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  1. #1
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    Default Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    Quick story.

    Friend of mine who is a HI. Does an inspection in May. See's paint in the electrical service equipment. Doesn't write it up on HI report.

    Buyer moves in. Condensing unit overheats, attempts to trip breaker but paint causes arcing and burns up the service panel and the condensing unit.

    Home warranty people come out, " Your HI should have called out the paint in the panel. We're not fixing anything".

    Electrician comes out. Paint in the panel, "Your HI should have called it out as a contaminated panel and recommended replacement."

    Buyer calls this HI, and HI says, "I see it all the time but I've never seen it cause a problem, so I don't write it up."

    Attorney's letter now says, "The picture in your HI report done at the time of the original inspection shows paint on the buss bar and electrical componets. No where in your report is this mentioned and per TREC standards, HI should report all defects and deficiencies within the panel. My client is seeking approx. 9000.00 plus my attorney fees."
    See you in court.


    Today, he calls me and asks, "Do you write up paint in the electrical panel when you see it?" My answer he did not like. "Every time"

    So my question is to you, how many times have you seen a little bit of paint and thought its not a big deal?

    rick

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  2. #2
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
    mathew stouffer Guest

    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    My question is who painted the panel and why are not they held liable Paint and drywall texture, see it in the panel all the time. Take a pic mention it and move on. More often then not you never hear anything about it, until of course something goes wrong.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    I put it in the report, but I generally do not "flag" it as a serious defect. Maybe I should rethink that.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    Mathew,

    Ever hear the verbiage, "Last man in takes the blame?"

    rick


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    And had he called for replacement of the panel, the seller probably could have produced licensed electricians saying it's no big deal. Damned if you do ...

    Today I heard from a fellow inspector, at a seminar, that when he called out knob and tube wiring buried in insulation, the local code official and two electricians said, in writing, that it wasn't a problem.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    Electricians in the past would have probably looked at the paint and said its not a big deal.

    In todays economy and slow times they are saying that panel needs to be completely replaced and they'll quote code for it.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    I report it frequently. I make a judgement decision based on the amount of paint. New construction and warranty every time regardless of amount. Used homes depends on amount of paint. Maybe will be more diligent.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  8. #8
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    Its a CYA job... I Take lots of photos... When I get back to the office I look at each one a few times. I find more crap that way...

    Best

    Ron


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    Ron,

    Maybe we should all think that CYA means COVER YOUR ACCOUNT
    instead of our arse.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    My question is who painted the panel and why are not they held liable

    They could be held accountable ... if anyone knew who they were, until then, though, the HI is responsible FOR NOT REPORTING it ... not because they put it there.

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

  11. #11
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
    mathew stouffer Guest

    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    That knob and tube story cracks me up. I just dealt with the same thing about a month ago. It was covered with insulation and the county said it was fine.


  12. #12
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
    mathew stouffer Guest

    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    I have a good story. I always write up door latches that don't work and it pisses off the agents. Well on one inspection I told the buyer the majority of the latches don't function. The agent and buyer blew it off. After he moved in he was out of town and the side door blew open during a snow storm. Several feet of snow in the entry ruined the reclaimed wood floor. Opps.


  13. #13
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    I guess your friends lawyer has to give some kind of t
    lagit line that a home inspector crosses or does not about being the absolute expert on every system in the home.

    A sprinkling of paint would never have lit up like that. A good bit of oil base paint or alcahol base paint would have. A touch of drywall texture would never have lit up like that either.

    I can almost garranty that if a real expert were to be called in the paint would more than likely not been the problem but and overall system problem/bad breaker. With out it being a bad breaker that could not have been known about unless every bvreaker was pulled and checked before the fire.

    Did the paint burn....sure...after there was a fault in the panel other than a little paint in it. I am sure no one painted the inside of the panel and then plugged all the breakers in after it.

    Sounds a little....Lets blamer the home inspector because he did not write up the paint.

    It was definately something else that set it off. My God man.....the house burned down. We will find someone responsible......I know.....Lets blame the home inspector.

    It was probably the same warranty guy that came to a home I inspected because "the dishwasher stopped working" The warranty guy says " I found the problem.....It was never hooked up under the sink."

    By the way. Is the electrician an expert as to looking at a panel after it literally burned up. He could tell....after the paint burned off......that the panel burned up because there was paint on it to the amount that it would have been the culpert....I very seriously doubt it.

    I don't think you friend has a thing to worry about and needs to fire back as to bring it on. Will he get a little tap on the but for not writing up paint in the panel.....maybe....if an expert can say that there was enough to have been the cause. Will the clients lawyer risk highering experts to prove any of this taking the chance that there was enough paint to have caused this problem....I seriously doubt it.

    The system had a problem that the inspector would not have known about. Did the paint contribute. I doubt it or it would have caused a concern a long long time ago.

    Just my honest opinion.

    Spanking...maybe.

    9,000 plus attornies fees....not a friggin chance.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Zeeland Michigan
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    143

    Wink Re: Nine Thousand Dollar Lesson

    I write up paint in panel everytime. Have had a few words over it but so far have prevailed.
    As a side note I didn't know it was a problem until I read it on this board several years ago.

    If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest
    Benjamin Franklin

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