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  1. #1
    Tom Christensen's Avatar
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    Default What would you do

    Hello

    Last edited by Tom Christensen; 03-01-2012 at 09:07 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Potentially you have claims against all three parties involved - the builder, the original (engineer) inspector and the HI. However, compensation for your loss - which has yet to be fully established - is partially being borne by the HI's insurance. If you have existing observable loss/damage then your own Home Owner's insurance policy should cover damage resulting from improper or lack of installation. The HI's insurance would probably limit their liability to installation of vapor barrier material, which is what he reported as being present when it wasn't. You mentioned the engineer/inspector examined certain aspects of the home, primarily in its construction. His liability may be limited by the scope of the inspection requirements, i.e. if he's not specifically checking for a vapor barrier as a common practice or SOP, then he may not be liable if one is not present.

    Both your own Home Owners Ins. co. and the HI's Errors and Omissions ins. co. will be looking, I suspect, to mitigate their loss and may well serve notice/claim themselves against the other third parties. Often referred to as limited and apportioned liability. The problem, at this moment in time, is that you have not specifically identified resulting damage. In order to do that an extensive examination and inspection of the building needs to be made by yet another inspector, preferably a court recognized 'expert'. It is simply insufficient, in law, to say that the missing vapor barrier will 'likely' cause damage, you have to prove it did. The Inspector should also say that the vapor barrier is an important and integral aspect of maintaining the building envelope. And that without it the following issues... etc. etc, occurred. Do not rely solely on the claim now in process. Arm yourself with another (thorough) inspection report, including thermal imaging and retain the services of a decent tort attorney as you may have time limitations in which to file legal action.

    I know this is a hypothetical question but one which has to be asked...What would you have said if your HI had reported the lack of vapor barrier during his inspection? Would that have made a difference to you in purchasing the home? Your response may well factor into any settlement you may have with the insurance companies involved. Oh, and take lots of time/date stamped pictures yourself of the existing attic condition.

    Sorry to hear of your plight and good luck..


  3. #3
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Your home insurance policy likely does not cover damages due to construction defects. The policy details should be read to ascertain what is and is not covered.

    Do not expect a pay out by inspectors insurance even though he admitted liability.

    Ditto engineers insurance.

    The onus is on you to prove they were negligent per established sop and standard of care, and damage and a loss have been incurred by you.

    At this point in time you need to record communications with the parties involved, and take pictures of the damage.

    Contact a lawyer ASAP, and begin to mitigate your losses.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Tom,
    You will find that all parties involved will be pointing their finger at the other person. Legal move. Going back on the builder is a start, if still in business. Including the Engineer Inspector for builder is another facet as well as the Home Inspector into the fight will get things really stirred up. Going after them jointly might get you a judgement on one that will cause that person to go after the others.

    The Engineer's argument has some validity depending on what stage he inspected the vapor barrier. Argument is after I inspected the build must have removed the vapor barrier. Though it does not make any sense why the builder would have removed it once installed. Engineer is just covering his liability cost.

    Builder has no real defense.

    Home inspector might end up biting the bullet and then go after builder. But he still has liability for saying that barrier was there.

    If at any point you say that you would have purchased the home without the barrier you will have removed liability from all others that are involved. I do not think that you would have waived the barrier if you were informed as to consequences.

    Some of the other issues are the amount of insulation in the attic and the ventilation of the attic. Also, the moisture in the home. To much interior humidity will cause icing in the attic. Additional insulation and additional ventilation may be a resolution to the problem. Worked for a house in Maine with icing in attic.

    Bottom line, you will need to get an attorney to get the attention of the other parties. Start filing actions against the inspectors and builder. Also start complaint actions with the licensing boards if you have them by your attorney.

    Be prepared for a protracted fight. Consider the costs of the litigation in relation to the benefits.

    Call mike Holmes, he likes this type of stuff. A lot of finger pointing.

    Good luck.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Here's another possibility. There may be a partially installed vapor barrier.
    For example, I can dig away some insulation and find a vapor barrier, then I will report that it was present, but that does not in any way prove that the barrier is complete. Maybe a section is missing where you looked, but present in other areas where an inspector looked? Just saying it is possible.
    If the ceiling is knotty pine nailed to the joists, it is certainly negligible not to have a vapor barrier installed in Alaska. If that's the case, it is back to the builder. Gross negligence.

    But a diligent inspection is needed first to determine what was done. Walls also need to be checked. Good luck with it.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Time for an attorney. I'm sure there are legal protections in Alaska preventing your homeowners insurance company 'dropping' you, especially if a claim is pending. They may well elect not to renew the policy when the current period ends. You may want to start a claim, just to be on the safe side but an attorney would give better legal advise.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen View Post
    I hired another inspector to arm myself for any action I will take.

    He found substantial problems with the home including vapor barrier missing, many electrical problems, 30a wiring on 40 amb breakers, improper circut breakers are used for code, no anti carosion paste on service panle main lines, NO PROPER GROUNDING etc etc. many problems with plumbing pretty much same as electrical as well as many other code violations of other items. Issuse with improper attachment of center floor support beam to foundation footings. The vapor barrier issue is causing many issues as well as a extreem possiability of mold in walls recommends a industrial higenest come to test. This report was 26 pages long.

    Had a home builder out to look at home using this inspection report as the scope of work. he is going to work on the numbers but says it may be cheeper to demo the home and start all over and may be only option if mold present.

    Will probably be declared a total loss by insurance.

    I have very little hope that I will get this resolved with enough funds to move forward with a repair of home much less rebuild. Cant beleive every thing and every one that is suppose to protect a home buyer has failed.
    Have been told if my home owners insurance finds out the shape of the home they will drop my insurance and report it to the bank and they will start forclosure proceedings.

    Hate to sound so gloomy
    Yes it sounds like gloom and doom but, I'm betting it is not a total loss. Not knowing anything about homes in Alaska I'm kind of shooting in the dark, but the basics do not change that much on homes. Keep in mind that if you hire a builder or an inspector and they know that you already have problems and that there is a good chance that this will end up in court then their reports are going to be on the extreame side.

    The electrical can be taken care of, switch breakers out, add the anti corrosive paste, etc.. Plumbing is just a matter of getting a good plumber in to take care of the problems.

    The vapor barrier is one thing that I don't know how it is done in Alaska. In my area I would not see a vapor barrier in the attic, if it is not blown-in fiberglass or cellulose then the barrier is on the bottom at the ceiling.

    Is the insulation batt or blown-in insulation in the attic?

    As for what is in the walls; if you have no drywall and just wood T&G boards nailed to the studs then I would remove some planks to see what is up in the way of a vapor barrier. If you do not find a barrier then it can be installed, by removing the planks and adding it.

    Yes, it will take time and you will need to move out of the home for the repairs but I have seen many homes with major problems and very, very rare that they are a complete loss or tear down.

    I do a good amount of EW work on construction defects and also for lawsuits against home inspectors. It sounds like you are on the right track, but you need a good attorney who works in construction litigation. It sounds like you have a good case, but it also sounds like this might take a while to litigate. You need to be prepared for this to take a year or two to come to a resolution if not longer. All parties involved need to be named in the action, including the engineer that the builder used.

    Good luck...

    FYI, they will not drop you insurance coverage and foreclose on the home. The bank does not want to own your home! Most likely Alaska has a state insurance pool or some type of coverage for folks that can not get insurance through the normal channels, most states have this. You need to calm down and call an attorney and let them do the work. If you home has all of the problems you have stated, I'm betting that once a lawsuit is filed folks will start to scramble for a settlement to keep it from going to court.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 01-22-2012 at 10:31 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Does your state allow lawyers to work under contingency based fees?


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    Default Re: What would you do

    Did I miss something? Did your inspector not admit the error and turn it over to his insurance carrier? I had a claim against me and turned it straight to the insurance co. They satisfied the client and I paid my deductible just like it was supposed to work. Did I miss something in the conversation?
    JLMathis


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    Default Re: What would you do

    Jeffrey,

    In your case did you admit liability?


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    Default Re: What would you do

    Tom, I'll toss in a couple of questions. You mention the absence of a vapor barrier. Barriers are often confused with retarders such as kraft paper. Are the baths fans vented directly to the exterior through dedicated discharge points and do you use them? How is the attic's ventilation? Are there soffit vents and can you see daylight through them in the attic? Do you have enough ventilation? What humidity levels do you keep in the home? How many people live there?

    I'm not saying that your problem is other than what you've presented but for me there are other considerations as well. Even when everything in the attic is correct I have seen them be overwhelmed by excessive dampness in the living areas. Any building is comprised of many components and systems which can interact which each other and often you have to broaden you view to get a true picture of what's going on.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  12. #12
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen View Post
    We are waiting for the inspector’s insurance adjuster to come to our home. We had a call last Monday from the insurance company saying to expect a call from the adjuster to arrange a date. They were also saying they were trying to determine their liability.
    Think I know why they are trying to make that determination…..the inspector never had us sign the release waver on his inspection report in fact he has never mentioned it or asked us to sign it.
    Don't hang you hat much on not having a signed agreement, they are more of a bluffing tool and just a bump in the road for most attorneys! Good luck, it sound like you are moving it the right direction. You still need to find an attorney, maybe once they know an insurance company is involved they will take their fee from any settlement or proceeds.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Wow! I've never seen anything like these pics show. Sorry to hear you have to deal with this. Somebody's insurance/E&O provider is going to have to dig deep on this.

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

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    Default Re: What would you do

    You might want to do a little research on ABS pipe.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: What would you do

    Make sure to slope all pipes so that water does not collect in them.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What would you do

    You shouldn't need to drain water out of you vent pipe. The plumbing is not done right, on top of your other problems.
    Any moisture that collects in the vent stack thru the roof should flow by gravity back to a drain stack.

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

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    Default Re: What would you do

    Also, the vent pipes should be protected from freezing, using insulation or heat tape or both.

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

  18. #18
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Yes I know the venting and drains are all wrong this was a temp repair waiting to see what the home inspectors insurance company is going to do. Cant do any final repairs yet. Had a estimate by a plumber and an electrician plumbing repairs $4180.00 electric 7859.00.


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    Default Re: What would you do

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen View Post
    Yes I know the venting and drains are all wrong this was a temp repair waiting to see what the home inspectors insurance company is going to do. Cant do any final repairs yet. Had a estimate by a plumber and an electrician plumbing repairs $4180.00 electric 7859.00.
    A little word of advice... If it was me and I had problems like this and I was thinking about litigation to recoup damages, I would be very cautious as to what I was posting on a public discussion board.

    As an EW one of the first things I do when researching a case is to look and see what I can find on the Internet about the issue, home and person!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: What would you do

    Scott,makes a valid point,be careful what you post,if this is going to be a legal matter.
    What ever you state publicly,may be held against you,when it goes to court.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: What would you do

    lol solved


  22. #22
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen View Post
    lol solved
    Not entirely solved ... it is still here where it has been quoted by others, in whole or in part.

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

  23. #23
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Interesting how some turn and bite the helping hand.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Not entirely solved ... it is still here where it has been quoted by others, in whole or in part.
    Funny how that works!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  25. #25
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    Default Re: What would you do

    That's a two way street.

    If I were a lawyer I'd be checking out those who do EW on the internet to see how they conduct themselves on forums such as this.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    That's a two way street.

    If I were a lawyer I'd be checking out those who do EW on the internet to see how they conduct themselves on forums such as this.
    .
    ......
    .

    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.

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    Default Re: What would you do

    01-19-2012, 12:12 AM
    Tom Christensen
    Join Date: Jan 2012
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    What would you do
    Posted by: Tom Christensen
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen

    Not asking for legal advise, just what would you do?

    I purchaced a home in January 2011 from the owner builder, the home is in an area that does not require inspections during construction. The builder can opt to have inspections (ICBO inspections) in order to certify the home complys with current building codes, as well as have the certifications of construction compliance so the home meets requirements of lenders.

    This home had the inspections preformed for the builder by a engineer who meets state requirements to preform said inspections ie plan approval, footings ,foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing, mechanical.

    I had the home inspected by a state licensed inspector as a part of the purchase.

    After living in the home for 1 year 7 days I found a major defect, no vapor barrier in the attic. This is causing major ice / frost build up in the attic and will cause water damage when the weather warms up, since this is the second winter for this home for now im not sure what damage is present within the wall cavities (condensation, mold).

    I contacted the home inspector I hired and explained what I had discovered, he reviewed his inspection report and noted he had marked on his inspection that the vapor barrier was present but he would come over to look and go from there. He found there was indeed no vapor barrier and admits he made a mistake, as well as to how he made the mistake, and he wanted to make it right (thankfully hats off to HONEST people) and is filing a claim with his insurance.

    The inspector who preformed the inspections for the owner builder is saying that if he certified the vapor barrier was in place when he inspected it was there, and that he is not responsiable, he said he dose not warranty the owner / builders work and has no liability.

    So far he will not see the point I am making that since the vapor barrier is not there, and he signed and certified as per his inspecion report that it was, he is responsiable.

    How this was over looked by 2 inspectors is beyond me cause it's there or its not.

    My question is, What would you do?
    Last edited by Tom Christensen: 01-19-2012 at 12:42 AM.


    01-19-2012, 02:12 AM
    Ian Page
    Potentially you have claims against all three parties involved..."

    01-19-2012, 05:41 AM
    Raymond Wand
    Your home insurance policy likely does not cover damages due to..."

    01-19-2012, 05:43 AM
    Garry Sorrells
    "Tom, You will find that all parties involved will be pointing their finger..."

    01-19-2012, 10:43 AM
    Posted by: Tom Christensen
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen
    Hello. Thanks for the replies

    Well, we have already started some of the suggestions. We have another third party inspector coming in to do a assessment. They are considered by the courts to be an expert witness and they do testify in court. They are performing a full house inspection. Their report will address the possible damages, as well as visible damage to the home. I will allow them to cut in to the wall cavities to check for moisture and mold.

    As far as what would I have done if my home inspector had found no vapor barrier. I would have said what an idiot the builder was and ran away as fast as my feet would go!

    The inspector who did the construction ICBOS. His report states that the house complies with all state statutes and building codes. Common sense says to do a proper construction inspection you need to see a vapor barrier on the walls and if the builder has not done the ceiling you cant certify that the insulation vapor barrier is complete.

    To add to the hassle! This home walls, and ceiling are all knotty pine tongue and groove which also makes me ask the question why would a builder put up a vapor barrior for the inspection then remove it and install the knotty pine? I would think the inspector (and builder) dropped the ball. What a complete mess this is!

    FYI- Building inspector on the ICBOS clearly states that a vapor barrier was present. We did send an email to Mike Holmes lol!
    Last edited by Tom Christensen: 01-19-2012 at 10:49 AM.

    01-19-2012, 11:40 AM
    John Kogel
    "Here's another possibility..."

    01-22-2012, 01:11 AM
    Posted by: Tom Christensen

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen
    hired another inspector to arm myself for any action I will take.

    He found substantial problems with the home including vapor barrier missing, many eletrical problems, 30a wiringing on 40 amb breakers, improper circut breakers are used for code, no anti carosion paste on service panle main lines, NO PROPER GROUNDING etc etc. many problems with plumbing pretty much same as electrical as well as many other code violations of other items. Issuse with improper attachment of center floor support beam to foundation footings. The vapor barrier issue is causing many issues as well as a extreem possiability of mold in walls recommends a industrial higenest come to test. This report was 26 pages long.

    Had a home builder out to look at home using this inspection report as the scope of work. he is going to work on the numbers but says it may be cheeper to demo the home and start all over and may be only option if mold present.

    Will probably be declared a total loss by insurance.

    I have very little hope that I will get this resolved with enough funds to move forward with a repair of home much less rebuild. Cant beleive every thing and every one that is suppose to protect a home buyer has failed.

    Have been told if my home owners insurance finds out the shape of the home they will drop my insurance and report it to the bank and they will start forclosure proceedings.

    Hate to sound so gloomy

    01-22-2012, 02:59 AM
    Ian Page
    "Time for an attorney..."

    01-22-2012, 10:21 AM
    Scott Patterson
    "Yes it sounds like gloom and doom..."

    01-22-2012, 11:16 AM
    Posted by: Tom Christensen
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen
    Thanks for replys

    As for the recent report the firm knows it may end in court, he said in his report just the most obvious defects, and states the need for licensed electricians, plumbers etc. to evaluate. He told me he did not want to speculate on anything as to cause the report to come into question. most all of the defects listed in report have photos to demonstrate defect. The firm also provides classes for the continueing education of inspector licensing requirements in alaska.

    Vapor barrer in alaska is required and is to be an "envelope" walls / ceiling all breaks must be overlaped 6 inches and taped. Its blown in insluation in the attic, another problem to note in some places the knotty pine ceiling is warping at wall / ceiling and insulation from attic is exposed.

    The amount of miosture in the attic Ice frost (it's been -20 or more at night) present at this time and the freeze thaw cycles we have had so far this winter and last it is more than likley water may have caused damage and fungal groth it the wall cavities and was recommended that a industrial higenest test. I am going to have to have the testing done cause if their is mold in the walls I dont want to cut in to the walls my self and expose / release the spores to the rest of my home.

    Report and photos show damage starting where the roof trusses meet roof sheeting. Inspector said he would not expect to see this deterrioraion in a home of this age but in a home of 28 years+ in alaska.

    the contractor that I had come look for repairs is being vetted by me, have referances (15) and will give more if I want. I asked him to bring a copy of his insurance policy and limits, he understood my reasoning and brought them as well. I told him who ever I choose to repair / rebuild is going to be inspected by third party as he goes. I have check court for any actions taken against him nothing not even a speeding ticket. Going to get 3 estimates from contractors and will vet them all the same. This contractor also encouraged me to get additional quotes because of the situation.

    Home is going to have to be gutted to studs re plumed re wired etc. and if their is mold all work will have to stop by state law until remediated by licensed contractor. So in long run if may be more cost effective to start over, guess ill find out.

    I spoke with 3 attorneys the cheepest wants 30K retainer, Ill take donations LOL
    01-23-2012, 06:18 AM
    Raymond Wand
    "Does your state allow..."

    01-23-2012, 06:49 AM
    Jeffrey L. Mathis
    "Did I miss something? Did..."

    01-23-2012, 07:19 AM
    Raymond Wand
    "Jeffrey, In your case did you admit..."

    01-23-2012, 08:04 AM
    Eric Barker
    "Tom, I'll toss in a couple..."

    01-23-2012, 09:15 AM
    Posted by: Tom Christensen
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen
    We hired another inspector to come in and inspect the home. The first inspector missed 35 items which include plumbing issues throughout, electrical throughout, and structural throughout. From the top of the house down to the foundation has been compromised. The Owner/builder did not have a permit or license to build. he has contructed multiple homes in the same way, and used the same building inspector, and seller agent to sell these homes. He did not hire licensed sub-contractors either. Nothing in this house besides the gas line, water well, and septic system has been worked on by a legit certified company, or individual. This is all overwhelming. I dont know what else to say.... Just in shock with what we've discovered..
    02-06-2012, 01:56 PM
    Posted by: Tom Christensen
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen
    We are waiting for the inspector’s insurance adjuster to come to our home. We had a call last Monday from the insurance company saying to expect a call from the adjuster to arrange a date. They were also saying they were trying to determine their liability.

    Think I know why they are trying to make that determination…..the inspector never had us sign the release waver on his inspection report in fact he has never mentioned it or asked us to sign it
    02-06-2012, 03:20 PM
    Scott Patterson
    "Don't hang you hat much..."

    02-06-2012, 06:34 AM
    Posted by: Tom Christensen
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christensen
    We have been -15* to -20* the last month today it warmed up to +42* so its starting to melt in the attic.

    Thanks for everyones input, I can at least show everyone what can happen when the checks and ballances fail.

    Posted attached Images:
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...o-dscn0345.jpg
    DSCN0345.JPG
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...o-dscn0340.jpg
    DSCN0340.JPG
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...o-dscn0344.jpg

    DSCN0344.JPG
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...o-dscn0331.jpg

    DSCN0331.JPG
    02-06-2012, 07:05 PM
    Nick Ostrowski
    "Wow! I've never seen anything like these pics..."

    This was from Google's cache of http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...ld-you-do.html It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Feb 24, 2012 21:13:43 GMT.

    Now there is some sense of the topic discussion as it evolved.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-02-2012 at 01:28 PM. Reason: corrected form formatting of quotes.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    That's a two way street.

    If I were a lawyer I'd be checking out those who do EW on the internet to see how they conduct themselves on forums such as this.
    They do it all the time, their paralegals do it all the time, their EW's do it all the time, and your point is?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: What would you do

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    They do it all the time, their paralegals do it all the time, their EW's do it all the time, and your point is?
    The point is what you just stated above, everyone does it, including inspectors Googling their clients names.

    But you know how lawyers can use information.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: What would you do

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    The point is what you just stated above, everyone does it, including inspectors Googling their clients names.

    But you know how lawyers can use information.

    Not to be obtuse, maybe I am trying to read more into you statement than is really there, But your point is?


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