Consumer with a question about inspector responsibility....

Hello - maybe somebody can share some insight…

My sister purchased a mobile home 2 years ago. The mobile home was constructed in 1981.

Before purchasing the mobilehome, she hired a home inpsector. He did his inspection and wrote a report. There was no mention in his report about the type of piping in the mobilehome.

Yesterday, my sister found she had a major leak and called a plumber out. When he got there he informed her that her house has PB piping and he stopped the leak, for now, but told her that she needs to have her whole house re-piped due to the faulty PB piping.

My question - is it the responsibility of a home inspector to report to the buyer when he/she discovers PB piping in a home like this? If he failed to do so, does she have a recourse?

Please advise!

Thank you so much.

It is possible that the piping was not visible, home inspections are visual only, in other words we are not required to remove wall coverings or insulation to verify the types of materials used. It would depend on the pre-inspection agreement also. I verify piping types when possible, however I cannot speak as to anyone elses methods. I suggest reading the Pre-inspection agreement and SOP first then contact the inspector and ask him nicely about it. Good luck, Ken

Hi Wendy
Let me first say that many inspectors would shy away from telling someone they should put responsibility on an inspectors shoulders for anything wrong in a house.
The reason is we all are human and not everything wrong or not perfect in a house will be found during the course of a two or three hour inspection.
So much is inside the walls or hidden from what is basicly a visual inspection.
In otherwords we can not see through walls or predict the future, though some of my compitition seem to allude they can.
Wendy giving a direct answer go’s as follows.
When an inspector finds Poly he should inform the client that it exists in the house and let them know of any problems associated.
Is Poly piping an actual defect .no
So as far as recourse , I would say that if the inspection was two years ago and the piping was not leaking at that time which is doubtful as the leak would have been discovered and repaired long before if it was an issue then there is no recourse.
Now as far as the poly go’s here is a link to an Active Rain forum which I moderate that has a little more information .
http://activerain.com/blogsview/201876/Poly-Poly-Poly
I hope you find this helpful.

Bob, there was a recall on PB.

I’m sure glad you deleted that post. . .

Wendy for recourse against the associated costs you can go here and get more info.
http://activerain.com/blogsview/Waiting-to-Burst-Polybutylene-Plumbing?13198
Here in Chicago we do not see the stuff but from what I am reading so far you can only recover from the manufacturer if poly is the cause of the leak.
It could be it was not connected properly.
Ken do you have a link on the actual recall.
I thought it was more a case like with Fedral Pacific.
Wendy after a little more research it seems most homeowners insurance will pay for the damages.

Should the inspector have stated the type of plumbing? Yes.

Should he pay for the house to be replumbed after two years? No.

The piping used in Mobile Homes was not part of the recall.

We have a state licensing agency that just made it illegal for an inspector to call out service panels known to burst into flames and burn down houses, as long as the service panel is in operative condition with no evidence of arcing or burning at the time of the inspection.

We now have a case where…two years after the inspector looked at them…some PB pipes began to leak.

Can we have it both ways, folks?

Here is some information that you might find useful.

http://www.pbpipe.com/cef.htm](http://www.pbpipe.com/cef.htm)

You are only eligible for recovery if you have incurred a qualified leak](http://www.pbpipe.com/terms.htm#leak). Please see the claim eligibility guidelines and leak eligibility periods and filing deadlines for more information.
If you believe you are a class member](http://www.pbpipe.com/terms.htm#classmember) of the Cox vs. Shell oil, et. al. settlement and have had one or more qualifying leaks, please complete this online form, print, sign and mail it or print a blank claims eligibility form (CEF), complete and mail it. Class member does not include purchasers under a contract for deed or other tenants who are not owners of the real property or structures where a PB plumbing system or PB yard service line is installed.

Please choose one of the following to continue:
**Filing and printing a Claims Eligibility Form: **(Please note that a screen print of the following two forms is not considered a valid claims eligibility form. In order to print a valid claims eligibility form, you must first complete and submit one of the following two forms. Once you submit one of the following forms, you will get your reference number and will be prompted to print the valid claims eligibility form.)
Print blank Claims Eligibility Form to be filled out by hand and mailed](http://65.208.34.92/cefform.cfm)
Enter Claims Eligibility Form information online, print form and mail](http://65.208.34.92/cefform2.cfm)
Print supplement leak form to list additional leaks for:

In order to view or print a Claims Eligibility Form or supplemental leak form you will need to use Adobe Acrobat Reader. This free software can be downloaded by clicking here](http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html).

(Acrobat and the Acrobat logo are trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated)

Tools to assist with form entry:
Print CEF help worksheet to assist with the CEF form entry](http://www.pbpipe.com/cefhelp.htm)
See and Print Leak Evaluation Table](http://www.pbpipe.com/leakchart.htm) (designed to assist you as you categorize your leaks)
Take the Leak Evaluation Query](http://www.pbpipe.com/leakq0.htm) (online tool to help categorize leaks)
Once the Claims Eligibility Form has been completed and mailed:
Check the status of your CEF](http://65.208.34.92/cefstatus.cfm)
View the claims process checklists](http://www.pbpipe.com/processclm.htm) (to understand the CPRC claims process)

My question - is it the responsibility of a home inspector to report to the buyer when he/she discovers PB piping in a home like this?

If he failed to do so, does she have a recourse?

According to NACHI standards of practice, the answer would be yes, he is supposed to identify the type of plumbing.

Does she have recourse: that will depend on the courts and what standards of practice the inspector was following. As far as I know, most standards call for the identification of the supply pipes.

From our SOP:

2.6. Plumbing
I. The inspector shall:
[INDENT]
**I. Inspect and describe the water supply, drain, waste and main fuel shut-off valves, as well as the location of the water main and main fuel shut-off valves.
**
[/INDENT]

That is an extreme interpretation of a directive. I feel the directive was completely reasonable.

PB has long been the subject of class action law suits. The inspector should have described the type of material used, or made note as to why he was unable to determine the type. If the inspector knew it was PB, the home owner should have been made aware of the problems associated with PB systems.

Recommendations for complete replacement should only be made if there are signs of failure - just as stated in the directive mentioned above.

Agree, Jeff. But you know that Jim has a problem with reading :mrgreen:

As you have noted, not all FPE panels have had problems, only Stab-Loc, and then not all the time.

I state some of the concerns that exist about some FPE panels, inform the client putting it in context and recommend evaluation by a sparky with his recommendations in writing, on his letterhead and with his license number and insurance cert.

In that wat, the sparky now has all the liability and I don’t.

Jeff,

I know you agree with Kentucky’s ruling, Jeff, but many don’t.

Decker, eat s h i t.

Unfortunately we don’t know the conditions that existed at the time of the inspection, so we don’t know why the home inspector didn’t report it. I have one “estates park” (San Diegan for “mobile home park”) here where I am 99.9% certain that every home in the park had or currently has PB in it, even if I can’t see it. The reason why I know that is because it’s one of those 55+ communities where all the manufactured homes were purchased from the same manufacturer at the same time, sited by the community builder, and then sold to 55+ citizens. Consequently, whenever I do an inspection in that community, I advise my Clients about the “probability.” Only once was I wrong, and the seller disclosed after I brought it up that they had the PB replaced several years earlier. However, in those homes I have to really search to find the PB, and many times I can’t because of the conditions in the home, but I know it’s there.

So unless I can read the whole report in question, I’m not willing to answer about anyone’s liability.

“Unfortunately we don’t know the conditions that existed at the time of the inspection, so we don’t know why the home inspector didn’t report it.”

That statement has nothing to do with her question. She wanted to know IF the inspector is supposed to identify the type of pipe (answer is yes) and if he did not, does she have any recourse (answer is maybe).

If he did not write his report correctly, then he should be held responsible. If he did state why he could not identify it, then he is covered (maybe).

But it does.

One of the conditions that existed at the time of the inspection was the inspector’s agreement with the client. Did he specify what SOP he would be using? Was the inspector a member of any national association who had an obligation to inspect in accordance with any SOP…or did he do it, legally, by the seat of his pants?

Did the client by-pass the preferred trained inspector who charges $400, or did her used trailer salesman find one for her…for $125?

All of these are conditions that existed at the time of the inspection and are relevant to her question.

This client may have very well gotten all that she paid for.

You’re a class act Bushart. Truly a class act.

See post #14.

And that folks, is why we have all these licensing bills. Once there is cause for a comsumer to be damaged (and it is usually someone in the government who now has the power to act) it becomes an arguement for licensing.