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Thread: UK, YOU KNOW?

  1. #1
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    Default UK, YOU KNOW?

    I'm reading a British reference that talks about property surveyors in a way that makes me wonder whether this is their term for what we'd call a home or commercial inspector or maybe environmental. Anyone know the UK usage? The book is How to investigate damp: practical site inspection skills and remediation options. The sentence reads: "Most property surveyors would surely agree that the commonest property problem is damp damage caused by unwanted moisture." [fonts theirs]

    OREP Insurance

  2. #2
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    Default Re: UK, YOU KNOW?

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    I'm reading a British reference that talks about property surveyors in a way that makes me wonder whether this is their term for what we'd call a home or commercial inspector or maybe environmental.
    It is.

    When I was inspecting in South Florida, I became friends with a property surveyor from England, and that is (at least was based on what he said) the same thing ... except that they inspected older homes (because England has been occupied much longer than here.

    For him, when back across the pond, it was not uncommon to inspect houses which were 400-500-600 years old, with 600 year old roofs on them (patched over the centuries as needed).

    He was about my age, so he is likely retired too. Most of the 'old guard' home inspectors I knew from 'back then' are now retired (or no longer alive).

    Jerry Peck
    Construction/Litigation/Code Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: UK, YOU KNOW?

    Thanks, Jerry.


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    Default Re: UK, YOU KNOW?

    More of "Two countries separated by a common language": Trail of suspicion. This case, https://www.isurv.com/directory_reco...hampson_and_co seemed to involve a finding of negligence, or what I've seen termed lack of due diligence. However, I've found no use of the British term of art in the U.S. Do we have an equivalent?

    The broader issue is how far an inspection need go. Whether it's a fixed-fee visit or charged by the hour, there be limits, always. I don't know whether Burkinshaw's comments apply to U.S. law, but he asserts that there can be liability when the building surveyor simply flags up (I'm guessing he means what we might call "flags as needing further specialized investigation") problems that later prove to be more severe than was evident superficially.

    It seems extraordinary to me that, say, a purchaser can receive a report saying "This looks like a small problem, but I myself am not qualified to investigate it further" or " .. . am not equipped to. . ." or " . . . would need authorization to at least mar the structure in order to . . . so I recommend you hire that guy Shapiro" and not hire the specialist; and later win a lawsuit against the HI for an incomplete report that led to paying more than the property was worth. Yet I think of us as more litigious than the Brits.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: UK, YOU KNOW?

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    More of "Two countries separated by a common language": Trail of suspicion. This case, https://www.isurv.com/directory_reco...hampson_and_co ...
    That stated "mortgage valuation inspection", which sounds to me as being similar to an "appraisal" done by appraisers.

    The broader issue is how far an inspection need go. Whether it's a fixed-fee visit or charged by the hour, there be limits, always.
    Also, "surveyor's obligation is the taking of reasonable care and that, if a proper inspection of a particular property required 2 hours, this would be something that the surveyor must accept." is basically what I have stated in the past - trying to do 4 or more inspections per day is just asking for trouble, and it creates more trouble (which some think is worth the risk).

    Also, no inspector should say ""This looks like a small problem," or "not hire the specialist".

    Any inspector who says things like that are basically handing out a 'please sue me' card.

    State the issue found (saying 'this may be a big/important' is nowhere near as bad as saying 'this is nothing, don't worry about it'), if the inspector is not qualified to or not experienced enough to fully address the issue, then recommend a licensed and qualified contractor address all the issues that the inspector found, and any and all items they find or create. I have seen licensed (but apparently not "qualified") contractors take a small mess listed on the inspector's report and leave a much larger and worse mess after the contractor did their repair work. Recommending any specific contractor by name is the same as saying 'you can trust this person, and I'll back him up with my money' because that is what the inspector will be doing ... putting their money on the line.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction/Litigation/Code Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: UK, YOU KNOW?

    Thanks, Jerry.

    Getting back to "trail of suspicion"; unfamiliar usage?

    One cavil: the varying understanding of "mess." As a contractor called in after home inspections, I've frequently left bigger messes. My terms of engagement read explicitly that I am not competent at and do not take responsibility to perform repairs of surfaces I may have to open up to do my work. I do know an electrician who also is a licensed home improvement contractor. He performs beautiful restorations. I know others who recommend a handyman to perform such repairs--and like a HI, they are taking some risk by passing on that name.

    I'll take that further. I've left bigger messes in terms of electrical dysfunction, when I thought that was the safer road. If the customer wanted me to come back and do what I deemed necessary, fine. But otherwise, I preferred leaving them with less functional systems over taking chances with their safety, and perhaps their neighbors'.

    I remember a customer asking me about replacing an old luminaire. First I warned him that given the age of his wiring, he would be limited considerably in his choice of replacements. Then I added that if I found the wiring feeding it in bad enough shape, I would not be willing to put his fixture back up. Doing so, to my mind, would be taking responsibility for a risky action. He chose to have me leave it alone. To my mind, this was taking responsibility himself.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: UK, YOU KNOW?

    David, by "mess" I am referring to when, for example, an electrician goes into a panel to correct neutral bonded to ground in a non-service equipment panel, and leaves leaves with the grounding lug now no longer bonded to the enclosure. Simply because they were not thinking about what they were doing.

    On many, many, occasions I would go back after a repair by a contractor and find that they either did not actually correct what they went back for, or did correct that, but created another issue when they made changes, or created multiple other issues while not even correcting what they went in to do. This applies to electrical contractors, plumbing contractors, mechanical contractors, and structural contractors (General, Building, Residential contractors in the case of Florida contractors).

    Yes, much of the time cosmetic "messes" are made and left, some of which could not not be helped, some of which were way over what was necessary, and many of which were simply not cleaning up after themselves. I was not referring to those types of "messes".

    Jerry Peck
    Construction/Litigation/Code Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: UK, YOU KNOW?

    Yep, yep. And we wonder, "Didn't they think the customer for whom we provided the report might have us back?"

    Based on personal experience as a homeowner, I suspect that sometimes the reason is that the contractor sent someone to the job to complete the work or fix the problems, but neglected to provide them with a copy of the report/plans/contract/plat.


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