"Commercial Inspection Prerequisite Course"

The two articles I chose to read for the assignment were:

Construction Methods and Materials for Noise Control
by Nick Gromicko and Ethan Ward
Noise Mitigation
by Nick Gromicko

Both articles, when put together, do a very good job of helping to tackle the unavoidable problem of noise pollution. This can be done in different ways while building a structure, such as thickening the walls & floors to absorb sound. It can also be achieved after a structure is already built, by carpeting the rooms, or adding in soundproof panels. However, before all that, you need to know exactly what kind of sound pollution you’re likely to encounter. Airborne sound transmissions are going to require a different strategy than are impact-sound transmissions. Understanding how sound moves through the air & solid objects is the best way to begin achieving optimal control of noise.

Attached is a photo from an inspection I performed last week. It is an older chimney, with clear and pronounced cracks in the chimney block. The structural integrity seems sound, but it is something that will have to be dealt with eventually. Also, not visible in the photos, is a badly damaged flue liner. The more pressing of the two issues, the flue liner should be replaced as soon as possible.

After reading the article on electrical panels, I agree with the logic and practice of proceeding with caution and a certain methodology. The electrical portion of my inspections is the one area that gives me the most trepidation. I have come across a few FPE panels and make sure to, not only wear gloves, but make sure the client is behind and to the left of me a good distance.

The article on aluminum wiring is a good reminder of what to look for during a typical inspection. If I see on my order summary that a home is between the age of 1966-1974 I always remind myself to Pull at least three outlet covers to check for aluminum.

Signs of previous leaking from condensate drain system. Rust and mineral build-up on the bottom of furnace cabinet. Recommend further evaluation and repair by a licensed HVAC contractor.

I have read through the two articles assigned, “Commercial home inspector safety: Carcinogens on the job” and “Attached garage fire containment” After reading the home inspector safety article I am determined to be more diligent about maintaining my PPE gear. I have light duty dust masks for going in attics, but I believe I will get a respirator and a set of light coveralls.
For the garage fire containment, I recently inspected a garage unit at a condominium complex. There was a sheet rock firewall between the garage and the living spaces, but the different garage units were all open to each other via common rafters. No party walls or ceilings to stop a fire from spreading throughout the garage complex. I had hoped to gather some insight from the article should I run into this situation again.

I have completed the two articles for the course.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs):
I didn’t realize that some many fires in 2005 were electrical related fires involving over 20,000 homes. This would explain the changes in modern construction and the expansion of AFCIs to reduce possible electrical related accidents and issues. I also learned some simple observation techniques to use during an inspection to reduce potential nuisance tripping. By observing that the nuetral wires are correct is one step to avoid nuisance tripping of the AFCIs.

Adobe Inspection:
I learned that there are many similarities in components between a Adobe home compared to building a framed home. Same basic components, but very different building techniques and materials… I find it interesting that there has been a resurgence in of using an Adobe type construction due to its Green potential and affordability. With the Adobes great thermal mass, this makes for a great green structure and its ability to control the internal temperature of the building.

Attached is photo of an inspection I performed on a water heater.

No emergency drain pan noted under the water heater at the time of the inspection. The unit is located in an area that could allow for damage to the structure if a failure were to occur. Recommend adding an emergency drain pan with a drain that terminates outside the home, or a warning sensor to reduce possible damages should a failure occur.

The air conditioning system was a split system in which the cabinet housing the compressor, cooling fan and condensing coils was located physically apart from the evaporator coils. As is typical with split systems, the compressor/condenser cabinet was located at the home’s exterior so that the heat collected inside the home could be released to the outside air. Evaporator coils designed to collect heat from the home interior were located inside a duct at the furnace.
The pad supporting the air-conditioner compressor housing was not level. Over time, this may result in damage to the fan bearings and a shortened fan lifespan, or it may result in movement of the compressor housing which can stress the refrigerant lines resulting in damage and expensive service. The Inspector recommends that the compressor housing be leveled by a qualified HVAC contractor.

There are many carcinogens that a home inspector may encounter on the job. One of the most common carcinogens is formaldehyde. This is found in various building products including insulation, wood composite products, and textiles. To avoid contact with carcinogens, a contractor should wear the proper PPE including coveralls, gloves, and a respirator. Goggles are also helpful to reduce contact with mucous membranes.

Inspection and Writing Assignment

  1. Furnace Operation Observations:
    This furnace responded adequately to the call for heat

  2. Furnace Type Observations:
    This furnace was propane gas-fired, high-efficiency, forced-air.

  3. Furnace Location Observations:
    This furnace was located in the laundry/utility room. Furnace filter is dirty and should be replaced. It is important to follow
    manufacturers recommendation to have a yearly service for cleaning and any needed adjustments.

Reading and Writing Assignment

Commercial and Home Inspector Safety: Carcinogens on the Job

Article covers substances and components that may contain hazardous substances a inspector may encounter during an inspection. How to protect yourself from the substances by limiting exposure times, PPE and protective gear. Why to use products that have do not contain formaldehyde in a building and safety tips for homeowners.

Defensible Space

Article cover the importance of defensible around a structure. Protection zones around the stucture and there size, what type of vegetation and trees should be in each zone. Also states removal of vegetation should not interfere
with the well-being of endangered species, air and water quality.

Panel box! Inspection.
Wiring in panel box was unorganized.
No label to show manufacturer of box.
All breakers were appropriate size for branch wiring.
Note exceptions. (See below)
Breakers were not clearly marked.
All circuits appeared to be grounded.
Note: several breakers were piggy backed.
This is a safety and fire hazard and needs to be
Corrected immediately by a qualified professional.

Abrasive Blasting for Mold Remediation.
It’s still unclear the health effects mold presents
but they are know to exist and are becoming more
clear as more research is done. So it is very important to
Find ways to control, fix and remediate the problem.
As seen in this article the new ways of remediation are coming
Into play. A much faster, easier and efficient way of remediation.
I believe this article should be read by anyone who has mold
Concerns and how to deal with them.

Basic Waterproofing for Basements
As we know most basements are damp places.
Most homeowners do not understand how water can
Seep into a basement thru a solid concrete or cement block wall
Even if the wall has no cracks or hole. Also most homeowners do not understand
How the grade around a building drastically can prevent water
From entering a basement. Or how much pressure can be put on a
Foundation that has water built up around it. So I believe all homeowners
Should do research on how to prevent water from seeping into basements and the seen and
Unseen problems it can cause.

Inspected a home that had CSST ( Corrugated stainless steel) gas line installed in the attic. The gas line was not bonded properly. I recommend further evaluation by a licensed electrician for proper bonding.

Writing assignment


Asbestos was present in many building materials up until the 1970’s. Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can only be measured with special tools. The Asbestos can become harmful when inhaled and may cause damage to the lungs called mesothelioma. The signs and symptoms may not show up for 20-30 years. Most people who are effected have worked around large amounts of asbestos. If asbestos is located in the home and is in good condition it is best left alone. If you are going to be doing construction and disturbing the asbestos recommend contacting a professional.

Ice Dams

Ice Dams are created when a layer of ice forms on the edge of the roof and prevents melting snow or ice from draining. As ice melts underneath it can cause the water to run up under the shingles and cause moisture damage in the attic space. You can prevent ice dams by using metal roofing, making sure roof is properly vented, removing snow from roof, and keeping all of the roof cold.

Inspected commercial property last week that had hail damage present. Hail damaged was noted to be older and shingles were showing graying. Advised potential buyer that the damage was significant enough to have seller have adjuster out. Luckily they were able to inspect today and full roof replacement

I read the article for anti scald devices and learned that water at a temp of 160 degrees can scald in 1/2 second. I also learned about scalding accounting for approx. 20% if all burns. Finally, I learned how the device works to prevent the scalding by maintaining the water at a safe constant level.

The second article I read was the adjustable steel columns also called Lally columns and the size needed to handle the load. The pipe should be 3 inches in diameter and rust prohibitive though we will not be able to tell if the paint is.

Upon inspection of the exterior, it was noted in the report that there was siding/soil contact that could allow for wood rot and possible pest intrusion. When the inspection was carried on into the crawlspace, evidence showed rot of the exterior sheathing along with signs of bug activity. It was recommended that further review and repairs by a licensed contractor be done. Also suggest further inspection by pest control.

After reading the topic of “Stucco” in the Library of Inspection Articles, I learned that stucco has been used since ancient times and one of the most common building materials used. Up until the late 1800’s stucco was primarily lime based. With the now popular Portland cement base it has become a harder surface material. Small hairline cracks are common in stucco and can most times easily be repaired with stucco materials, sealants, and even paint. It is important that experienced professionals perform any significant repairs. Stucco matching is difficult due to the many mixes and techniques.

Topic: Rock Wool
Rock Wool insulation was discovered in the early 1900’s during volcanic eruptions in Hawaii. Consisting of actual rock and minerals, Rock Wool (also known as “mineral wool”) has an excellent ability to withstand heat and block sound. Rock wall is used in many industrial, commercial, and residential applications as a loose fill and batt form insulator. Rock Wool can also be sprayed as a type of fireproofing. Although Rock Wool is considered safe and is not classified as carcinogenic, it is still advised that proper protection be worn to prevent short term skin irritation.