February, 2015
You Tell Us
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



You Tell Us

ASHI STAFF




RICK HARTMANN'S ARTICLE,
"Top 16 Things I Learned (the Hard Way) in the Last Ten Years" was great. I wish I could have learned all of those things the easy way, just by reading the ASHI Reporter. Unfortunately, I've learned most of those things the hard, expensive and embarrassing way. 

I don't mean to take away from his article, but #16 trashes real estate agents by saying "all you are is a necessary evil that is standing in the way of their commission check." While this may be true for an unscrupulous minority of real estate agents, I've found that the most successful and long-lasting agents are the ones with integrity, honesty and a good work ethic. They want a good home inspector who will tell it like it is, not sugarcoat their findings to help the sale along. To paint all real estate agents with this broad brush is cynical and unproductive.

For the greater good of our industry, I'd like to encourage all home inspectors to avoid these kinds of comments. I would also ask the editing staff at the ASHI Reporter to not print these kinds of comments. Thank you, and keep up the good work.

Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections

TO THE EDITOR:
I would like to expand on a statement made by Bruce Barker in his article on CSST gas piping. He notes that the piping must be properly bonded and grounded to protect it against lightning. However, he does not mention why the protection is necessary and what the problem is, which can be substantial. A lightning strike, even an indirect one, can electrically energize the air. If the CSST piping is at a different potential from adjacent piping or any other metal, a spark can result, and due to the thinness of the metal, cause it to perforate, leak and possibly result in a fire and/or explosion. Several such occurrences have resulted in class action lawsuits which have already been settled. One went to trial and was judged in favor of the plaintiff. This ruling is being appealed. Due to this problem, one manufacturer has attempted to rectify the problem by covering the CSST with a heavy shield. I think that inspectors should be made aware of this problem so that they can properly advise their clients, thus protecting their clients and themselves. 

I have attached an article, for your consideration for publication in the Reporter, on Explainers/Disclaimers. We use it in our report to advise our clients of potential problems with various components and issues encountered during an inspection. One of them deals with CSST in greater detail. 

Sincerely,

Victor J. Faggella
President Centurion Home Inspections, Inc.
This is the link to Victor's disclaimers article:
http://www.homeinspector.org/membersonly/docs/explainers_and_disclaimers.pdf

THIS SUGGESTION WAS SENT TO US
in a letter format to his inspectors from Stuart Zwang:

Dear Inspector, 

Every entity has different requirements and different "hot buttons." One of ours is a recommendation by a home inspector to "review by others" or "evaluate by contractor."

The reason this has become an issue is there many inspectors who use this verbiage. When it is used, the client has to hire a roofer, heating contractor, etc.

Certainaly there are times it is indeed necessary to do this, particularly with mold or structural issues. We understand that these items are not generally within the expertise of a home inspector. 

On the other hand, it is your job to evaluate the roof and heating system. These items are within your expected body of expertise. 

After you have evaluaed these systems, it is your job to:• Present the fact• Develop an opinion• Offer guidance

In the "evaluate by others" scenario, it generally appears the home inspector has failed to do one of these.

We have clients who insist if an inspector tells us to "evaluate by others" either he does not know what he is doing or does not want to take responsibility for his report. In this situation, it has also been suggested we take the funds earmarked for the inspector and pay others out of this fee.

Here are some ideas to approach this problem:

• If the item is not working, say it, i.e., "Not performing within expected parameters. Repair or replacement is required."

• If it is working but old, try, "Item is operating at the time of inspetion, however, it is at the end (beyond) its expected service life. Budget for near-term replacement.

Please take this matter under advisement and make necessary adjustments as you prepare the next report for our company.

Thank you in advance for your asistance.

Stuart Zwang, P.E.
1st Inspection Network