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  1. #1
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    Default Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    My inspector did an inspection on a home that had a crawlspace. The entrance to the crawlspace was not at ground level, but higher than the typical entrance which required a ladder to get to and climb over into. Due to my inspectors knee injury, he did not feel safe trying to enter it. He DID indicate in the report that he inspected the crawlspace from the crawlspace entrance, but he DID NOT indicate why he couldn't go into the crawlspace and why it was only inspected from the entrance.

    After the client took possession of the property, the carpet was removed in a bedroom which indicated 2" drop of the floor from the baseboard. The client hired a contractor who did go into the crawlspace and discovered 2 joists which were rotted at the ends which is what caused the floor to drop and said we should have caught that. The contractor quoted $3000 to fix the joist and floor issues and the client is coming at us saying that we missed it.

    Is the client correct? My inspector did put in the report that the crawlspace was viewed from the entrance only. I look at this in the same sense as attics. Most attics we don't go into because of insulation or size, etc. and we indicate in the report that it was only viewed from the attic access.

    PS. By the way, I am totally pissed that my inspector did not put the reason why he didn't access the crawlspace. If he had done that, this email wouldn't have been totally unnecessary.

    Sean

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Your answer depends on what is written in your contract, your inspection report, and what your attorney says (and what their attorney says if it goes that far).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    If the inspector didn't feel physically capable to perform a proper inspection, he shouldn't be working until his knee allows him to perform a proper inspection.

    To me, simply saying he only viewed the crawlspace from the opening and gave no reason as to why just opened an already open door even further for the buyer. But even if the inspector did state in the report why he did not enter the crawlspace, how do you word something like that without it sounding lame?

    I think the buyer is right here and would still be right even if the report stated why the inspector did not enter the crawlspace.

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 09-15-2015 at 01:37 PM.
    "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: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Well, the client shouldn't have to contend with the inspector's knee injury.

    If the crawlspace was accessible, (apparently is was) the damage would have been found, is that the general idea?


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    I suspect that it really does not matter if a reason was given for not inspecting the crawlspace or not - it gets beyond that now.

    While I agree with Nick and Dom on the lame excuse part, what it comes down to is what the attorneys say.

    Of course, though, some are not thinking of when they write 'xxx not inspected due to storage' ... is that really any better for the client's interests in the inspection than 'xxx not inspected because the inspector didn't feel like it'?

    No, not really (oops, answered my own question ).

    On one side of the issue is that it depends on when the client knew that the crawlspace had not been inspected and if they asked if someone could come out to inspect it ... i.e., were they told about it at the time of the inspection and it was 'okay with them' (SHAME ON THE INSPECTOR if the inspector DID NOT TELL THE CLIENT while at the inspection); did they not read the report and only discovered that it was not inspected after they closed (shame on the client for doing the all too common - NOT READING THE REPORT); there are MANY possible scenarios which could affect the answer.

    Jumping to conclusions is how a lot of us here get our required daily exercise.

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    I'm sure it wasn’t a matter of he didn't go into crawlspace because he just "didn't want to". He is more on the heavier side and it had a quirky entrance where you climb up a ladder to get into and then drop off about 6 feet on the inside. It’s the company policy to always enter every crawlspace unless their physical safety is compromised, i.e., water on the crawlspace floor, significant construction debris, etc.
    I had the inspector write a synopsis on the initial visit after the call and here’s the excerpt
    As I went through the basement to inspect the area of damage, I noticed that the crawlspace hatch was about 6 feet above the floor, bordering the basement ceiling in the middle of the West basement wall. At that moment, I realized that I may not have entered the crawlspace due to the level of difficulty of entry/exit. At the time of inspection, even with a ladder, the fact that there was nothing to grab and brace myself upon exit, coupled with the knee condition that I have, I made the decision not to enter and to inspect the crawlspace from the hatch. On 8-15-15, Mrs. Anderson had a step ladder next to the hatch and I entered the crawlspace to view the joist damage. She had to assist my exit of the hatch by bracing the ladder for me when I exited the crawlspace.”
    Based on his concern regarding safety, if he would have put that in the report as a limitation, I would have backed that up because I have to trust his judgement. We have plenty of crawlspaces here in the Chicagoland area and we all go in them and know the importance of going in them.
    The fact that he didn’t put it into the limitations and that he did indicate in the report, that the Crawlspace was inspected from the access. Where does the liability lie at the point? If he indicated that he entered the crawlspace and this came up, then he should have seen it.
    I do have a limitation clause in my inspection agreement up to the inspection fee.





  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Bacon View Post
    The fact that he didn’t put it into the limitations and that he did indicate in the report, that the Crawlspace was inspected from the access. Where does the liability lie at the point? If he indicated that he entered the crawlspace and this came up, then he should have seen it.
    I do have a limitation clause in my inspection agreement up to the inspection fee.
    "Where does the liability lie at the point?"

    At the point we have all already been discussing.

    The reason for not entering does not change the liability factor, the reason only changes the feel-good-about-it factor.

    The end result would be the same - the crawlspace was not entered and was only inspected from the access opening.

    Your answer lies in why contracts are used and the way they are written - the inspector does not have to inspect "everything" (no inspector ever does inspect "everything") and what is not inspected is pointed out and explained to the client ... which gets back to what I mentioned before - when was the client advised the crawlspace was only inspected from the opening, did the client read the report, etc.

    We don't know that stuff, it doesn't matter if we know that stuff, and it is probably in your best interest not to tell us that stuff on a public forum (or even in PM as those might be able to be called up during discovery). Just sayin' ...

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    After the client took possession of the property, the carpet was removed in a bedroom which indicated 2" drop of the floor from the baseboard.
    The purchaser did not see the floor was out by 2 inches? Or the inspector?

    The inspector knowing he couldn't access the crawl space, knowing that the floor was out of level would have been wise to have stated his findings and due to his handicap at the time he was unable to enter the crawlspace. That further investigation was required of the area due to the strong likelihood there are damaged joists.

    Was the contracted presented for review by client prior to inspection?


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Sean

    In a similar case in the Ontario courts an inspector did not enter the crawlspace and indicated the method used to observe the crawlspace in his report as “partial entry". He looked from the access hatch and waived his flashlight around. Failing to enter the crawlspace to conduct a more thorough inspection of the floor and foundation walls in that space. There were obstructions, in the form of stored items, preventing, to some degree, physical entry into the space as otherwise he would have entered the space.

    Subsequently due to his lack of diligence and subsequent floor settlement of the kitchen floor above the crawlspace, the courts found had the purchaser been alerted to the existence and extent of the sloping kitchen floor, the purchaser would not have waived the inspection condition, at least without an adjustment to the purchase price to reflect the cost to rectify it.

    Even though purchaser did not read the inspection report (purchasers testimony) in its entirety, but merely “skimmed” it, prior to waiving the condition, the Inspection Agreement explicitly characterized the inspection as a "two-part system, the verbal survey and the written report." Even though the purchaser did not review the written report in detail, he did come away from attending on the actual inspection satisfied with what he had been told by the inspector about the condition of the dwelling. The evidence indicated that there was no substantive difference between what the purchaser had been told by the inspector verbally and what was reported in the written inspection report.

    In this case the court found in favour of the plaintiffs and awarded damages against the defendant inspection company in the sum of $18,645.00 inclusive of HST.

    In my opinion, I think you would most likely be ahead of the game and considering the findings in the Ontario case would most likely be advised to pay the $3K.

    But then again I am not an attorney, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn!


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Inspecting from the hatch, or inspecting from the access door is not an inspection. Those actions are unacceptable when contracting an inspection. The only acceptable comment is "..could not inspect due to access blockage."

    You could expand the excuse approach and say "...inspection of house conducted from front door." It's the same in the end. Something doesn't get looked at during the inspection.

    Had the inspector said something like "Gee, I have an injury and can't get up and down that access easily, but if it was on level ground it wouldn't be a problem. Is it OK with you to have another inspector come back and finish the crawl space?"

    The problem would be solved. Yes, this individual inspection may cost a tad more for the company, but it would preclude situations such as this from ever occurring.

    If I was contracting an inspection, I would not accept an inspection if it included "inspected from hatch" or "inspected from access door." This is not a complete inspection and could come back and bite me in the ass.


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Your inspector may be liable for the floor but I would definitely get a second and third cost estimate to repair.

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    I regularly see crawlspaces that have very little head clearance, filled with property, etc. Whatever the condition is as to why I was not able to enter the crawlspace (or a low head clearance attic for that matter) I always state in my report the reason why the area was not entered (ie - inadequate clearance, blocked by stored property, blocked by HVAC ducts, etc).

    Stating and emphasizing the height of the access opening above the crawlspace floor both verbally to the buyer at the inspection and in the report might have helped. But, since the inspector stated in his synopsis of his visit back to the house........"On 8-15-15, Mrs. Anderson had a step ladder next to the hatch and I entered the crawlspace to view the joist damage. She had to assist my exit of the hatch by bracing the ladder for me when I exited the crawlspace.”

    The one thing I take from this is that if the inspector had a ladder with him at the inspection (and ladders are common necessary tools we need at almost every inspection), he could have gotten in to the crawlspace and back out again, unless I'm missing something. Was the buyer present at the inspection? If so, she could have still assisted the inspector in the same manner and held a ladder steady for him at the inspection. He obviously was ale to get into the crawlspace when he went back to the house on 8/15/15. It sounds like he just didn't come prepared with the proper tools to get the job done.

    "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: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Even though purchaser did not read the inspection report (purchasers testimony) in its entirety, but merely “skimmed” it, prior to waiving the condition, the Inspection Agreement explicitly characterized the inspection as a "two-part system, the verbal survey and the written report." Even though the purchaser did not review the written report in detail, he did come away from attending on the actual inspection satisfied with what he had been told by the inspector about the condition of the dwelling. The evidence indicated that there was no substantive difference between what the purchaser had been told by the inspector verbally and what was reported in the written inspection report.
    Which is just what I've been saying - and we don't know what, if anything, the inspector told the client about it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    The purchaser did not see the floor was out by 2 inches? Or the inspector?
    I am with you on this - no one noticed a 2 inch drop?

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Good morning Jerry

    I don't know whether in this case the inspector routinely includes a summary sheet, but I never provide a summary since many people will only rely on a summary, which can lead to trouble.


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Lot's of good advice in this thread. Even though I'm glad you brought this up and find the thread useful, I think Jerry's advice to not go public with this until you have resolved it, is the best advice for the rest of us going forward.

    I think you have exposure on this one. Even if the inspector had explained his bad knee in the report, I think you would have had exposure unless the access has limitations that are covered in whatever SoP you conduct your inspections with. Since, it sounds like you have multiple inspector employees, your inspector should have called on another inspector to look at the crawlspace.

    You might get your own contractor to look at it and see if you can get a "good buddy" price for the repair.

    I think the Ontario court got it wrong on Raymond's example, which shows the risks of going to court. Settling outside of court is sometimes safer, quicker, and less costly even when you're in the "right".

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Was there sub-floor insulation??? Could the joists ends been concealed? I had a situation several years ago where during a bathroom remodel the contractor found damage to the rim joist and said "the inspector should have caught that". The sill plate which was visible was OK. Our state SOP do not require us to remove insulation for inspections.

    The buyer (now owner) drove the issue using the contractor statement and eventually I just turned it over to my insurance. The moral was you can be right and still pay.

    In this case unfortunately due to inspectors inability to access the space due to his own limitations, I think the owner should be compensated.

    //Rick

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Really? $3000 to sister two floor joists?

    For less than $60 in materials, do the repairs yourself if you're found liable.

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Payson View Post
    Really? $3000 to sister two floor joists?

    For less than $60 in materials, do the repairs yourself if you're found liable.
    Ah, that would be a conflict of interest and most certainly a COE violation. Not only that if you are insured your underwriter would not find it amusing should they find out. And what qualifies the inspector to even contemplate fixing something which he had a duty to find in the first place?


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Payson View Post
    Really? $3000 to sister two floor joists?

    For less than $60 in materials, do the repairs yourself if you're found liable.
    Only if one is a licensed contractor ... unless one is in an area which does not have contractor licensing ... and I am sure that Chicago does.

    You really need to make sure you are not encouraging home inspectors to make repairs: 1) it may be against their home inspector licensing laws; 2) it LIKELY IS against their contractor licensing laws; 3) if may be against their SoP; 4) it WILL come with great liability that one may wish to avoid; 5) it is NOT good business practices to fix things (even if one is a suitably licensed contractor).

    I am sure others can add to that list.

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    You are correct in both posts Jerry. Forgot that most inspectors are not contractors.

    In most agreements, the inspector has the right to revisit the structure in question and is given the opportunity to remedy the situation (usually by hiring his/her own contractor, etc.).

    As for conflict of interest or COE violations, that pertains to an inspector who goes in, finds defects and then offers to repair said defects for a fee.

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    If one is found negligent by the court, its already to late to repair the joists.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    A good inspector if he cannot go into an area for some reason should put in the report that they recommend evaluation by a qualified contractor after stating their reason for not evaluating.

    You are not doing the buyer a service by just stating you cannot do something. Inspectors lose all the time in court NOT doing exactly that. Courts frown on inspectors not protecting their clients fully since many clients may not be aware there are things that could be major like fungus, termite damage and/or a great many other issues in a crawlspace.

    It's EXTREMELY hard to believe he couldn't see any signs of a 2" drop above!? But $3000 to repair is even more hard to believe!

    - - - Updated - - -

    A good inspector if he cannot go into an area for some reason should put in the report that they recommend evaluation by a qualified contractor after stating their reason for not evaluating.

    You are not doing the buyer a service by just stating you cannot do something. Inspectors lose all the time in court NOT doing exactly that. Courts frown on inspectors not protecting their clients fully since many clients may not be aware there are things that could be major like fungus, termite damage and/or a great many other issues in a crawlspace.

    It's EXTREMELY hard to believe he couldn't see any signs of a 2" drop above!? But $3000 to repair is even more hard to believe!


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    It's EXTREMELY hard to believe he couldn't see any signs of a 2" drop above!?
    In the inspector's defense ... *I* have been in inspections when a drop in the edge of the floor was not noticeable - because a large buffet/hutch full of china and crystal was setting along the wall, but ...

    As I walked around the room I heard the crystal items ringing out as I walked around the room - I finally figured out that the buffet/hutch was shaking just enough for the crystal items to bump against each other and start vibrating/ringing out.

    I walked up to the buffet/hutch,, stood in front of it, and lightly moved up and down on my toes - the floor shook, and the crystal sang out loud and clear.

    When I went into the crawlspace I made a special effort to get to that area (it was not easy) and, sure enough, the ends of several of the floor joists were decayed.

    But $3000 to repair is even more hard to believe!
    I can assure you that making those repairs would easily have cost $1,500 to $2,000 ... 25 years ago!

    $3,000 TODAY? Could very well be ... ACCESS makes all the difference ... I suspect that many here ARE NOT CONSIDERING ALL THE POSSIBILITIES of what that work could entail.

    Again, as I stated earlier, jumping to conclusions is how many of us get our daily exercise in ... 'Oh, that work? NO PROBLEM, drag some 2x10s in there and slap them up in place ... yeah, right!


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Only if one is a licensed contractor ... unless one is in an area which does not have contractor licensing ... and I am sure that Chicago does.

    You really need to make sure you are not encouraging home inspectors to make repairs: 1) it may be against their home inspector licensing laws; 2) it LIKELY IS against their contractor licensing laws; 3) if may be against their SoP; 4) it WILL come with great liability that one may wish to avoid; 5) it is NOT good business practices to fix things (even if one is a suitably licensed contractor).

    I am sure others can add to that list.
    I do not know how other state laws treat General Contracting, but in NC a GC license is only required where the cost is over $30,000 for constructing or improving a property for another.

    I do recommend using a GC in my reports for repairs that are less than $30K, only to insure I have recommended someone that the client can have held accountable for there work. I really don't care if they use a GC, as many I know I would not have build a dog house. As the name implies; a General Contractor is licensed to "Contract" and does not have to be a good builder.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I can assure you that making those repairs would easily have cost $1,500 to $2,000 ... 25 years ago!

    $3,000 TODAY? Could very well be ... ACCESS makes all the difference ... I suspect that many here ARE NOT CONSIDERING ALL THE POSSIBILITIES of what that work could entail.

    Again, as I stated earlier, jumping to conclusions is how many of us get our daily exercise in ... 'Oh, that work? NO PROBLEM, drag some 2x10s in there and slap them up in place ... yeah, right!

    I did structural repairs for 25 years, I can understand where you live it may be that expensive but never here unless your getting raped.. I also based it partially on the fact the guy had to use a ladder to get in, in my world that definitely meant lots of access but who knows?

    If I had to replace the sill, the rim and the joists it still would not be $3000, not to mention I could do it myself in less than a day easily.

    So in my world that would be


    I also was one of the first to install radon systems in KY 30 years ago and we charged $1250 minimum, that cost today is usually $750-$950.. times change, cheap labor moves in etc. etc.


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    I did structural repairs for 25 years, I can understand where you live it may be that expensive but never here unless your getting raped.

    If I had to replace the sill, the rim and the joists it still would not be $3000, not to mention I could do it myself in less than a day easily.
    Thank you Kenny, that was my original point.

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    I also was one of the first to install radon systems in KY 30 years ago and we charged $1250 minimum, that cost today is usually $750-$950.. times change, cheap labor moves in etc. etc.
    Hehe, me too in the 80's. Now in New Jersey, I'm not allowed to install unless I get my Radon Mitigation license. Sorry, not interested anymore

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    I did structural repairs for 25 years, I can understand where you live it may be that expensive but never here unless your getting raped.. I also based it partially on the fact the guy had to use a ladder to get in, in my world that definitely meant lots of access but who knows?

    If I had to replace the sill, the rim and the joists it still would not be $3000, not to mention I could do it myself in less than a day easily.

    So in my world that would be


    I also was one of the first to install radon systems in KY 30 years ago and we charged $1250 minimum, that cost today is usually $750-$950.. times change, cheap labor moves in etc. etc.
    Yes, labor prices have fallen, but any decent LICENSED contractor needs to pay his workers AND himself AND make a profit after paying taxes, workers compensation, insurance, etc.

    Just like there are still home inspectors who charge $195 for a full home inspection ... and include termite ... and anything else they need to get those inspections ... has YOUR inspections fees gone UP or DOWN in the past 30 years?

    My point was ... AND STILL IS ... that NONE OF US KNOWS ... the conditions which are present - so saying that $3,000 is ripping someone off is no more accurate than saying you can do it for 60 bucks in material - and is simply getting ones daily exercise by jumping to meaningless conclusions ... oh, wait ... maybe the "meaningless" part makes the "jumping to conclusions" part burn more calories and build muscle ... okay, got it ...

    I am a Florida Licensed General Contractor (I keep it active) and ... I HAVE NOT done construction for the past 30 years - I got smart and went into inspections.

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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    [QUOTE=Jerry Peck;260344]

    My point was ... AND STILL IS ... that NONE OF US KNOWS ... the conditions which are present - so saying that $3,000 is ripping someone off is no more accurate than saying you can do it for 60 bucks in material - and is simply getting ones daily exercise by jumping to meaningless conclusions ... oh, wait ... maybe the "meaningless" part makes the "jumping to conclusions" part burn more calories and build muscle ... okay, got it ...

    "The client hired a contractor who did go into the crawlspace and discovered 2 joists which were rotted at the ends which is what caused the floor to drop and said we should have caught that. The contractor quoted $3000 to fix the joist and floor issues and the client is coming at us saying that we missed it."

    I have done joist repairs where I had to dig under the area to access it, move ducts and electrical wires.. still not $3000, so maybe you never actually did this kind of work, I doubt you have.. your incredibly knowledgeable in many areas but this is one I don't see your knowledge in any way shape or form. You can mark it up all you want and say access and crazy issues but still, end of day, not $3000. But then maybe you forgot to read "I" did the repairs.. not my crew, but then again I also kept up with the contractors in the area and what they charged.. MAYBE the top end guy would have been.. ok, likely.. but he was always higher than everybody.


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    If the inspector didn't feel physically capable to perform a proper inspection, he shouldn't be working until his knee allows him to perform a proper inspection.

    To me, simply saying he only viewed the crawlspace from the opening and gave no reason as to why just opened an already open door even further for the buyer. But even if the inspector did state in the report why he did not enter the crawlspace, how do you word something like that without it sounding lame?

    I think the buyer is right here and would still be right even if the report stated why the inspector did not enter the crawlspace.
    Oooh that's tough. The first answer you got is the correct one (depends on contract, etc) What is tough though, it certainly should not fall on the buyer- a buyer would NOT know to carefully detail whether floor joists were actually inspected, as they are not familiar with such minutiae (to a buyer, that is minutiae) the regular, everyday Joe home buyer is not knowledgeable of such things on what is inspected nor what an inspection consists of, all HE knows is- his house should be up to par, and not fall apart at the seams after purchase. Which is what an INSPECTOR is for. "Your" inspector? Uh Oh! balls in your court- an inspector is hired to INSPECT, not "Guess" not "um.. ok from here I suppose". If, IF! I were you- and this is pure speculation in my mind, I would settle for the 3k in Good Faith and Good Business Practices for the buyer, who got scroogled.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Once again, if you don't inspect, you say why you did not inspect, then you recommend inspection at a later date by either someone else or yourself, period.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Regarding the 2" of floor drop in the room above the crawlspace above the rotted joists, this is something that could go unseen depending upon the amount of property in that room. A large bed directly above it may hide it completely as could a room being used to store boxes, moving items, etc.

    "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: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Maybe contractors' knees are bad too and it takes a little longer and he is charging by the hour. I would not like my car inspected or airplane inspected, or chicken inspected with an note why it was passed over. The HO contracted for what, customarily, is a complete inspection. Legal fees are going to kill you defending this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Payson View Post
    Really? $3000 to sister two floor joists?

    For less than $60 in materials, do the repairs yourself if you're found liable.



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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    I have done joist repairs where I had to dig under the area to access it, move ducts and electrical wires.. still not $3000, so maybe you never actually did this kind of work, I doubt you have..
    *I* have done that work before - under houses in tight crawlspaces, over them in tight attic spaces and *I* almost always was smart enough to have helpers and workers with me so they could do work 'outside where there was room' and then hand the material to me where there was not even room enough to turn around ... *I* was likely that guy you referred to who was always the highest around - worked for me while I did that work.

    I specialized in remodeling and alteration, where I could go in, create a design the client wanted, then meet the challenges of dealing with whatever we encountered doing the work - it was always fun and challenging ... then I got smart and decided to go into inspections - where I was still the one who was always the highest around ... and that worked for me then too.

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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    *I* have done that work before - under houses in tight crawlspaces, over them in tight attic spaces and *I* almost always was smart enough to have helpers and workers with me so they could do work 'outside where there was room' and then hand the material to me where there was not even room enough to turn around ... *I* was likely that guy you referred to who was always the highest around - worked for me while I did that work.

    I specialized in remodeling and alteration, where I could go in, create a design the client wanted, then meet the challenges of dealing with whatever we encountered doing the work - it was always fun and challenging ... then I got smart and decided to go into inspections - where I was still the one who was always the highest around ... and that worked for me then too.
    LOL! "I" was young enough, strong enough AND smart enough to know "I" made alot more money doing it myself! BUT, on hard jobs my buddy, who also did these types of repairs helped me.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    *I* have done that work before - under houses in tight crawlspaces, over them in tight attic spaces and *I* almost always was smart enough to have helpers and workers with me so they could do work 'outside where there was room' and then hand the material to me where there was not even room enough to turn around ... *I* was likely that guy you referred to who was always the highest around - worked for me while I did that work.

    I specialized in remodeling and alteration, where I could go in, create a design the client wanted, then meet the challenges of dealing with whatever we encountered doing the work - it was always fun and challenging ... then I got smart and decided to go into inspections - where I was still the one who was always the highest around ... and that worked for me then too.
    LOL! "I" was young enough, strong enough AND smart enough to know "I" made alot more money doing it myself! BUT, on hard jobs my buddy, who also did these types of repairs helped me.


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Costs are dependent on what repair costs will be quoted. Until such time its any ones guess as to cost to repair. Too many factors to state with accuracy the cost is excessive.

    If I were the inspector I would want at least three quotes provided by home owner, and anything done above and beyond the cost to repair the stated defect(s) could be considered betterment.

    Again the onus is on the complainant to establish inspector was negligent and or breached the contractual terms.


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    LOL! "I" was young enough, strong enough AND smart enough to know "I" made alot more money doing it myself! BUT, on hard jobs my buddy, who also did these types of repairs helped me.
    Let me get this straight - One man working 4 hours equals more than two men working 4 hours where each man/hour is charged the same?

    1 man/hour @ $50 man/hour x 4 man/hours = $200 for you
    1 man/hour @ $50 man/hour x 8 man/hours = $400 - (1 man/hour @ $20 man/hour x 4 man/hours = $80 for the worker) = $320 for me

    $200 is more than $320 ??? ... not sure what kind of fuzzy math you are using, but, okie dokie ... you be smarter than me.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Liability for not going into the crawl space seems to be on HI. State SOP and industry standards provide reasons not to enter which are typically required to be in the report. Bad knee, bad back, to fat, having need of someone to stabilize a ladder, or being afraid of ladders and heights over 2 ft are not valid reasons. The HI accepted the liability for what he missed by what he did. The couldof-whouldof-shouldof has passed. Good education has it price.

    The contractor bid for work at first seemed high and I thought it may have been a result of the home owner telling the contractor not to skip anything and cover any potential additional costs, what I call the Plus Factor for the unknown issues. Then I reflected on the lack of specifications and details for the work performed. The devil is in the details and you have to give the devil his due.

    Possible scenario for costs to replace/repair damaged joist:
    Electrician (licensed & possibly union ) disconnect and reconnect wiring obstructing work.$____.
    Plumber (licensed & possibly union ) disconnect and reconnect waste and water obstructions.$__.
    Permits - cost for permit and time to obtain permit as required............................$____
    Permits to block off parking in front of house for contractor use..........................$____
    Carpenter(s)(licensed) to correct damaged joists............................................ ..$_____
    Compliance for EPA,LHSR,RRP - lead paint............................................. ...........$
    Carpenter (licensed) to remove and replace baseboard (may have to be replaced) RRP Lic.$____
    Carpenter (licensed) to remove and correct sub-flooring damage..........................$_______
    Carpenter to remove and replace damaged 3/4 T&G flooring weaving back into original $___
    Painter (licensed) to paint base board replaced.......................................... ........$____
    Floor re-finisher (licensed)to sand and refinish entire room to obtain uniform appearance.$_____
    Someone to remove and replace furniture from room..........................................$___ __
    Cleaner to clean up from dust from floor refinishing....................................... .....$_____
    Potential added cost to repair/replace damaged rim joist and associated requirements $____
    Time for material procurement and delivery.......................................... ..............$____
    Materials: joist, sub-floor, 3/4 T&G, and assorted other material costs.....................$_____
    Material debris disposal .................................................. ................................$____
    Security to guard trucks from neighbors shopping skills ........................................$____
    (((Seems that I have missed some costs, but the above is a possible list of costs))

    It can be a bit more than just jack up and install 2 joist next to damaged joists and drop in a few nails. $40 in materials and 4 hours for 2 men.

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 09-17-2015 at 10:10 AM.

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Yeah, and don't forget the cost of the jobsite trailer for the project manager and the hotel fee's to put up the sellers family during construction.

    Peak Inspection Services | Over 32 Years of Contractor Experience!
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  40. #40
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Payson View Post
    Yeah, and don't forget the cost of the jobsite trailer for the project manager and the hotel fee's to put up the sellers family during construction.
    Yep,,,,, and catering for job site, camera crew, cost to fly in Holmes and his crew and legal to review contracts. Knew I forgot something ...


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Without any of us seeing the actual conditions relative to the needed repairs, I don't think any of us can say the repair estimate is overpriced.

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

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Let me get this straight - One man working 4 hours equals more than two men working 4 hours where each man/hour is charged the same?

    1 man/hour @ $50 man/hour x 4 man/hours = $200 for you
    1 man/hour @ $50 man/hour x 8 man/hours = $400 - (1 man/hour @ $20 man/hour x 4 man/hours = $80 for the worker) = $320 for me

    $200 is more than $320 ??? ... not sure what kind of fuzzy math you are using, but, okie dokie ... you be smarter than me.

    Are you sure you didn't drink with another old guy that used to be on here? I'm not real sure how you come up with your figures or anything else but it's as screwed up as your response.. smart you are but it's not showing here. If someone works by themselves it takes longer, not less time and you keep ALL OF IT. So, uh, your fuzzy math is wrong.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Let me get this straight - One man working 4 hours equals more than two men working 4 hours where each man/hour is charged the same?

    1 man/hour @ $50 man/hour x 4 man/hours = $200 for you
    1 man/hour @ $50 man/hour x 8 man/hours = $400 - (1 man/hour @ $20 man/hour x 4 man/hours = $80 for the worker) = $320 for me

    $200 is more than $320 ??? ... not sure what kind of fuzzy math you are using, but, okie dokie ... you be smarter than me.

    Are you sure you didn't drink with another old guy that used to be on here? I'm not real sure how you come up with your figures or anything else but it's as screwed up as your response.. smart you are but it's not showing here. If someone works by themselves it takes longer, not less time and you keep ALL OF IT. So, uh, your fuzzy math is wrong.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Let me get this straight - One man working 4 hours equals more than two men working 4 hours where each man/hour is charged the same?

    1 man/hour @ $50 man/hour x 4 man/hours = $200 for you
    1 man/hour @ $50 man/hour x 8 man/hours = $400 - (1 man/hour @ $20 man/hour x 4 man/hours = $80 for the worker) = $320 for me

    $200 is more than $320 ??? ... not sure what kind of fuzzy math you are using, but, okie dokie ... you be smarter than me.

    Are you sure you didn't drink with another old guy that used to be on here? I'm not real sure how you come up with your figures or anything else but it's as screwed up as your response.. smart you are but it's not showing here. If someone works by themselves it takes longer, not less time and you keep ALL OF IT. So, uh, your fuzzy math is wrong.


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    Are you sure you didn't drink with another old guy that used to be on here? I'm not real sure how you come up with your figures or anything else but it's as screwed up as your response.. smart you are but it's not showing here. If someone works by themselves it takes longer, not less time and you keep ALL OF IT.
    So, using my example, you are saying it would take you ALL DAY ... 8 hours ... while my worker and I have moved on to do our SECOND job for the day and doubled my money.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  44. #44

    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    I am sure it varies between inspectors but our policy is to not enter a crawl space with standing water in it, not knowing the source, less than 12 inches clearance beneath beams and/or 18 inches beneath joists. We also require that the access be of adequate size for entry by us and, if ever necessary, an EMT. Our clients are notified of this limitation and the reasons. We have never had a complaint in 15 years about the policy.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall Brown View Post
    ... and, if ever necessary, an EMT.
    I like that part ... never thought about it before.

    Never needed it either, but it is a good reason to address the opening size and crawlspace restrictions.

    Did you read that article I posted about the HVAC tech electrocuted down in a crawlspace? An excellent example of why having the opening large enough for an EMT is a good policy.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  46. #46
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Is the client correct? My inspector did put in the report that the crawlspace was viewed from the entrance only. I look at this in the same sense as attics. Most attics we don't go into because of insulation or size, etc. and we indicate in the report that it was only viewed from the attic access.

    [/QUOTE]

    I am of the opinion that the inspector should either not have been working if he had an injury preventing him from doing the job, or maybe he should have called on you or another inspector to look at the crawl space. It is too important not to inspect, if a typical inspector could have inspected it.

    I realize that floor sags may not be noticeable due to furnishings, etc. but as a structural engineer who looks at a lot of houses after home inspectors, I am constantly amazed at the number of apparent conditions (like sagging floors) that go un-noticed.

    It concerns me that you say your inspectors don't access most attics. Unless the roof pitches are very low in your area I see no reason why most attics should not be accessed to some degree. For me, loose insulation or not, I try to travel through much of the attic and see as much as possible.


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    I don't understand how anyone could miss a two inch slope irrespective of furniture.
    When u walk the attic do u rake out the loose fill insulation after walking through it?


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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    When u walk the attic do u rake out the loose fill insulation after walking through it?
    Where there is loose insulation of significant depth, around here the roof is usually truss construction. I try to walk on the sloped members, bracing, or in the Vees formed by truss webs. There are generally few places where I disturb the insulation, other than an occasional footprint. When I do disturb insulation I try to rake it out. There are also often paths where someone elese has disturbed the insulation.


  49. #49

    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    One problem in attics where there is anywhere up to 24" of loose fill insulation is the inability to know where wired and DWV vent pipes are. It is easy (usually) to know where the ceiling joists or lower truss cords are but wires and pipes, not so much. My son and I have both broken ceiling drywall by getting tripped up. Scary and a little costly. We always make our clients aware of any limitation to viewing the attic and try never to risk life, limb or pocketbook.


  50. #50
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    Default Re: Rotted joist ends into the wall - Is the inspector liable?

    12" of insulation (if that much) is the maximum around here. I seldom have to disturb much insulation to see a good deal of the attic. When I do step in it I never put my weight down until I know what I am on. 30 years without breaking drywall or anything in an attic.


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