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  1. #1
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
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    Default TREC disciplinary actions

    Names ommitted to protect the guilty.

    Agreed 1 year suspension of professional inspector license effective, March 28, 2007; beginning September 28, 2007 remaining 6 months probated for 2 years; performed a real estate inspection in a negligent or incompetent manner, in violation of §1102.301 of the Texas Occupations Code; failed to report as in need of repair cracks in the mortar of exterior brick walls around windows, in violation of 22 TAC § 535.228(e)(1) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report as in need of repair evidence of a water stain and a hole in two ceiling areas and failed to report locations of drywall cracks reported to be of structural concern, in violation of 22 TAC § 535.228(c)(1)of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report the depth of attic insulation, in violation of 22 TAC § 535.228(h)(10) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report as in need of repair lack of properly functioning GFCI receptacles in the kitchen located greater than six feet away from the sink, in violation of 22 TAC § 535.230(c)(2)(G) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report the type(s) of heating system and energy source(s), in violation of 22 TAC § 535.229(t)(1) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report as in need of repair two malfunctioning furnaces, in violation of 22 TAC § 535.229(t)(2) and 22 TAC § 535.229(t)(3) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission


    Agreed 1 month suspension of professional inspector license fully probated for 2 years, effective March 29, 2007; performed a real estate inspection in a negligent or incompetent manner, in violation of §1102.301 of the Texas Occupations Code; failed to report as in need of repair improper grading that sloped toward the house, which would allow water to pool near the foundation, in violation of 22 TAC §535.228(a)(8) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report the type of roofing, in violation of 22 TAC §535.228(h)(1) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report as in need of repair a flexible gas supply line to the furnace that was routed through the furnace housing, which is an improper connection because of the risk of damage to the line from the metal edge of the hole in the furnace housing, in violation of 22 TAC §535.229(t)(6) and 22 TAC §535.229(t)(6) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report the type of branch circuit wiring, in violation of 22 TAC §535.230(c)(1) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; reported an inspection on a form that deviated from the required TREC REI 7A-0 form by reformatting the required block of text on the first page such that much of the text was missing, in violation of 22 TAC §535.223(c) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission


    Agreed reprimand of professional inspector license, entered January 23, 2007; performed a real estate inspection in a negligent or incompetent manner, in violation of §1102.301 of the Texas Occupations Code; failed to report as in need of repair a food waste disposer wired directly into the structure’s electrical system, without a shut-off mechanism within close proximity to the disposer unit, in violation of 22 TAC § 535.229(b)(1) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report as in need of repair a furnace improperly housed in a closet that did not allow for normal intake of combustion air and could cause carbon monoxide to enter into the home’s air distribution system, in violation of 22 TAC § 535.229(t)(4) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report as in need of repair a gas line to the furnace made of improper material, in violation of 22 TAC §535.229(t)(6) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report as in need of repair an extension cord hardwired into the furnace wiring; in violation of 22 TAC § 535.230(c)(12) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission; failed to report as in need of repair an exposed junction where the extension cord was wired into the furnace, in violation of 22 TAC § 535.230(c)(6) of the Rules of the Texas Real Estate Commission

    Phillip, are these the results of complaints? How are they verified?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    failed to report as in need of repair a furnace improperly housed in a closet that did not allow for normal intake of combustion air and could cause carbon monoxide to enter into the home’s air distribution system,

    Would this be lack of combustion air vents on the ceiling or walls of the closet?

    How about louvered doors on a water heater closet, acceptable or not? I have a bet going on with this one.

    One of those written up was one of my competitors. Its just a shame.

    Last edited by Rick Hurst; 05-18-2007 at 04:51 AM.

  3. #3
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    All I can say is... WOW!

    RR


  4. #4
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    If TREC decided to pursue these guys then it was the result of a written complaint being filed against them by someone. TREC only responds to written complaints which generally come from buyers, sellers, or involved real estate agents/brokers and so on. TREC itself can also generate a in-house complaint against an inspector for something administrative like bouncing a check or failing to provide information that they have requested in a timely manner.

    Once a complaint is received by TREC they review to see if they have jurisdiction in the matter. If the inspector happened to be an engineer working under his PE license and did not even have a TREC license, then TREC has no jurisdiction.

    Once TREC decides that they have jurisdiction they do have field investigators who can follow up on the complaint out in the field. Meanwhile the staff attorneys will be scrutinizing the inspector’s written report for any errors, omissions, or alteration of the TREC promulgated form.

    Mistakes found within the inspector’s written report are what seem to get inspectors into trouble most of the time even when the mistake(s) made had nothing at all to do with the original complaint. If you read to list of things TREC found wrong with these guys (particularly the first two) you will note that much of it could be found by just reading the inspector’s report.

    For example; not providing the energy source for the heating unit, failing to identify the type of roof, not providing the depth of insulation in the attic, or not identifying the type of branch circuit wiring...the list goes on.
    The enforcement attorneys know what information is supposed to be in the written report and if the inspector has failed to include any of it, or has improperly altered the TREC report form, they will take the hit for it.

    In all three cases above it looks like the inspectors signed an agreed order offered by TREC and did not opt to go to a hearing before an administrative judge. That is always an option and an inspector does not have to accept TREC’s judgement against them automatically.

    I am not sure exactly how these particular cases went down but I am now off of the SoP sub committee and have moved over to be the Chairman of the Enforcement sub committee at TREC. I have a feeling I will be finding out more about how TREC handles these kinds of matters in the months to come.



  5. #5
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    This is a general rant. It is not directed at any one person. It was simply triggered by today's events in Austin and this link.

    There is no Inspector, including the very best that respond to this site, who would be invulnerable to a group of lawyers scrutinizing our reports for errors or omissions on every report your write. To think that they waste our money doing so angers me. To think that they dig for errors in areas other than the complaint subject should outrage and terrify us all. I have no doubt that what Phillip says is accurate.

    If you look at the post I just did under "Alert Texas Inspectors", you will see that, according to TREC, there have been 53 total disciplinary actions taken in the last 10 1/4 years. Those actions were taken against 40 total Inspectors. I have no idea how many investigations have occurred.

    I am proud of what I do and proud of us as a group.

    Did these two guys screw up. Absolutely. Big deal! So have I and so have each of you, and Bob H and Phil, and the J twins and all the other A team. And any who say they haven't are delusional or liars.

    To discuss how we can be better at what we do motivates me. To see us try to help each other when we need it gives me joy. To emphasize misfortunes of others or the lack of performance of others makes me sick. None of us will be so self assured when one of those lawyers who don't know a hammer from a nail, but who do know how to manipulate our language better than we ever will, gives us our turn in the chair.

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  6. #6
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Quote from Thom:
    "Did these two guys screw up. Absolutely. Big deal! So have I and so have each of you, and Bob H and Phil, and the J twins and all the other A team. And any who say they haven't are delusional or liars.

    To discuss how we can be better at what we do motivates me. To see us try to help each other when we need it gives me joy. To emphasize misfortunes of others or the lack of performance of others makes me sick. None of us will be so self assured when one of those lawyers who don't know a hammer from a nail, but who do know how to manipulate our language better than we ever will, gives us our turn in the chair."

    __________________________________________________ _______

    Well said...

    Rich


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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    To the outside observer (well, to me anyway) the TX standards seem both a curse and a blessing.

    You have to do it “their way”, but at least you have a pretty comprehensive outline of what “their way” expects.


    Increasingly, I've modified my reporting software to force me to include all information required by my state (IL)'s SOP.... but our SOP states stuff like:

    “Describe: To report a system or component by its type or other observed, significant characteristics to distinguish 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.

    And

    When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the heating system is inspected the inspector shall

    1) Inspect the installed heating equipment, the vent systems, flues, and chimneys; and

    2) Describe the energy source, the heating method by its distinguishing characteristics.

    ----------

    And we are left to determine on our own (with the help of third party SOPs) just what will be expected of us of the state attempts to determine if we have met the SOP... whatever those might be....


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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    John,

    I think it was because the disposer was not connected to an appliance cord and wired direct with NM cable.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    The new TREC advisory newsletter is out and has mention of the E&O Insurance requirement of 100K prior to renewals.

    If you look at all the disciplinary actions taken on the letter, you'll not see one HI listed on there.

    But yet, the E&O is necessary to protect the public from all the HI's not doing their jobs.

    With all the complaints against the realtors, I'm surprised no one has not recommended bringing Ole Sparky back for the agents to have a seat in.


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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Robert,

    The folks who manufacture the ISE disposers recommend a "disconnect switch" in their installation directions.

    It is noted in the lower section at materials needed.

    There company I believe is one of the most recognizable units on the disposer market.

    InSinkErator | Garbage Disposer Installation, Garbage Disposal Installation


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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    The NM cable can be used to the food disposer if the electrical NM cable is in a flex conduit - -than THAT is the defect.
    HUH?????

    What's the problem running NM cable inside a raceway for protection from physical damage?

    (Hint: Answer = Not a problem. )

    You are also implying that NM cable *CAN* be used to wire a disposal *without* being protected - THAT (yes, *that*) *IS* a problem.

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

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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    The folks who manufacture the ISE disposers recommend a "disconnect switch" in their installation directions.

    It is noted in the lower section at materials needed.
    Say what?

    If I'm reading the same instructions you are (the one you linked to ), all I see is "On-off electrical switch".

    You know, that switch up there on the back splash you use to operate the disposal with.

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

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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Jerry,

    On / Off Switch I'll agree with. Thats what I meant.


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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    Jerry, I think we are on the same page - I think:

    I'm saying that

    - NM cable NOT in a flex conduit to a food disposer IS NOT allowed.

    - NM cable IN a flex conduit to a food disposer IS allowed.

    Do we agree.
    Yes, my apologies if I read it wrong.

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

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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Eastman View Post
    You install a food disposer without a switch????? Then how would it work????
    First, you must recognize that there are two types of food waste grinders (disposers).

    Batch feed and continuous feed.

    I've run across several 'batch feed' ones (however, the continuous feed styles are much more prevalent).

    The 'batch feed' models have an interlock switch (magnetic on the ones I've seen) where the disposer has power all the time and the interlock switch operates the disposer.

    You stuff the disposer full of stuff, fill with water, then insert the disposer cover into the disposer opening. When the disposer cover is in place, the interlock switch turns on and grinds up the batch which is in the disposer. Remove the disposer cover and the disposer turns off. The disposer is now ready for another 'batch'.

    For 'continuous feed' models, you start putting stuff into them, run the water (cold water), turn the disposer 'on', then continue stuffing stuff into the disposer, i.e., you are 'continuously feeding' the disposer.

    It sounds to me like the TREC requirement does not consider that batch feed disposers exist.

    As I've said before, the more you guys bring up about the TREC requirements, the more weird they get, you guys have too many things which don't mean diddly (not to mention the things which are just plain wrong - as this appears it might be), and not enough time to pay attention to the real things (at least that's my view from here).

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

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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    It sounds to me like the TREC requirement does not consider that batch feed disposers exist.

    As I've said before, the more you guys bring up about the TREC requirements, the more weird they get, you guys have too many things which don't mean diddly (not to mention the things which are just plain wrong - as this appears it might be), and not enough time to pay attention to the real things (at least that's my view from here).
    That's because, the SOP, like section 1102 of the Real Estate Act was written to "catch and punish inspectors", not to strengthen the knowledge base of the licensees or to benefit the consumer. To get a sense of how full of themselves they are read the edition of their newsletter published today. It begins to spell out just how the recently codified changes will effect us.

    As much as I love doing this, I will most probably specialize and not renew my license when it comes due in 2008. These jackals have become unbearable. They should have been sunsetted, not given more authority. Licensing can and should be a valuable consumer protection tool. However, it is my opinion that TREC is no more than a bunch of bureaucratic goons who use licensing as a means to assess fines to add to the general treasury. Their practices have little to do with consumer protection.

    I hope it doesn't escape your attention that, once again, there were no disciplinary actions taken against Inspectors in the month of April. And of those taken against Realtors, 8 were generated by consumer complaints. 18 were administrative complaints.

    TREC doesn't even pretend to be anymore than a profit center for the general treasury. And the legislature rewarded them for being just what they are.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Thom Walker; 07-02-2007 at 08:44 PM. Reason: Did not upload file
    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions


    Can someone who as read the new law please expound on the third item listed here from the TREC ad visor?
    I am guessing this has something to do with LLC and C Corp. having to hold a separate license, but I could be wrong.
    Also, note there is still a question about the type on insurance required, and for renewals, they mention the requirement to show proof of continuous coverage when renewing... That may mean people like me that have licenses not up for renewal until 2008 will have to show proof of past as well and current/future insurance before the license is renewed. That could mean a drop dead date of Sept. 2007!

    Home inspectors will be required to show proof of Errors & Omissions
    insurance as a condition of application and renewal with a minimum limit of
    $100,000 per occurrence.

    A new Texas Real Estate Inspector Advisory Committee will replace the
    TREIC.

    The law establishing business licenses for Home Inspectors is repealed.



    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  18. #18
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Jim,

    That simply eliminates the business class license for Corporations and LLC type entities.

    Each inspector in Texas is licensed individually so there is no need to license a business entity. It was considered to be a redundancy so it was eliminated entirely.

    Unfortunately, those who have already obtained a business class license have no mechanism to get a refund from TREC


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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Thanks Phillip, that was my uniformed take, but I wanted some other input.
    Any idea about the retroactive insurance requirement that seemed to be stated on the inner pages of the Adviser?
    What about the inspector committee, what real world effect will that have, if anyone knows yet?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  20. #20
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    TREC considers that the intent of the insurance requirement is indeed for E&O insurance and not just general liability. They have asked for the Attorney General’s opinion to settle doubts or questions that others might have in regard to the insurance requirement. They fully expect the opinion from the AG to confirm that E&O is the intent and that is why they have opted to take that position officially even before they get the AG opinion in hand.


    I have not heard anything officially from TREC about the Inspector Committee’s ultimate fate. We all know that the Inspector Committee (as it currently exists) will loose its statutory underpinning when the new law takes affect on September 1st.

    We also know that the TREC Commissioners created a sub-committee of its own membership to come up with alternative to the statutorily mandated Inspector Committee currently in place. What they will ultimately decide however remains anyone’s guess at this point. I do believe that the TREC Commissioners realize that there is value in having some kind of panel or advisory committee of inspectors in place (Keep in mind that I could be dead wrong about that!).

    Their options in putting a new inspector panel or advisory committee together at this point remain wide open since they have the authority to put together any kind of advisory group they feel they need.

    Their options include everything from not having any kind of standing inspector panel/committee at all to continuing to operate the inspector committee just as it currently exists (only without the statutory requirement to do so).

    If the TREC Commissioners chose to keep a standing advisory panel in place, they could populate it with current inspector committee members, appoint all new members, or use some mix of old and new members. They could also change the number of standing members and/or the length of service terms if they wish.

    Its also entirely possible that they will not maintain a standing advisory committee at all and may put together ad hoc committees as needed and then dismiss them when the matter at hand has been resolved. A standing committee of some kind is the better option in my view for a variety of reasons but I do not expect to have a voice in the matter.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: TREC disciplinary actions

    Regarding the items that are required by TREC to be described or inspected - most computer based report systems can be setup to require data to be input before you can complete the report. I know mine, 3D is setup to require the type of foundation material, type of shingle, WDO report #, ETC. About once a week I will get to the point of printing a report and it will alert that I forgot to fill in some fields. If your in a state that has requirements, then you should be using a system that has those type of checks or have a process were you check your report for errors or omissions.

    I can't speak for Texas but its my understanding that in Washington the first time you have a problem you get a warning, the second time you get the suspension however each case gets judged on its own merits. I do know an inspector who got slapped with a 2 week suspension because of a bad attitude and pissing off the government pencil pushing.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

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