June, 2004
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Reminder: Check Recalls Online


An easy way to stay informed about current recalls is to have them e-mailed to you by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It’s easy and won’t crowd your in-box with unwanted e-mail.

Go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp and choose which categories you want to be notified about. One option includes recalls involving household products. Another option is all recalls involving infant/child products. You can also specify specialty categories to monitor.

In April, 7,000 Trane and American Standard brand accessory electric heaters were recalled because of four reports of wall thermostat fires.

Also in April, 88,000 White-Rodgers brand LP and convertible Gas water heater temperature controls were recalled because of possible fire hazard, including eight reports of minor fire damage.
In February, 7,000 Drop-In Floor Boxes (used to provide an extra outlet in the floor) with reversed polarity were recalled.
Details can be found at www.cpsc.gov. Consider recommending the e-mail alert program to your clients as well.

ICC reports on building departments

A survey released by the Inter-national Code Council shows that workload, a shortage of resources and insufficient budgets are among the biggest concerns of building safety officials across the country. Building safety officials in the nation’s 15 largest metropolitan areas were questioned about their top building concerns.

“The country’s building boom has been wonderful and has helped spur the economy,” said International Code Council CEO James Lee Witt. “But at the same time, that boom has put huge pressure on local building departments.”
In most cities across the country, building departments are responsible for issuing all permits relating to new construction and often are called on to review building plans before work begins.

“The increased demand for services offered by building departments and insufficient budgets can affect the long-term safety of a community,” said Witt. “If buildings aren’t built to code, or there aren’t ample resources to conduct building inspections, public safety is at risk.”

Building officials surveyed cited numerous additional concerns including the impact of natural disasters on communities, substandard housing, illegal construction and lack of public knowledge about building and housing safety. The survey’s executive summary can be found on the ICC Web site, http://www.iccsafe.org/news/.

“This survey shows that there is a great need for citizens to better understand building safety,” said Witt.

Building officials across the nation are taking steps to address their increasing workload. The survey shows that some cities are contracting with private inspectors, conducting training programs for inspectors and the public, and streamlining permit processes.

Diverse best describes clients of the future

The nation’s Hispanic and Asian populations would triple over the next half-century and non-Hispanic whites would represent about one-half of the total population by 2050, according to interim population projections released in March by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Overall, the country’s population would increase from 282.1 million in 2000 to 419.9 million in 2050. Non-Hispanic, white population would increase 7 percent, but would comprise just 50.1 percent of the total population in 2050. Nearly 67 million people of Hispanic origin (who may be of any race) would be added to the nation’s population, nearly doubling their share, from 12.6 percent to 24.4 percent. The Asian population also is projected to double, from 3.8 percent to 8 percent of the population. The black population is projected to increase about 71 percent, raising their share from 12.7 percent to 14.6 percent. The country’s population also is expected to become older.