September, 2002
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Home Inspection Book Published

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

The third edition of “The Complete Book of Home Inspection” by Norman Becker, PE, has hit the shelves. Norm is an ASHI Charter Member and he writes the widely read column “Homeowner’s Clinic” for Popular Mechanics magazine. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in New York, New Jersey, and Florida. The third edition of “The Complete Book of Home Inspection” contains new material on synthetic stucco (EIFS), mold, termite bait systems, sagging plaster ceilings, truss uplift cracks and swimming pools. Each of the 21 chapters has a handy page index at the beginning, so you can go right to the sub-topic you’re looking for. There is also a Checkpoint Summary at the end of each chapter. While the book says it’s “for buyers and owners,” it’s a reference packed with photos and illustrations that home inspectors will find useful. A bargain at only $19.95, it can be ordered from the publisher, McGraw-Hill, at www.books.mcgraw-hill.com.

Tax tools

Looking for a tool to help you meet your tax requirements? The IRS is offering free copies of Small Business/Self-Employed Tax Calendar, Introduction to Federal Taxes CD-ROM, Virtual Small Business Workshop CD-ROM, and the Small Business Resource Guide CD-ROM.

The Small Business/Self-Employed Tax Calendar is a 12-month calendar filled with useful information on general business forms, IRS and SSA customer assistance, electronic options, business forms and publications, and common tax filing dates.
The purpose of the Introduction to Federal Taxes for Small Business/Self-Employed CD-ROM is to introduce new small business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs to IRS tax law in an easy-to-understand format.

The Virtual Small Business Workshop CD-ROM is a valuable resource for the small business owner. The CD presents a series of topics taught by IRS instructors. These topics include payroll taxes, electronic filing, and record keeping.

The Small Business Resource Guide CD-ROM 2002 provides critical tax information to small businesses including forms, instructions, and publications. The CD also provides valuable business information from a variety of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. The CD contains essential startup information needed by new small businesses to be successful. The design of the CD makes finding information easy and quick and incorporates file formats and browsers, which can be run on virtually any desktop or laptop computer.
Call 1-800-829-3676 to order. Order online by going to www.irs.gov, under “Contents” click on “Businesses” and on the business page under “Contents” click on”Small Bus/Self-Employed.

New standard for moisturedetection

ASTM International (formerly the American Society of Testing and Materials) has approved the Relative Humidity (RH) test method as a new standard (F2170) to determine moisture in concrete floors.

Previously, the most often used ASTM method for checking moisture has been the calcium vapor emission rate test (ASTM F1869-98). This test has long been regarded by industry experts as not providing a true representation of the moisture content of the slab. Because concrete is variable in its composition, moisture content has been difficult to measure with conventional electronic conductance moisture meters. The new ASTM standard measures the actual moisture within the concrete rather than the rate of moisture being emitted at the surface of a concrete slab.

Using this technique, a mall hole (5/8") is drilled in the concrete and a humidity sleeve is inserted and capped flush with the floor. After a predetermined time a hygrometer measures the relative humidity of the air in the test hole that is now at the same moisture level as the concrete around it. This in situ test method provides RH at depth in the concrete and can be used to determine the acceptability of a floor to receive finishes or coverings, and to troubleshoot performance issues. Concrete mix ratio is not a major factor with the RH test.

ANSI and ICC partner on distribution of International Codes

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Inter-national Code Council® (ICC®) announced the signing of an agreement which will grant ANSI the rights to distribute ICC’s Inter-national CodesTM via the ANSI Online Electronic Standards Store.

Initially, ANSI will offer a total of 14 ICC codes and standards in PDF format for users to purchase and download from the ANSI site. This number will increase with ICC’s release of new codes and standards. William Tangye, ICC chief executive officer remarks, “This agreement is reflective of the close working relationship between ANSI and ICC and our mutual desire to make building safety codes more readily available to a wider constituency, both domestically and internationally.”
Included in the initial offering are such titles as the “2000 International Building Code®,” “2000 International Plumbing Code®,” “2000 International Fire Code®” and the new “2001 ICC Performance Code for Buildings and FacilitiesTM.”
For more information, visit the ANSI webstore at http://webstore.ansi.org.

Wood Frame Construction Manual published

The American Forest & Paper Association’s American Wood Council (AWC) has recently published the “Wood Frame Construction Manual (WFCM) for One- and Two-Family Dwellings,” 2001 Edition. This ANSI approved document provides engineered and prescriptive requirements for wood frame construction based on dead, live, snow, seismic and wind loads derived from the 2000 International Building Code (IBC).

Developed over a six-year period by AF&PA’s WFCM/ANSI Canvass Committee, the “WFCM” represents a major milestone for the wood products industry. “Designers and code enforcement officials now have one comprehensive design reference to provide solutions for residential wood construction, which is increasingly being regulated, especially in higher load regions,” said Kenneth Bland, senior director of building codes and standards.

The “WFCM” includes design and construction provisions for connections, wall systems, floor systems, and roof systems. A range of structural elements are covered, including sawn lumber, structural glued laminated timber, wood structural sheathing, I-joists, and trusses. Also included are provisions approved by the 2000 IBC for perforated shearwalls, wall stud system factors, and increased capacities for shearwalls and diaphragms used in high wind applications.

Accompanying the “WFCM” is an extensive commentary, which provides background information and example calculations for various sections and tables of the “WFCM.” The commentary was developed to respond to user needs.
The “WFCM” is available for $30 ($20 members/students) plus shipping and can be ordered by calling AWC’s publications department at 800-890-7732. Online ordering is also available at www.awc.org.

Stop junk mail

Three things you can’t avoid are death, taxes and junk mail. The U.S. Postal Service delivers more than 90 billion pieces of “direct mail” every year. While it’s difficult to completely stop junk mail, here are a few measures you can take to reduce the volume.

A good place to start is the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Write to them and request that your name, address and phone number be deleted from all mailing and marketing lists. Provide them with three spellings of your name, as well as with any other names at your address (including previous occupants). They will retain this information for five years. Be sure to sign and date your letter. Their mailing
address is:

Direct Marketing Association
Mail Preference Service
PO Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

They also have a telemarketing suppression file. Request to be placed on “do not call” lists. Send your name, address, phone number with area code and signature to:

Direct Marketing Association
Telemarketing Suppression File
PO Box 9014
Farmingdale NY 11735-9014

Another option is to go the DMA’s Web site at www.the-dma.org. For $5 (by credit card) you can register immediately, or you can fill out a form to mail in. They warn there may be a 90-day delay ifyou use the mail.

Other big list resellers include:

Donnelly Marketing
470 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07675

Metromail Corp. List Maintenance
901 W. Bond
Lincoln, NE 68521

Dunn & Bradstreet Customer Service
899 Eaton Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18025
R.L. Polk & Company
Attn: Name Deletion File

List Compilation and Development
6400 Monroe Boulevard
Taylor, MI 48180-1814

Change of address notices

The post office sells the names and addresses from its Change of Address cards. They encourage bulk mailers to use the data so there will be fewer misaddressed letters. To reduce the amount of junk mail, contact all your correspondents individually and don’t fill out the Post office’s form.

Warranties/productregistration cards

You are seldom required to send in registration cards to be covered by a warranty. Most of these cards are sent to the National Demographics and Lifestyles Company, which compiles direct mail lists of people based on the life-style, family income, and buying habits that people describe on the cards. Write to them at:

National Demographics and Lifestyles
List Order Department
1621 18th St., Suite 300
Denver, CO 80202

Contact credit bureaus

Credit bureaus may sell names and addresses to banks and credit card companies. You can now contact Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian by calling a single toll-free number: 888-567-8688. There is also a fourth credit reporting agency, Innovis, which also receives this information.

For more information on how to stop junk mail and telemarketing calls go to www.privacyrights.org.


Land use planning with hazardelements to reduce loss

A recent University of North Carolina study estimates “that appropriate land-use measures could reduce expected property losses by one-third over the next 50 years.” An article titled, “Are We Planning Safer Communities” by Diana McClure, consultant for the Institute of Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and members of the IBHS Land Use Planning Committee, appears in the latest edition of the Natural Hazards Observer. This piece reiterates what IBHS has been stressing in its land use efforts: that the need for land-use planning with hazards elements is increasing. You can read this article online at: www.colorado.edu/hazards/o/julyo02/julyo02a.htm.