I've been requested to appear as an expert witness

I just received a request from an attorney to appear in court as an expert witness in a code compliance issue. The compensation is good. The issue I have is since we as HIs do not perform code checks, can we act in the capacity of an expert witness in a compliance issue?
I have less than 24 hours to accept request.
If there are any HIs out there who have accepted this type of work, your comments/advice are welcome.

I wouldn’t unless you have some ICC certs.

That sounds like good advice.

I agree they would just love to get you on the stand and tear you apart.

Roy Cooke

Roy, That’s what I’m afraid of. I do not want to get in over my expertise level. I would be required to view submitted plans and make references to code compliance of work that has been done. I have been asked to inspect the property and document any visual code violations. Produce report. Testify in court.

Anyone else?

Not for CODE. You’ll have to KNOW and QUOTE it for what ever period they may be looking at. Covers one heck of a time range. Do you drive a semi with a 56 ft trailer around to carry all the Code Books with you. That is why I NEVER quote CODE. Any Jurisdiction can adopt any part of it and or change it at will.

Tell them you have to weight the bread at your local grocery that day and you’ll be to busy.

I would concur with the majority here. NO NO NO NO ,

It sounds like a majority decision. I just want to add that this is a $2000+ gig that someone else will do. I have to agree though with all who’ve replied-but I am tempted. Also, I am a NACHI member and do not know why this board says I’m not. But that’s a different issue.

It may cost you more than $2000k to defend yourself on something you said (or didn’t say) on the stand. So again the answer is Don’t do it!! Are there any code officials in that township??

Sending a note to fastreply@nachi.org may help.

It’s not your clients attorney you have to worry about. If you don’t bring your “A” game with regard to building code knowledge, experience, education and certifications the opposing council will eat you for lunch…

I am going to the “yes” answer


What is the extent of your Construction background?

Your Website suggests that you are qualified to “Enter your Appearance” as a Legal Expert…

  • A certified and qualified inspector
    - Experienced with 25 +** years in the **building industry
  • A proud member of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors

It takes years of training to get to this point. I would suggest that you start with getting your ICC certifications.

>Then take a course on how to be a “expert witness”.<

Just because you’re a code compliance inspector does not mean that you would be a good expert witness ***they are separate and distinct. ***

If you are not a code compliance inspector then all the more reason to stay away from the court room.

What ever you decide I wish you all the luck in the world

I notified the requesting attorney to look elsewhere for a witness. I think an active GC would be better suited for this duty. As for my building experience, 25+ years -footing to finish and everything in between. Thanks to all who’ve responded. This board has been very helpful. As one of my primary business goals has been to stay out of court by providing a superior product (inspection and report), I felt contradicted by the request. As far as classes or ICC training, that would be beneficial-but hard to do from the 50th state.

It takes Years of Training to report on Code Compliance but merely Hours to become a “Mold is Gold” Inspector.


Let your conscience be your guide.

The fact that you asked the question indicates that you possessed a level of uncomfortably. The time will come where you will be able to accept the request without hesitation.

I feel confident about my abilities as a former builder, just not so much as an expert on code compliance. I do not want some pencil neck attorney denegrating my current profession or my experience. I spoke to a local home inspector who used to act as an expert witness in cases like this and he also advised me to not get involved.

it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders.

Welcome to NACHI!:smiley:

Depends on who’s requesting your service, the prosecutor or the defense ? It does not really matter though, I would show up and take the lawyers money, if the other side makes the point that you’re not qualified, so what, that’s whoever’s hired you problem. It’s not your fault, they came to you, right? As soon as you get on the stand, the opposing attorney will ask you for your qualifications as a code inspector, and you will say none, the judge won’t allow you to testify. Be an easy $2 grand. I do not pity lawyers one bit, take their money for a change. Is that bad?

Don’t listen to me, I’m still angry at lawyers for what they did to me. NEK

What did God say after a ship with 600 lawyers on board sank and all but one drowned?

Damn, I missed one.