Like I said it just keeps getting deeper and deeper every year.
    In a former life I was an EMT. The trip run report was considered a legal document. All fields had to be filled out and all conditions noted, even if they were normal. Medical conditions change over time and if it was normal at one time and now it is not, then that can be a clue to what is going into the body.

    Ambulance drivers started out as a couple of young guys who liked to drive the funeral home hearse fast to a scene. They would "load & go" the victim to the hospital. Little or no medical care was provided. Over time, the drivers started providing some basic treatment in the field and patients did better. The medical industry figured out that the sooner you can care for the patient, the better they do. Eventually ambulance drivers had to take approved training. The federal government now mandates at least 110 hours of training to become a certified EMT. It grew from a part time job into a respected profession.

    Home Inspecting is moving to wards a national standard of care. Over half the states require licensing and minimum training requirements. While SoP's vary between states and associations, the differences are very minor. As home inspecting moved from a handy man checking a house to fill the holes in his schedule to a licensed position, the standardized level of care concept emerged.

    The home inspector association I belong to wants to improve the service its members are providing to the public. Members of this forum are constantly commenting on the poor writing and confusing reports of other home inspectors. The bad report also implies ineffective inspections.

    Inspectors are usually independent and individual businessman. No boss, no one to answer to. The job has become a profession. Professional occupations have recognized national and international standards. Testing and continuing education are part of that Professional designation. In North Carolina, the state has already defined the standard of care via the licensing program. The association is trying to help its members think and act more like the professionals they should be and less like a handyman with a flashlight and an hour to fill.

    The report should be easy to read and easy to understand. It should have useful information for the buyer. And as much as people bad mouth Realtors, they are a part and parcel of the job. The report should also be useful tool to the Realtor so they can help your client negotiate the purchase.

    I want my report to meet all the state mandated requirements. I also want my report to be something my client can use. I want my report to stand out from the other inspectors and I want the members of my association to stand out as examples of good reporting. Raise the bar across the entire profession.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Why is it that home inspectors are under such scrutiny all the time. This kind of goes the way of Home Inspectors being "allowed" to have Supra keys but are not "allowed to just have a single code like Realtors. Why...You just cannot trust those damn over insured home inspectors. Funny, isn't it???? The supra boxes keep a running log of everyone that enters the property!!!!!!!!!!! We also have to either set up an appointment thru the Realtor or some showing service.
    Ted, NC Realtor Bd. has changed that and now we have same key as the realtors. We found out about the change by accident, they didn't tell us! Check and see if the same has happened in your area.


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Ted, NC Realtor Bd. has changed that and now we have same key as the realtors. We found out about the change by accident, they didn't tell us! Check and see if the same has happened in your area.

    There are a couple of Real Estate Associations that do that in the North Central Texas. The many others are refusing at the moment and are actually some what striking out at the couple that do.

    Many inspectors have jumped ship from there Association they were with and have gone to the Grand Prairie or Weatherford Real Estate Associations. Once the other boards realize the revenue loss I do believe it will sway them in the proper direction and relinquish the need for control they appear to have over inspectors.

    I know it is the same every where but there are many Realtors that feel they are in charge of Home Inspectors and consider them a nuisance and a sub species.


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    The report should be easy to read and easy to understand. It should have useful information for the buyer. And as much as people bad mouth Realtors, they are a part and parcel of the job. The report should also be useful tool to the Realtor so they can help your client negotiate the purchase.

    I want my report to meet all the state mandated requirements. I also want my report to be something my client can use. I want my report to stand out from the other inspectors and I want the members of my association to stand out as examples of good reporting. Raise the bar across the entire profession.
    Bruce,

    I agree. However, standards are often created and adopted by people who have little knowledge as to what a home inspection (or medicine) really is.

    Combining your original sump pump example with the EMT analogy, while you might well document that the patient had glasses, hearing-aid, braces or false teeth, would you document the absence of them if there was no apparent need? A home that does not have a sump pump is not defective if the house/lot does not need one, and judging a report by the lack of an unnecessary item is useless. Most of us have gone well past checklist inspections. How can a governing agency expect to evaluate an inspector with a checklist approach? In my opinion, even the association tests are marginal.

    I recognize the need for some level of qualification, but an inspection is more than just learning things by the book. It is observation and writing as well. To the best of my knowledge, there is currently no comprehensive observational test for a home inspector. To accurately judge the quality of an inspection and report would likely be prohibitively time consuming and expensive.

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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Bruce,

    I agree. However, standards are often created and adopted by people who have little knowledge as to what a home inspection (or medicine) really is.

    Combining your original sump pump example with the EMT analogy, while you might well document that the patient had glasses, hearing-aid, braces or false teeth, would you document the absence of them if there was no apparent need? A home that does not have a sump pump is not defective if the house/lot does not need one, and judging a report by the lack of an unnecessary item is useless. Most of us have gone well past checklist inspections. How can a governing agency expect to evaluate an inspector with a checklist approach? In my opinion, even the association tests are marginal.

    I recognize the need for some level of qualification, but an inspection is more than just learning things by the book. It is observation and writing as well. To the best of my knowledge, there is currently no comprehensive observational test for a home inspector. To accurately judge the quality of an inspection and report would likely be prohibitively time consuming and expensive.

    Mr Gunnar

    I just wrote a book for a reply to Bruce. I deleted it all. I wrote it again and deleted it all. I tried one more time and deleted it all.

    I did say a bit more than you but again, you said it well.

    I pride myself for almost absolutely never getting calls asking for explanations about my report. Never a question as to what is wrong and what is not. Never a question about why this is in there because there is not one on the property.

    Enough is enough. I think having state SOPs is good then every inspector is reading the same book.

    I think Writing in My report that the 4 2x4 skylights and the 3 2 1/2x3 1/2 skylights are all made of spruce and all painted with the same ugly green paint and none of them are leaking and all of them are flashed properly and all have tinted glass............. But none of them have a darn thing wrong with them is insane and just unnecessary fill that need not be in the report.

    Oops. Started my book again.

    No. We are not EMTs and I hate the term (please no personal offense intended) "Standard of Care"


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    I look at the report as a record of what the house had the day of the inspection which includes recording some of the major components that can also be used to show the level of care performed for the client.

    YOU may look at a report that way, but as a REPORT REVIEWER your job is to review the report to see if it meets the SoP, and the SoP DOES NOT require reports to be written as you are wishing.

    As a REPORT REVIEWER it is your job to do it according to the SoP, not as you wish it was. If you are reviewing reports to as you wish the SoP was, then is seems to me that YOU should not be a report reviewer as you cannot (at least ARE NOT) separating what you want from what is required.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    YOU may look at a report that way, but as a REPORT REVIEWER your job is to review the report to see if it meets the SoP, and the SoP DOES NOT require reports to be written as you are wishing.

    As a REPORT REVIEWER it is your job to do it according to the SoP, not as you wish it was. If you are reviewing reports to as you wish the SoP was, then is seems to me that YOU should not be a report reviewer as you cannot (at least ARE NOT) separating what you want from what is required.

    Actually I am not a report reviewer, and if I was, I know what is required and what is not, and you were right about the sump pump being incorrectly listed on that audit checklist. The other Bruce, Bruce Ramsey indicated that he was involved with reviewing some reports for NCLHIA, not for the state of NC.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    Actually I am not a report reviewer, and if I was, I know what is required and what is not, and you were right about the sump pump being incorrectly listed on that audit checklist. The other Bruce, Bruce Ramsey indicated that he was involved with reviewing some reports for NCLHIA, not for the state of NC.

    Oops ... got my Bruce's mixed up. Saw the first name and assumed ...

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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    My response a few months back to the RFQ on the next revision of the IL SOP:

    -------------

    Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
    Attention: Craig Cellini
    320 West Washington, 3rd Floor
    Springfield, IL 62786


    Dear Mr. Cellini,

    As a home inspector who makes a good faith effort to comply with the Illinois reporting requirements (and I know, based on reading reports by others, that I come much closer than many) I have always been extremely frustrated by the vague nature of the various requirements to “describe” and “describe in detail”.

    To take one example:

    “describe in detail the interior water supply and distribution systems, including all fixtures and faucets..."

    Consider what would be involved in meeting the letter of this requirement:

    1) To describe all fixtures and faucets in detail, you would first have to list them: i.e. “at the subject property there are 7 faucets, 5 in bathrooms, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 at the laundry tub”. (Alternately, one could describe them by room, “in the second floor hall bath there are 3 faucets, one at each vanity and one at the tub/shower).

    This, of course, is a pointless exercise, and one that if followed actually reduces the effectiveness and accuracy of the inspection to the extent that time is spent on this effort instead of on locating and reporting defects.

    2) But it gets worse: inspectors are required to describe "all faucets" “in detail”.

    If we abide by the letter of the regulations we are clearly prohibited from restricting our detailed description to defective facets - we are specifically required to describe in detail all facets, defective or not.

    So at this point, to comply with the SOP, the inspector is required to guess what details the state might be requiring us to report for every faucet, defective or otherwise:

    Manufacturer? Single or double handle? Finish?

    All of the above?

    None of the above, and something else instead?

    Note that none of these “details” are meaningful in terms of functionality, and that reporting them is not only useless to clients but annoys them (and makes them less likely to read the rest of the report carefully).

    Never-the-less, the SOP is clearly requiring us to report some level of such detail... we are just required to guess what details those might be!

    Faced with this difficulty what actually happens is that inspectors throw up their hands in disgust and frustration, restrict themselves to describing defective faucets and the reason why they're defective, and take their chances with being out of compliance because it's impossible to determine how to be in compliance - I doubt you could find a single report out of the tens of thousands written in Illinois since the existing SOP came into effect that even makes an attempt to fully meet the letter of that requirement.

    Now, multiply this by the number of such requirements in the SOP - for reporting foundations, structure, roofing and electrical components in addition to plumbing - and what you have amounts to mandated noncompliance with the SOP, because compliance is virtually impossible.

    In the case of faucets this really doesn't much matter - I've never encountered a client who cares about the manufacturer, handle configuration or color of finish on a faucet - they just want to be alerted when a faucet does not function properly.

    Where such vague requirements become a real problem for everyone involved is when reporting the descriptions of systems with significant safety or cost implications, these are the cases where compliance with reporting standards can make a big difference, especially if you end up in court.

    Note however even in such cases what is important to clients are not general construction features but defects; the client does not particularly care if the rafters 2x4” or 2”x6”, what matters to the client is whether or not the rafters are adequate to support the roof.

    And while in such cases it may be vital to the inspector to know whether or not they're reporting in compliance with the State SOP, the guidance provided by the SOP is insufficient to determine what level of reporting is adequate to meet the requirements!

    If inspectors are going to be required to supply descriptive information about non-defective systems, how could the SOP be more helpful in this regard?

    A start would be by specifying which non-defective components and systems had to be described, and in what level of detail, and by supplying examples of acceptable descriptions as guidance, for example:

    “Describe the foundation material(s), their location, and their method of construction (ex: the “foundation of the basement is poured concrete, the foundation under the rear enclosed porch is constructed of concrete masonry units”)

    or:

    “Describe the structure of the roof, including the type of sheathing, the supporting rafters or trusses, and the presence of collar ties, purlins, knee walls, or struts… and their material and dimensions”.

    How does this this approach compare with the current SOP? What would be a rational person's opinion of the following?

    "All faucets and fixtures shall be described in at least some detail, such detail to be the inspector's best guess as to what the authors of this SOP had in mind,.. Such guesses shall reported irrespective of whether the faucet is defective or not, and the inspector shall subject to discipline if they guess wrong..."

    They would think “That’s absurd!” But that is, in effect, the current SOP!

    One major advantage of such a rewrite is that if the authors were forced to actually specify what should be reported in this manner, it would have the effect of forcing a hardheaded re-examination of the actual content and scope of of the current reporting requirements; the authors of any SOP revised to these standards would quickly start to confront the fact that an inspector attempting to fully comply with the letter of every requirement in the current SOP is forced to spend a considerable portion of their time and effort reporting upon information of no value to the client!

    The bottom line here is that regulators need to decide how home inspection clients are best served: to what extent do they wish to required home inspection reports to be a compilation of largely irrelevant factual detail - often, to save time, presented in the form of "check box" responses (“Perlins”, "check") that provide little if any useful information - and to what extent they want it to be a report of defective items that actually matter to client - because time is the enemy of every conscious home inspector, and time spent to do the one is time that is not spent doing the other.

    In the best of all possible inspection worlds, based on my experience of client needs, it would make the most sense to entirely eliminate the majority of the current descriptive requirements for properly functioning systems and instead concentrate on mandating effective “exception reporting” – in most cases only reporting of significant defects should be required, with all other reporting optional.

    But as that's not likely to happen, the SOP ought to at least provide inspectors and their clients with clear guidance as to how much purely descriptive detail home inspectors are required to report - something which the current SOP clearly fails to do.

    Thank you for your time,







    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 11-07-2009 at 06:17 AM.
    Michael Thomas
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    So Michael,

    Did you get any response to your letter?

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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Ha. Are you kidding?

    Of course not!

    Michael Thomas
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Absolutely ridiculous to describe in detail every faucet in the home. Detail of function or detail of everything ??? I would not do either. I would just note the faucets with concerns and what bath, kitchen, exterior or laundry room they are in. I would seriously be non compliant. I am sure I am non compliant on many ridiculous items like that.

    It is an absolute waste of time. It does irritate everyone involved including the inspector. It adds a serious amount of wasted time to the inspection and report. It is one of those "We cannot trust the home inspectors to inspect everything so to make sure they do we will make them describe every item in the home in detail. That way we will know they actually inspected the faucet in the second floor, left side rear bath."

    We inspect. Someone finds fault with our inspection then they must prove.

    This whole thing about every person in the world must have our protection because with out it they could just not survive....is insane.

    Hmm....did I really get into all that again????????


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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    The IL SOP can be met as long as you describe the faucets and fixtures with something that is associated with a home inspection. The best and easiest way is to add a simple line of text that has something like this and remove the choices that do not apply when writing the report:

    Bathroom fixtures: new, newer, average, aging, old, very old, poor, need replacing (see summary for problems)


    SC has a lot of this:

    "Inspect and report the observed condition"

    One very short paragraph can cover the condition of everything if written correctly.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    “describe in detail the interior water supply and distribution systems, including all fixtures and faucets..."
    First, one must define the meaning of the word "detail".

    As stated, you would need to describe the brand, size, material, coding labeling, number of fittings, connectors, elbows, etc., ad nauseam, starting at the interior entrance of the water supply piping.

    After all, the word used was "detail".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    The IL SOP can be met as long as you describe the faucets and fixtures with something that is associated with a home inspection.

    That's certainly a common-sense interpretation of the intent of the IL SOP, and perhaps you have good reason to believe that it's the correct one under your SOP.

    But there is no evidence anywhere in the text of the IL SOP that it's the correct interpretation of "detail", and you would not have a leg to stand on if you had to defend that interpretation to the IDPR or in court.

    Every inspector in IL has to guess what is required by many sections of the SOP.

    Most all of us seem to guessing well enough to satisfy out clients, but none of us actually have an objective basis to determine if we are actually compliant with the intent of our SOP.

    And perhaps that's just as well, if the bureaucrats ever attempt to rationalize it, we will likely be spending even more time on pointless time-wasting attempts to quantify subjective judgments on matters mostly unimportant to our clients.

    -------

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    The best and easiest way is to add a simple line of text that has something like this and remove the choices that do not apply when writing the report:

    Bathroom fixtures: new, newer, average, aging, old, very old, poor, need replacing (see summary for problems)

    SC has a lot of this:

    "Inspect and report the observed condition"

    One very short paragraph can cover the condition of everything if written correctly.

    IMO, the problem here is that when judgments are not based on a functional deficit they are highly subjective, and so recording such judgments becomes meaningless pro-forma exercises in form filling to meet regulatory requirements - when it comes down to it, if an inspector was put in a position where they had to defend a identification of a faucet as "aging" rather than "old", how would they do so?

    Worst, such criteria are often misleading when not related to functional criteria.

    For example, a faucet leaks when closed, or it does not. (And if you really had to, you could create an objective standard, i.e . "a water-tight container placed below the discharge of a faucet 60 seconds after the faucet valve is closed does not contain evidence of liquid water after a period of five minutes" to determine if it leaks.)

    But how about commercial grade Danze faucet I saw the other day?

    It's probably 15 or 20 years old, but it was working perfectly, it has a lifetime guarantee and fully replaceable operating components, and IMO with "normal maintenance" it's likely to work properly for 50-100 years.

    Surely it's "aging" or "old" in a chronological sense, but in a functional sense is it "older" or "younger" than its year-old $49 POS plastic Glacier Bay counterpart?

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 11-08-2009 at 06:58 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    I agree that Illinois SOP (j) (Illinois Administrative Rules, 1410.200 Standards of Practice, 1410.200 (1)(j) is poorly written on "its face". It (j) is one of the few that requires details and description but does not limit/differentiate/explain the reporting to "significant characteristics to distinguish it from other systems or components" within (the section's definition of describe) and introduces a modifier "in detail" without directly "defining" it; because the neither the act nor the Administrative Rules (SOPs) for Home Inspection, do not define "detail" or "in detail".

    The rules, however do reference "the Act", (225 ILCS 441) and Section 1-10 thereof, but merely looking there doesn't help us much on the face, with a specific "spelled out" direction, but it does exist elsewhere in the Administrative Code as well as the ILCS.

    The "Act" in its definition of "Home Inspection" does refer to (Section 1-10, Definitions, "Home Inspection", (2) "plumbing system".

    The Illinois Administrative Code direct us to the "Illinois Plumbing Code" for the meaning and application, and the Illinois Department of Public Health for guidance in this subject area. The Illinois Compiled Statutes direct us to the Illinois Plumbing License Law (which authorizes the Illinois Plumbing Code).

    Therefore, if one takes into consideration that (j) is limited to items reviewed under the Illinois Plumbing Code, one can take some direction from it regarding its application (according to several unpublished opinions from the appellate division).

    Some helpful tidbits:

    From the Administrative Code, Rules, SOPs:

    Definitions:
    Describe: To report a system or component by its type or other observed, significant characteristics to distiguish it from other systems or components.
    Inspect: To visually examine readily accessible systems and components of a building in accordance with these Standards of Practice, using normal operating controls and opening readily accessible access panels.
    Significantly Deficient: Unsafe or not functioning.

    Standard MT was referring to:

    (j) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the plumbing system is observed, the home inspector shall describe in detail the interior water supply and distribution including all fixtures and faucets, drains , waste and vent systems including all fixtures, the water heating equipment, the vent systems, flues, and chimneys, the fuel storage and fuel distribution systems, the drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping, and the location of main water and main fuel shut-off valves.

    From "the Act" 225 ILCS 441, Section 1-10 Definitions:

    "Home inspection" means the examination and evaluation of the exterior and interior components of residential real property, which includes the inspection of any 2 or more of the following components of residential real property in connection with or to facilitate the sale, lease, or other conveyance of, or the proposed sale, lease or other conveyance of, residential real property:
    (1) heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system;
    (2) plumbing system;
    (3) electrical system;
    (4) structural composition;
    (5) foundation;
    (6) roof;
    (7) masonry structure; or
    (8) any other residential real property component as established by rule.

    Part 890 Illinois Plumbing Code (77 Illinois Administrative Code 890) (and their authority granted by Section 35 of the Illinois Plumbing License Law 225 ILCS 320/35). So one takes their direction (as does the courts, and as do the regulatory entities and boards) from this area the Illinois Plumbing Code (rules) and the Act (Illinois Plumbing License Law - 225 ILCS 320) (just as one would refer to Title 68 Illinois Administrative Code 1460 for guidance as to what is and is not considered "roofing").

    "Plumbing System" and "Plumbing" is defined in the Illinois Plumbing License Law [225 ILCS 320/2].

    The difference being unlike other areas of the building codes, Illinois has adopted universal specific minimum standards state-wide in the area of plumbing - and named the authority to be IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) - that is your best resource for definitive response regards to the sufficiency of "detail" in the application of SOP number (j).

    You are expected to report/detail (with IPC and the Act in mind, since that is what/where plumbing and plumbing system are defined and the requirements are codified) to describe the characteristics of the plumbing system as observed.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 11-08-2009 at 08:45 AM.

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    That analysis is all well and good, but:

    1) It's absurd to expect a home inspector to have to engage in this sort of analysis to understand their responsibilities.

    2) I defy anyone to extract from that analysis with any degree of certainty just what aspect(s) of a properly functioning "faucet" the SPO is requiring inspectors to "describe in detail" - which (if they are attempting to fully meet the requirements of the SOP) they are explicitly required to do as they must describe "all faucets", not just those defective under the cited regulations and statutes - the "reasonable" interpretation of the SOP's actual or effective intent may reference (for example) the IPC as a basis of discovering the SOP's actual reporting requirements, but that's a construction and/or an interpretation, and as such is subject to debate.

    Of course, few if any inspectors in IL are actually doing so - it's a absurd requirement resulting from poorly though out and written regulations - but OP noted that at least in some states inspectors are being dinged for not following the letter of such requirements.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 11-08-2009 at 10:16 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Perhaps this will help?

    Q – “I had my home inspected by a CREIA inspector. I signed a CREIA contract. I need to know if my inspector met the CREIA Standards of Practice. The only items in the report that were reported on were items that were defective. No mention of any items that was ok or working properly. No mention of seeing or not seeing any foundation anchor bolts. Is this type of only reporting on what was seen and defective a report that meets the CREIA Standards of Practice?”

    Our reply:
    A: “The CREIA SOPs clearly state under Item #-1, Section A: “A real estate inspection is a survey and basic operation of the systems and components of a building which can be reached, entered, or viewed without difficulty, moving obstructions, or requiring any action which may result in damage to the property or personal injury to the inspector. The purpose of the inspection is to provide the Client with information regarding the general condition of the building(s). Cosmetic and aesthetic conditions shall not be considered.”

    California Civil Code under Business & Professions Code 7195; Item #2 (c): “A home inspection report" is a written report prepared for a fee and issued after a home inspection is performed. The report clearly describes and identifies the inspected systems, structures, or components of the dwelling, any material defects identified, and any recommendations regarding the conditions observed or recommendations for evaluation by appropriate persons.”

    I highlighted the area of concern for emphasis so please note the highlighted section. Isn't that clear evidence that the California B&P Code and CREIA’s SOPs are on the same page? There is absolutely no conflict between the California Civil Code regarding home inspectors and the CREIA Standards of Practice in that both require reporting everything the inspector is able to visually access during their inspection and furthermore any real estate inspector who only reports “material defects” is in violation of our state’s B&P Code and should they be a CREIA inspector member they’re also in violation of CREIA’s standards of Practice. Simply put, they’re not doing their job. We strongly recommend clients ask to see a copy of the inspector’s standard inspection report before retaining them to insure they’re meeting state civil code at a minimum.”

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Isn't that clear evidence that the California B&P Code and CREIA’s SOPs are on the same page? There is absolutely no conflict between the California Civil Code regarding home inspectors and the CREIA Standards of Practice in that both require reporting everything the inspector is able to visually access during their inspection and furthermore any real estate inspector who only reports “material defects” is in violation of our state’s B&P Code and should they be a CREIA inspector member they’re also in violation of CREIA’s standards of Practice.

    WC Jerry,

    I'm not seeing that in the wording you posted from CREIA. In the wording you posted from the Civil Code, yes.

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

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    EC Jerry

    It is my firm belief that the CREIA SOPs require full disclosure of all systems and components listed or visually accessible at the time of inspection. You may need to see the entire SOPs to agree with me, but that's the way it was written and that's what was intended. I co-chaired the CREIA committee that wrote our SOPs back in 2006 and they were reviewed by at least 3 lawyers well versed in home inspector litigation plus the legal department of Marion-Allen. They were unanimous in their approval. So far they have been accepted in all court cases I’m aware of.

    WC Jerry

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Not Reporting Non-existent components/systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    You may need to see the entire SOPs to agree with me, but that's the way it was written and that's what was intended.

    WC Jerry,

    Probably would not even need to read the entire thing, just more than what you posted as what you posted did not address that.

    I figure you just posted 'the wrong section', as I do sometimes.

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

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