Ethical Challenge Brought on by Law for Kansas Inspectors

In the absence of any laws mandating disclosure from sellers and building code standards for builders and contractors, the state of Kansas has passed a law creating a $10,000 home warranty to be paid by all inspectors who inspect a home in that state.

So that inspectors can protect their licenses and reduce to the extent possible any payouts under this state law, some adjustments to the reporting method must be made.

I present this now for discussion and, if deemed necessary, a future addendum to the NACHI SOP for similar laws of this grievous nature.

For the sake of the ability to maintain a license and reduce the number of claims made on the warranty he represents, the inspector has no choice but to present the darkest side of all defects noted.

He cannot afford to assume that the torn vinyl floor in the bathroom does NOT have mold under it. He cannot afford to assume that the discoloration on the drywall is not evidence of past moisture damage with the possibility of mold behind it.

Any attic leak, or indication of previous leaks, will require an extensive examination by someone after the inspection to look beneath all of the insulation for the existence of wood destroying organisms or insects.

Homes built prior to 1971 will have to have the recommendation that it be further checked for the existence of lead paint and asbestos in the textured cieling and the client should sign a waiver for every ancilliary inspection he refuses to book.

Now…this is going to really hurt sales and cost a few deals, but it was the salesmen who pushed the bill and they had to know what they were doing, right?

Otherwise, how can anyone afford to offer a $10,000 warranty with a $300 inspection fee on every house he inspects?

Further, I believe that the conditions brought on by this law would require that the home inspector record a defect, as follows:

“…and I recommend that this condition be evaluated and corrected by a licensed electrician. If the decision is made to purchase the property without the recommended evaluation and/or correction, this inspector is thereby released from any duty he may have had regarding the electrical systems on this property.”

If realtors believed inspectors were too hard on a dwelling previous to this legislation, they may be in for an eye-openng experience. Not that inspectors intend to be "deal-killers, because we simply need to do the best we can for our clients.

But, it is my understanding that realtors were a driving force in having this legislation passed. With the new E&O requirement, and the law going a step further and prohibiting any limit of liability in their contract less than the $10,000 threshold, inspectors will need to be extra careful.

Realtors: Be careful what you wish for.

How would the addendium read on the NACHI SOP?

We can make the report so indepth, so long, even hundreds of pages in length, take hours or even days to read and understand. Nick, we need to get attorneys working on this one. You need to understand that there will be a $10,000 per inspection per year insurance fee that all of us will have to pay. They will sue us at will. Most RE do not even know what is going on. I wish I could be a fly on the wall at the next brokers meeting. NACHI standard of practice will be outdated by July 2009. All inspectors in Kansas will have to change all of their forms, agreements, presentations, all to satisfy the law. RE will not know, or realize what is coming. Jim B, you are right on.

This law opens up a new market.

Engineers in the Kansas City - Wichita - Topeka areas, who are not licensed home inspectors but who can and do conduct home inspections in your state, now have a new market.

“Call me on the first day of the 11th month since your home inspection and I will conduct a complete inspection to find any areas your home inspector may have missed…before his $10,000 liability/warranty expires. Only $129 with this coupon. Don’t wait until it is too late to recover to find a leaky roof, mold, or other serious problem that will have to be paid for out of your own pocket. Call me, today!!”

This is simply unreal such a law could be passed in the United States, goes to show the huge amount of jackasses we have living in this country.

You can pretty much expect the same kind of end results when the Florida HI law goes into effect. Inspectors will have to make all kinds of judgement calls on systems, components, etc. because in our bill we are required to tell the client when something is going to fail. Inspectors are going to have to harden their reports to the point of being deal killers in order to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits over every tiny detail or problem. The bill here was pushed by the same crowd. Be about time for me to retire for the second time and specialize and get out of the crawl space business. Too many periphial businesses using the same skill sets to stay in this shark tank. House should be paid off, no bills, time to go do some serious fishing and traveling.

We’ll simply have to provide the agents the protection they’ve fought for.

I’ve already started practicing for next year this past week with current Kansas clients and agents. Such as this one from Thursday:

“There were no weep holes present at the bottom of the masonry veneer walls. Although the local building codes don’t exempt them NOR require builders to install them, our building code requires they be present. If water should get behind OR through the brick which is a porous material, weep holes can provide the moisture a way out of the wall cavity”.

“Without this exit point, water can be trapped inside the wall cavity forming mold, mildew or causing hidden moisture damage, etc. This company did not perform intrusive testing for these conditions, and have no ability to verify the absense or presence of defective conditions inside wall cavities. We recommend having further intrusive moisture testing, damage assessment and mold testing of all wall cavities performed prior to leaving your inspection contingency period”.

“We also recommend having a licensed and competent brick mason retrofit all exterior walls with proper weep holes per a licensed architects design”.

God - I could see the pure admiration in the agents face as they realized the protection I have provided them and their client AND the unadulterated respect and knowledge that a soon to be REGISTERED home inspector was on the job DELIVERING to them exactly what they’ve worked so hard to get.

This is one of the small joys we get as inspectors …

…and so it begins.

Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Real Estate Association Lobbyist.

In some states, inspectors are accountable for negligence. Nothing new.

John oves his license, everybody!!!

Okay, John? Feel better?

oves? :mrgreen:

The idea of accountability does not seem strange to me… that’s all.

*In free states, we are accountable to our clients…not real estate commissions and licensing boards. *

I have been doing a pahsed construction inspection on a new construction for the “builder”. The builder is an inexperienced person who believes that home building is nothing more than finding, coordinating and and paying the subs. Understand, to become a GC in this area is just a matter of getting a 1 Mil GL policy and paying a $35 license fee.

The builder had the framing 'sub-contractor" (i.e., 5 Mexican guys) install the windows (Pella Designer casements).

Here is the manufacturer’s installation requirements:

(It would be a good idea to print them out and have them ready to give to your clients. Just a helpful hint.).

Here is what the framing guys did:

  1. They did not follow the Tyvek cutting instructions, nor did they tape the Tyvek.

  2. They did not follow the nailing schedule on the flange, and they used the Tyvek nails and not the recommended roofing nails.

  3. They did not flash the Tyvek properly, nor did they tape according to the Tyvek or Pella instructions.

  4. And, as the final blow, no flashiing to the brick lintels.

  5. Also, no shimmimg of the windows (just relied on the flange nailing) and no sealing, caulk or backer rod. No centering of the window in the rough opening and no sill taping.

These windows are going to leak.

BUT, I wrote it all up and presented it to the client (the builder). She listened, but didn’y have the guts to make the subs take it out and do it right.

I am working for the builder and am accountable to her, but her buyers are going to get screwed.

Just think about it.

We can recommend, but not require. But, we have liability.

The local AHJ can require, but do not (really) inspect and have no liability.

Figure it out for yourself. :shock:




This would be good for the Travesty Thread…:lol:

Since new home building is slow here Will, some of our south-of-the-boarders may have moved north…:twisted:

But what you have pictured is nothing out of the ordinary here whatsoever…:-({|=

The only thing a house has going for it here is the fact we get 6 inches of rain per year if we’re lucky…:cool:

But I certainly agree with Jim regarding the fact hard report writing will surely be necessary in Kansas regardless of ones findings, every inspector will need to cover his asz like Dan Bowers so eloquently explained…:smiley:

Again, it will take hours to write inspections, and will lead to higher fees. Dan’s writing is right on, and will have to be indepth as such for any other issue found. Again, the report can be hundreds of pages in length. “Any recommendations that (company) may make for service, repair, or replacement, a second opinion, or permit research involving any component or condition, must be completed before the close of escrow, or that (company) will be held harmless for any subsequently alledged defects”. Several languages such as this will be used throughout our Kansas reports, take hours to report, and days to decipher by a buyer/re/attorney. They will get what they ask for.

“If the decisioin is made to purchase the property without the recommend evaluation/correction, the inspector is hereby released from any duty he may have regarding these areas/systems of the property”.

May be we should start a thread on legal statements.

Will wrote:

This is fairly normal, as meny GCs have few, if any, actual employees beyond a PM and a couple of guys to do punch-list stuff. Quality project management includes adherance to standards. In this case, adherance to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Depending on the area, these guidelines may be strictly adhered to or field modified. As manufacturer warranties only cover replacement costs of materials, and not labor, that burden falls squarely on the checkbook of the builder, who has ultimate responsibility during the warranty period.

So, I’ll play Devil’s advocate with regard to Tyvec nails versus roofing nails:

If the Tyvec fails to do its job, and the house has a problem in these areas, couldnt Tyvec’s manufacturer say that their installation guide wasnt followed?

Manufacturer’s commonly use any excuse no fail to stand behind a product. We all know this. At the end of the day, the owner is left fighting the battle. You did your job pointing out the potential problems. I’d be more concerned that your E&O policy covers phase construction inspections. Mine doesnt…

Gary…truly, less is more.

Pre-inspection agreements that clearly states the agreement between the two parties (inspector and client) that the client’s refusal to follow through with any of the inspector’s recommendations immediately releases the inspector for any and all liability connected with the inspection … very powerful.

Add to that the report that takes nothing for granted. A stain on the ceiling or wall could conceal moisture that could result in mold. Recommendations for mold tests and remediation for carpet stains, ceiling stains, wall stains…finished basements without the required plastic barrier behind the paneling will probably have moisture issues and need further evaluation…areas in the attic concealed by insulation where attics show past signs of moisture intrusion…all need to have recommended follow-up…or the inspector is released from ALL liability.

The Kansas report will certainly be a frightening thing for a prospective buyer to read…but that’s the way it goes. This is the consumer protection that the real estate salespeople have brought to your state.