I know this is going to come as a great surprise to many of my peers, so I wanted to explain my position first on this message board, before I continued with my ongoing interviews and discussions with various people of the media.
The bad parts of this bill are obvious and have been addressed in a hundred different ways. It is a conflict of interest and provides a means for real estate salesmen to punish a home inspector for revealing information in a report that causes the buyer to walk away from the sale.
This has been my focal point and has been my main reason to object to the bill, for it does nothing else but add costs to being a home inspector and…I will admit from a selfish angle…we can do with fewer part timers and contractors doing this on the side. Of course, there will be a surge of “graduates” from the new schools to contend with…but that will be another challenge at another time.
I support Mo HB 1714 for its greater good…and that greater good is that MO HB 1714 is a backdoor effort to sneak the enforcement of building codes on a state where 80% of its jurisdictions have avoided them.
Everyone knows and appreciates the need for minimum basic standards, aka building codes, when it comes to building and maintaining structures that house people.
MO HB 1714 creates a Missouri licensed inspector in jurisdictions that presently do not have inspectors or licensed builders and contractors. It empowers this licensed inspector to enter homes that are for sale…or any other type of inspection he conducts under his license…and provide an official report (that is to be made available to the State for a minimum of five years) on the building’s “defects”.
We all know that to have a “defect”, we must first have a standard. In certain metropolitan areas of Missouri where standards/codes are in effect already, those will be the standards applied. In rural areas and other unregulated areas where no standards/code exist, it will be strictly at the discretion of the Missouri licensed inspector to decide which to enforce.
While the law explicitly requires a Missouri Licensed Inspector to apply a standard to identify a “defect”, it does not specify which standard he will use where none have been legislated. Thus, the law leaves it to his discretion, unless a particular published building code is selected by the Licensing Board.
In unregulated areas, the official written report of the Mo Licensed Inspector will be final and while unlicensed contractors and builders in that area may disagree, they will have no official or legal means to circumvent the inspector’s interpretation or enforcement of the building code/standard that he applies.
Since MO licensed inspectors are subject to disciplinary action for their failure to record an observable “defect” and apply the standards/codes in that regard…and contractors and builders are not…they will no longer be a part of the process in negotiating what is or is not necessary for a repair. They will simply perform the work that the Mo Licensed Inspector detailed to be defective, in correcting it. As the only State Licensed Inspector reporting on the issue, his word becomes the final written report and remains available to the public (by subpoena) for five years.
Since the official record will be maintained and available for the State to review, insurance companies wishing to have access to the official state reports detailing pre-existing conditions and faulty contractor work can have access to them through the Missouri Department of Insurance.
Now, insurers will have an official state document prepared by a Licensed State Official with which to determine whether or not a seller’s failure to comply with minimum basic standards contributed to a loss by fire or other calamity. Since these reports will be on hand for third or fourth generation owners, the information can become more and more valuable throughout the years.
I plan to write articles in all of the counties where Rep Parson is presently campaigning for Senator…thanking him, publicly, for using this back door to slip building codes in various areas that have been wrongfully and foolishly rejecting them for years.
His cunning and slick way of having Mo Licensed Building Inspectors applying building codes in all of their inspections (by way of recording “defects” to an existing standard) is unprecedented in its genius and boldness.
He deserves to be complimented, along with every other legislator in Missouri, who supports the new “Code Bill” known as MO HB 1714.
I plan to thank all of them…publicly and loudly.