I got this email today

I am interested in your response to this email. This will help me with my reply. Note that I informed the client that I do not inspect chimneys or wood burning appliances. Thanks for your help.

You completed the pre-closing inspection for our real estate purchase. A subsequent inspection from our insurance company revealed that the chimney pipe for the wood burning stove did not meet code. The chimney pipe at the opening through the roof did not meet the minimum 2” clearance around the combustible roofing materials and the chimney pipe was 34” short of meeting code above the roof line.

I would think it reasonable to expect that you would have known that code information and been able to inform us of this deficiency that could have been remedied prior to closing. I approximate that we will spend $400 in repairs to satisfy these code requirements.

Given the circumstances how can this be addressed?

Well if you informed them that you don’t do wood burning appliances and chimneys i hope you have a it written in your report also. You can refer them to the sop and high light the part of code keeping ,
First i would call them and discuss what the you told them and we do not quote or enforce codes because they vary from place to place. Try to be open to their problem.
Worst thing ask them if they want a refund . But get a something in writing holding no further responsibility to the report

Btw how high was the chimney and how far was it from the peak?

I could not tell you… There was 3" of snow on the roof at the time of the inspection and I stated that I do not walk the roof when wet or snow covered.


I would sneak back and take a picture. It could be a shady contractor trying make a fast buck

No need to go back, I have photos inside and out.



Photos do not lie. How was I suppose to see that the chimney did not have the proper clearance when there is a proper shroud around it.

They are saying that the chimney needs to be 3 feet higher than that?

height looks fine, but it could be a little short but not 32 inches . however clearance behind the the unit looks a little short unless it a heat shield behind it.

To clear up everything FAST…ask for the written estimate from the local contrctor for repairs. Then, with your photos, drop them by to the local code enforcement peps. It should clear up everything.

I hate to say it but even with disclaimer I’d pay these folks in the name of goodwill. And then be sure you don’t miss these again. You might stare them down or make it not worth their while but you will lose a lot more then you will gain so payt them but be sure to get a release that acknowledges that you’re inspection is not code based

It’s one of those gray areas in our profession. We don’t do code (and I’m the first to say so) but many of the things I call out (like chimney height) are code based. But I don’t cite the code in question. I take the position with my clients that since I have no legal power to compel a repair I don’t quote code as that is used by the people that can order things done.

Consider this a cheap lesson and pay. With a smile and turn it to your advantage in goodwill and marketing. Good Luck.

You have mail Mark!

Doesn’t appear to be 2 feet higher than any portion of the roof within 10 feet, but it’s hard to tell definitively from that angle.

I can understand why you would disclaim chimney interiors and such that will not be accessible for you to inspect, but chimney clearance and height above the roof seems kind of fundamental to me. Still, if you clearly state it as being out of scope, then I guess you can hang your hat on that.

I wouldn’t want my clients thinking that their insurance company provides a more detailed inspection than I do.

Here would be my response:

"I understand that you feel that it “reasonable” to expect that I would known that local “code insformation”. Why do you “expect” that? Didn’t you read the inspection agreement that you signed? You would be wrong in your expectation and I am sorry that I did not explain this, clearly, when you signed the agreement. Local “codes” are a bare minimum standard, and, as such, formed by political forces and with the influence of local bodies (union, contractors and lawyers)

As stated, in my report and verbally, I do not inspect to local codes. If you wanted a local code inspection, you could have called the local code officials and had them do a code compliance inspection, and it would have been free.

But, you should also be aware, that they would not have done as thorough a job as I have done, nor would you have been able to threaten to sue them if they “missed” something. They would have spent about 10 minutes doing the inspection, whereas I spent a couple of hours doing my inspection.

That was your choice.

I would be happy to come back and inspect the property again (at no charge) and climb up on the roof (which I told you, during the inspection, was unsafe for me to climb at the time).

I would be happy to evaluate the condition, get a quote from a professional, licensed, insured and qualified contractor to fix the problem, and to contribute to the cost of the repair.

But, the real question is, how much of the fault lies with my company, how much lies with the seller (who didn’t disclose this problem to you, as required) and how much lies with you, as you didn’t listen to me at the time of the inspection, nore read the report, where this condition was clearly explained.

Given my clarification of the situation, how would you like this to be addressed."

Hope this helps;

How old is the home? If it was in compliance when the home was built, it doesn’t require any repair. Should you have mentioned it, probably so, but that still doesn’t mean it “has” to be extended. How much does a three foot section of B vent cost up there? Either way, if you do a great inspection the client may tell one person. Piss them off and they will tell a hundred. Put forth a good effort to resolve the issue.

Morgan Wood
Home Inspections of Louisiana, LLC

B vent is not for solid fuel.

I agree on the reputation thing. You can get a lot of positive mileage by helping address the problem or lots of negative publicity by snubbing the client.

You are a businessperson and made every effort to fully and completely inspect this home.
You provided your list of exceptions of components inspected, and you disclosed that you were not able to inspect the entire roof because it was covered with snow. I’m also sure you offered to return for a follow - up if the snow melted before their closing date.
When the snow melted - if the client did not provide you an opportunity to inspect the roof - then your obligation has ended.
I would write a nice letter, starting with Thank you for contacting me concerning this matter. I appreciate that you have allowed me to clarify and resolve this situation.
I have attached a copy of your inspection contract that was submitted to you at the time of inspection. I have also attached the portion of your written inspection, which states the results of the inspection of the roof.
Please note that the following areas are beyond the scope of this Home Inspection. These areas were brought to your attention to provide you the opportunity to contact a License Contractor to evaluate these components prior to your purchase.
Please note also, that the roof was covered with snow and not visible. For safety reasons - roofs are not walked upon when wet or covered with snow. Because this area was inaccessible at the time of original inspection - I would have gladly made a return trip - had it been requested? These issues were discussed with (you or your rep) in my summery on the day of the inspection.
I hope that this has been helpful. And thank you again for contacting me.
Please feel free to call anytime.

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