Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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Let’s not be too quick to blame the inspector, no matter how many years of experience he has or doesnt have. The truth is, here in NY you can work for a pesticide applicator, have taken the course and exam to become a licensed pesticide tech, and perform termite inspections also. In that case, the applicator or technician, in many instances, could very well be deemed the “expert” witness in a court case against an HI simply because they specialize in the termite business, regardless of the fact that they have NO construction or HI background at all. Here in NY, our own Barry Stangel consults for the State’s DEC. Does any of us think we’d have a snowballs chance in hell of rebutting him in court regarding an inspection. Yet, he has NO construction or HI background. Now, in the state of Florida, where this particular inspection took place, the state deemed this inspector an expert in his field by giving him a license to conduct WDI inspections.
Its easy for any Monday morning quarterback to say that someone else would have or should have seen evidence of something. Truth is, none of us can say for sure what was visible and what was not. As our inspections are non-invasive, can any of us state with any degree of certainty that we couldnt find ourselves in a similar position someday?
I recently was called back to an older home, where small portions of the hardwood floor appear to have been eaten away. I went back, and examined this section of the floor in the living room. Sure enough, it looked as if something has eaten small strip sections of the hardwood, where each piece meets, and along the top. Not a lot of damage. This affected about a 3 or 4 foot area, and was not extensive. But, what other problems lurked? The basement directly beneath this area was finished space. There was an area rug installed in the room, covering the damage, with furniture on top, at the time of the inspection. Was the damage there? Sure. How was I to find it? Was I expected to move the furniture and roll up the carpet? Of course not.
So, back to the Florida incident. With that degree of damage, I find it hard to believe that the Seller never saw or heard anything. For that type of damage to have occurred, those critters were there a long long time.
I also find it interesting that with all the "exterior" defects one engineer claimed were present, that nothing had manifested itself on the inside. With major support timbers allegedly eaten away, that there was no evidence of movement or cracking of sheetrock, each time the front door was slammed shut, is most interesting.
I agree that ASHI branding artificially raises the expectations of prospective clients as to an inspectors competence, which will cause some problems for those inspectors in the future, but lets not forget that this WAS an inspector with some experience and a license to perform WDI inspections. He was no neophite. So how could he have missed this? I have no clue, but it could happen to any of us...
It easy for an engineer who has just removed a large area of sheetrock or exterior siding to find damage and state that someone else should have or could have found it. Put in the nspectors shoes, with no invasive techniques available to him, would he say the same thing?
Maybe the inspector was competent, or maybe he was paid off or a complete idiot. We'll never know. Let's take the media spotlight away from the situation for a moment, and look at whatever non-subjective facts we know.
I'd like to actually use this forum to discuss how any of us would have found this extensive damage, and what techniques we use on a WDI inspection. Let's discuss and learn from each other...
Illigitimi Non Carborundum
"Dont let the bastards grind you down..."