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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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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:
I. The inspector shall:
**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.
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.
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).
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.
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.