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  1. #1
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    Default Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    I did an inspection yesterday for a woman who already had an inspection performed on the house by another inspection company before she moved in. She started running into some issues after moving in and decided to get another inspection.

    All I can say is hoo-boy. Things I found that were not reported on in her first inspection report:

    - two 20 amp breakers with 14 gauge wires in the panel
    - multiple ceiling joists with pocket rot and moisture damage in the basement
    - the furnace flue pipe routed through the old 1st floor fireplace firebox interior , return air vents built into the sides of this same fireplace hearth extension and pulling return air from the space around the flue pipe and whatever leftover burnt wood and creosote residues are in the fireplace
    - multiple areas of moisture damaged ceiling framing in the rear crawlspace

    The owner already addressed some things she came across with the first inspection company but she's gonna have some more after she gets my report. She forwarded a copy of the first report to me and it pretty much sucks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    She forwarded a copy of the first report to me and it pretty much sucks.
    It wouldn't have bothered me it she had sent my report to the other company. Some inspectors need to be shown how their work "compares" to others on the outside chance that they're make an effort to improve. Bad inspectors reflect on all inspectors.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    I have occasionally followed a previous inspection. And I usually find something not mentioned by the earlier inspector. I have wondered if some inspector after me has found something that I've missed but in fifteen years, I have never been told about such a miss (although I missed a major problem on furnace early in my career, but it wasn't caught by another inspector).
    I found a major mold problem in the attic of a property last spring. Then I learned that a friend who is an excellent inspector had inspected the same property earlier and had missed it. To make it worse, he is a "Certified Mold Inspector". But it turned out, that the attic access had been blocked when he inspected the property and he was unable to see what I saw.
    We're in a business where we are expected to be perfect, but perfect is a high bar to get over. I don't throw another inspector under the bus, unless I know all the facts about his/her inspection and criticism is truly appropriate. In your tale, criticism seems appropriate, but knowing the conditions of the house at the time of the earlier inspection, might explain some of the misses.
    On the other hand, there are some crummy inspectors out there..............


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    The other report had pictures in it of the very areas where I noted some of these issues that were not mentioned. There was a picture of the crawlspace with the same view that I had during my inspection. There was a picture of the service panel with the cover removed, but no mention of the undersized wires or the missing knockout tabs or the missing bushing clamp. There were pics of the basement that showed the ceiling structure in full view and equal to the conditions I had to work with.

    I think the other inspector was just not good.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  5. #5
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    A little empathy here for "the other guy". I get that too much was missed that should not have been, the report sounds pretty weak and the product inadequate by any standards. Hopefully that inspector will step up to the critique. All that aside; I know I would probably find missed items w/ a second trip on my own work and would not care for someone generating a "second opinion" on my work - - - especially if they had the benefit of what was already called out. The second inspection can only get better. Kudos to your client for making a good investment when some clients are too tight to get the benefit from the first inspection. I'm pretty confident that your fee will not end up being an out of pocket cost for your client.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Yes, I did have the benefit of seeing the first report beforehand but it really had no bearing or influence on the inspection I did. I performed my inspection in the same manner as I always do and the items I found did not require me to look hard or do anything out of the norm. I don't know what excuses somebody could come up with to justify missing as much. I'm not for throwing anybody under the bus either because we've all had it done to us by somebody who was not present during our inspection. But rotted ceiling joists don't materialize in 2 months and wire gauge size inside the service panel doesn't magically shrink.

    I will admit I work well above and beyond the SOPs in my inspections because I feel an inspection that adheres strictly to the SOPs leaves too much out of the inspection. But that was not the case on this one. Any decent inspector with two good eyes would have seen what I saw.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Sometimes, I realize that I'm not "hitting on all cylinders". I have to stop and reset myself. Think about what I have done and what I am doing before continuing. But, I think, based on your description, even on an "off" day, I would have seen things like you did. It sounds like the other guy just blew it.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Here's a sampling of some items that did not even earn a mention in the other report. In the 4th pic, you can see the furnace flue pipe behind the HVAC return air vent (sharing the same space). In the 8th pic, the same return air vent in pic #4 is located on the fireplace hearth extension.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Sometimes, I realize that I'm not "hitting on all cylinders". I have to stop and reset myself.
    I'll be the first to admit that I've had off (crummy) inspections - the ones you walk away from not feeling good about. It happens and no inspector is immune to it. I've also had times where the client and I discussed some condition and I still forget to include it in the report. One of those cylinders kept me from taking a moisture measurement this morning when I probably should have. I also don't hesitate telling clients this fact of life for inspectors. Nothing like laying your cards out on the table so that everyone understands the realities.

    A lesson I learned a long time ago: As you're driving to a job turn off the radio and get off the phone before you get there and get mentally prepared for the work ahead.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Serious rot should never be missed. No mercy.

    The inspector schools advise not to include a bunch of pics in the report. That must be to protect inspectors that don't know a defect when they see it.

    Good advice, Eric and Lon. Take a breath, clear your mind and then you must try to give it 100% every time.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    I've had 2 garbage checkbox reports passed on to me in the last couple months from potential new clients. I used to get a lot more. It's always disturbing how bad those reports are. The one was really bad, total worthless crap. The other one actually wasn't that bad in terms of finding and listing defects. I was actually somewhat surprised. The problem with that one though was that the info was very hard to decipher due to the checkbox formatting.
    I used to get a lot more calls from people wanting a real inspection after paying for garbage. I think the calls slowed as the checkbox guys faded away to some extent.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    A report no matter the type is only as good as the inspector completing it from my experience.

    Inspectors get in trouble for not disclosing the issue, the task, the location and the implication, failing to indicate limitations, or to seek further investigation.

    Sure the report layout or type can be crap, but the ones I have seen over the years all meet the SOP.

    And I have yet to read any case law that specifically stated that the report was sub standard, no matter what type was used.

    Fwiw.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Here's a sampling of some items that did not even earn a mention in the other report. In the 4th pic, you can see the furnace flue pipe behind the HVAC return air vent (sharing the same space). In the 8th pic, the same return air vent in pic #4 is located on the fireplace hearth extension.
    Wow, train wreck. Return air 10' min from fireplace.
    Hey Nick..$100 bucks to lick that register grill..

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Could be a heatilator for the fireplace and not a return air for the furnace.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Could be a heatilator for the fireplace and not a return air for the furnace.
    That's easy to check, but based on how the lint is accumulated on the fins, my vote is return air.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    And you don't think the return for the heatilator cannot have dirt on the fins?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    And you don't think the return for the heatilator cannot have dirt on the fins?
    Good point.
    Here is my stream of thinking on it. It doesn't look like a Heatilator, although it could have blower built in. Also, it doesn't appear that the fireplace is getting much use. There is stuff sitting in front of it. Even here in our cold winters in the Denver area, people rarely run their fireplace a lot. It would take a lot of use to accumulate that much filth on the return air. So, it seems more likely that it is the return air for the furnace which has constant use. But as I said, it is easy to check; fire up the furnace (or fireplace) and check the register to see if air is being drawn in.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Yes you could be right. I too would have confirmed by firing up the furnace.

    However I see the second picture (close up) of the fins, I think its the same picture as the first one?


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    That vent is an HVAC return. Now the fireplace in the pic (not a Heatilator) is no longer operable and the first inspection disclaimed inspection of that fireplace due to a table and TV placed in front of it. But you'd hope that a mention would have been made in the report about the return being in close proximity to the fireplace. This return vent was right at your eye level as you come up the steps from the basement and it begs for you to look inside it. At least that's the way I saw it.

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 11-29-2012 at 03:12 PM.
    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Somebody Missed A Lot of Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    That vent is an HVAC return. Now the fireplace in the pic (not a Heatilator) is no longer operable and the first inspection disclaimed inspection of that fireplace due to a table and TV placed in front of it. But you'd hope that a mention would have been made in the report about the return being in close proximity to the fireplace. This return vent was right at your eye level as you come up the steps from the basement and it begs for you to look inside it. T least that's the way I saw it.
    FWIW, that looks like a "good catch" to see the flue in the back of that return air. I...ahem....can't say with 100% surety that I would have seen that.


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