Drainage & Grading

Now that I am involved in my first law suite.

I want to try to add more disclaimers and additional information to try to let the client understand that there are limitations to inspecting drainage.

I do note if there are covered walls/storage/fresh paint and if I see the sign of moisture at the floor & wall I will report that the drain tiles appear to be plugged and recommend scoping.

Does anyone scope the drain tiles with a telescopic camera?

The suite I am involved in is for broken drainage tiles. There was no signs on the exterior and I did document 2 large trees that can cause damage & blockage. I also thought I had enough disclaimers and info in my report.

But as most expierenced inspectors know if someone wants to sue you the will.

The reason I am posting this here is that I would like to ask how other inspectors report or disclaim on drainage & grading. I read Dr. swifts article and will add that to my remarks portion of my report.

Any information would be appreciated.



I am so happy to be paying the 2500 deductable for something I couldnt see and also documented as such.

I hope my lawyer can counter claim for the deductable, time lost and as the plantiff is stating Pain & suffering. Yea he is the pain & I am suffering.

David it doesn’t sound like they have a chance. Get every penny you can from this idiot. The only part of this job that sucks - getting sued for doing a good honest job.

Erol Kartal

This thread should be moved to the Member’s Only area (Legal thread) if the topic involves pending Litigation.


I already posted there about 2 weeks ago. I wanted to submit here to obtain information pertaining to other inspectors techniques for inspecting drainage.



For myself, Inspection is limited to visible conditions.

Inspection of a drainage tile would only be made if the area was excavated or still exposed such as a Construction Phase Inspection.

How did the client discover the problem with the drainage tile?

Stated his basement kept flooding.

The seller disclosed that there was a storm in 04 and he repaired in 05.

There where no signs on the walls when I was there.

The sellers are the primary defendents and he decided he might as well sue me to.


I even stated in the report that the large trees close to the house are a major concern. I remember telling him the potential of this problem. I didnt word it in my report as through as i should of.


  • Condition was previously disclosed to Buyer.
  • Drain Tiles are not Readily Accessible and/or Visible to Inspect.
  • Condition would not be visible at time of Inspection.
  • Condition was not visible to Home Seller / Buyer prior to close of escrow.
  • Condition is outside the scope of a Home Inspection.

i have a detailed leagal “agreement” that every client signs. it says (in short) that i can not and will not inspect or be responsible for any damage that isn’t readily visisble at time of inspection. and in another paragraph it says that i’m not legaly bound to anyone but the client, and his/her spouse weather the spouse signs or is present or not. the seller (in this case) would have no feet to stand on if they tried to sue me, plus if they did, since i’m LLC, they’d only be awarded 300% of the cost of the inspection anyway. and since the court fees and lawyers would cost alot more than that, it’s just not worth it. if they have a major issue that i missed, i’ll either fix it or refund them the cost of the inspection+. after escrow, it’s all over.

I would suggest you contact RRay and get a copy of the information he provides. It is more than a disclaimer, more like a common sense approach of what to expect from his inspection.

Here’s some of the stuff that I use in my report:

Just some of many that might be relevant. Feel free to pick and choose as you see fit.

Also could be missing drain tiles, poor soils, inadequate dampproofing, high/seasonal groundwater, poor grading, inadequate/damaged roof drains and extensions … or some combination. I would just recommend further evaluation when moisture penetration is suspected.

I assume ya mean the “Avoiding Litigation” series from Porter Valley, which is a good start.

I also assume this involves water penetration into a finished basement, which is being blamed on faulty drain tiles. Like some other things they do not have an infinite life, need maintenance/repair occasionally, and do not keep basements relatively dry under all circumstances.

I would just be careful about looking for any signs of moisture penetration … even something as small as a musty odor. Also make sure you point out the potential for basement water penetration, even if there are no obvious signs at the time of the inspection.

And remember there are two types of basements … those that are leaking, and those that will leak … :wink: