Had an older home where termite damage was visible. The termites were treated in the past but the damage is still evident. No obvious signs of major damage but I am not taking the time to poke every spot either. Little monsters can go anywhere.
Does anyone have a good disclaimer for non-visible damage to framing?
Well thank you Jim.
But what I meant was a comment to disclaim or cover the fact that you are not going to spend the next 3 hours probing every area of the basment floor to see if termites had eaten the center out of a beam.
I would describe the damage in the areas that I found it. I would make no reference to the “activity” of termites … one way or the other. I would advise my client that about 80% of the areas in which additional termite damage could exist was not visible and/or accessible to me and is not included in my report.
I would remind my client that, as per our agreement, the report reflects only the material defects that were visible to me at the time of the inspection and does not include any damage to the home that was not observed by me at the time of the inspection.
Verbally (face-to-face or by phone) I might elaborate on this to say that there is no way that I can know or report on the conditions of the ceiing joists that are covered with insulation, the framing behind the drywall, the sheathing behind the siding, and any other portion of the structure that could also be damaged. It could be absent of any damage … it could be minimally damaged … or it could be significantly damaged. I can only report what I see.
That is what I do when I have not been paid for a termite inspection. When I do a termite inspection, I simply use the NPMA 33.
The bottom line is — my report refers to my agreement to conduct the inspection in accordance with the SOP.
Here in Florida, unless you are licensed to perform WDO inspections, you can’t even talk about termites. A home inspector got fined for that recently.
I would also caution you to avoid making determinations with regards to live infestations being present or not.
What I would write in my report would be something along the lines of:
There was damage observed to various areas of the (whatever area they were observed in) which may be consistent with some type of inspect infestation, possibly termites. It is recommended that a proper WDO or whatever you call it where you are located, be performed by (whoever is licensed to do the inspection), and any repairs/treatments be performed, prior to purchase.
Furthermore, it is recommended that a structural engineer be called to evaluate the entire structure,and make any recommendations and include repair costs, prior to purchase.
Yes, I am serious. When your client decides to repair the “minimal damage” and finds out half the home has to be rebuilt…
I have seen it happen countless times with Subterranean termites.
Would you consider the picture below “minor damage”?
I’ll wait for your answer before I tell you how much it would have cost to fix this. A hint is my Client didn’t buy the home after getting the estimates from the engineer.
To answer what I think you are asking, XYZ Inspection company will not be held responsible for any damages financially or otherwise from any pest infestation, past present or future.
The present existence (or not) of termites is not within the scope of a home inspection, in most states requires a special license, and should not be included in your report.
The damage that you see can and should be included in your report. You cannot “disclaim” damage that you can see. You report the damage that you can see and describe it to your client.
Your SOP … referred to and agreed to in advance of the inspection by your client … already addresses (“disclaims”, if you will) any and all hidden and concealed defects. This includes the possibly destroyed ceiling joists that are hidden by insulation, framing behind the drywall, sheathing behind the siding, and every other place where hidden and concealed defects can exist. You may remind your client of this in your report.
Your client needs to fully understand that you are reporting … not “disclaiming” … that you have no way of determining the extent of the damage without disassembling the home. Your report does not address the hidden and concealed defects and you don’t know if they exist or not.
I don’t understand what is so difficult about this.
How do you “disclaim” the possibility of termite damage inside the walls when you did NOT find a mud tunnel? It’s all the same thing and covered by the PIA that contains a signed agreement to inspect in accordance with the SOP.
Its not about disclaiming hidden problems in other areas but more so visible damage that you can see.
If you see one spot 6" in length that looks minimal at best what do you do?
Do you report it needs repair
Do you pass it off to an engineer so they can look at it?
Do you tell them it doesn’t look to be of significance, but only a more invasive inspection can determine the amount of damage?
Thats what I’m shooting for. I’m not worried about other places, I was wondering about the places that I could see that “visually” showed minor damage that IMO had no affect of integrity of the wood but without poking, probing, looking further, could not be truly determined.
When you look at a section of damaged wood where in your professional opinion as an inspector do you decide its level of significance?
Termites are familer to live in a community. They lives with kings, servents, solders and slaves. There is also queen. Although the queen termite has a king, he is normally destroyed as soon as she is pregnant.
Know more about it plz see termites