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  1. #1
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    Default Underground fuel tank

    I inspected a home yesterday built in the 60s and came across an area where a fuel tank was buried and not used anymore. I told my client that I thought these tanks had to be dug up according to DHEC regulations. Since he was buying the house as is and had a contract on it pending my inspection, he said "do not say anything about it".

    Does anyone know what the regulations are and how would you handle this with the client.

    Thanks to all,

    Jim Murphy

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    Quote Originally Posted by JIM MURPHY View Post
    he said "do not say anything about it".

    ABSOLUTELY put it in your report, otherwise you could end up having to pay for it, and they are not cheap to remove.

    Put that in your report and IT IS UP TO HIM to "no say anything about it".

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

  3. #3
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    Rockwall Texas
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    4,519

    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    You better make sure YOU say something about it on your report.

    You should not care one way or the other if he gets the house or not. By not telling him on your report, you could be the one paying to have the tank removed or worse you could be buying that home.

    rick


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    Attachment taken from Tennessee Rules.

    These are Expressly Excluded by Law and Required to be Disclosed to the client in the Inspection Agreement as Excluded.
    .
    * your mileage may vary.
    .
    .

    Attached Files Attached Files
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    Attachment taken from Tennessee Rules.

    These are Expressly Excluded by Law and Required to be Disclosed to the client in the Inspection Agreement as Excluded.
    .
    * your mileage may vary.
    .
    .
    That may be (and it seems to be) but IF YOU SEE IT and do not mention it (which is different than not "inspecting it") and it is not in your report and he has to pay $25,000 to remove it and all the contaminated soil ... I will almost guaranty that you will be getting that letter from his attorney asking for $25,000 plus the attorneys fees, and, if it goes to court, I suspect the Judge will look at your law and say 'Yep, I agree with you, you do not have to inspect it and report ON IT, but you do have to state YOU SAW IT there and advise him that HE NEEDS to address it.

    When you start to complain that the Judge is splitting hairs, the Judge may very well say "Do you want to find out just how fine of a hair I can split?" ... at which point I would recommend sitting down and shutting up.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    We have a lot of buried tanks around here. Our state SOPs and my contract specifically exclude searching for tanks. That being said, if I see signs I'll mention it. It became a much bigger deal a few years back and they're required to be taken care of if not in use. People usually do soil samples also to test for leakage. If the soil gets contaminated from leakage is when the big bucks really start flowing.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    That may be (and it seems to be) but IF YOU SEE IT and do not mention it

    (which is different than not "inspecting it") and it is not in your report .
    .
    Mr. Peck,

    The Tennessee State Statue ( in TN. the Law is interpreted as the Intent of The legislature) is written does not Address these Excluded Issues.

    That would encompass verbal and written communication.

    Address Meaning and Definition

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    the Law is interpreted as the Intent of The legislature)
    It is that way in every state.

    is written does not Address these Excluded Issues.
    You do not have to address them in the report and you MEET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF REPORTING, which is not to say that you meet the minimum requirements of due diligence on your clients behalf; which is also not to say that you meet the standard of care in your profession; and which is not to say that you meet the hair splitting of a Judge in court when he weighs those three duties you have. Let's see ... you meet one of three, meaning you do not meet two of three, ... ummm ... wonder which way a Judge will go ... ?

    Are you willing to find out? *I* would not be.

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

  9. #9
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    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    This sounds similar to a client that wants a soft report so they can get their FHA loan..... Don't do it!

    If DHEC finds that tank later and requires a regulated cleanup process, it will cost anywhere from $4k to $15k and you can bet your client will want you to pay for it since "it was not in the report".


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    It is that way in every state.



    You do not have to address them in the report and you MEET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF REPORTING, which is not to say that you meet the minimum requirements of due diligence on your clients behalf;
    .
    .
    The State Requires Me ( and all licensed Home Inspectors) to Have This language in the pre Inspection Agreement as well as The Home Inspection Report ( it's not a suggestion or guide line ) it is Required by Law in the Report. Does Not Address these........

    4. A statement that the report does not address


    * if the client is Chain Smoking, Drinking Pure grain Shots, and has two pockets full of snacks do I have to ( due diligence ) have a chat with him about his life style?
    .
    * attachment is the full rules.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Daniel Island, SC.
    Posts
    230

    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    Gentlemen as always, thank you! You verified what i thought was right and I put it in the report. I fiqure once his wife and realtor read it something will be done.


    Jim Murphy


  12. #12
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    Chicago, IL
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    For what it's worth, here's my take on such issues:

    1) Anyone can file a lawsuit.

    2) Even if your state SOP provides blanket protection against failure to report something, you're still going to have to go to the legal expense of demonstrating that this is the case.

    3) Which do you think is more likely: that the seller will sue you because you did report the tank and a buyer backed out, or that a buyer will sue you because at her verbal request you didn't report the tank, and it then cost $25,000 to remove it?

    I'll take my chances with reporting the tank, every time.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    The State Requires Me ( and all licensed Home Inspectors) to Have This language in the pre Inspection Agreement as well as The Home Inspection Report ( it's not a suggestion or guide line ) it is Required by Law in the Report. Does Not Address these........

    4. A statement that the report does not address
    And you are not ADDRESSING it, you are just stating that IT IS PRESENT, *NOT INSPECTED* ... i.e, that it is PRESENT, *NOT ADDRESSED*.

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

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Underground fuel tank

    Billy,

    From the link you provided:

    Go to 078--5-12-.10 Standard of Practice. Read (1) Standards of Practice. This rule set forth the MINIMUM standards of practice required of licensed home inspectors.

    "MINIMUM" ... the bold all caps highlighting is mine ... the WORD "MINIMUM" is there.

    Those are your MINIMUM standards and requirements.

    Now go down to (5) (a) 4. (Yep, it is STILL under that Standards of Practice section, still under that MINIMUM rule.)

    As a MINIMUM you are required to:
    4. A statement that the report does not address environmental hazards, including:
    ... what is it in 4. you are trying to point out ...
    ... oh, probably (xi) Other similar environmental hazards.

    Don't forget 5. A statement that the report does not address subterranean systems or system components (operation or nonoperational), including:
    ... (iii) Fuel storage or delivery.

    Okie dokie, you now have those statements in your report as required by your SoP for your MINIMUM requirements - MINIMUM requirements meaning you DO NOT HAVE TO DO THOSE THINGS.

    Do you do a "MINIMUM" inspection?

    Ok? Okay, you do NOT do a "MINIMUM" inspection, which means your inspect and report on things above THE MINIMUM ... EXCELLENT. GOOD JOB. By the way, adding a statement that there is an underground fuel oil tank is not "against" your SoP, it is only ... like your inspections ... "above and beyond" your MINIMUM SoP requirements.

    Going above and beyond your minimum SoP is good.

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

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