Extreme TREC penalty

There are several recent threads regarding TREC and disciplinary actions, ie. leaving an oven on, E&O insurance, use of photos, etc. Here’s a very recent case where an inspector failed to notify TREC of his DBA and he used the wrong inspection report form. TREC’s penalty?..revoked his license!

Yes quite drastic and way out of line compared to other very similar cases! It would certainly be interesting to find out why such a drastic action when others have been literally only slapped on the hand in comparison?

Yeah, there seemingly has to be more to the story.

The top of the agreed order has “XYZ remodeling” (page 2). Looks like inspector faxed his signature on the order. I suspect the person is in the remodeling business.

Nonetheless, he did use a TREC form which suggests he did an inspection. The odd item is that there are two addresses in the complaint. Makes me wonder how that happened.

My question is “how did this come about”.

I suspect the repeal of the license could have been the inspector saying “you can have this stupid license”. A revocation of the license could make TREC look better on the books.

I have never looked at these complaints in detail. I wonder if all of the documentation considered is available to review. There has to be more to the story…

You can make an open records request. Simple to do. Just send an email to public.information@trec.texas.gov . There is a form you can use but I have always had success by sending an email. Instructions are at Request Public Information | TREC . I also cc Anthony Slagle tony.slagle@trec.state.tx.us. He is the inspector liaison at TREC.

You need to ask for specific information or they will send you “everything” and it could result in a fee. I requested the entire file on a foundation complaint and the fee was $150. The file was 3 inches thick. If its small its usually free. This is what you ask for.

1 - The original complaint
2 - The report
3 - Any other report by another inspector, expert or service person that points out the alleged error.

Skip everything else (emails, phone calls etc) until you need them.

I notice some of the complaints require open records request and some do not. I am not sure what criteria they use to seal a record but I suspect the information is still available.

Of the 92 complaints, I saw about 6 to 8 that would be interesting to research. I would suggest requesting 2 at a time.

The one that interests me is 4 inches of clearance from brick and 6 from the siding. That establishes a specific requirement that is not in the Standards. It is also code based. Its only one example but it sets a precedent for other interpretations.

Often a complaint is marginal. I suspect TREC is looking for anything to rule against the inspector because it kinda makes them look like they are doing their job. Statistically, there are very few complaints against inspectors. The actual judgment may have nothing to do with the original complaint. Example: “The inspector did not say the walls needed paint”. TREC “That is not required by the Standards but he used the wrong form and did not register his business name. Fine $500.”

Lastly, I support allowing an inspector to alternately use a trade association standard (NACHI for example) (or dumping TREC SoP). California has done this successfully for years. TREC should get out of the policing business and let civil courts/insurance /commerce/contract law handle disputes. If there is a judgment against an inspector then the public can file a complaint at TREC for license discipline.

That would likely bring a new problem to the table. Maybe the TREC “template” would also be done away with at that time and then the inspectors could gin up their own report template.

That in itself not necessarily a bad thing, but it would really throw the ‘zoids’ out of joint as they would not be looking at the same cookie cutter template and might actually have to read a report. :stuck_out_tongue:

Has anyone heard more on the inspector who was fined for his reporting on the Delta T on an a//C and they sad the differential had to be between 15 and 20. I might be off a bit since I slept since I read this

I have heard nothing. I was going to call the guy but did not get to it. Using those numbers only can be wrong. I refer to temp diffs but never report them. If I do report them its going to be between 15 and 20.

Correct. TREC forces us into a corner

I kinda sorta do this.

Conditions permitting, I run the heat and check the furnace. It does not take long for a home to reach 78 to 80 degrees.

Then I make note of the stat temp and slide it down to 68. I run the AC like an Iditarod dog during my inspection. Keep an eye on it and you will discover ice overs, condensate problems, short cycles etc. I walk around a lot during my inspection and monitor the entire home out of the corner of my eye. If your cautious put a water alarm in the overflow pan (after you lose 10 of them you’ll remember to pick them up). I put advertising on mine so if I forget them they will remember me fondly when the pan floods.

I am spoiled. I keep my home at 72 and my office at 68. If I cannot get a home below 78 on a day above 80 I recommend a service call. Watch your sense of humor. I once had a home that would not cool below 80 and the wife was complaining. Her husband came in and said, “how is it going”? I said, “Your wife is hot”. Ok Ok, I stole that.

I can go outside and get warm (or hot) then walk through the home at a fast pace and feel which rooms cool less than others.

You can check air flow with a tell-tale and basic temp with a thermal gun but if the room feels like the rest of the home after two hours it’s probably OK.

I do look for mold on air registers and behind them. It’s a common finding.

If the buyer and agents are there the best affirmation is them telling you it’s too cold.

Aside from not finding anything to recommend a service call I touch each of the following in my report.

The apparent age of condenser and evaporator. If they ask I explain that the insurance industry depreciates HVAC on a 10-year cycle. The SoP does not require age or useful life statements but it is what most clients want to know. Do it tactfully.

If its R22 I have standard text that is short. You have obsolete and expensive freon. Investigate recent service history to see if freon was added. If it was did they fix the leak?

Temp diff? Almost always for show and tell.

The only ac check I hate is when the auxiliary condensate is ongoing at the start of the inspection on a hot day. I cannot run the system hard in order to prevent causing water damage. It makes me sweat.

TREC really does not try to box in inspectors. The fact is their staff does not know diddly squat about inspection and they rely on the opinion of one or two inspectors who have been wrong in the past.

If anyone gets a TREC complaint contact me for a free opinion. I might not be able to get you off the hook but I might make setting the hook a bit harder for them. The first rules of answering a TREC complaint are 1) never admit anything 2) be very polite 3) co-operate 4) spontaneously cry

Number one violation is the wrong report revision. Check your report revision number. 7.5 (5-4-2015). BE CAREFUL. They made a form change and did not change the revision number (shame on them). Make sure you have date 5-4-2015. Number two is not registering you’re “doing business as”. They have a form for it. Three not having the consumer advisory link on your website home page. Fourth is forgetting to check a checkbox. You can say “the roof is shot” and forget to check the box. If you do your screwed.

I am tempted to tell every inspector I know that I am willing to work for them occasionally and use their company name. I would love to send 1,000 DBA’s to TREC.

Have fun and participate in Sunset. I want to make it easy for Texas inspectors to use the InterNACHI SoP. I can work around the form requirements.

Crud I spent more time writing this than I do a report.

Always great fun for uour insights

I know guys talk about 15 minute reports on-site on their telephones OR wrist watches BUT that ain’t me. As I get older and more experienced AND see other inspectors getting hammered for BS crap … I find my report writing time takes longer than the inspection time.

What many Inspectors fail to realize is that what they put on paper is what will get them in trouble or save them and the client. I’ve seen a lot of these on site reports and very, very few are not already filled with boiler plate disclaimers, repeats of the SOP, etc., etc. Most of those reports have 80% attempts at CYA BS and 20% actual reporting. And then in those reports you can look at the few pictures and find items the Inspector never even reported on.

Like Emmanuel said …

Me too. I thought they would get faster after several years of typing basically the same thing, but they don’t.

John Cahill, Thanks for posting all the useful (and funny) info, as usual.

Will start new thread on report writing