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Thread: Code Compliance

  1. #1
    RobertSmith's Avatar
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    Default Code Compliance

    Hmmm.....

    If a item does not comply with the code, is it a defect? .....hmmmm......

    Are codes a performance standard? Or construction requirement? hmm..


    Thoughts?

    Rob

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    If a item does not comply with the code, is it a defect? .....hmmmm......
    Yes. If it does not comply with the code it is a defect.

    Are codes a performance standard?
    Some were, most are now prescriptive, as in "do it like this or like this".

    Or construction requirement? hmm..
    Yes. Codes are construction requirements - MINIMUM construction requirements.

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

  3. #3
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    If it does not comply with the code it is a defect.
    JP: Do you mean, if it does not comply with the adopted code at the time of construction, or the current code?

    most are now prescriptive, as in "do it like this or like this".
    JP: It should be, "do it like this, or else".


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    It's a defect if it does not conform to the current code. After pointing out an apparent problem during your inspection how many times have you heard the listing agent say, "oh, that...... insert problem here..... predates."
    In the case of a hazard to occupants the only thing it predates is the personal injury it will cause if not fixed.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  5. #5
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    It's a defect if it does not conform to the current code. After pointing out an apparent problem during your inspection how many times have you heard the listing agent say, "oh, that...... insert problem here..... predates."
    In the case of a hazard to occupants the only thing it predates is the personal injury it will cause if not fixed.
    JM: Agreed. I almost daily get calls from whining listing (and buyer's) agents complaining that the seller won't fix this or that because the city "permitted" it.

    Case in point. Last week I had an inspection on a large house in Southsomethingorother. The inspection was canceled at the last minute because, during a re-roofing of the house, the roofer hit a CSST line, caused a gas leak, and the stuff hit the fan.

    A couple of days later they re-scheduled with me. During my inspection I found CSST in the same house pressed tightly against the roof decking in three locations. When confronted with this information the agent, who was acting as an intermediary (a lipstick-on-a-pig term for dual agent, which is probably a euphemistic expression for lying-ass thief) informed me that the seller would not even consider having this repaired. Why? Because during the repair two days earlier the plumber (wrench-jockey) and the municipal inspector (blind man walking) pronounced their blessings on the mess.

    Without exception, the new homes I inspect at the final stage are replete with blatantly code non-compliant, but "permitted", installations. Though I fully understand the utter impossibility of municipalities gearing up to enforce code compliance on existing homes (OMG, what a rodeo that would be!), I still believe that once we, as a society, agree upon what is safe and appropriate, it should set the standard for all, not just the new, homes we build.

    Though perhaps different from other states, the real estate resale contract in the State of Texas (bow your heads) assumes the house to be sold in as-is condition. So then, what is all the twittering about repair lists, repair allowances, et al.? The law here does not require the brokers, agents, or sellers for that matter, to be in the repair business. It is simply a tired-ass, worn-out, antiquated way of doing business. But, however you see it, it should have absolutely no bearing on how you do your job as an inspector. It should never even cross your mind.

    Job one is to ensure the safety and education of our clients, the rest of the folks involved in the process be damned. Their ability to think may indeed be "grandfathered". Mine is not.

    Last edited by A.D. Miller; 07-29-2009 at 05:43 AM. Reason: Self-preservation.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    if an item has not failed, how can it be a defect?


  7. #7
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    if an item has not failed, how can it be a defect?
    RS: Are you implying that all defects are express and cannot be latent? In other words are you supporting the argument that defects cannot be existing in a temporarily inactive, or merely unnoticeable form or state?

    Think of it this way. A manufacturer produces a widget with a definite, but not obvious, defect. You use the product for its intended purpose for X number of days, months, years, before the defect becomes obvious when the product fails and kills you in the process. Example: GoodRoll makes a tire you buy, but forgets to install the steel belting. The tire looks OK, but is defective. It rolls good for a while until it no longer does. While it is working is it not still defective?

    Your contention that just because something has not yet exploded, bursted into flames, fallen over on someone, or simply stopped functioning, it is not defective, is a defect in your reasoning. This one, however, is express, and there for all to see.


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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    if an item has not failed, how can it be a defect?
    Define "failed" as in ... "has not failed".

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    if an item has not failed, how can it be a defect?
    Short Example: A single wall gas water heater flue with several slip joints. The joints are not fastened with screws. The flue has not "visibly failed" but it sure is a defect

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    My interpretation of the question is whether or not code changes are reportable conditions. For instance, drip edge flashing is now required at the eave end that directs water into the gutter, but was not required a few years ago. Not really a safety issue. It is not missing, it was not required.

    On a somewhat different note, residential stair risers cannot exceed 7 3/4", but at one time could not exceed 9". That might be considered reportable since stairs are generally hazardous. But, if this is an existing house, it would essentially be an ex post facto condition.

    And then, at what point do we stop? Toilets that exceed 1.6 gpf? Whether or not there is an exhaust fan in a laundry room? Energy efficient light bulbs? Since codes change regularly and we do not always know which code was being enforced when the work was performed, at some point the inspector has to make a professional decision to report or not report.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    Kentucky is kinda funny, in a stupid way, about code compliance comments. This is what I put in my report about it.

    ======
    BUILDING CODES:
    The first thing to remember about building codes is that safety hazards DO NOT read the building code book. Safety hazards don't care about the building code book. Safety hazards just sit and wait to cause you and your family personal injury. Also remember that the building code is developed by nationwide experts in particular topic areas. It is then sent to the state where some homebuilders, a few state experts, and politicians decide what is going to be enforced in the state. It is then sent to the local level where mostly home builders and politicians decide what's going to be enforced locally. It's then given to the code enforcement inspectors to interpret according to how they read the code. In addition, the local code often lags several years behind the national codes.

    The building code is not a lofty standard. It is the bare minimum legal standard that a home builder, electrician, plumber, etc, must comply with. To do anything less would be illegal.

    I serve a large area of Kentucky with many different building code enforcement authorities, each with their own individual interpretations of the national and state building codes based on their local politics and beliefs. I cannot be completely conversant with each and every building code enforcement authority's interpretation of the national building codes; therefore I do not perform code compliance inspections nor guarantee that all items are in compliance with governing codes, regulations, ordinances, statutes, covenants and manufacturer specifications. My references and sources for calling out different items as a safety concern or defective or marginal or in need of repair may include the national building codes (International Residential Code / National Electric Code / Uniform Plumbing Code, etc), manufacturer's instructions, the building industry's standards, continuing education, and personal experience.

    If the response to an area of concern or a recommendation in my report is, "Well, they didn't have that (or they didn't do that) when the house was built," or that it was "grandfathered", I usually know that. When it comes to home repairs, "Grandfathered" is a term often tossed out by people who care more about their wallet than about you and your family's safety: as in "That 8 inch gap in the balcony railing doesn't need to be fixed because it's grandfathered. It was okay to do it that way when this house was built.” Is it going to comfort you, when your child falls through that gap and is badly injured, that the size of the gap was "Grandfathered"? All "Grandfathered" really means is that no one can "force" you to change it, repair it, or replace it. Only you can choose what level of risk you want to live with. People with young children who could fall thru that 8 inch gap "should" choose to ensure it is changed to a safer gap but no one is going to force a change except you.

    Since whatever issue was "grandfathered", our knowledge has increased considerably concerning safety in the home. I believe that you should be safe in your home and that taking care of your home should be as easy as possible. So I will recommend things that they didn't have or do years ago simply to keep you safe or help you take care of your home. What's most important to me is that you and your family are as safe as possible in your home. Only you can choose what level of risk you want to live with and expose your family to.

    Note that the Kentucky Home Builders Association lobbyists managed to have the Kentucky State Legislature include the following in the Kentucky Home Inspector Licensing Law:

    Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) Chapter 198B.738
    "Home inspectors, when acting in that capacity, are prohibited from indicating orally or in writing that any condition is or is not in compliance with any building code enforced under KRS Chapter 198B."

    Therefore, if you think an issue might be a code violation, you need to consult your local building code enforcement department for a determination as it is illegal for me to "indicate orally or in writing that any condition is not in compliance with any building code enforced under KRS Chapter 198B".
    ======


    -

    Last edited by Erby Crofutt; 08-02-2009 at 08:39 AM.
    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

  12. #12
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    BUILDING CODES:
    The first thing to remember about building codes is that safety hazards DO NOT read the building code book.

    "Grandfathered" is a term often tossed out by people who care more about their wallet than about you and your family's safety
    EC: Well said.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Code Compliance

    Well, I can't claim authorship of all of it. It's developed ove the years from stuff I picked up here and at other places. Some word for word, some rewritten into my own words. Though I can no longer remember which is which.

    I use it and my customers seem to understand it.

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

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