Deck Ommission

Originally Posted By: twheeler
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I had completed an inspection in Early June, we went through 3 months of rarely any rain. The deck had a rubberized membrane covering it, and was full of patio furniture.


Just last week, Oct. 10, the purchaser of the property claims he will be sueing my insurance company, because there is appearantly two soft spots in the deck.


On the report, I wrote. Deck is in poor condition, should be assessed further by a licensed contractor.


His problem is he thinks I should have removed all the furniture and found the soft spots.


What kind of case does he have?



" Peace of Mind is Our Guarantee"

Originally Posted By: chorne
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If that’s the story, he doesn’t.


make yourself familiar with the SOP's.

BTW, he will sue you not your insurance company

C


Originally Posted By: chorne
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Was the underside visible?


Originally Posted By: jpope
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Reconsider how you address this issue as well. You have titled this thread “Deck Omission” implying that you omitted something.


Other than our SOP, your PIA should also address inaccessible areas. How was the deck addressed in the report?


--
Jeff Pope
JPI Home Inspection Service
"At JPI, we'll help you look better"
(661) 212-0738

Originally Posted By: twheeler
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http://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/usrimages/I/IMG_6589.jpg ]



" Peace of Mind is Our Guarantee"

Originally Posted By: clawrenson
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Quote:
On the report, I wrote. Deck is in poor condition, should be assessed further by a licensed contractor.
His problem is he thinks I should have removed all the furniture and found the soft spots.
What kind of case does he have?


Years ago I got caught in a similar situation with furniture in a basement and water spot concealed under a couch (chesterfield) sitting on a carpeted floor area. I thought I had all the bases covered, but the judge felt otherwise, including what seemed "reasonable" (at least)in his mind. I should have moved the furniture, added specfic limitations in the report beyond the SOP. Fortunately it was in the range of $700 in repair costs. I learned from that lesson to never assume that we have all the answers and you can never assume the SOP will cover you in all limitations and nuances of reporting conditions. It also taught me about dealing with call backs and dealing with affordable negotiations of offering money back to avoid lawsuits (real or potential).

Based on your brief report qualification - it seems too general and lacks substance and detail of what constitutes "poor" versus useable and functionable or non-functional. Did you feel the deck was unsafe or safe for your client? More detail could put the inspector and a better position to defend the statement. More detail would provide the client with the rationale of why or why not this was an important or possibly critical issue.

Next you need to address the following issue of - 1) did client receive a copy of the SOP? 2) did you follow the SOP? 3) are there limitations noted such as furniture and or other coverings - if so - I would highly recommend that those qualifying factors should have been noted in the report - and not after the fact.

A judge may very well ask you - why did you not move the furniture and perform such a task - unless you noted and advised your client otherwise.

Again, I apologize in advance if this seems a tad negative, but the judicial system and lawyers will be a lot tougher and less forgiving of you than my comments.

On the bright side - I wish you well in this matter, and use every resource you can to defend your position - but make sure it is truly defendable.


--
Ontario Home Inspections Inc.

Originally Posted By: twheeler
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Thanks for the comments, and no, they are not too negative.


I include a copy of the SOP in every report, I also include a comment in every section of the limitations of the inspection, including moving furniture.


Some times I do move patio furniture, but in this case, it was glass, with a umbrella, and the base full of sand.


I feel I covered all the bases, but wanted some clearification.


Thanks



" Peace of Mind is Our Guarantee"

Originally Posted By: rmyers1
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Are you not also using the NACHI pre inspection agreement, as part of your Inspection Report.


Originally Posted By: twheeler
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Yes I certianly am, as a matter of fact, I had my Inspection agreement viewed by a lawyer, she said it was “iron clad”, or another lawyer said it was “bullet proof”.



" Peace of Mind is Our Guarantee"

Originally Posted By: lewens
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Claude


Just a question for you. If you would have tried to move the couch and realized it was a hidabed, very heavy and had one bad leg. So you pick up one end, try to move it, collapsed the leg and tore the flooring, who pays for the couch and the flooring? And if you pop out your back do you get to sue the Judge cause he said you should have moved it? Do you sue the home owner? I am on permanent diability for a popped back acquired while contracting and believe me you can have the money and give me back my health. I am not trying to be a smart a$% here just these things come to mind when I hear about some judge finding in favour of the plaintiff when you the inspector stay inside your sop.


Larry



Just my usual 12.5 cents


From The Great White North Eh?
NACHI-CAN
www.aciss-brant.com
www.certifiedadulttrainingservices.com/

Originally Posted By: clawrenson
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Larry: Point well taken - but have you ever tried fighting with a judge on their take on the SOP? I think we are left in a no win position, even if you appeal their judgement.


I do not disagree with you, but perhaps through these types of "nuisance" case considerations, over time, the judges may eventually see there are certain and real limitations, to even perceived expectations. Honestly there are far too many loopholes even now in the SOP. Are all inspectors obliged to follow them? How about those that do not, or those that exceed them?

Another discussion raised the issue of safety, or how about that environmental concern - inspectors and have been successfully sued for mold - even though the SOP indicates we don't (normally) inspect for it. Sure we report it if we suspect it, but how many go as far as not just reporting it, but go further to indicate implications of your client and their family, et al?

Also our inspection agreements should and must include lines of defense to "fairly" cover off the what if scenarios. First and foremost - we do not have X-ray vision do we? Secondly, it is almost impossible to find all defects, but hopefully we find the "biggies". There is not a clear line of demarkation regarding access limitations - its rather subjective. Simply too general.

Some also feel, that the moment we step onto the property - we are the expert, hired to diagnose all problems, and are paid to to do so. Simply we assume far too great a risk for far too little compensation! Than we are left after the fact inspection and report, to be sued for whatever that client or their legal advisor feels compelled to chase after.

So unfortunately lawsuits and good negotiation skills with our clients will help make us wiser of how to diminish our risk.


--
Ontario Home Inspections Inc.

Originally Posted By: Jay Moge
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check out my leagal agreement and tell me what you think icon_cool.gif




[ Image: http://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/usrimages/l/leagal_copy.jpg ]

and my insp agreement


[ Image: http://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/usrimages/c/copy_of_insp.agree.jpg ][/list]


Originally Posted By: kfulton
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I have had lawyer clients who have refused to sign the pre-inspection agreement. If a lawyer won’t sign it, it has to be good.


When you get the complaint in writing, remind them it is a visual inspection, re-state your recommendations, and then ask them ?when they acted on it, what were the results?. That usually places things in perspective.

Good luck.
![icon_wink.gif](upload://ssT9V5t45yjlgXqiFRXL04eXtqw.gif)


Originally Posted By: cmccann
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Hmm, lets look at the problem. What’s wrong with the deck? I see your picture, so I assume your talking about the walkout deck on the second floor. Also, was there any indication on the ceiling below of any past water damage? Also is what casued this, a leaking roof/decking? Have you had a chance to see the damage? What constitutes a soft spot? Is this guy a complete A hole or can you deal with him? Maybe he’s just looking to get a new membrane cover on the decking. I’d go over there check it out, and if it’s not in the same condition as when you inspected it I would take lots of pictures and give him your attorneys name and leave. Do not say a word to him.


Maybe when the previous owners were moving they tore a hole in the membrane?


Originally Posted By: twheeler
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I had already dropped by his residence, I also took several pictures, without him being there, I had furthermore investigated his contractor, who told me that the owner ran out of money when installing the pool. I think he is an a________le and as far as him taking me to court, the real estate agent called him and told him he was going to get cooked if he persued the matter in court.