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  1. #1
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    Default Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Does anybody know if there are specific standards on kitchen exhaust fan blades to assure that they do not pose a sharp edges hazard to the end user? Or, is this unregulated?

    To anybody joining this conversation late - I answered questions, then deleted most of what I posted, because I just wanted to know the answer to the above question - not to get into a pissing match with people who had no idea what I was talking about, which related to a very specific REAC inspection situation. I shared some personal and professional info that might have seemed like boasting, but was true, in response to suggestions that I might be a bad landlord, suggestions that I "learn a life lesson" and "stick my finger in the fan," and so on.

    This is all fine and good fun. No offense taken, I'm just not going there - it would be like a defense attorney who represents a falsely accused cop killer discussing defense strategy with a bunch of cops. He'll only get reasons the guy is guilty, no help on defense strategies. That's not an anti-cop comment, it's a metaphorical example - thank God for the brave men and women who protect our society from crime. Just don't ask them to defend an accused killer, that's not their job. I was asking for help disputing the finding of an inspector - no need to ask another inspector who will assume he was right.

    HG gave me a great answer, exactly what I was looking for. The filter IS considered a GUARD. I was wrong in my assumption that it was not. Let it go.

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    Last edited by Michael Gantt; 04-22-2012 at 11:15 PM.
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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    You won't like the answer, but the answer is to KEEP THE FILTERS IN PLACE and NOT EXPOSED SPINNING FAN BLADES to people's fingers.

    Trying to dismiss that automatically reduces your stance as a suitable landlord (if you are the landlord) because you are trying to dismiss a legitimate item.

    KEEP THE FILTERS IN PLACE and don't whine about someone writing them up for being missing if the fan blades are accessible as easily as they are in those types of hoods.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    ..........you seem to be making a differentiation to the level of hazard due to the fan blades being "PLASTIC"..........treat yourself to a life-lesson and stick your fingers into the operating fan..........pretty sure you'll change your mind


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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Having cleaned and serviced many such plastic fan blades, I would say calling it a sharp edged hazard is a real stretch of the imagination. While motionless I can't see the fan blade cutting anyone. During movement however I could see the plastic fan blades cutting someone. They are fairly thin. The rotation could be sufficient depending on someone's skin type.
    I've stuck my fingers/hand in many a moving Broan type kitchen and bath fan. The blades have never cut me, usually just scraped the skin or often times stopped rotation. My skin is fairly leathery though. There isn't much torque behind those blades so stopping them is fairly easy. I'm guessing you are taking about the standard, cheap Broan type unit.
    If there is a hearing, I would take a fan blade with as evidence. Having been a property manager I would recommend screwing the filters on and putting cleaning on the landlords annual maintenance checklist.
    Do I think the inspector over reached, Yes. However, he's there to protect the tenant and himself. Unless he has done the property before, talked with the landlord or reviewed previous inspection reports he doesn't know if the landlord is a slumlord or if the tenants are careless. In today's litigious society erring on the side of the landlord being a slumlord is a safer bet for many professionals.
    Was the landlord or a Rep there during the inspection? If not, that's just not smart. If he was, what happened that the landlord/Rep didn't just install the filter immediately (since you state it was laying in the sink). Maybe the inspector didn't see the filter. He doesn't know if the tenant took it out or if the landlord never replaced it.
    Does the landlord have a pleasant or abrasive personality? Other property managers and landlords have asked me to attend many a meeting/inspection with government type officials. They were smart enough to know (or got hammered a few times) that they didn't have the personality for it.
    Unless the inspector is a real jagoff, it is rarely not possible to work out a reasonable solution for all parties involved. Having a third party and/or your maintenance guy walk around during the inspection really helps.
    This is like the smoke detector battery requirement. Landlord is required to provide the smoke detector, the tenant is required to replace the batteries. Unless the landlord is checking regularly you don't know if the battery is good or even still in the unit. Just like a landlord doesn't know if the filter is installed or not from one day to the next.

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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    I'm hoping one of you can help me with something that is going to sound pretty
    silly, but here it is! This was not a regular home inspection, but a HUD REAC ...
    UL 507!!! All fans must be guarded so your rigid or crooked finger cannot make contact. Period. ALL the general requirements plus those enhanced starting about Chapter 90. IT IS A SHARP HAZARD - IT IS AN INJURY HAZARD, it is not a not an immediate threat to life.


    As a consultant/PAID 100% REAC pre-inspector it is your bad. YOU cost your Client the inspection and the FAILURE on the REAC inspection.

    All your tantrums about the loss of points as a SHARP hazard x three units is ALL YOUR FAULT. It is a DEFINED INJURY HAZARD. You did your client a DISSERVICE. The NTL and FAILURE is also your fault - your arguments about the LOCKED ROOF DOOR are unacceptable. The only thing that bothers me about your claims to be a high paid, jet-setting fee paid 100% full-inspeciton REAC consultant and TEACHER/TAINER is that you actually spent five LONG ranting posts DEFENDING that the conditions shouldn't have caused point deductions - and that it was all the inspectors fault, and that you've not only taken $$ from your client, you've "screwed" the property which is in the process of being sold, as you said! Ha! you really think your deletions weren't cached somewhere on the WWW?

    You can carry on about an appeal (technical review) but you won't get it and you know it. Not on the MISSING GUARDS. You will NOT win regarding the LOCKED/obstructed MEANS OF EGRESS EXIT. The best you MIGHT do is and as you should know, request an adjustment IF those filter/guards were really in the sinks (all three tenants washing them at the same time) and the units WERE under tenant control, and the TENANTS removed them (third-parties) and THEY are willing to attest to that fact (that THEY EACH removed them. You don't get make up points for correcting a defect found during a REAC.

    Notice you have severely edited your few remaining posts, and DELETED the rest.

    SHAMEFUL!


    Most cheap range hoods have plenty of sharp edges in the fan area, even those with plastic (most are) fan blades, including the unrounded retention tab areas (thin metal) which are unfilled and exposed when the specified framed filter is not in place; the spring metal (usually in a goove above tabs or an edge to position the filter and push it against spinning plastic retention or spring clip; and the usually exposed fan assembly mounts. The range hood is not to be operated when same is not present.

    The in-place filter acts as a GUARD to these sharp areas and the fan assembly. The fan MUST BE GUARDED whether it has a metal post and plastic rotor, plastic blades, metal rotor, or metal blades, that's required in the STANDARDS for safety for the device itself. The required instructions were a part of the Listing as well. The Listed Equipment is not appropriately maintained for use when the filter is not in place. The filters are generally likewise metallic - and make up part of the protection assembly for what is otherwise invasive of the 30" zone above same and can burn.

    On the EXPOSED SHARP EDGES vain, the same "gig" applies for those cheapo plastic (standard appliance lamp (light bulb) guards which are so often missing. When not in place the punch slots which retain them are unguarded and exposed - and SHARP, not to mention the unguarded lamp from splatter/shatter potential and without a lamp in place an exposed unguarded socket.

    Snap a picture showing there is no overlapping metal, no raised (even slightly) exposed SHARP EDGES(including the straight sides of the retention spring clips, if present - some use plastic clips that rotate via single rivets). It would be a rare contractor grade low-end range hood that did not have EXPOSED SHARP EDGES anywhere in the area behind where the filter is not in place, when the filter serves dual purpose of being a GUARD.

    Stupendous you missed the $2.00 items during the PRE-INSPECTION, you can't dispute they were missing, gambling OPM on the extra points for the ones the inspector caught and counted, that's not the inspector's fault.

    Sounds like the gigs were exactly and completely correct!!

    Example: This same guy cited us for a blocked fire exit. It was a stairwell door to a third floor roof deck where residents may enjoy the sunshine. That door has a keyed lock to prevent residents from going on the roof deck during certain hours. When you are out on the roof, the door has a thumb knob so - if someone inadvertently locked you out there - you can unlock the door to get back inside to gain access to the stairwell which is the fire exit. This inspector insisted that a lock preventing someone from going OUT onto the THIRD floor roof, effectively at the fourth floor level, was a blocked fire exit.
    THE INSPECTOR IS RIGHT! ARE YOU NUTS? The ROOF is being USED "Where roofs are being used for roof gardens or for other purposes" (2000 IFC 504.3 Stairway access to roof)

    You have to Maintain the stairway, the access to and from the exterior door to the roof, and you cannot obstruct or block, and most of all LOCKING IS NOT PERMITTED of that stairway or the door to the roof, PERIOD.

    The firefighters as well as the tenant occupants MUST have access.

    The roof and the stairway thereto is a means of egress in an existing building and MUST be maintained as per Section 1010, including 1010.8. & 1011.2


    2000 IFC 1011.2 Reliability.

    Required exit accesses, exits or exit discharges shall be continuously maintained free from obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency




    The lock to the roof deck yep, good gig too. AND an Immediate THREAT TO LIFE NLT.

    Install panic hardware on the door with an alarm. Your time lock and thumb screw deadbolt is unacceptable MUST BE REMOVED. To an area with otherwise (some hours) is permitted access and otherwise uncontrolled and seemingly invited tenant recreation area.

    If a kid wanders out there the parents have to be able to retrieve them, before they get blown off or fall off the roof, SUFFER EXPOSURE, etc. An adult could be out there during the owner's permissible unlocked time, and suffer a heart attack, etc. If someone needs to get up there - they should be able to ANY TIME. Coming down off the roof can't require any special knowledge either. If you're going to offer intermediate (non-emergent) recreational or whatever, tenant access to the roof, then it must be accessible all the time, putting a time lock on the door is unacceptable. Now an alarm timer (sounding alarm when after-hours door is opened) that's something else.

    Also, escape or refuge to rescue assisted or otherwise from an accessible roof deck in times of fire, flood, etc. is NOT UNHEARD OF! (expecially off a mere three-story building!!).

    I referenced 2000 IFC as you HAD your location as "Baltimore" and "Baltimore City, Maryland" uses amongst others the 2000 IFC as a Maintenance requirement.

    Accessible areas (flat recreational roof) must be accessible at all times, and must remain readily accessible to fire and rescue personnel without obstruction.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-22-2012 at 09:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    OK Exposed Plastic Fan Blades and wiring.

    Electrical Hazard.
    .

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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gantt View Post
    Gentlemen - I appreciate your points, but there's a huge difference between a metal blade and a plastic blade.
    You are correct.

    The metal blade will likely leave a nub at the knuckle where the blade cut cleanly through the finger, whereas the plastic blade only cut to the bone and tendons.

    That is, I guess, a "huge difference".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Michael,
    You already seem to know the answer that you need. You know the rules that the system plays by and you now have to utilize those rules for your clients benefit, go forth and gather what you know you need to alter the scoring and have it changed.

    It does sound like you failed at your preinspection and recommendations for corrections needed. If you knew items needed to be done and the owner did not complete those corrections you are only trying to rewrite the report via a technical move in semantics.

    The HUD inspection being so important it seems ironic that the owner did not make sure that all was in 1st class shape to get the score needed. Or you just did not flag the correct items for the owner. As you are (or should be) aware inspections are not about common sense or what an owner rationalizes is correct. Its about black and white. Your inspector saw a potential hazard and scored it. By you grease screens not being in place it cost points. Stating exposed sharp edges was a shot at not having the common sense to have the filters in place. I do believe that you will find that the UL and manufacture will have stated that the screens are required to be in place to prevent potential injury. I do not think that they will provide you with what you are looking for..

    If something is removable for servicing it is implying that it is to be replaced after servicing. In the sink is the same as being in the trash.

    It sounds as though you should have gone thought he property just prior to the inspection to double check that everything was in order. If you had done that, with your vast knowledge and experience, there should not have been any surprise deduction to the score. Maybe you failed in educating the owner as to the importance of making sure that the corrections had been completed prior to the inspection.

    .


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    So, apparently nobody so far knows anything about exhaust fan blade safety standards, whether they exist even. I'm surprised. Thanks for your sage advice, anyway. I'll check back later.

    Last edited by Michael Gantt; 04-22-2012 at 07:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    OK Exposed Plastic Fan Blades and wiring.

    Electrical Hazard.
    .
    Billy - you got me there! It would have been worse if the guy cited us for exposed wires!


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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gantt View Post
    So, apparently nobody so far knows anything about exhaust fan blade safety standards, whether they exist even. I'm surprised. Thanks for your sage advice, anyway. I'll check back later.
    I have no doubt that there are standards for protecting people from spinning fan blades, otherwise why would every fan out there have a protective guard over the fan blades? Certainly not profitable for all that extra cost if it was not required.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gantt View Post
    So, apparently nobody so far knows anything about exhaust fan blade safety standards, whether they exist even. I'm surprised. Thanks for your sage advice, anyway. I'll check back later.
    Regarding your failure of REAC inspection on amongst other major issues, the missing guards (which is an additional feature the grease filters function as) on those cheapo range hoods that your client got cited (gig'd - points) for in multiple units YEP. The Standards they were listed to, and the manufacturer's installation and use instructions.

    Covered under UL 507.

    UL 507. The FAN MUST BE GUARDED so as to prevent a rigid finger or a crooked finger from making incidental contact with the MOVING PARTS.

    Its an INJURY HAZARD.

    The General sections of UL 507 address this, and they are further enhanced begining at Section 90.

    The Framed grease filter serves as the REQUIRED GUARD for the FAN.

    You're client is lucky they didn't get even more pts off for INOPERABLE/GREASE hazard - when the grease filter is not in place it is a HAZARD to operate as GREASE can pass to the FAN, electrical parts, and the EXHAUST DUCT. -- That's yet another hazard - a FIRE hazard.

    Also causes smelly conditions - more gig points - attracts vermin, insects, etc. - more gigs, eventual fire or infestation - morepoints.

    He should have gig'd further for INJURY HAZARD x 3.

    You can't get win a Technical Review on a gig you corrected at the time of inspection.

    Best you can try for is a database correction IF you get signed tenant statements that they (THIRD PARTY) removed the filters.

    Won't help you on the locked stairwell to roof access/exit/egress door to the roof. Won't get a TR either.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-22-2012 at 09:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller
    Was the landlord or a Rep there during the inspection? If not, that's just not smart. If he was, what happened that the landlord/Rep didn't just install the filter immediately (since you state it was laying in the sink). Maybe the inspector didn't see the filter. He doesn't know if the tenant took it out or if the landlord never replaced it.
    MarKus,

    These aren't muni inspections.

    With this type of inspection you cannot redeem the point deduction by correcting the condition found during the inspection at the inspection.

    Once the Genie is out of the bottle there is no putting it back in - its out and you take the hit points. If the defect is one which is categorized to be a Danger to Life - you get an immediate correction report too.

    If its found/seen/"caught" by the inspector, its gig'd whatever point deductions aggrivated by the level of defect/deficiency found by the inspector.

    And in this case it was found in three separate sample units the same defect (as he said before he deleted it) the point deductions take place in the data base. You can't "appeal" (Technical Review) those deficiencies that were repaired or corrected during or after the inspection. You can try for a database correction, for: Adverse conditions beyond the owner's control - deficiencies that were caused by circumstances beyond the owner's control, such as damage from a natural disaster or third party. He only got 0.8 pts for each missing grease filter/fan guard.




    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-22-2012 at 10:06 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    H.G.! Thanks, man. You actually came up with something that convinces me I'm wrong in thinking that the filter does not serve as a guard in any "specified" way. I figured that since it is easily removed by the consumer it was not considered a safety device. I will certainly not pursue that avenue. Can I paypal you a cold beverage of your choosing for your trouble?

    I've circulated this question amongst my REAC colleagues, and nobody has come up with the info you gave me. I figured someone on this site would know it, or know how to get it. I was googling, and couldn't come up with it.

    It is absolutely delightful to hear from someone who knows what a Technical Review and a Data Base Adjustment are. I did not think I was speaking with anybody who had a clue about that very specialized topic, which is why I withdrew my earlier explanation and boiled it down to a simple question.

    You're wrong about my fire exit appeal, though, no offense intended. The roof exit can be either a DBA, or a TR. It falls under "conditions permitted by local code" which is a DBA because this particular door complies. It also falls under "non-existent defects" which is a TR, because it is a mistake on the inspector's part. The fire marshal will sign off, and a fire marshal's signature is like gold.

    I've appealed as many as 23 bogus "blocked egress" issues worth 45 points on a 100 point scale on a single inspection, bringing the score from the 40s to the 90s. These were for the restricted windows in an Alzheimer's ward, which are required by law to prevent patient elopement. I've appealed many alleged "egress issues" for double cylinder locks in common area situations where the fire marshal said he didn't only approve them, he required them.

    My clients constantly get cited for a blocked secondary egress (bedroom window) in buildings designed for one egress to a corridor with exits in two directions. In NYC, there's a city law requiring restricted window openings on all apartment windows above the first floor. REAC inspectors cite them, we appeal them, and we win. I win lots of fire exit issues - they are one of the very easiest appeals as long as they're actually bogus. I'll be the first to tell a landlord to resolve a real fire exit issue if I see one.

    You are also correct in assuming that these range hoods are cheapo piece of crap fans. However, "Range Hood; Inoperable/Excessive Grease" can only pertain if there is excessive grease (Level 1) or the fan is inoperable (Level 3.) The fans operated, and were clean. There was no legitimate defect there, and none cited.

    Ironically, some of the filters were missing precisely because the residents were asked to clean them and didn't replace them. The landlord's responsibility does not include cleaning people's homes. The landlord does HVAC filters, not range hood filters. I absolutely WILL be telling clients to do this instead of trusting their residents to do it in the future - just like I've been telling them for years to do dead roach clean up after exterminations. I'd rather lose the 0.1 on a point on a dirty filter than the 0.6 on sharp edges. In the larger scheme of things, either is better than 12 points on a bogus fire exit issue - which will make the pass/fail decision on this one.

    Statements and affidavits from residents are useless. HUD does not consider statements by residents or employees of the property on TRs or DBAs.

    Last edited by Michael Gantt; 04-22-2012 at 11:17 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gantt View Post
    H.G.! Thanks, man. You actually came up with something that convinces me I'm wrong in thinking that the filter does not serve as a guard in any "specified" way. I figured that since it is easily removed by the consumer it was not considered a safety device. I will certainly not pursue that avenue. Can I paypal you a cold beverage of your choosing for your trouble?

    I've circulated this question amongst my REAC colleagues, and nobody has come up with the info you gave me. I figured someone on this site would know it, or know how to get it. I was googling, and couldn't come up with it.

    It is absolutely delightful to hear from someone who knows what a Technical Review and a Data Base Adjustment are. I did not think I was speaking with anybody who had a clue about that very specialized topic, which is why I withdrew my earlier explanation and boiled it down to a simple question.

    You're wrong about my fire exit appeal, though, no offense intended. The roof exit can be either a DBA, or a TR. It falls under "conditions permitted by local code" which is a DBA because this particular door complies. It also falls under "non-existent defects" which is a TR, because it is a mistake on the inspector's part. The fire marshal will sign off, and a fire marshal's signature is like gold.

    I've appealed as many as 23 bogus "blocked egress" issues worth 45 points on a 100 point scale on a single inspection, bringing the score from the 40s to the 90s. These were for the restricted windows in an Alzheimer's ward, which are required by law to prevent patient elopement. I've appealed many alleged "egress issues" for double cylinder locks in common area situations where the fire marshal said he didn't only approve them, he required them.

    My clients constantly get cited for a blocked secondary egress (bedroom window) in buildings designed for one egress to a corridor with exits in two directions. In NYC, there's a city law requiring restricted window openings on all apartment windows above the first floor. REAC inspectors cite them, we appeal them, and we win. I win lots of fire exit issues - they are one of the very easiest appeals as long as they're actually bogus. I'll be the first to tell a landlord to resolve a real fire exit issue if I see one.

    You are also correct in assuming that these range hoods are cheapo piece of crap fans. However, "Range Hood; Inoperable/Excessive Grease" can only pertain if there is excessive grease (Level 1) or the fan is inoperable (Level 3.) The fans operated, and were clean. There was no legitimate defect there, and none cited.

    Ironically, some of the filters were missing precisely because the residents were asked to clean them and didn't replace them. The landlord's responsibility does not include cleaning people's homes. The landlord does HVAC filters, not range hood filters. I absolutely WILL be telling clients to do this instead of trusting their residents to do it in the future - just like I've been telling them for years to do dead roach clean up after exterminations. I'd rather lose the 0.1 on a point on a dirty filter than the 0.6 on sharp edges. In the larger scheme of things, either is better than 12 points on a bogus fire exit issue - which will make the pass/fail decision on this one.
    Thanks for the offer, but I'd rather you send it to Brian as a donation to Inspection News. Helps keep the web site going (every little bit helps). And don't forget to click thorugh on a few of those ads from time to time.


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    Smile Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    If the window screens were not in the window and sitting inside on the floor. The window would have lost points? Window screens to pass have to be in the window, yes?

    You might suggest to your clients that they not rely on the tenants to do anything involved in the inspection.. Or anything else that is of any importance. I have found trying to have tenants do anything is like herding cats. It would be in the owners interest to pay $100,$200, or what ever the cost to have a maintenance person go through and perform a punch list of all items that could be questioned and correct them prior to the inspection. Spend a buck and save 9++++. You might consider offering that service to the owner. Bring in your own contractor to make sure that it is done.

    Also you might consider getting familiar searching the Consumer Products Commission along with Underwriters Lab. sites.

    Proactive rather than reactive. Beat the other team to the punch.


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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    Statements and affidavits from residents are useless. HUD does not consider statements by residents or employees of the property on TRs or DBAs


    That's interesting. Perhaps a recent policy change? I've experience with sworn affidavits from residents been accpeted regarding destruction and interferrance by third parties beyond the owner/manager control statements for events which took place DURING the inspection on DBAs.

    Also non-sworn but certified copies of police reports regarding same (vandilism/interferance).

    Also submissions from security cams attested to by building management as to date, time, copies regards TRs.

    Of course neither was the solitary supporting material.




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    Default Re: Kitchen Range Hood Safety

    The regulations for the REAC inspections, IMO, were written by "book smart" people with little or no common sense and or experience in the real world. I was in the first class given to become a certified REAC inspector. It was found that a misaligned or disconnected water heater flue pipe was a level 3 health and safety deficiency, however this was not a listed deficiency for furnace flue pipes. When this was brought to the attention of the HUD training folks from D.C., they were adamant that if it was not a listed deficiency in the inspection software it could not be failed. Eventually misaligned or disconnected furnace flue pipes were added as a deficiency.

    Galen L. Beasley
    Inspections Supervisor
    Housing Authority of Kansas City MO

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