Infrared Liability, Your Thoughts

As IR becomes more and more the norm in the HI industry are any of you concerned about the liabilty ascertained to a standard inspection? Do you have a disclaimer in your normal HI agreement if they choose not to get IR if you charge extra like myself? Do you have a seperate agreement?

The reason I ask is because I charge extra to perform IR with a standard HI and have spoke to a couple of attorneys who are friends in the area and it seems both agree, which I have heard from other inspectors as well that if you miss something during a standard visual inspection and you offer the service and get into court and you didn’t use a tool such as IR because they decided not to pay extra for it that it could really end up hurting you.

I personally like to offer it as an additional service because it allows me to compete with normal HI rates in the area while being able to create additional revenue through IR.

Any opinions, thoughts, or have any of you spoke to attorneys? Anyone have a good disclaimer in their HI agreement they would be willing to share? Thanks in advance

Just raise your standard inspection prices and use IR on all inspections. Do not give them an option with the home inspection and continue to offer the IR for speciality inspections as another service.

Chuck

If you had a sewer camera and your clients chose not to hire you to look for clogs and cracks in their sewer line, could that end up hurting you? I don’t think so. Your clients choosing to skimp on the sewer camera inspection would be a pretty good defense against a claim that you didn’t find a broken sewer line under the yard. Tell your attorney to call me about his opinion. My cell is 720 272 8578. I’m quite certain his opinion will evolve.

Nick beat me to the answer, my attorney says the same. Keep it seperate, anything that goes beyond the Standards of Practice should be seperate services and charged accordingly. You may be trained in mold, radon, pests and have the eqiupment but do you include all of that in a standard inspection. I was told recently to maybe add a line to my standard agreement where the client initials saying that they have refused the add on of thermal imaging and just wanted a standard inspection. That way we can back up down the road that the client did not want it even after we explained the benefits of it and offered it. I was also told it was dangerous to include a basic scan in all inspections and then charge extra for a full inspection like I have seen some inspectors advertise, once the camera is out use it for a full inspection or do not use it at all.

I think your PIA should include an option for the client to check or initial if he wants the extra service. That would put the burden on the client, not you, in my view. That is, you spoke to him about it, recommended it, and offered it to him in writing and he chose to decline. That’s his problem if he doesn’t want you to wear your X-ray glasses.

Think about medical diagnostics. When your wife goes to the doctor for her annual exam, the doctor feels her breast as part of the basic exam. Does the doctor put her in the boob tube and do a mammogram automatically? No! But he recommends it and charges accordingly for that service if she wants it. Is the doctor responsible if your wife has cancer and it went undetected? Only a fool would say so if she declined the mammogram.

But to me, it should be offered and encouraged in writing. That would provide a lot of liability protection I think.

P.S. I don’t do IR testing at this point in time.

Thanks for the responses for gentleman…Do any of you have a good disclaimer or spot to check in an agreement they would be willing to share. Or good line of verbage for something such as this in legal jargon? Thanks in advance.

I don’t charge extra for using my thermal imager. It’s just another tool - just like my electrical testing instruments, moisture meter, flashlight, etc. The imager just gives me a better picture of the condition of the home and its systems. Should I charge extra for using my flashlight, or my SureTest?

If you do charge extra for using it, or offer it as a stand-alone service, you had better include something in the PIA that outlines the “scope” of the IR “scan” that will be performed.

My inspections are performed within the scope of nationally recognized standards. The fact that I use “sophisticated instruments” does not imply that I am checking for anything beyond those standards.

Jeff, I understand your POV, and I use my cam for certain areas in my normal inspection and to investigate situations further, but charge extra to perform a full scan of a home to help locate areas where energy losses can be improved and other potential defects. My personal opinion is if you are increasing your normal time substantially you should be charging extra, I am just going to add a disclaimer where the client will warrant whether they choose to add it or not, basically the same way I have my radon disclaimer setup in my HI agreement.

I do not include IR scanning in any of my standard home inspections. If I do need to break out my IR camera for any reason, an additional fee will definitely be involved. I also have an agreement that my client will sign upon me utilizing my thermal camera.

I’ve been considering offering breast exams as an ancillary service!!:p:p

I think if you fork out the money, use it. I intend to start out with one. You should be able to earn extra by using it as an ancillary service too.

When I first purchased my IR camera, I took images of my wife’s breasts and uploaded them to my IR software program. I then tried to see if I could detect anything…all sorts of colors in those things.

Care to post them? :smiley:

http://www.hughes-medical.com/products/img/breast_IRpicture.jpg

Considering adding to the PIA:

Thermal Imaging: Client has agreed to the limited use of an infrared imaging camera by the Inspector during this inspection. Client understands the Inspector may perform infrared imaging scans of selected surfaces completely at the discretion of the Inspector. Client also understands that infrared imaging does not guarantee locating or discovering possible concealed defects including water damage, structural defects, insulation deficiencies, electrical defects, mold or insect damage. To capture acceptable infrared thermal images during this inspection, a temperature differential of a minimum 18 degrees farenheit between the interior and exterior of the inspected structure must be obtained. Exterior surfaces must be reasonably free of water. Furniture, wall hangings and stored items may limit the infrared scans. Reflective surfaces including glass and foil faced wall insulation will not allow for acceptable infrared imaging of these areas. Roof imaging scans are excluded from this inspection unless Inspector determines acceptable standard roof imaging conditions exist during the inspection and may be beneficial to the Client.

You are funny David! :mrgreen: Now if I just new how to interpret each color!

There are many “tools” that can aid a “visual” inspection. The use of Thermal Imaging goes beyond the visual spectrum of light. Therefore, the inspection would no longer be “visual.” The camera allows me to “see” thermal anomolies that otherwise would not be detectable with the naked eye.

I’ve consulted with Inspectors with over 20 years experience and two separate Attorneys on this issue. I will continue to charge extra for the additional service and have my clients sign an addendum to my Agreement outlining the scope.

Kevin

John,

In your list of items or exceptions you have listed in your contract, you might want to use the verbage “including, but not limited to;”

You might also want to exclude electrical as well as roofing, unless you are a qualified electrician.

Personally I would check out the Infraspection standards for each type of inspection, and you might want to give Jim Seffrin a call and ask what he would charge for their contract template. Infraspection not only trains, but owns an infrared inspection business as well.

JJ

Thanks Kevin, this is my thoughts exactly. I have now however included a new area within my HI agreement allowing them to choose the additional service, and if they choose not to the loss of benefits with the technology, including outlining the service if they choose to do so after speaking with an attorney, this way if they choose not to utilize it the proof is in the pudding.

Jason, good point I have spoke to Jim and Chris (I hope that’s his name, and correct spelling my apologies if its not) and both gentleman have been very informative on many issues regarding infrared, I can’t say enough good things about their training or their integrity and willingness to help people. If anyone is serious about training, I would at least take the time to really consider Infraspection Institute.

Thanks for the input gentleman.

Jason,

Have not included the Infrared clause yet, appreciate the input. I did complete the Infraspection Level 1 course earlier this year. Jim Seffrin was the instructor, great job!