Code of Conduct/ Ethics

Originally Posted By: Mike Nelson
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I am an electrician by trade, that started an HI business last year. I did an inspection for a co-worker of my wife’s last October. It was an 88 year old home that needed major work. The detached garage, in particular, needed extensive electrical work. So much so. that I recommended to the client to turn off all power to the garage and have a qualified electrician look at it. It was that much of a hazard! Well the gentleman bought the home, it was a foreclosure so a good deal, and now is asking me to do the electrical work. Is this a conflict of interest should I do the work? I tend to say no. I do not go into an inspection looking for electrical work. I simply report what I see based on my knowledge and experience. Secondly I did not solicited nor offer to do the work. The man came to me and asked if I could do the job. Input would be appreciated.


Mike Nelson
NHI Nelson's Home Inspections

P.S. I regret that this is only my first post, as I have been registered quite awhile. I read the boards daily and value and respect the opinions of all the writers. Joe F. has personally e-mailed me concerning some radon issues that was very helpful. Thanks Joe.


Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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Mike,


The question I have is how long ago did you perform the inspection? Also, was the need for the work evaluated by others (another inspector or electrician giving an estimate). The latter is more important, as it established whether your inspection was skewed, in that you made up the defects knowing that you may be asked to do the work.

I would suggest getting the homeowner to solicit estimated from others verifying the need for the work. Also ask yourself if an acceptable amount of time has passed between the inspection and today. Finally, should you decide to perform the work, ask the homeowner if they wouldn't mind signing a piece of paper stating clearly (1) why they want YOU to perform the work, (2) the fact that you recommended they call others and never solicited business, and (3) your bid was competetive. BTW, dont ask to see any other party's bid.

If you can get all this done, and are qualified to perform the work, go for it. You need to disclose somewhere that you had no interest in performing this work at the time of the inspection (we can have no financial interest), and how the owner discovered that you were an electrician. Stating "Hey, I'm an electrician and could clean up this mess for you" while you discovered the defect would definitely be frowned on!

But, if you made these points clear when you made your inspection and today, I think you are acting above-board. It's a complicated issue, for sure. Make sure someone else inspects your work. Take pictures of the "before" as well. Lots of pictures.

Now for the opposing viewpoints..... Gentlemen?


Originally Posted By: Rusty Rothrock
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Mike -


I agree with what Joe F. has said on one hand, but on the other hand I’m not sure until I can gather more information about you and your career. Are you still an electrician or are you a full-time HI? If you have made the commitment of being a full-time HI, I would probably say to forget doing this electrical job. If you’ll still an electrician and doing HI part-time, I would say it’s perfectly OK to take on the job.


If you are a serious HI and want it to become your career, I would say that the little money made from this electrical job is not worth the price in terms of piece of mind. Better yet... to make up the difference in the money lost of not doing this electrical job...spend the time and energy to go out and get some more home inspections.

Glad to see you getting involved on the message board, hopefully I can call on you in the future with some of my electrical questions.

Regards, Rusty


Originally Posted By: ecrofutt
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The general rule in most HI Associations Code of Ethics is NO repairs for twelve months after the inspection.


I wouldn't do it. One of these days someone will ask a general question of "Have you ever done it? It's much easier understood if you can just say NO instead of "Well, Yes, but but but".

Of course, there is the issue of putting beans on the table and the Full time or Part Time issues to.

Good Luck with whatever you decide.

Erby Crofutt
B4U Close Home Inspections
Georgetown, KY
www.b4uclose.com


Originally Posted By: Richard Stanley
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Scenario: You only slept with her once. She gave birth to your child. She sued you. You had to pay child support for 18 years. DON’T DO IT.


Originally Posted By: Mike Nelson
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To clarify my position, I am an electrician at a private college, outside Albany, NY. I do not work for an electrical contractor. I do “outside” electrical work, on occasion, mostly for acquaintances, neighbors, or employees of the college. My HI business is, for the time being, part-time. Average 8 inspections a month, mostly referrals from people I know in the mortgage business and real estate.(FYI none from my yellow page ad.) The work in question would be in the spirit of a favor. A favor because I don’t charge as much as a contractor. My plan is to become a full-time HI when my kids finish college. Families of college employees are tuition free. Bottom line is that I would like to help this fellow out but not at the expense of ethical standards. I have read and appreciate all replies and I hope I haven’t bored too many of you out there.


Mike


Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Mike,


I think you should decide if you want to be an electrician or a home inspector? That simple, don't make this difficult.

Anyway....knowing that you did the inspection it would certainly be a clear conflict of interest if you were to perform work on this house.

I think I have to agree with Richard on this one.

Sorry, I don't think that is what you wanted to hear but it is time to make a choice, home inspector or electrician. Keep it simple.

Joe Myers


Originally Posted By: gbell
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This is a very easy issue. You should not perform work on any building you did the inspection for. But there is nothing wrong with being a home inspector and any other trade you choose. I also have a construction company, but we do not do work on anything that the inspection company works on.


If this is a friend and you want to help them out do it for free. Then there is no conflict. Just how I would handle it.


--
Greg Bell
Bell Inspection Service

Originally Posted By: Mike Nelson
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On the contrary Joe. You gave me exactly what I’m looking for. Opinions and viewpoints.


Mike


Originally Posted By: Robert Patterson
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Mike,


Point 1. You are not working within the law if you do electrical work and are not an electrical contractor. Violation of Ethics and the law.

Point 2. If you were an electrical contractor, then the only thing you would have to do is make sure that the client was comfortable with you doing it and that ALL involved knew of the situation. The 1 year rule is a good rule and prevents perception of conflict of interest, but it is more important to divulge to all. I for one do absolutely no work on a home I have inspected, nor will I inspect a home I have worked on.

Point 3. I am an electrician and an HI (EC also). I do both and will not give up either. I have worked too hard for both and do CEU's every year for both. There are slow periods in HI that you better have a back-up.

JMHO

Bob


Originally Posted By: Mike Nelson
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To all who gave me input, thanks. I have deciced not to do the the work,


taking the NACHI Code of Conduct to heart. “Shall not perform or offer to perform repairs on the property inspected”.


Mike


Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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Bob,


An interesting observation/diddy you may not know...

Not all municipalities require licenses for folks performing electrical work. Here in NY, there is no state mandate for an electrical license; it is handled on a county by county or town by town basis...

Not saying it's smart, just stating it's fact. That is one of the reasons I find the proposed NY license for home inspectors so preposterous... there is no state license for a trade that ABSOLUTELY can kill people if not done correctly: electrical work! Priorities of the legislature seem a bit out of whack, no?

Joe F


Originally Posted By: Mike Nelson
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In addition to what Joe said, I stated that I didn’t work for a contractor, not that I wasn’t licensed.


Mike


Originally Posted By: Robert Patterson
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Mike, Joe,


Okay, if NY doesn't require an EC license and you do it within the law, no violation.

Here an electrician must be licensed and can only work for an electrical contractor. In addition the EC must have an Electrical Administrators License. So I have 3 licenses to do electrical work, see why I won't give it up? And Mike, there are a lot of HI's who do other work to cover slow times, electrical is a good one.

Bob


Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Sure,


Just don't work on the homes you inspect.

If my significant other ever found out that I really can do all these things she hires these people to do, I would never have time to work. ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif) The list would be as endless as the universe!

You don't have to work harder, you have to work smarter.

Joe Myers