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Thread: Report terms

  1. #66
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    Default Re: Report terms

    [QUOTE=Dirk Jeanis;246450]Are you going to inspect a circuit main and tell the client that every circuit in order to be "safer" should meet the newer electrical codes and have GFCI at each breaker?
    QUOTE]

    You probably meant AFCI at all breakers, not GFCI...

    GFCI are not required at every breaker currently, only at those designated locations including bathrooms, kitchen countertops, garages, basements, exteriors and within 6 feet of a laundry sink.

    AFCI are not required at every breaker, only branch circuits without GFCI protection.

    And yes I do recommend to my clients to upgrade to GFCI protection at the current specified locations. I do not recommend AFCI upgrades to homes built prior 2006.

    - - - Updated - - -

    [QUOTE=Dirk Jeanis;246450]Are you going to inspect a circuit main and tell the client that every circuit in order to be "safer" should meet the newer electrical codes and have GFCI at each breaker?
    QUOTE]

    You probably meant AFCI at all breakers, not GFCI...

    GFCI are not required at every breaker currently, only at those designated locations including bathrooms, kitchen countertops, garages, basements, exteriors and within 6 feet of a laundry sink.

    AFCI are not required at every breaker, only branch circuits without GFCI protection.

    And yes I do recommend to my clients to upgrade to GFCI protection at the current specified locations. I do not recommend AFCI upgrades to homes built prior 2006.

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  2. #67
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    Notice that FAIR and POOR share the fact that the item has potential to failure.
    That is not what is stated, however, if re-wording is permitted, or even if re-wording is not permitted, SATISFACTORY also shares the 'has potential to failure' aspect because *everything*, no matter how new or well built, has potential to failure.

    That is why so many people make a good living repairing brand new luxury cars.

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  3. #68
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That is not what is stated, however, if re-wording is permitted, or even if re-wording is not permitted, SATISFACTORY also shares the 'has potential to failure' aspect because *everything*, no matter how new or well built, has potential to failure.

    That is why so many people make a good living repairing brand new luxury cars.

    "Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future failure would mean that an HI would have to give OPINION about the qualities of a product and system that are NOT part of the HI process. In good working order, not maintained, and
    faiure or not working are much different things.

    If HI was to consider all systems and products installed and thier failure rates then an HI inspection would cost thousands, not hundreds and the HI would have to study nights constantly for failure rates and design issues of everything from AC units to pressurized water connections. This is NOT the business of any HI as far as I know.

    If there is a KNOWN dangerous defect in some system or design and it is well known and publicly advertiised, then yes an HI may have some responsibility to know and understand the danger. If not there is no reason to concern one's self, especially code changes to make things "safer", if it was code and consdsiered safe in 1990 and there is a new 20XX code that is to make it SAFER not just safe.

    There must be some line to draw, I think that is the line.





  4. #69
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    If there is a KNOWN dangerous defect in some system or design and it is well known and publicly advertiised, then yes an HI may have some responsibility to know and understand the danger. If not there is no reason to concern one's self, especially code changes to make things "safer", if it was code and consdsiered safe in 1990 and there is a new 20XX code that is to make it SAFER not just safe.
    Then there was also no reason to specifically state "Safety Issue - Railing too low" because, you are saying, that may have been a code change to "safer" as you put it.

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  5. #70
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    I would note things that were site built wihtout or with minimum code. As far as being "safer" and safer and safer…..lets be clear…it is NOT our responsibility. IF it is WRONG, if it is unsafe, if it is broken, it is in disrepair, if it violates codes directly, then write it up. Note the age of the house and that there are many differences between as built codes of that time and now. LET IT GO. It is NOT our responsibility as HI to stop survival of the fittest. That is a government job much above my pay scale.

    So a house with a deck built in the 70's with a nailed on ledger board, no flashing, no footing, and a 7 inch space between the railing would be acceptable for you because it "met code" at the time? Sorry, not acceptable to me.

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  6. #71
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    So a house with a deck built in the 70's with a nailed on ledger board, no flashing, no footing, and a 7 inch space between the railing would be acceptable for you because it "met code" at the time? Sorry, not acceptable to me.
    Would have to agree on the "nailed on ledger" as an immediate correction item sense it poses an immediate potential hazard, even if the deck had a 2nd support beam near the ledger boar I would want the ledger bolted.

    I would point out the current thought on the potential "Safety Issue" in the railing spacing.

    Not seeing the rest I would not get my shorts wadded up.

    I would offer recommendations as alterations to the deck which would add longevity, but at 40yrs and no mention of deterioration it is doing pretty good.


  7. #72
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    So a house with a deck built in the 70's with a nailed on ledger board, no flashing, no footing, and a 7 inch space between the railing would be acceptable for you because it "met code" at the time? Sorry, not acceptable to me.
    nailed on ledger is unsafe, period, must be written, never met engineering whether there was a code or not. Flashings may or may not be visible and may or may not be designed properly or the design hidden as to proper function. Water intrusion would be a must repair. The 7 inch is it met code it WAS safe as to intended use (parents used to teach common sense), under 4 inch is "safer" in accordance with new code but if someone can find a way they will harm themselves on it somehow. I would NEVER suggest a contractor repair it, as, if used as designed it IS safe. One might suggest that if youngsters are around it should have a web or net barrier inside the rails to assure child safety.

    Ken, does that mean that you include a notification that tamper resistant receptacles should be installed to replace three prong grounded receptacles because they are available and may become code or are code for new construction in some given jurisdiction?

    What I see being suggested is that if there is "yes" to that question, then any failure to notify that anything could be "safer" is the RESPONSIBILITY of the HI and that any time the HI fails to identify ANYTHING that could be made safer according to any code (whether or not adopted locally at the time of inspection) would fall under errors and omissions and be a liability to the HI.

    I am not sure that s logical, nor is it prudent in any respect. It creates a very high bar and level of responsibility that may be impossible to meet even 80% of the time. In any system not meeting minimum 99.7% would mean that our process is out of control and failed in itself.

    If something is non-functional, not maintainable, or UNSAFE is different than something being safe for use as intended and having met code at time of build yet not meeting current code (safer).

    My concern here is the "court room drama" described in replies and the fact that as stated there is NO defense except to tell every client that they should upgrade every house to meet every current code. This would necessitate expenses that may exceed house values!

    In order to meet your high standard, one would need a "boiler plate" statement regarding every safety code change from time of build to current date, deliver it with the inspection, and let the owner/buyer figure out whether something is important enough to change or end a deal.

    That I would agree with, provided that such a computerized program could be designed properly. However, many jurisdictions are between 2 and even 10 years from issue to adoption of new codes, some exclude parts of new codes and include local requirements as well! Therefore one would have to know the date of adoption of codes and date of build and exceptions for every locality. This is extremely complex!

    I give up.


  8. #73
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    What I see being suggested is that if there is "yes" to that question, then any failure to notify that anything could be "safer" is the RESPONSIBILITY of the HI and that any time the HI fails to identify ANYTHING that could be made safer according to any code (whether or not adopted locally at the time of inspection) would fall under errors and omissions and be a liability to the HI.
    The above is a complete misunderstanding of what has been said, and said in the simplest of terms.

    What has been said, and said in the simplest of terms, and repeated here is this: WHEN the home inspector DECIDES to specifically identify something as a "Safety Issue", then the home inspector should also recommend something be done.

    What has NOT been said here is that the home inspector should identify every instance of unsafe or code-made-safer items or conditions.

    I am not sure that s logical, nor is it prudent in any respect. It creates a very high bar and level of responsibility that may be impossible to meet even 80% of the time. In any system not meeting minimum 99.7% would mean that our process is out of control and failed in itself.
    That isn't logical nor is it prudent, that is why that has NOT been stated.

    I give up.
    Seems prudent for me to do the same as some here simply seem to not grasp what has been clearly stated and try to put their own spin on it so they can say their piece ... so be it.

    This horse is dead, but some may continue to beat it.

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  9. #74
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post

    In order to meet your high standard, one would need a "boiler plate" statement regarding every safety code change from time of build to current date, deliver it with the inspection, and let the owner/buyer figure out whether something is important enough to change or end a deal.

    That I would agree with, provided that such a computerized program could be designed properly. However, many jurisdictions are between 2 and even 10 years from issue to adoption of new codes, some exclude parts of new codes and include local requirements as well! Therefore one would have to know the date of adoption of codes and date of build and exceptions for every locality. This is extremely complex!

    I give up.

    You forgot to mention CPSC findings (Stab Loc Breakers), changes in manufacturer's installation guidelines (CSST gas pipe) and class action lawsuits (PB piping). All met code when installed, but now considered safety hazards.

    Good, established home inspectors know this job isn't easy. There's continuous research and education needed to not only keep up with codes, but everything else as well. I'd suggest you work on your "boilerplate" like many of us have done. And you're correct, as HIs we recommend upgrades or correction. If it's done or not is dependent on our clients. But, by making the recommendation we've done our jobs.

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  10. #75
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Many of the responses deal with obvious safety issues. I think it is generally agreed that many of these issues would be considered defects. The issue is how far do you go? Three-prong 240-volt dryer receptacle? Hard wired smoke detectors? AFCI? Tamper-proof receptacles? If a house does not have these is that a defect?


  11. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    Many of the responses deal with obvious safety issues. I think it is generally agreed that many of these issues would be considered defects. The issue is how far do you go? Three-prong 240-volt dryer receptacle? Hard wired smoke detectors? AFCI? Tamper-proof receptacles? If a house does not have these is that a defect?
    Yes, you list them in the report and suggest repair. Why would a HI not report them? Only the client can make the decision if the deficiencies are a big deal to them or not. That's not the job of the home inspector.

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  12. #77
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Yes, you list them in the report and suggest repair. Why would a HI not report them? Only the client can make the decision if the deficiencies are a big deal to them or not. That's not the job of the home inspector.
    To each their own. There are a great many things that changed over the years. Some defects most Hi's agree are items that need to be reported. Others are a bit more borderline. Most SOP's are sufficiently vague that allows lattitude and personal decision process making.

    Homes are not required to be brought up to the current code unless renovations are made. Many of these "defects" are less than optimal but low probablility of danger to the occupants. We each need to decide where we draw our own personal line about to simply document the condition as different from current standards but acceptable at the time of installation or go further and recommend repair/upgrade.

    Not every item installed to older standards is a Safety Concern.

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  13. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post

    Homes are not required to be brought up to the current code unless renovations are made. Many of these "defects" are less than optimal but low probablility of danger to the occupants.
    This may be true in some areas but not all. Here in MN, many municipalities require repair or replacement of some deficient items upon the sale of the house. Such as; lack of backflow preventers, lack of hard wired smoke detectors, floor drains lacking cleanout access holes, and missing electrical bond jumpers at the water meter. Many of these are not hazardous problems but are required repairs. As we see here in MN, the local jurisdiction can choose to enforce any non-conforming code issues on any house, irregardless of its age. As a HI you'd better be able to document these issues, before the enforcement inspector shows up, otherwise your clients are going to wonder why they even paid you.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    We each need to decide where we draw our own personal line about to simply document the condition as different from current standards but acceptable at the time of installation or go further and recommend repair/upgrade.

    Not every item installed to older standards is a Safety Concern.
    And you must be able to accept responsibility for not reporting said items when your client's contractor says, "Your home inspector should have told you about this".

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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Yes, you list them in the report and suggest repair. Why would a HI not report them? Only the client can make the decision if the deficiencies are a big deal to them or not. That's not the job of the home inspector.
    Why would you not list them? Because it is unreasonable to expect every house to comply with the latest code. Because it creates liability if you are arbitrary in the way you inspect and report (do you really perform a code inspection based upon the latest codes on every inspection?).

    I believe that part of our job is to define what is a defect. Just supplying clients with a bunch of information and then saying you decide if it is a defect is not the way to do a good job. In PA, we are required to report on material defects (there is a vague definition for this term regarding whether they significantly affect the value of the dwelling or are a potential hazard). So are these material defects?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    Why would you not list them? Because it is unreasonable to expect every house to comply with the latest code. Because it creates liability if you are arbitrary in the way you inspect and report (do you really perform a code inspection based upon the latest codes on every inspection?).

    I believe that part of our job is to define what is a defect. Just supplying clients with a bunch of information and then saying you decide if it is a defect is not the way to do a good job. In PA, we are required to report on material defects (there is a vague definition for this term regarding whether they significantly affect the value of the dwelling or are a potential hazard). So are these material defects?
    Mark, a HI isn't repairing the home, they are providing a report on the condition of the home. I don't expect every house to comply with the latest code. I'm a home inspector, I know better. Our clients actually do expect the majority of the house to meet current code. They don't know any better. No, I don't perform a code inspection and no, I don't advise them to upgrade their 2 x 4 walls to 2 x 6 to meet current codes.

    I never said the client should define the defect. I said it's up to them to decide if it's a big deal to them. A bad furnace may not be a big deal to the client if they've got a family member who's an HVAC tech. The home inspector can't possibly know which defects are important to the client unless the home inspector actually tells them about the defect. Just because you (as the home inspector) don't think it's a big deal doesn't mean the person who's actually going to live in the house agrees with you. I perform my inspections with the client present. We actually talk about every issue I find. I'm not an inspector who tells the client to show up at the end, hand them the report and leave. I tell them about every aspect of the house.

    Heck, I'll even tell my clients they have cloth sheaved wiring and there's no way to ground the circuits without rewiring. The wiring met code when it was installed and there's no mandate to replace it, but in today's world of electrical gadgetry most people can't live with it, the same with knob and tube. I'd rather they know about it before they purchase the home than 3 months after they've bought it. Do I tell them that it's a defect? Nope, just tell them they have it and the problems they may encounter if they need grounded circuits. Yes, I go beyond every inspection standard out there, but I get a ton of referrals from happy clients. My theory of home inspections is to tell the clients everything about their house. Let them make an educated decision about one of the largest purchases they'll ever make. The final decision on what's a big deal is left to them. This keeps me from getting the "you didn't tell me about this" call three months after they've closed.

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    Default Re: Report terms

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    ........... Our clients actually do expect the majority of the house to meet current code. They don't know any better. ..........

    I have to say , WOW. But then you must be inspecting in the Lake Wobegon area. Most other people/clients have no idea of what Code is much else what it really means. Congratulation on such an informed population. Especially since those that have to deal with it on a daily basis have a hard time understanding and applying current Code.

    Note:
    For those that may not be familiar with the area it appears to be a tiny county, the seat of Mist County Minnesota. Near the geographic center of Minnesota that supposedly does not appear on maps because of the incompetence of surveyors who mapped out the state in the 19th century, near St. Olaf.

    Most noted for the residents where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average,"


  18. #83
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    Inspectors who dwell on code are misleading their clients. Clients seldom if ever ask if anything to code at least in my experience and I don't know all the codes and I don't let on I do, nor do I want to. Have yet to find any case law where a 'home inspector' was liable due to NOT reporting code deficiencies. Any cases against inspectors have always been argued in tort as contractual failings and/or negligent misrepresentation and not for failing to point out code infractions.

    If anyone has any contrary case law contradicting my views please post away.

    Secondly up here in Ontario, the authorities having jurisdiction and/or code authority have never condemned 60 amp service, knob and tube wiring, fuse panels, alu. wiring, cast iron waste lines, galvanized piping, therefore it erroneous and misleading for any inspector up here to indicate/imply otherwise. What has happened is the insurance industry has dictated what is acceptable for their underwriting purposes. The insurers are not code authorities, nor do they have authority to dictate codes. But inspectors have become responsible due to insurance issues to bring to the attention of their clients the issues as per the insurance industry and that could lead to a suit by a disgruntled client.

    Further an insurance company (not all apparently) will most likely refuse to insure the home unless the system is upgraded/removed or will provide a window to correct the issue they find unacceptable.

    Talk about a conflict between code and underwriting purposes and we the inspectors get caught in between.

    Last edited by Raymond Wand; 08-07-2014 at 05:47 AM.

  19. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    I have to say , WOW. But then you must be inspecting in the Lake Wobegon area. Most other people/clients have no idea of what Code is much else what it really means. Congratulation on such an informed population. Especially since those that have to deal with it on a daily basis have a hard time understanding and applying current Code.
    I never said the clients know the code. When we get a client calling to set up an inspection we always ask if they have any concerns with the home. Half the time they state, "We want to make sure it's up to code". We explain that it's not going to be. They get it from watching TV and relatives watching TV. By the way, I've never listened to the show you're referring to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Mark, a HI isn't repairing the home, they are providing a report on the condition of the home. I don't expect every house to comply with the latest code. I'm a home inspector, I know better. Our clients actually do expect the majority of the house to meet current code. They don't know any better. No, I don't perform a code inspection and no, I don't advise them to upgrade their 2 x 4 walls to 2 x 6 to meet current codes.

    I never said the client should define the defect. I said it's up to them to decide if it's a big deal to them. A bad furnace may not be a big deal to the client if they've got a family member who's an HVAC tech. The home inspector can't possibly know which defects are important to the client unless the home inspector actually tells them about the defect. Just because you (as the home inspector) don't think it's a big deal doesn't mean the person who's actually going to live in the house agrees with you. I perform my inspections with the client present. We actually talk about every issue I find. I'm not an inspector who tells the client to show up at the end, hand them the report and leave. I tell them about every aspect of the house.

    Heck, I'll even tell my clients they have cloth sheaved wiring and there's no way to ground the circuits without rewiring. The wiring met code when it was installed and there's no mandate to replace it, but in today's world of electrical gadgetry most people can't live with it, the same with knob and tube. I'd rather they know about it before they purchase the home than 3 months after they've bought it. Do I tell them that it's a defect? Nope, just tell them they have it and the problems they may encounter if they need grounded circuits. Yes, I go beyond every inspection standard out there, but I get a ton of referrals from happy clients. My theory of home inspections is to tell the clients everything about their house. Let them make an educated decision about one of the largest purchases they'll ever make. The final decision on what's a big deal is left to them. This keeps me from getting the "you didn't tell me about this" call three months after they've closed.
    Its fine to tell them everything about the house. But too many inspectors just throw everything together in the report and let the buyer and seller try to figure out what is truly a defect and what somebody wants to call a defect. If I think it is a significant concern, I call it a defect. If not, I may recommend it as an improvement or at least let them know the limitations, etc. That way they can better decide what is important and what to ask for instead of asking for everything to be brought up to today's standards.

    BTW, there is plenty of fabric covered Romex (NM) with a ground wire. If you are talking about the old fat black Romex, yea, it does not have a ground, but fabric covered Romext was used up until the last 1960s or a little later and much of it manufactured after about 1950 had a ground wire.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post

    BTW, there is plenty of fabric covered Romex (NM) with a ground wire. If you are talking about the old fat black Romex, yea, it does not have a ground, but fabric covered Romext was used up until the last 1960s or a little later and much of it manufactured after about 1950 had a ground wire.
    Never seen a ground wire in fabric covered wiring. However, I have seen knob and tube in a house built in 1968. Hot wire was covered in red fabric, neutral was black. And I have seen vinyl 2 wire romex in a house from the early 60's.

    Back to the topic at hand, my belief is if the HI knows it's a defect, not code compliant, a problem according to the CPSC, or any other source, it should be documented in the report. We, as HIs have no right to withhold information from the client.

    For those of you who don't agree with me do you actually tell the potential clients, when they first call you to set up the inspection, that there are items that you're going to see during the inspection that you have no intentions on telling them about? Do you actually tell them this in your contract?

    Mark Reinmiller, Raymond Wand, Garry Sorrells, Bruce Ramsey, Dirk Jeanis you five seem to be the guys saying home inspectors should purposely keep information from their clients because you feel it doesn't matter to them. Don't you think your clients should be the ones to make that decision?

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    Default Re: Report terms

    Ken Rowe wrote in part:
    For those of you who don't agree with me do you actually tell the potential clients, when they first call you to set up the inspection, that there are items that you're going to see during the inspection that you have no intentions on telling them about? Do you actually tell them this in your contract?

    Mark Reinmiller, Raymond Wand, Garry Sorrells, Bruce Ramsey, Dirk Jeanis you five seem to be the guys saying home inspectors should purposely keep information from their clients because you feel it doesn't matter to them. Don't you think your clients should be the ones to make that decision?
    1. When clients call to book an inspection I tell them its visual non-destructive and what systems are inspected. At inspection I also tell client there are items which are difficult to opine on due to finished walls, concealed areas, or no access and that conditions could exist which do not exhibit visual clues as per visual inspection. And that upon renovations other conditions could exist not obvious during inspection.

    2. Of course I tell my clients of the issues I see, but I don't note all (nickle-dime) minor issues in the report, as I am striving to report major items that would be concern to clients.

    Also I did not read anywhere in my posts in this thread where I indicated I would purposely keep info from my clients.

    Ken do you provide an inclusive list of consumer recalls in your inspection or do you note some and then refer your client to the Consumer Protection site for a complete listing?

    As I stated otherwise I am not a code inspector and I am not a walking book of knowledge on product recalls and don't intend to be. My contract succinctly states what my inspection limitations are and what is inspected and what is not.


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    [QUOTE=Ken Rowe;246511. As we see here in MN, the local jurisdiction can choose to enforce any non-conforming code issues on any house, irregardless of its age. As a HI you'd better be able to document these issues, before the enforcement inspector shows up, otherwise your clients are going to wonder why they even paid you.".[/QUOTE]

    It is sometimes good and reasonable to have certain upgrades required to be installed at an opportune time. At sale makes sense. At remodel does as well.

    I am curious about the "enfrcement inspector showing up". Are you saying that a government inspector must inspect at each sale or do they just show up and knock and tell you they must inspect your home at random? I know this, no government employee is entering MY property without a warrant, ever. No warrant, no entry for any reason.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    you five seem to be the guys saying home inspectors should purposely keep information from their clients because you feel it doesn't matter to them. Don't you think your clients should be the ones to make that decision?
    THis was NEVER the issue and in fact this kind of statement makes the entire conversation that much more important. Someone here started the "proverbial court of law" talk.

    The issue becomes where to draw the line in a way that the liabiity of the HI is not greater than the cost of teh HI service. If the line is to liberal the HI is not delivering enough information and if the line is too conservative, the HI will be so responsible that he will be sued and loose more than he earns or can pay in premiums and deductibles.

    No HI here can even agree at what level of knowledge and ability and inclusions in inspections is reasonable. This tells me that a jury will always be the word of last resort. This means that WE all lose every time. This is mainly because we wont agree as to how much knowledge and what kind it reasonable.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post

    Secondly up here in Ontario, the authorities having jurisdiction and/or code authority have never condemned 60 amp service, knob and tube wiring, fuse panels, alu. wiring, cast iron waste lines, galvanized piping, therefore it erroneous and misleading for any inspector up here to indicate/imply otherwise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post

    2. Of course I tell my clients of the issues I see, but I don't note all (nickle-dime) minor issues in the report, as I am striving to report major items that would be concern to clients.

    Also I did not read anywhere in my posts in this thread where I indicated I would purposely keep info from my clients.
    Raymond, please explain the contradictions. All of the deficiencies you've listed here are known problems. When you see them do you purposely not tell your clients about them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    I am curious about the "enfrcement inspector showing up". Are you saying that a government inspector must inspect at each sale or do they just show up and knock and tell you they must inspect your home at random? I know this, no government employee is entering MY property without a warrant, ever. No warrant, no entry for any reason.
    Depending on the city, some are AHJ inspectors, some are private contractors licensed by the city. Each city has different reporting standards, report forms, licensing, and insurance requirements for the inspector. The seller is the person responsible for scheduling and paying for this inspection. If the inspection is not completed, there will be no sale of the house. 13 cities in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area have this requirement. This is where the majority of my inspections take place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post

    If there is a KNOWN dangerous defect in some system or design and it is well known and publicly advertiised, then yes an HI may have some responsibility to know and understand the danger. If not there is no reason to concern one's self, especially code changes to make things "safer", if it was code and consdsiered safe in 1990 and there is a new 20XX code that is to make it SAFER not just safe.

    There must be some line to draw, I think that is the line.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    THis was NEVER the issue and in fact this kind of statement makes the entire conversation that much more important. Someone here started the "proverbial court of law" talk.
    Purposely keeping information away from your clients and out of the report is exactly the issue. All 5 of you have previously stated that is exactly what you do. I'd like to know if you tell your clients, prior to doing the inspection, that you're going to be withholding information from them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    I'd like to know if you tell your clients, prior to doing the inspection, that you're going to be withholding information from them.
    Ken you aren't acknowledging my statement. There must be some middle ground and a line of demarcation. Either that or under YOUR OWN ideology, if you miss anything that any third party might consider relevant in any way you are financially responsible and liable to your client's entire "perceived" loss.

    Not even those in the profession here can agree how that should work. Therefore it is up to a jury (the exact wrong people to make that decision) and should be since even professionals cant agree. This will get VERY costly if there are suits, especially if atty's get ahold of this conversation!

    I am thinking that the answer is in each HI contract and how well it is written. I say get a great atty and protect yourself as much as you can then give 100% to exceed your agreement every way you can. limit liability.


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    Ken

    I do not tell clients that a century home does not meet current codes because that is an incorrect irrelevant statement. Clients are not going to rip out a century old stair case because it does not meet current code, it just does not happen and no inspection authority is going to dictate otherwise.

    Now if you were to ask me if I recommend upgrading K&T yes I would even though the electrical authority has never condemned it. But the insurers would most certainly want it removed and replaced with upgraded wiring while other insurers will simply accept a review by an licenced electrician or Electrical Safety Authority report stating it is fine and in good condition.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Purposely keeping information away from your clients and out of the report is exactly the issue. All 5 of you have previously stated that is exactly what you do. I'd like to know if you tell your clients, prior to doing the inspection, that you're going to be withholding information from them.
    Purposely withholding information. Separateing the wheat from the chaff.

    As inspectors, our knowledge base regarding homes should be wider and deeper than most of our clients. We see lots of things that are inconsequential. We make judgement calls to report or not report. We use our experience and knowledge to differentate and report on those items we deem important.

    What I deem is important will be different from what you deem important. You will include items I chose not to include and I will include items you will not.

    Yes, we tell our clients we will not find every defect. Try performing an inspection on the same home immediately following your first inspection. You will find stuff you missed.

    Some of the reasons one inspector may report an item over another has a lot to do with their training and life experiences. An inspector queried me today if I report a lack of deadbolts at all exterior doors. In a previous life I was a firefighter/EMT. I am more concerned about occupants getting out of the home in an emergency versus bad guys getting in. My brother-in-law the 20 yr veteran police officer disagrees with my position. I report interior keyed deadbolts at ANY and ALL exterior doors which is more stringent than code requirements. Lack of deadbolts does not even rate a verbal discussion. So who is more right, the inspector who reports a lack of deadbolts at every exterior door or the inspector who reports interior keyed deadbolts at any door? Neither postion is supported by code but both inspectors feel that their position is a Safety Issue.

    Client this week said someone broke into his home while he was sleeping. He was very concerned about security. He was willing to choose trapped inside during an emergency over security based of his experinces. Even though the window next to the deadbolted door was signficantly easier to gain entrance to the home.

    Last edited by Bruce Ramsey; 08-08-2014 at 05:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    Ken you aren't acknowledging my statement. There must be some middle ground and a line of demarcation. Either that or under YOUR OWN ideology, if you miss anything that any third party might consider relevant in any way you are financially responsible and liable to your client's entire "perceived" loss.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post

    Yes, we tell our clients we will not find every defect. Try performing an inspection on the same home immediately following your first inspection. You will find stuff you missed.
    We're not talking about inspectors missing deficiencies during the inspection...that happens to everyone. Both of you have previously stated that you do not report some known deficiencies to your clients. I asked if you tell them, prior to hiring you, that you will purposely not tell them about some of the deficiencies you find.

    Missing somthing and defrauding your clients are two separate things. Missing something gets covered by my E&O insurance. Willfully not reporting a deficiency will not.

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 08-08-2014 at 10:04 PM.
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    Default Re: Report terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    We're not talking about inspectors missing deficiencies during the inspection...that happens to everyone. Both of you have previously stated that you do not report some known deficiencies to your clients. I asked if you tell them, prior to hiring you, that you will purposely not tell them about some of the deficiencies you find.

    Missing somthing and defrauding your clients are two separate things. Missing something gets covered by my E&O insurance. Willfully not reporting a deficiency will not.
    Something many inspectors lack is judgment. A good inspector needs to use judgment to determine what in fact is a defect and what is not. You probably do this also, but you seem to not recognize it. There are so many things in an older house that do not meet present standards. I point out many of these items. But lacking AFCIs, undersized ground wires in Romex, lack of hurricane ties on roof trusses (in an area that does not experience hurricanes), lack of hard-wired smoke detectors, windows that may be a bit smaller than required per present egress standards are just a few items I seldom if ever list. In my judgment they are not defects in an older house. Am I withholding knowledge of defects? I don't think so.

    On the other hand, I sometimes include things I see as defects that may meet code. For years I have pointed out that built-in benches on high decks are a hazard. Children could easily stand on a bench and fall over the railing. They could do the same thing with a chair, but that is not built in. This was not a code violation until the 2012 IRC.


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    Ken

    I think you need to re-assess your use of the term 'defraud'. Missing or or failing to disclose a defect or witholding information is not defrauding. Withholding information is not a criminal act it's negligence in tort.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Ken

    I think you need to re-assess your use of the term 'defraud'. Missing or or failing to disclose a defect or witholding information is not defrauding. Withholding information is not a criminal act it's negligence in tort.
    No, I'm pretty sure I used the correct word. Charging a person to perform and inspection then purposely leaving deficiencies out of the report when not telling the person you will be doing so=
    obtaining money by deception.

    de·fraud

    diˈfrôd/
    verb
    verb: defraud; 3rd person present: defrauds; past tense: defrauded; past participle: defrauded; gerund or present participle: defrauding
    illegally obtain money from (someone) by deception.
    "he used a false identity to defraud the bank of thousands of dollars"
    synonyms: swindle, cheat, rob, embezzle;


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    Something many inspectors lack is judgment. A good inspector needs to use judgment to determine what in fact is a defect and what is not. You probably do this also, but you seem to not recognize it. There are so many things in an older house that do not meet present standards. I point out many of these items. But lacking AFCIs, undersized ground wires in Romex, lack of hurricane ties on roof trusses (in an area that does not experience hurricanes), lack of hard-wired smoke detectors, windows that may be a bit smaller than required per present egress standards are just a few items I seldom if ever list. In my judgment they are not defects in an older house. Am I withholding knowledge of defects? I don't think so.

    On the other hand, I sometimes include things I see as defects that may meet code. For years I have pointed out that built-in benches on high decks are a hazard. Children could easily stand on a bench and fall over the railing. They could do the same thing with a chair, but that is not built in. This was not a code violation until the 2012 IRC.

    Again you state that you pick and choose what you tell your clients during the inspection and in your report. Again I ask, do you tell them that you will purposely not tell them about some of the deficiencies you see prior to them hiring you?

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    No your use is not correct. There is more to fraud / defrauding someone other then the simple dictionary example.

    fraud legal definition of fraud

    Can you point out a legal case where an inspector has been charged with fraud due to withholding information purposefully in order to gain financially, or other benefit through deceit?

    There has to be intent to defraud, and simply not pointing out something during an inspection, or failing to comment or report on an finding due to having knowledge thereof is not necessarily having intent to commit a fraud in order to gain financially simply for an inspection fee.

    However; perhaps the word you may have intended to use was 'misrepresentation'.

    I take umbrage as I am sure others do with you implying that there is a fraud being perpetrated because you feel we as inspectors with holding information. As I pointed out there is no fraud as per my example where a century home with non current code railing / pickets has to meet current code, and leaving same out of report is not in and of itself legally an intent to defraud any more than leaving out the fact a electrical cover plate was missing, and it was not reported because an inspector felt it was a insignificant in the over-all financial aspect of the transaction.


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    I have to disagree with you Raymond. Unless, the inspector tells the client up front that they will not be reporting some deficiencies (which some inspectors do via their inspection agreement). This is extremely common practice in the HI industry and I don't see anything wrong with it, as long as the inspector informs the client prior to performing the inspection. The problem is, most inspectors don't inform their clients that they will be purposely leaving deficiencies out of the report.

    As far as myself goes...my inspection agreement says basically that all observed deficiencies will be reported. And that's what I do. So again I ask you Raymond, do you tell your clients that you will be purposely leaving some deficiencies out of the report?

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 08-10-2014 at 09:42 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Again you state that you pick and choose what you tell your clients during the inspection and in your report. Again I ask, do you tell them that you will purposely not tell them about some of the deficiencies you see prior to them hiring you?
    Since you do not answer my questions, am I to assume that your report include defects such as undersized ground wires, the lack of hard-wired smoke detectors, etc?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    Since you do not answer my questions, am I to assume that your report include defects such as undersized ground wires, the lack of hard-wired smoke detectors, etc?
    I've already answered that question:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    As far as myself goes...my inspection agreement says basically that all observed deficiencies will be reported. And that's what I do.
    Please point out any other question you feel I haven't answered.

    In the mean time, please answer my previous question. Do you tell your clients that you will purposely not tell them about some of the deficiencies you see, prior to them hiring you?

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 08-10-2014 at 09:44 PM.
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    There are only three situations I see where a home inspector would not report a deficiency they've observed.

    1. Their inspection agreement states that they document only major deficiencies and some minor deficiencies will not be reported.

    2. The inspector does not want the hamper the sale of the house and wants a future referral from the agent.

    3. The inspector is too lazy to include everything in the report.

    Please let me know if i missed any other reasons.

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    4. Its not a deficiency. It does not meet current standards, but is working as intended at time of installation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    I've already answered that question:



    Please point out any other question you feel I haven't answered.

    In the mean time, please answer my previous question. Do you tell your clients that you will purposely not tell them about some of the deficiencies you see, prior to them hiring you?
    I see. Then I am going to assume that there are quite a few deficiencies that you do not see.


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    Ken wrote in part:
    As far as myself goes...my inspection agreement says basically that all observed deficiencies will be reported. And that's what I do.
    However at your website states in a copy of your report
    This is not a technically exhaustive inspection and will not necessarily list all minor home maintenance or repair items
    You seem to be contradicting yourself. So under your definition on your site you leave info out that may not be important to you but could be important to your client. Since you don't disclose the fact minor items may or may not be reported you could by your definition be a fraud perpetrated on your client.

    I can appreciate that you would argue that you are not defrauding your client, but by leaving out info at your discretion is or could be argued to be negligent on your part. Do I have that right?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Ken wrote in part:


    However at your website states in a copy of your report

    You seem to be contradicting yourself. So under your definition on your site you leave info out that may not be important to you but could be important to your client. Since you don't disclose the fact minor items may or may not be reported you could by your definition be a fraud perpetrated on your client.

    I can appreciate that you would argue that you are not defrauding your client, but by leaving out info at your discretion is or could be argued to be negligent on your part. Do I have that right?
    Raymond, try actually reading the words you've quoted.
    This is not a technically exhaustive inspection and will not necessarily list all minor home maintenance or repair items
    Nowhere in the quote, anywhere on my website, or in any report will you find a statement that says I purposely leave deficiencies out of the report at my discretion. (which is what we've been talking about). Sure, I can miss things just like anyone else and I don't go out of my way to find dirty carpet and nail holes that need spackling.

    Keep researching though because its really amusing to me that you've actually taken your time to visit my site, download a sample report and apparently scoured it looking for anything to discredit me and what I've said. When, instead, you should be spending your time figuring out what you need to do to supply a better product to your clients.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    I see. Then I am going to assume that there are quite a few deficiencies that you do not see.
    I don't think so. But how would I know if I didn't see them? In 11 years and over 5,000 inspections I've never had anyone tell me after the inspection that I've missed something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    4. Its not a deficiency. It does not meet current standards, but is working as intended at time of installation.
    In my world not meeting current standards, whether that standard is code, manufacturer's current guidelines etc, is a deficiency.

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    Ken

    You have an over active imagination. Scouring your website to discredit you? I don't think I need to discredit you, after all you are the one who failed to comprehend the difference between fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

    Its readily apparent you know more then the rest of us, so I will have to disagree with you as you disagree with my views. Your website states what it states, maybe you need to clarify your website for the readers who take the time to verify what you preach.

    This where I found your statement
    http://minnesotahomeinspectors.com/r...mplereport.pdf
    Page 2 Scope

    Last edited by Raymond Wand; 08-13-2014 at 05:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Ken

    You have an over active imagination. Scouring your website to discredit you? I don't think I need to discredit you, after all you are the one who failed to comprehend the difference between fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

    Its readily apparent you know more then the rest of us, so I will have to disagree with you as you disagree with my views. Your website states what it states, maybe you need to clarify your website for the readers who take the time to verify what you preach.

    This where I found your statement
    http://minnesotahomeinspectors.com/r...mplereport.pdf
    Page 2 Scope

    Raymond,

    Why are you taking this so personal? Why turn this into "you know more than the rest of us"? You are more than welcome to do your inspections any way you wish. It doesn't effect me in the least. Because I shared my way of doing inspections and reporting does that make me "know more than the rest of you"? I don't think so, but apparently you do and you're getting defensive. Sorry I've made you feel inadequate Raymond.

    Interesting tactic, trying to make this about me by twisting the meaning of one sentence in a 60+ page report. Reminds me of the political ads currently running where one politician takes a snippet from the other candidates video and gives it a totally out of context meaning.

    Maybe I need to clarify my website? What, you want me to put a disclaimer that says, "The following words are meant to be interpreted as they are written. Any adding of imaginary words, re-arraignment of the words or removal of any word may change the meaning or context of what's written and should not be attempted under any circumstances". What you lack in common sense you make up for with comedy.

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 08-13-2014 at 10:06 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Raymond,

    Why are you taking this so personal? Why turn this into "you know more than the rest of us"? You are more than welcome to do your inspections any way you wish. It doesn't effect me in the least. Because I shared my way of doing inspections and reporting does that make me "know more than the rest of you"? I don't think so, but apparently you do and you're getting defensive. Sorry I've made you feel inadequate Raymond.

    Interesting tactic, trying to make this about me by twisting the meaning of one sentence in a 60+ page report. Reminds me of the political ads currently running where one politician takes a snippet from the other candidates video and gives it a totally out of context meaning.

    Maybe I need to clarify my website? What, you want me to put a disclaimer that says, "The following words are meant to be interpreted as they are written. Any adding of imaginary words, re-arraignment of the words or removal of any word may change the meaning or context of what's written and should not be attempted under any circumstances". What you lack in common sense you make up for with comedy.
    Whose taking it personal? Not me, I am only pointing out for discussion sake your opinions and my contra views. You could never make me feel inadequate, so no apology necessary. As for common sense it appears I make up for the short fall with my ability to make you laugh. Glad you appreciate the comical touch I provided.

    Continued success!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    However at your website states in a copy of your report

    You seem to be contradicting yourself. So under your definition on your site you leave info out that may not be important to you but could be important to your client.
    Let's pretend for a minute that we're all in Raymond's fantasy world and the statement;" "
    This is not a technically exhaustive inspection and will not necessarily list all minor home maintenance or repair item
    " actually means that I will be intentionally not reporting deficiencies at my discretion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Since you don't disclose the fact minor items may or may not be reported you could by your definition be a fraud perpetrated on your client.
    But, I did disclose it. You graciously pointed out my disclosure in the sample report. A copy of which is available to the public, the same way you got it. In fact, the "Scope" of the inspection is emailed out to each of my clients, along with an Inspection Agreement, prior to even conducting the inspection.

    So, in your fantasy world Raymond, how am I not disclosing this information?

    Back to reality now Raymond. Since I don't have the time or the inclination to scour the web looking for the answer, why don't you tell us how you disclose to your potential clients that you won't be including all observed deficiencies in your inspection?

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    Thanks Ken,

    Yup I am living in a fantasy world so I guess there's no point in carrying on the conversation since I don't wish to be seen as discrediting you any further.


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