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  1. #1
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    Default It finally happened..

    I got my first of those dreaded "you missed it" calls today. I figured it was only a matter of time,it's a numbers game. Anyhow, I completely forgot to enter an item into the computer report, which was clearly on my field checklist. What a stupid mistake to make.. So now I have to install a waste vent in a bathroom. Merry Christmas to me...

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Why should you pay for it? Was it patently obvious?


  3. #3
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Marc, Numbers game is right. I use a camera and voice recorder on the inspection and still sometimes miss getting a photo or recorded note. For any inspector who thinks that they don't miss stuff, they are sadly not in step with reality. We all miss things and more so than we may think. My contract even states this fact. It's one of the things that I want my clients to have a perspective on. I have to believe that one of the reasons I don't get many "you missed it" calls is because they understand and can appreciate this.

    Sorry you got that call - it certainly could have been me.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    I got my first of those dreaded "you missed it" calls today. I figured it was only a matter of time,it's a numbers game. Anyhow, I completely forgot to enter an item into the computer report, which was clearly on my field checklist. What a stupid mistake to make.. So now I have to install a waste vent in a bathroom. Merry Christmas to me...
    Not sure what you are talking about as I do not know what exactly you are or are not suppose to check for or write and prove that you checked.As far as a waste vent in a bathroom. How did you or should you have checked for a waste vent other than running some water and seeing what happens or what you may hear as the water goes down. Ifr water appears to be draining properly then?????


  5. #5
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Marc,

    I'm sure the feeling is not a good one, I'm sure you have pride in the service you provide. I'm not sure that based on what you've said, that you would need to install or pay for installation of a vent as mentioned.

    If this was a new construction inspection... then you should be able to discern the vent path and termination.

    If this is a finished home, and without problem, I'm not sure that based on what you've said, that the item was missed as part of a "Visual Inspection"

    If there no visible vents anywhere near bath/kitch etc... *maybe*

    Having said that, if there *was* a problem with a toilet or other... did they have someone check it out? Did you define a scope of work for a problem that they relied on?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    This was a bathroom addition, and from the roof, it was obviously missing. On additions I will usually try to verify vents.
    In this case, I Went onto the roof and didn't see a vent so I wrote down (field notes), didn't see a vent, but forgot or whatever...to place it into their report. So anyhow...they had a plumber out (and so did I) and they confirmed that the vent was in the wall but didn't terminate. So I was (actually) correct that there was no vent termination. I even showed her my field notes, where it says, "no vent termination for added bathroom". It's my error, it just sucks. So I'm just going to write her a check for the repair grand to get it fixed. It's the right thing to do IMO.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    This was a bathroom addition, and from the roof, it was obviously missing. On additions I will usually try to verify vents.
    In this case, I Went onto the roof and didn't see a vent so I wrote down (field notes), didn't see a vent, but forgot or whatever...to place it into their report. So anyhow...they had a plumber out (and so did I) and they confirmed that the vent was in the wall but didn't terminate. So I was (actually) correct that there was no vent termination. I even showed her my field notes, where it says, "no vent termination for added bathroom". It's my error, it just sucks. So I'm just going to write her a check for the repair grand to get it fixed. It's the right thing to do IMO.
    Curious how the plumber checked it to make sure it was not vented.

    It could have been tied back into the vents of the main house in the roof/attic space and not have been visible, or, if on a wall common with the house, it could have been tied back in with another vent in that common wall.

    Just trying to figure out how it was checked and verified.

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    It's the right thing to do IMO.
    I wish more inspectors took that approach. My hat's off to ya Marc.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  9. #9
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Thanks Eric. Jerry, the wall / tile was removed and the vent was just terminated a foot or so in the wall.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Marc, That sucks and I agree with that we will all miss something.

    I got my first call about month ago on a plumbing leak. I was flabbergasted that I could miss a leak but we may not run enough water to replicate an issue.

    I reviewed my report and all my pictures and was just besides myself.

    I get there to see what I missed and found that it was a blocked AC condensate line.

    It turns out the HVAC tech threw me under the bus and said I should of caught this. He was friggen nuts. I had pics of the pan and floor with no indication of overflowing.

    Oh well the client was just going off of what the HVAC guy said. Sure made me think about though, a good lesson.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    I respect Marc's handling of the situation as well. A stand up guy.. We are in the business of performing a service, but I'm sure most of us also started in this business *to help people*.

    It should also be said that we aren't gonna catch every darn thing. A field of roofing, with wet utilities below it & vacant of a DWV visible from the roof is a red flag to keep looking... but, in the absence of other defects may go overlooked most of the time IMO. As Jerry said, a path for venting may be less than visible...

    To quote a common premise/statement...
    "A home inspection will not reveal all defects, especially those that are not visible." There is a reason for that..

    Also, "This property/bathroom/living area appears to be that of an addition to the original structure/building/residence. While we provide a thorough visible inspection of these areas, I/We suggest obtaining any documentation/permits/etc to verify permits/etc were obtained... (blah blah blah) as we do not endorse work performed without permits *as latent/hidden* defects may exist. YMMV.

    Curious... what alarmed the customer of said defect? Slow flush? Sounds in wall?

    May be something to learn.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Hester View Post

    It turns out the .... tech threw me under the bus and said I should of caught this.

    That won't be the last time that happens to you (or any one of us), unfortunately.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Dom,

    Yeah your are correct there. I had another where there was a sump pump float switch that was acting up. Two plumbers and the contractor that installed said it was working fine.

    Yeah that why when on the original inspection and the re-inspect that the float switch was not working. (I guess the standing water was not enough of an indication ; )

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Spargo View Post
    I respect Marc's handling of the situation as well. A stand up guy.. We are in the business of performing a service, but I'm sure most of us also started in this business *to help people*.

    It should also be said that we aren't gonna catch every darn thing. A field of roofing, with wet utilities below it & vacant of a DWV visible from the roof is a red flag to keep looking... but, in the absence of other defects may go overlooked most of the time IMO. As Jerry said, a path for venting may be less than visible...

    To quote a common premise/statement...
    "A home inspection will not reveal all defects, especially those that are not visible." There is a reason for that..

    Also, "This property/bathroom/living area appears to be that of an addition to the original structure/building/residence. While we provide a thorough visible inspection of these areas, I/We suggest obtaining any documentation/permits/etc to verify permits/etc were obtained... (blah blah blah) as we do not endorse work performed without permits *as latent/hidden* defects may exist. YMMV.

    Curious... what alarmed the customer of said defect? Slow flush? Sounds in wall?

    May be something to learn.
    Hey thanks Tim, I'm going to ask her. I have to see her later today. I also agree 100% to everything you said. When I did the inspection I knew right away that there should have been a vent because it wouldnt have been possible to tie into any other (e) vent, due to how the structure was built.
    Don, get used to other contractors throwing you under a bus...it seems to be typical for some reason even when you're right. I think it's a way for them to bond with the client.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Don, get used to other contractors throwing you under a bus...it seems to be typical for some reason even when you're right. I think it's a way for them to bond with the client.
    Marc, for the most part in my neck of the woods I get along very well with many of the contractors. In a smaller community everyone knows each other for the most part. But like anything we will not all see eye to eye.

    I think most people just do not have a good understanding of what they should expect in an inspection. We all need to do a better job of publicizing our industry.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Hester View Post
    Marc, for the most part in my neck of the woods I get along very well with many of the contractors. In a smaller community everyone knows each other for the most part. But like anything we will not all see eye to eye.

    I think most people just do not have a good understanding of what they should expect in an inspection. We all need to do a better job of publicizing our industry.
    You mean like "not" confusing home inspectors with home warranty companies?

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    I just had another potential client just call. The first thing she said was she just read my site and would like to schedule an inspection. That closely followed by "do you guarantee your inspection" Of course I was curious and asked her what she meant by guaranty. She had just talked to 2 different inspectors and they guaranty that if she was not completely satisfied with the inspection that they would refund her money and pay for another inspector.

    Yep, heard that one before. I asked her if she meant immediately or later she said it was good for 10 days for one inspector and immediately following the second inspector. I asked her how she would know if she was satisfied with the inspection sinse she would probably not be closing for a few weeks and then moving in. I said that she may not notice something for literally months. I also asked her what possible good wouild it do her then since she already would have closed on the home. I told her she needed no guaranty because if he blatantly missed something obvious he would be paying for it anyway. Anyway we went back and forth for a while and she still did not get it and she said she would have to call me back. Yep, I got it, she is not calling back.

    My inspection stops the moment I walk out that door and turn the key in the lock. If they find something that I should have caught then I guess I will pay for it one day. That time has not come yet and knock on my hard head after a few decades I am not going to start now.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Throwing someone under the bus is something most of us will do at one point or another. It seems to be a natural response. Last week I reported on a new roof covering that was applied over damaged plywood sheathing and I took a "swing" at the contractor. I later thought of the possibility that the contractor pointed it out to the homeowner and the homeowner decided not to replace the plywood. Now I'm kicking myself for responding off an assumption and possibly incorrectly faulting the roofing contractor.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  19. #19
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Throwing someone under the bus is something most of us will do at one point or another.
    Eric,

    This is true, in a sense our reports are throwing many under the bus ; ) And like you state we really do not know the exact circumstance in which the event happened.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  20. #20
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Update, $700 was the check I wrote.

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Update, $700 was the check I wrote.
    Small price to pay to do the right thing... it is called integrity and you passed the test!
    So I'm just going to write her a check for the repair grand to get it fixed. It's the right thing to do IMO.


    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  22. #22
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    What are they doing for the price of $700?


  23. #23
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    What are they doing for the price of $700?
    The vent was found inside the wall so they are taking it up the wall and through the concrete tile roof. She paid $750 for the insepction so I broke even, sort of.

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  24. #24
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Thanks Marc.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Thanks Marc.
    Yea, I was very fortunate because here first bid was over $3900 and second just a little under that. She was very nice to me because i was getting ready to write the check for around the 3K ish neighborhood.

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  26. #26
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Yea, kinda like the insurers, you pay out early and avoid a court case.

    It was an honest mistake, certainly not negligent. Good on ya!


  27. #27
    Ken Bates's Avatar
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    I’m a little late on this thread but Marc has already subsidized someone else’s problems.

    Almost all responses indicate a propensity to cave, to concede, to give in to any and almost all demands to pay for other people’s responsibilities.

    I have a sentence in my simple one page contract that states. “I (the client) will pay all costs for responses to, and defense of, any and all claims lacking merit.”

    Marc M feels/concedes he was negligent as he was so competent to suspect a lack of venting and intended to but forgot to memorialize it in his written report. HE WAS NOT!! Many municipal inspectors allow venting with a check valve. It works. So, he was not obliged to know if local codes allow check valve vents or not. So, not seeing a vent to the exterior is not negligent. He has the right to assume that there could be a check vent that is not readily visible and accessible. When I do suspect a lack of proper venting I fill the sink and then listen for the “ thunk-thunk sounds” and demonstrate this to my clients and indicate the concern in my rpt. However, I may inform my client that it is no big deal and it is their decision if they want to make a big deal about it.

    But the whole premise is silly as just running the water for a few seconds while brushing your teeth or washing your hands will always reconstitute a trap that has been evacuated/compromised by rapid draining when no proper code compliant vent is installed!! I.e. much ado about nothing.

    Of course there is one other aspect to this scenario. The report methodology. Purists and snobs poo poo check lists as inferior to narratives. I occasionally use the best 3D narrative as it uses almost 5,000 boiler plate sets (15,000 paragraphs) (a set consists of – Observation, Analysis, and Recommendation paragraphs). Every inspection I perform comes with my own ratings report, which could be called a check list but is very comprehensive and lacks fluff and disclaimers. Would you want the pilot of the jet you are on to use some form of narrative manual to see if all is well or would you prefer a check list. PILOTS USE A CHECK LIST!!!!


  28. #28
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    IMO, we are starting to push the limits of what is practical.

    In the case of a simple addition, it’s perhaps reasonable to expect an inspector to note the absence of a vent stack, but where does this end?

    I just inspected a house consisting of two separate structures connected by a second floor walkway, with five bathrooms on three different levels and a complicated multi-level roof – no way I could keep track of what should be venting where within any reasonable inspection timeframe.

    Similar situation when *anyone* inspects one of the big 110 yo Victorians common in my market: who knows how many changes have been made, and what is tied into what, and where – its hard enough just to check for functional deficiencies, let alone schematic out possible venting paths in our heads.

    Seems to me this is about controlling client expectations: it’s up to the inspector to do what they can to get clients to understand that it is *impossible* to comprehensively investigate a property in the time available, and that a very good inspector is going to catch *almost* everything, but is still likely going to miss *something*.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 03-21-2012 at 05:48 AM.
    Michael Thomas
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Marc,

    Just curious: how did this become an issue?

    Was there a functional drainage problem (sewer gas smell, "burbling" fixture, or something similar) that brought this to the occupants attention? Something else?

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

  30. #30
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    Default Re: It finally happened..

    Bumped hoping Marc will supply some added info about how this became an issue.

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

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