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  1. #1
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    Default third party inspectors

    Does anyone have the official definition of "third party inspectors" that is mentioned in the IRC or other codes?

    I did a quick search and it seems to be inspectors hired by the AHJ to do certain inspections and does not pertain to private home inspectors.

    The reason I am asking is that a city code inspector told me that "third party inspectors have to notify the AHJ before performing a home inspection on a new house within their jurisdiction because the IRC says so".

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

  2. #2
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    Does anyone have the official definition of "third party inspectors" that is mentioned in the IRC or other codes?
    I did not find that term in the 2006 IRC

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    That makes no sense.
    Makes me wonder why the guy would care unless he is hiding something.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    As an AHJ for 26 years, I've never heard of a municipal inspector who gets involved in or cares about a pre-purchase home inspection. The IRC has a provision for substitute inspectors who can fill in for the AHJ. These are called third-party inspectors, but they are involved in inspecting new construction for code compliance. These have nothing to do with home inspections.

    IBC refers to "special inspections" and "special inspectors." They must be pre-approved by the AHJ, and are involved in new construction (not home inspections). They would get involved in things such as concrete testing, etc., during construction.

    The IBC also refers to third-party agencies, who are typically involved in approving materials/products at the manufacturing plant (trusses, etc.).

    Ask the AHJ to show you the code section to which he is referring.

    Last edited by Steve Frederickson; 11-11-2011 at 02:12 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    Steve, what is your opinion on home inspectors removing electrical panel covers? We have some code inspectors in SC that think we need an electrical license to do this.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    I'm not sure why the code official would care, or how he/she would even know when you're performing an inspection.

    How does the Standard of Practice for Home Inspectors read in SC?

    In Massachusetts, it reads (in part):


    "4) System: Electrical.
    (a) The Inspector shall Observe the Readily Accessible and Observable Electrical Systems and Components:
    1. The exterior of the exposed service entrance conductors.

    2. Exterior receptacles.

    3. The service equipment, grounding system, main overcurrent device, and the interior of the service and distribution panels (by removing the enclosure covers)."



  7. #7
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    A "third party inspector" would be similar to what Florida has.

    In Florida, the owner or contractor can hire the services of a third party inspection company, which in Florida is required to be an engineering firm, must meet certain insurance requirements, and can only do inspections in the area in which its inspectors are qualified (in Florida that mean that the inspector can only inspect in areas in which they hold the Florida certification given for that discipline).

    When a third party inspection firm contracts with an owner or contractor to do the inspections, the third party inspection firm is required to notify the AHJ that they are going to do the inspections and to inform the AHJ when they are going to do the inspection as the AHJ also has the right to an inspection too.

    We have a few contractors who have hired third party inspectors who pass their inspections, then I go behind them and and fail the work because the work does not meet code. After a few times of paying the third party inspector and having their work fail the AHJ inspections, they come to the conclusion that paying for the third party inspections is a waste. :-) . . . (out camping and for whatever reason, this notebook computer does not add the smiley faces)

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    Jerry,

    Third Party Inspectors in Florida have nothing to do with home inspections, do they? The original post seemed to be saying that the AHJ considers home inspectors to be Third Party Inspectors and they need to notify the AHJ before performing a home inspection.

    The AHJ also said that it's required by the IRC. I've never heard of that.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Frederickson View Post
    I'm not sure why the code official would care, or how he/she would even know when you're performing an inspection.

    How does the Standard of Practice for Home Inspectors read in SC?

    In Massachusetts, it reads (in part):


    "4) System: Electrical.
    (a) The Inspector shall Observe the Readily Accessible and Observable Electrical Systems and Components:
    1. The exterior of the exposed service entrance conductors.

    2. Exterior receptacles.

    3. The service equipment, grounding system, main overcurrent device, and the interior of the service and distribution panels (by removing the enclosure covers)."
    The final code inspection is often done the same day I am there on new houses.

    SC Electrical standards:

    The guidelines provide the minimum contents of a written report. These guidelines are not intended to limit the Residential Home Inspector. If the Inspector wishes to provide additional inspection services not covered in the Standards that is up to each inspector.


    D) ELECTRICAL
    1) OVER CURRENT PROTECTION:
    A) Identify and report the type.
    B) Inspect and report the visible condition.
    C) Describe and report defects and/or deficiencies.
    2) TYPE CONDUCTORS, MAIN AND BRANCH CIRCUITS:
    A) Identify the type conductors present on the service cable and all visible circuit conductors (aluminum or copper).
    B) Describe and report visible defects and/or deficiencies.
    C) Report the location of the main service panel and sub-service panels.
    3) INCOMING SERVICE:
    A) Identify and report the location (overhead or underground).
    B) Describe and report the condition.
    4) GROUNDING CABLE:
    A) Identify and report the presence, location, and observed condition of grounding conductors.
    5) FIXTURES AND OUTLETS:
    A) Test a representative number of accessible light switches, wall receptacles and light fixtures.
    B) Describe and report defects and/or deficiencies.
    C) Identify and report the presence of aluminum wiring in Brach circuit conductors.
    6) GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTER (GFCI):
    A) Report if present or not.
    B) Identify the locations of GFCI breakers.
    C) Test and report if breakers that protect wall outlets are operational or inoperable. Describe how tested.
    7) SMOKE DETECTORS:
    A) Report if present or not.
    LIMITATIONS:
    A) Inspector is not required to:
    1) Insert any tool, probe or testing device into the main or sub-panels.
    2) Activate electrical system or branch circuits that are not energized.
    3) Operate overload protection devices except GFCI breakers.
    4) Test GFCI breakers that are not connected to a wall outlet.
    5) Move objects to gain access to electrical outlets or panels.
    6) Inspect equipment that is not readily accessible, nor dismantle equipment or component.
    7) Test all switches, receptacles, or fixtures, not to remove switch or receptacle.
    8) Operate a smoke detector by any means other than supplied by the manufacturer.

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    Speaking from my past experience running a large "3rd party" code enforcment agency, our Construction law book, Title 5:23 Uniform Construction Code or UCC referances the title more as a Private on-site inspection and plan review agencies and I am sure the term 3rd party can be associated to other types of businesses not just the inspection profession.

    The last time any administration discription was mentioned in a code book was under BOCA, After the merge to the International the 2000 IRC and IBC the heading is there but states deleted. Section 113.2.1 of BOCA National building Code/1996 refers to the title as Approved Inspection Agencies: This is due to the same reasons we have the IRC New jersey Addition and IBC New jersey Addition, the codes there but we need additional adoptions for the region we build in much like Florida's Hurricane prone and California's seismic.NJ been pretty good about adopting laws to the changes and making corrections to language to fit the needs of the industry.

    Unless this individual can show you a local municapal ordinance that they adopted, this AHJ is full of crap, the IRC lists codes and standards, not admin or regulations.

    To ride Mr Frederickson's coat tail a little more, we also have EIFS Special Inspectors, Fire proofing and steel connections and welding special inspectors here in NJ.

    I am curious out there when reading many threads if thier states have an administration division that over sees the building and housing laws and dictates the regulations. Thats where we start plan review and construction first in the NJ UCC and then you open the applicable code book.

    Joseph Ehrhardt
    Building Forensic Specialist LLC

  11. #11
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    Chicago
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    Hello All,

    Steve, your commentary is very beneficial and puts this into perspective. The following are some additional thoughts following your lead.

    Although third party inspection is not defined by the IRC, I think it is generally understood that it is an inspection performed (and the outcome of the inspection accepted by the AHJ) by someone not employed or related to the AHJ. An example of this may be the acceptance of a soil report, an RPZ test report or some specialized assessment that is beyond the ability of regular building inspectors of the jurisdiction.

    Since the results of a home inspection, new construction or otherwise is not for the benefit of the building department it is simply not a third party inspection. I suspect that the code official who made the comment as indicated in the original post, is simply misinformed.

    Additionally, unless a particular municipality has adopted a local amendment they have no authority to request or enforce such a demand from a home inspector. The first chapter of the IRC is “administration” and within this chapter it clearly outlines the scope for which the IRC is to be used, which is essentially for construction, alteration and repairs. Associated with that scope are the provisions for inspection as it pertains to the relationship of permits issued and the relationship between contractor and building department. A home inspection does not fall into any of the categories specified by the IRC, and subsequently cannot be applied to a home inspection from an enforcement perspective or requiring that an HI register or otherwise be approved by a building department. In states that have licensing, an attempt to somehow apply the IRC to home inspections is likely some form of interference to the licensee.

    The IRC is a stand-alone document and the IBC would not apply to one & two family dwellings, not that the IBC has any such requirement anyway.
    Individual parties are free to hire any type of consultant (and that is what an H. I. is) for whatever their purpose without interference from any government agency provided that the consultant is operating within the parameters of appropriate licensing requirements such as architecture, engineering, or HI work.

    There is nothing in the IRC that prohibits private inspections or require that private inspections somehow register with the local AHJ.

    Best to All,

    Corey


  12. #12
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Frederickson View Post
    Third Party Inspectors in Florida have nothing to do with home inspections, do they? The original post seemed to be saying that the AHJ considers home inspectors to be Third Party Inspectors and they need to notify the AHJ before performing a home inspection.
    The original poster said "not" as in "does not pertain to private home inspectors."

    The original poster also asked: "Does anyone have the official definition of "third party inspectors" that is mentioned in the IRC or other codes?" - so I gave an example.

    The mix up is the inspector referred to in this part of the original post does not understand what he is referring to: "The reason I am asking is that a city code inspector told me that "third party inspectors have to notify the AHJ before performing a home inspection on a new house within their jurisdiction because the IRC says so"." - the of that mix up may have been that the home inspector referred to themselves as "Third Party Inspectors" when they are not.

    Except that, as I recall, Texas passed a law which accepted home inspectors as Third Party Inspectors as long as they were properly certified by ICC. Some of the Texas inspectors here can clarify and expand on that.

    There is no tie-in with home inspectors and the AHJ in any codes - there might be in state law such as in Texas.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    For the first two years after I retired form home inspections, I worked for an engineering firm doing Third Party Inspections across the country. I went all over Florida and the SE during that time.

    The engineering firm had projects all across the country, I went as far as South Carolina and to the Panhandle of Florida.

    In addition to Private Provider Inspections (Third Party Inspections), the engineering firm also provided Municipal Support where the firm was the AHJ in various places, and where its inspectors would, as I did, travel around and perform inspectors for various AHJ while they were short staffed

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

  14. #14
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    leonardo, new jersey
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    Default Re: third party inspectors

    [QUOTE] Jerry Peck
    In addition to Private Provider Inspections (Third Party Inspections), the engineering firm also provided Municipal Support where the firm was the AHJ in various places, and where its inspectors would, as I did, travel around and perform inspectors for various AHJ while they were short staffed
    [QUOTE]
    Thats how third party was created here in NJ, the state had hiring freeze in the 80's and people in the right place at the right time started agencies. Elevator was the first because towns could not hire full time inspectors for a hand full of elevators in their municipality so the state did them, then as work loads evolved for the state and staff was short, you had third parties pop up...and of course this becomes a perfect breeding ground for kick backs and other creative forms of corruption.

    Joseph Ehrhardt
    Building Forensic Specialist LLC

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