Results 1 to 31 of 31
  1. #1
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default F.I.R.E and other courses

    I saw the drift on the Sweeping thread and thought I would offer this –

    Without a doubt the F.I.R.E certification offered by Dale Feb should be the goal for every home inspector. Passing the buck to chimney sweeps is a disservice to our clients, and a serious missed opportunity for a valuable add on service.

    For those looking to sharpen their skills prior to attending the F.I.R.E. academy, you may want to consider the NFI’s certification programs for wood burning , gas and pellet hearth systems (three separate courses).
    NFI Certified

    I am now studying for the wood burning certificate. The course book covers the basics of combustion, appliance categories, venting system, installation, and more. Good solid information.

    You should feel free to continue to implore Dale to add on more courses in this thread – I am all for that too!

    Similar Threads:
    OREP Home Inspector E&O Insurance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,471

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    I just got back from taking F.I.R.E.s "Home Inspector and the Fireplace" class. The class won't make you a certified F.I.R.E. inspector but it will make you a much better inspector of fireplaces than you were before the class.

    Jim, I can't say we are doing our clients a disservice by referring their fireplace and chimney along to a qualified fireplace inspector if more evaluation is needed. There seems to be quite a bit that goes into performing a Level 2 inspection and gaining that certification requires attending a 6 day course and about $1,500. If somebody's up for that, good for them. Otherwise, I would highly recommend the class I just took.


  3. #3
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Nick lets look at the reality of referring to a “qualified” sweep or inspector since all fireplaces require further evaluation - Level II per NFPA 211.

    Is that referral made when the client first calls to set the inspection appointment? No, that does not happen, as we all know. What happens is the HI gets on site, sees there is a fireplace, wiggles the damper blade, and then advises his client, both verbally and in writing, that they should have a Level II performed by a qualified chimney sweep. (Pass that buck!) It then becomes the clients’ problem to locate qualified inspectors – who are few and far between, at least here in Jersey. The client has to spend additional time, hassle and money since the HI was not up front right at the start.

    That approach is a disservice. HI’s should either get trained or ensure the fireplace inspection is subcontracted out properly to a truly qualified inspector right up front.

    My fireplace inspection includes a video scan of the flue. In my area well over 90% of masonry fireplaces need repairs. The vast majority need a relined chimney. Now I can bounce the problem (and follow-up costs) back to the seller. I have started to include specific instructions to the buyer and their attorney on how to ensure all repairs and the protocols as required by NFPA 211 are followed, and that appropriate permits are secured.

    BTW – I am having my best year in the last 9 years, even better than the banner year in 2005. Fewer inspections, far more money. I simply do not lose homes with fireplaces to my competitors. Safety concerns beat cheap prices every time.

    Are you staring to see the competitive advantage a qualified HI has? Anyone still think training is costly?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mustang
    Posts
    215

    Question Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    How do you post a new message on here?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Here's how it looks to me, at my present state of knowledge:

    When I read (for example) Bob Harper's comments here, it's clear that *really competent* inspection of solid-fuel burning systems involves a level of knowledge and experience which *far* exceeds that which I could achieve by F.I.R.E. certification - that it takes years of field experience and a lot of informal contact with others through the SFBA industry to reach that level of knowledge.

    Perhaps a few HIs have achieved that level, and hopefully more will.

    I'd like to do a better job of inspecting solid-fuel systems, and when I have the funds and time I'll be taking the F.I.R.E. class (or other, similar, alternatives if they are offered).

    But I don't think that and a "Chimney-Cam" would make me a "qualified" inspector of such systems without a *lot* of experience, and I feel that absent such experience I would be doing my clients a disservice to market such services to them in a geographic area where there are a number of sweeps with far more experience than I will likely ever obtain.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 06-11-2007 at 10:10 AM.

  6. #6
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Michael, you have to deal with your own comfort level, but heck, if most of us used as the standard Bob Harper, Jerry Peck and some of the other “foundations of knowledge” few of us would be inspectors.

    Anyway, what is wrong with having and using a Chim-Scan? When you are on the roof do you look down the chimney flue or do you say to yourself that you are not qualified so you don’t look? Of course you look, so since you do look, why not do it right?

    I use a Chim-Scan to check flue interiors. I do not promote a Level II inspection; I am simply a home inspector with one damn fancy tool! (And I find damaged and dangerous flues and smoke chambers multiple times a week.)

    Crawl, walk run makes more sense to me than, all or nothing.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,471

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Jim, since the NFPA standard is to have a level 2 inspection done on a fireplace every time a house changes hands, and you said you do not promote level 2 inspections, how does your camera take the place of a level 2? Granted, it is a nice tool but if you are not a qualified fireplace inspector, as you using it properly?


  8. #8
    Kevin Stewart's Avatar
    Kevin Stewart Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    As a member of the F.I.R.E. Education Development Committee and as an Instructor of the 1 day Home Inspectors F.I.R.E. Course I will offer my opinion on the subject, but first I will paste a quote from Howard Rowell, President CSIA posted just this week.

    “The Certified Chimney Sweep credential provides a minimum knowledge of what is involved with the three levels of inspection. The methods, understanding, documenting and communicating are something that all chimney professionals should pursue to give them a better understanding of how to apply what they are seeing in a meaningful way to their customers along with proper documentation.” Howard Rowell President Chimney Safety Institute of American 6/8/2007

    With that said, how many HI will now feel comfortable recommending a certified chimney sweep, many sweeps with many years of experience may be able to do an adequate inspection, however ask them to do a 'no conflict of interest inspection" namely that they will not bid on or work on that property while there is a conflict of interest during the real estate process.
    Also ask for errors and omissions insurance, I run my own chimney restoration company we do no conflict inspections, and I carry errors and omissions. I am a F.I.R.E. Inspector and have been since 2001, my company has 2 other F.I.R.E. Inspectors other than myself, and my opinion for what its worth; 'I do not know how anyone can do an inspection to the level II requirement consistently, and feel comfortable about their work product without taking instruction on the requirements of the inspection. The process of an inspection as required by NFPA is not part of the Certified Chimney Sweeps curriculum, as clearly noted above by the President of the CSIA.

    Kevin T Stewart


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,471

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Good class on Sunday Kevin. I came away with many more tools in my "fireplace inspection toolbox" than I went in with which is what I wanted.


  10. #10
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Jim, since the NFPA standard is to have a level 2 inspection done on a fireplace every time a house changes hands, and you said you do not promote level 2 inspections, how does your camera take the place of a level 2? Granted, it is a nice tool but if you are not a qualified fireplace inspector, as you using it properly?
    First of all, NFPA 211 is not the standard in my area - it is like the wild west here, the local chimney sweeps have no standards. More than one has stated, one in writing no less, that gaps and cracked flues are not a problem. (troglodytes!) I have had some nice conversations with the NCSG, both local and national, about the sad state of affairs in Jersey.

    Granted, I really do everything for a Level II other than size of the flue, I just do not promote the Level II expectation. I spefically say, "along with my inspection of the fireplace, I will scope the flue". (a chimney-oscopy!) I am slowly raising the bar in my inspections and in area.

    Secondly, am I using it properly? Like all cameras, you point and shoot, (although I did manage to get it stuck in the flue the 1st time out.)

    Now, am I interpreting the images properly? Read NFPA 211 13.9. (for starters) Pretty clear info. Broke, you fix; no broke, no fix.

    As I said, as an HI you already visually look at the flue - why not use a camera?

    My F.I.R.E certification trumps the other guys zero certification. I add value and real benefit to my HI fireplace inspection. I get nearly weekly thank you emails from my cleints becuase of the significant defects and potential expenses discovered. That was and is my goal. (oh yes, and some day to be like Bob Harper when I grow up!)


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,471

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    That's fine Jim but just be careful about how you tell everybody who does not do what you do how they are doing a disservice to their clients. You've got a great tool there but are you also using the most advanced tools in other areas of your inspections (IR thermography cam, non-invasive moisture meter, CO & combustible gas detectors, etc.)? If not, aren't you doing a disservice to your clients in those areas?


  12. #12
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    That's fine Jim but just be careful about how you tell everybody who does not do what you do how they are doing a disservice to their clients...
    I did not say that. I said, "Passing the buck to chimney sweeps...".

    HI’s are told by our industry smarties that they should put a small blurb in their report that the client should have a Level II. Not to protect the client, but to cover butt.

    Many HI’s now have that blurb in their reports, right? He initially took a job pretending he could perform the full inspection, then the HI passes the buck to a chimney sweep?

    That tactic is like those who look at the electrical panel, then state it should be further evaluated by a licensed electrician. Such tactics are a disservice.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,471

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Jim, then using your logic, we are doing a disservice every time a call is made for further evaluation in any area (structural issues, moisture issues). Again, your camera is a great tool (and quite expensive I would bet) but is it getting you into the chimney chase to look at the framing around fireplaces to check clearances for combustibles and evidence of pyrolisis? It is getting you to areas the unaided eye can't see but unless you are performing repairs for your customers on these issues (and I assume you are not), you are still passing the issues along to a qualified fireplace/chimney professional for their evaluation and subsequent repairs. And what verbiage are you using in your reports when you find cracked flue liners? Are you calling it what it is or are you also stating that it needs to be serviced by a qualified fireplace/chimney professional and all repairs made as needed?

    I could be wrong but I highly doubt any qualified fireplace inspector like Bob Harper or Kevin Stewart will skip their full scale investigation of a chimney's condition because somebody else put a camera down the flue and said the flue was cracked. That goes for any professional is a given field of expertise. They still need to do their professional due diligence and determine if there are other areas of concern.

    Therefore, at the end of the day, you are likely still "passing the buck" like the rest of us.


  14. #14
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Nick, I think you misunderstand my original argument.

    This has nothing to do with reporting defective conditions for repair, and possible further evaluation, that is our duty. This is about my original statement of “passing the buck”.

    There are some inspections or tests that have become a normal part of a home sale transaction. Although there are some regional differences, those items are radon, termite and septic inspections. Many HI’s have the skills to do these ancillary services, and others have relationships with sub-contractors. Either way, these services are all discussed up front at the time of booking. That is not the case with fireplaces.

    Let me explain the point by example -

    If an HI takes a job but waits until he is on-site and says, “Oh, by the way, you should have a termite inspection” that is a disservice because we all know that without exception the buyer will need a termite cert for the sale. The HI led the client to believe he was their inspector. He now has wasted valuable transaction time and why? Because the HI knew up front he did not have the skills, and feared the client would shop elsewhere.

    If an HI takes an inspection of a house with a fireplace and later reports to the client, “Oh, by the way, you should have a Level II fireplace inspection.” that is the very same type disservice.

    The idea is, the HI knew up front he was going to invoke NFPA 211. Most HI’s do that today, and we all know it.

    There are two was to address the issue honestly – get the training and skills needed to do a proper fireplace inspection, or the second, make arrangements up front for the client to have a proper inspection.

    Just don’t sneak the NFPA 211 Level II blurb into the inspection report simply to cover ones arse. If one believes it, act on it, don’t just mouth it.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Jim,

    When using the camera, do you that consider that to be a complete Level II inspection?
    I actually don't invoke the NFPA 211 in my report, yet.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,471

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    I personally have never thrown the Level II disclaimer in any report and even after taking the Home Inspector F.I.R.E. Course, I still don't know that I would. I understand the whole "CYA" thing but I'm not totally comfortable just waving the white flag before I even see the installation. However, I do know that it does not take a lot of hard investigation to find something wrong with 95%+ of all fireplaces I see. I felt this way even before I took the course. The course just backs up my assertions and gives me some more tools to use.

    I understand what you're saying Jim. It's just that not everybody is building NFPA 211 into their reports regardless of the condition of the fireplace.


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    1,072

    Exclamation Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    I don't see it as passing the buck. Keep in mind we are generalist.
    I'm with Nick on this. Termite inspections are separate License here as well as everything else. If I was to acquire all the licenses I would have to charge $50.00 a sq. foot to cover cost. Let alone the years to obtain them.
    Do you run a mirror up a heat exchanger if you suspect it's cracked. Do you take it apart and check it?
    If there is a slow drain do you run a camera down it and find out why?
    Do you use a borescope and check in wall cavities if you see mildew?

    Do you take a telescopic pole and change out spotlights to see if they work?

    You get the picture. We judge on what we see and pass to the appropriate people when needed. If I could afford all the fancy equipment I still wouldn't do it for what we get paid.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  18. #18
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    When using the camera, do you that consider that to be a complete Level II inspection?
    No, not at all. I think of it as a home inspection on steroids!

    Since such a large percentage of masonry fireplaces have damaged flues the couple of extra bucks I charge to scope the flue pays big dividends for my clients.

    Each inspection I learn more and more. I add to my training, NFI and CSIA courses, and some day hope to be able to offer any level of inspection – but that is down the road.

    I think within a few years the NFPA 211 recommendation for a Level II will become a standard portion of home inspections. We saw the same thing happen with septic inspections. I want to be ready for that day.

    When I got into the business the dye test was the standard. I happened to stumble onto the “open pit” training going on in PA and along with a handful of others started to offer that superior inspection. Within 3 to 5 years the dye test was dead in North Jersey and the open pit was the standard.

    I think the same will happen to fireplace inspections (but this time I will not standby idle as a corrupt NJ Advisory Board cuts out HI’s like they did with the septic inspections. Wow, can you tell I carry a grudge?)


  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,313

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Gecz View Post
    I think the same will happen to fireplace inspections (but this time I will not standby idle as a corrupt NJ Advisory Board cuts out HI’s like they did with the septic inspections. Wow, can you tell I carry a grudge?)
    Why would any HI want to do an septic inspection, a proper one, without being a licensed septic tank/drain field contractor is beyond me.

    The only real way is to open it up, pump it out, open the distribution box and look in it for standing/backed up water (hopefully, not 'waste').

    All that and the high risk cost of saying one is okay for limited fee? In my opinion, only if that was your other business.

    A dye test? No way. Definitely not superior to the above.

    I think having a chimney camera would be like having an infrared camera, with the right training, it allows you to see things you would otherwise not see, nothing wrong with that, unless the HI advertises that they can do more with it than they really can.

    Kind of like saying you offer a "complete home inspection", then start to exclude things which are not visible, not accessible, you don't do (fireplaces, pools, termite, radon, etc.) ... how "complete" is the advertised home inspection?

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

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    I didn't start the off topic, but...
    Jerry, what Jim means is that in NJ a licensed H.I. has to be a P.E. or a Licensed Health Officer (not exactly the correct name) to do septic inspections. But, if you're not a H.I., you can get a cert to do septics from someplace like the PSMA. Home Inspectors were effectively cut out of doing septics. Now, it just so happens that the chairman of the Home Inspection Advisory Committee is a H.I. and a Licensed Health Officer...


  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,313

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    In Florida, to be able to do septic tank inspections, regardless what else you are, you have to be licensed by the Department of Health (I think that is who covers it).

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

  22. #22
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    All that and the high risk cost of saying one is okay for limited fee? In my opinion, only if that was your other business.
    I always thought that a funny point of view, Jerry. We inspection homes worth hundreds of thousands, yet so many people think a septic is high risk.

    The average repair on a septic is less than $5000 in North Jersey. Installation of a new dosing system could cost $20K but still compared to the liability with a home...

    Meanwhile, septic inspectors are charging $400 to $700 in my area. (And that is without pumping believe it or not) Some good bucks for what normally takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

    (The dirt is a whole nother issue!)


  23. #23
    Dale W. Feb's Avatar
    Dale W. Feb Guest

    Lightbulb Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Opinions obviously vary in the home inspection industry, as I have experienced for seventeen years, I think it might be time to reflect. When I first started meeting with home inspectors, many of them would not refer any specialists because they felt their value was reduced. If they refer a specialist they might be black-listed at the local realty office. By the way, this is a gauge of accuracy. If you have not been black-listed, you are not doing a good job. Others felt threatened by outside inspectors.

    The truth is that we all need home inspectors to identify areas of concern. The home inspector is the first line of defense just like the building code. The inspector is the minimum requirement for life and safety, (and then some). Could this mean that the home inspector should identify all fire, physical and sanitation hazards? I would say as best as possible. So what if he/she identifies a potential hazard and does not act on it? What action should they take? The ASHI standards now require you to send your client in the right direction. If you are so good that you identify all conditions, defects, hazards or potential threats, then you don’t need to send your client anywhere. Otherwise I suggest following the standards to protect your client and yourself.

    If you choose to go above the standards, add additional specialties to your business and charge additional fees, then that is your choice. Remember that the more defects that are found prior to the close of escrow, the lower your liability.

    So my suggestion is to focus on all potential hazards to the occupants, and then refocus on all of your liability for condition that result in damage to the structure. Cover these areas and refer to a specialist when necessary for you and your client.

    This industry is slowly changing for the better. It is the realtors that have difficulty changing due to the money place in front of them. Greed is a cancer that can destroy gentlest person or the strongest man.

    Fuel for thought


  24. #24
    Randy Brooks's Avatar
    Randy Brooks Guest

    Smile Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    In response to my friend Kevin Stewart’s post on this subject, and question to all HI, “how many HI will now feel comfortable recommending a certified chimney sweep?” let me just say this. There are numerous reasons for HI to recommend a CSIA certified sweep to their clients. The first of which is duly noted in the cut and paste section of Kevin’s post, were he published CSIA President Howard Rowell’s confidential post to the members only discussion list of the National Chimney Sweep Guild, stating;

    “The Certified Chimney Sweep credential provides a minimum knowledge of what is involved with the three levels of inspection. The methods, understanding, documenting and communicating are something that all chimney professionals should pursue to give them a better understanding of how to apply what they are seeing in a meaningful way to their customers along with proper documentation.” Howard Rowell President Chimney Safety Institute of American 6/8/2007

    President Rowell’s words speak for themselves; CSIA certified chimney sweeps have been armed with an entry level of knowledge concerning NFPA-211’s three levels of inspection. Furthermore, President Rowell’s comments concerning the CSIA’s position that all chimney professionals have a responsibility to pursue continuing education in the areas of documentation, communication and methods are right on. I might go on to mention that CSIA’s NFPA-211 committee is largely responsible for the writing and overall existence of this valuable industry standard in the first place. The reality is that the education never stops. I have always been an advocate for continuing education regardless of the provider. As mentioned by many on this subject line, you are protecting yourself from potential litigation by recommending an NFPA-211 level II inspection prior to the close of escrow. If your local CSIA certified sweep provides this inspection, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. If that same sweep holds additional certifications such as NFI of FIRE, fantastic.

    As for asking a CSIA certified sweep to perform an inspection and not bid on any needed repairs, or asking for E&O insurance, not your job. This insinuation that CSIA certified sweeps would present their businesses in this way is both offensive and categorically incorrect. Certainly you will have people in any industry that don’t always take the high road, but placing all CSIA certified sweeps in this category is irresponsible to say the least.

    Lastly, CSIA offers numerous educational opportunities that expand ones ability to perform NFPA-211 level II inspections. CSIA doesn’t certify anyone as an inspector. NFPA clearly illustrates in chapter 14 of the 211 standard, all aspects of the inspection requirements. Recommending a sweep that knows were to find the accurate information for providing the required inspection is a service to your clients.


  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Brooks View Post
    As for asking a CSIA certified sweep to perform an inspection and not bid on any needed repairs, or asking for E&O insurance, not your job. This insinuation that CSIA certified sweeps would present their businesses in this way is both offensive and categorically incorrect. Certainly you will have people in any industry that don’t always take the high road, but placing all CSIA certified sweeps in this category is irresponsible to say the least.

    Lawyers - at least in my state - tell home inspectors to include a recommendation that all further evaluation, replacement or repair should be performed by a licensed (if required) and insured individual or company.

    As for potential conflicts of interest, it's been my experience *in general*, and NOT with reference to Randy or anyone else here that when a vendor gets huffy about being asked to avoid potential conflicts of interest, it's time to start looking for another vendor. This is common sense advice, and I'm comfortable passing it along to my clients.


  26. #26
    Randy Brooks's Avatar
    Randy Brooks Guest

    Smile Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Michael,

    You are right on. Any real professional would be willing to perform a “no conflict” inspection any time they are asked. I never, yes never, include a bid or work proposal following an inspection unless asked for one. The real value in this to my clients, is that I am willing to walk from the inspection having provided only accurate information, not a sales pitch. That being said, I rarely find a client that won’t ask for both a solution to their problem and a quote at the same time. This is the world that we live in, and I think we can co-exist ethicly if comunication to the client is above-board.

    Randy Brooks

    NCSG/CSIA Vice President


  27. #27
    Dale W. Feb's Avatar
    Dale W. Feb Guest

    Lightbulb Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Randy,

    As a F.I.R.E. Certified Inspector, a C.S.I.A. Certified Chimney Sweep, and Licensed Contractor, an Experienced Installer and a long-time good friend of mine, you have an advantage that most do not. You have the ability to put it all together and have the credentials to back it. Unfortunately, you fall in the minority. The majority of the un-certified as well as certified sweeps have not obtained professional inspection education let alone a certification to stand on. I find it more and more difficult to digest the constant barrage of misinformation claiming qualified inspectors. The CSIA has a new “inspection” video clip that clearly states they are the “Only Nationally Recognized Credential” insinuating that they have some form of inspection certification that qualifies them as inspectors. Tutorials

    This is complete propaganda and serves only those who benefit (the sweeps) by supplying misleading information. However, this information is fantastic on a legal level. If any of the certified sweeps as much as insinuate that they were trained by the CSIA, the Attorneys will have found another deep pocket to fill the coffer.

    In my opinion, many of these individuals (not all) are unqualified to inspect. It would be like making a statement that a contractor could perform a home inspection. In fact, it might be best if the contractor does do the inspection so that he can also do the repairs. It’s a one stop shop with a blank check.

    Just my experience.


  28. #28
    Randy Brooks's Avatar
    Randy Brooks Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Dale and all,

    The tutorial or video clip that you refer to on the CSIA web page, clearly states the holders of the credential have merely passed a test, not been trained or had any hands on experience at all. The claim of being the only nationally recognized credential also clearly defines chimney service as the foundation of the overall credential. As for capability of performing inspections, we couldn’t agree more. Not only do we feel that those performing inspections should obtain any education that is available but constantly be looking for other sources as well. Addressing the amount of inspection content any CCS is exposed to during the study sessions of the CSIA review and exam, it is limited. Codes and standards, clearances, construction, but also exposure to the NFPA-211 standard for inspections. Chapter 14 provides the complete criteria for performing a complete inspection to any of the tree levels. It doesn’t tell you how to do it. We will all work differently. Reports will look different, professionalism will differ, etc. I learn more and more with every inspection I perform. I know that the learning never stops. CSIA certified sweeps are without question able to advertise and perform inspections to the limits of their abilities. Frightening as that may be for me to think about in many cases, it is the reality. I think that Dale would agree with me in saying that ALL that have received FIRE’s excellent inspection training may not be as qualified as others to perform inspections, but they certainly can perform them to limits of their abilities. The real just of this for the HI, is to find a chimney inspector that they feel comfortable in recommending, if they can’t, don’t. Many changes are being made to the CSIA test, that includes more inspection content, not training. I feel this will raise the bar. Will some use this and other credentials for evil, probably?

    Lets work together to make a difference.

    Randy Brooks
    CSIA Vice President


  29. #29
    Dale W. Feb's Avatar
    Dale W. Feb Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Well said Randy,

    It is critical to investigate all individuals to ensure proper referral. I do not recommend simply taking someone’s word for it. Ask for their C.V. or Resume prior to recommending. Do your homework! If someone does not take the time to write down their experience, it may not be worth reading. Please use the following links to assist you in finding the right inspector. The best inspector will more than likely be certified to Sweep, Installation and Inspect. The more tested education we achieve, the better the inspector.

    Fireplace & Chimney Inspection Certification Fireplace Investigation, Research and Education Service
    Solid-Fuel and Gas Appliance Installation & Service NFI Certified.
    Chimney Sweep & Service Chimney Safety Institute of America
    Don’t forget to check your State License Board for proper licensing to perform installation and repairs.

    Fuel for thought.

    Last edited by Dale W. Feb; 06-21-2007 at 07:15 PM.

  30. #30
    Kevin Stewart's Avatar
    Kevin Stewart Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Randy and Dale
    My two pence.

    One thing that I believe we can all agree is that levels of education differ widely. One of the problems we have in my market place is that 70% of the chimney companies have no certifications of any kind. And Randy you are correct, just because you have attended a training course does not mean that you will utilize the information that was presented to you. However it does put the individual in the position that they can not say they did not know, unless they are being misled. My concern with the csia qualification is that many who have completed the qualification are presenting themselves as chimney inspectors, and having watched the tutorial the csia has if fact already raised the bar higher than the majority of their members can jump. Do they really know they are not automatically qualified to inspect, has anyone at the csia pointed it out to them that the certified sweep credential is not an inspection qualification.
    I have personally spoken to sweeps who are csia certified and many say that they are doing level II inspections These 'inspectors', when asked if they are qualified to inspect each and every one quoted their csia certification.
    So my question 'does the certified sweep credential lead the individual sweep to believe that they are qualified to inspect?" It may behoove the csia to poll their members to find out if they believe that their Certified sweep credential qualifies them to inspect. Unless in fact that is what they want their certified sweeps to believe.
    Again my two pence,


  31. #31
    Randy Brooks's Avatar
    Randy Brooks Guest

    Default Re: F.I.R.E and other courses

    Kevin,

    The following description of the CSIA CCS credential appears on the CSIA web site. As you can plainly see, there is no mention of an inspection certification, inspection training, claims of qualification for performing inspections or implication that the CSIA empowers any certified sweep as an inspector. As to the question concerning who NFPA-211 qualifies to perform these inspections, I can’t find it anywhere. As I have said many times, continued education provided by the industries professional associations and or organizations, FIRE, CSIA, NFI, manufactures specific training, ICC or any provider of valuable knowledge within the hearth industry is an added benefit to anyone’s ability to perform inspections.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep credential lets homeowners know that you have extensive knowledge of codes and practices important to providing the best service and to staying ahead in an ever-changing industry. Chimney professionals earn the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep credential by passing a 100-question exam based on standard chimney service practices and applicable fire safety codes. To pass, candidates must earn a score of 80 or higher. Certification is valid for three years from the exam date.

    The exam is based on the 2002 version of the reference manual, Successful Chimney Sweeping, and the 2006 version of NFPA 211. For most people, it is not possible to pass the test without extensive home study of the manual and NFPA 211.

    Review sessions offer an extensive review of NFPA 211 and the information in Successful Chimney Sweeping, plus an opportunity to ask questions of CSIA's experienced, knowledgeable instructors. After you've spent time studying at home, instructors can help you process the material in the study manual and the code book. In fact, certification candidates who attend seminars have a higher pass rate than those who rely on home study alone. Click here for the schedule of upcoming review sessions and to register.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    With that being said, CSIA offers these CCS additional education that expands their knowledge as well, but not qualifying or certifying anyone as an inspector. During the process of sweeping and or servicing a hearth appliance, a sweep is required to offer the appropriate level of inspection as illustrated in NFPA-211. If sweeps aren’t knowledgeable enough to perform these inspections, they should obtain that knowledge. In closing, CSIA doesn’t want the CCS to think they have been certified as an inspector, nor does the CSIA prohibit CCS from performing inspections or any other service that might be considered restrain of trade.

    Randy Brooks

    California State Licensed Contractor, # 750710
    CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, # 2580
    FIRE Certified Inspector, # FP-006
    NFI Certified Gas & Wood-Burning Specialist, # 133851


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •