Motley Fool Mentions NACHI

Second billing to ASHI but there just the same.

Nice. Note the reference to thermal imaging. It’s coming folks.

Now if we can just get some deep discounts on the artificially inflated prices on thermal imaging cameras and we’ll be off and running.

thermal inaging helps me.

It also impresses the heck out of the clients (thus, higher fees) and scares some duel agency Realtors.

They are afraid that you might point it at them and prove they are the vampires (undead - no hotspots) they are.

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Awesome devices, but way out of my price range!

They are coming down…I think the Palmer-Wahl model is about $6K, with the option for lease to own.

I agree they are cool, but until I learn of someone who has effectively marketed them as an add-on, or stand alone inspection item I think I will save the . It seems everyone who has them can't get more for the inspection with IR as an add-on.

Public interest seems to be at the “neat toy” level, rather than at the “must have this inspection” level. I think it will take a significant amount of marketing to raise awareness and interest to the point where you can recoup the investment quickly.

Agree, a nice toy

However, in many if not most States which require licensing, these type toys are frowned upon by the licensing boards.

I frequently see these remarks from various state boards on high tech toys
“The Board feels the use of such instruments is beyond the scope of a visual home inspection”.

IR is deserving of it’s own niche in the real estate inductry, and disagree with those who attempt to provide this service as part of a visual home inspection.

Now on the other hand, sure would be nice to have one this week end for deer hunting season. Think the DNR would consider this an illegal aid?

Some limited use as part of a home inspection could be useful and some would be hard pressed to deny completely that it is still visual.

I know there are plenty of Realtors that would be scared the use these devices but I would like to see some specific information where “licensing boards” frown on their use. Any quotes, links, etc?

I wouldn’t buy one just to use for my home inspections but I will consider one when I am ready to add other types of inspection services to my offerings. There is a good market out there for other types of inspections.

I don’t think I could help myself using one (form time to time) in home inspections, if I owned one, but I would likely use it primarily as an aid to my being able to know where to look for things.

The use of special tools such as amp meters, moisture meters and thermal imaging devices are not required by the NACHI SoP. The disclaimers are somewhat hard to find. For example.

*NACHI 1.1. A Home inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of a residential dwelling, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify observed material defects within specific components of said dwelling.

4.23. Inspect: To visually look at readily accessible systems and components safely, using normal operating controls and accessing readily accessible panels and areas in accordance with these Standards of Practice.

4.39. Technically Exhaustive: A comprehensive and detailed examination beyond the scope of a real estate home inspection which would involve or include, but would not be limited to: dismantling, specialized knowledge or training, special equipment, measurements, calculations, testing, research, analysis or other means. *

In my opinion we are endorsing using special equipment in disregard to our Standard.

The Standards of Practice (SoP) establish a minimum expectation. Inspectors may exceed the SoP. Many inspectors use moisture meters and voltmeters. Thermal imaging is on the horizon.

There are two problems with exceeding the SoP. 1) The public does not know what to expect from inspector to inspector. 2) Exceeding the SoP tends to provide more service than the consumer is willing to pay for. If the inspector provides the service free of charge then dollar per hour revenue decreases. Doctors do not test your blood for free during a routine exam.

Varying consumer expectations and a wide range of inspector performance levels puts the inspector who chooses to work to the NACHI SoP at risk. Consumers will expect more service as a entitled right rather than as an added service.

Perhaps an answer to promoting new technology is providing “optional services” within the SoP. That allows inspectors to exceed the SoP (for free or by charging) and it allows the consumer to understand that services such as thermal imaging are not standard. A partial list of optional services could be:

(Some may require additional licensing)

  1. Thermal imaging (could be segregated into several activities: panel, bathrooms, exterior etc).
  2. Moisture meters
  3. Amp and volt meters including volt drop tests
  4. Mold testing
  5. Asbestos testing
  6. Hydrostatic and/or camera scan of DWV
  7. Camera scan of fireplace
    8 Lawn irrigation
  8. Wells
  9. Private waste disposal
  10. Underground storage tanks
  11. Air duct interior inspections
  12. Gas line pressure testing
  13. CO2 testing
  14. Combustible gas detectors
  15. Testing e-perm orientation
  16. Leak testing shower pans

I am sure there are more!*

All of the above exceed the visual inspections expectations of a general home inspection. In my opinion, only the items required by an association SoP should be promoted. If it is desired to exceed the SoP then create an optional section or revise the SoP to include the special activity.

The more consistent the industry becomes the less confusion the consumer will have.

I do not believe the current NACHI SoP state these limitations or added services sufficiently. They should be reviewed by the next SoP committee.

Wow. Thanks John.

Can you help us improve them?

Problems? 1) The public DOES still know what to expect as the minimum requirements of an inspection regardless of what else an inspector may use or offer. (It is still important for an inspector to be clear where he is exceeding the minimum standards).

  1. If the inspector goes beyond the minimum standards at no additional charge it can be chalked off to marketing as he gains a reputation of going beyond what the average inspector does. That is a good thing. If a doctor offered free blood tests he would have a lot of happy patients and a lot of unhappy competitors. Not a good comparison though, since he has to use an outside lab.

It behooves and inspector who goes beyond the SOP to either offer these as additional services (more money), services entirely separate to a home inspection, use these tools on a limited basis as a competitive marketing tool, or some combination of all of these.

I don’t quite know where you got the idea of what the consumer is and is not willing to pay. Maybe because Realtors keep telling clients what to expect to pay.

Not worth me spending 8-12,000.00 on right now.....I will hold out for when they are around 1,500.00 :wink:

Paul

Please email me directly when you see them for 1500.00 :smiley:

To me its like Hi-Def TV is right now. Although still high priced, prices have been dropping like a stone, and continue to dive as they move towards commodity pricing. Being the cheapskate that I am, I will wait another year, before committing a large sum of money on a technology that is quite new, by the conventional timelines, but due to be standard by the year 2009 (according to the FCC’s recent extension that all stations will be broadcasting digital by then)
I see thermal imaging in the same light, i.e. new technology is ALWAYS high priced, and due to come down in price as the manufacturing ramps up,
as well as demand for the product.
I too think its a little beyond the range of what I can afford, but I’m impressed with what they can do.
A recent story in our local paper confirmed for me their use by our local fire department. The local volunteer FD gets a 911 call from a lady who stated that she smelled smoke, but couldn’t locate any problems at the time.
So the local guys zoom on over, survey the house, and they also can’t visually detect anything, but they too smell something similar to smoldering.
So, thanks to a recent Homeland Security grant ( no quips on this please)
they bring in their newly aquired thermal imaging camera, and in scanning the kitchen high and low, they detect a hot spot behind the refrigerator, near the receptacle that its plugged into. The FD guys decide to open up the wall, after pulling out the fridge, and lo and behold, they find the 2 X 4 studding all blacken and charred, and still smoldering, evidently from an arcing of the connection at that plug.
Long story short, they state it (camera) probably saved this house, big time, and all with minimal water/wall damage in the kitchen…Homeowner ecstatic.

Who knows the extent of these devices?
Nice to have, but again, I’ll continue to wait a while, to see how the market absorbs, and uses these devices.
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  1. Does it raise the level of risk?
  2. Is it covered under the E&O policy?
  3. It certainly provides “new” opportunities - but at what cost?
  4. Is there litigation against a home inspector for using such and exceeding the SOP?
  5. I know of professional engineers and forensic engineers that having been using it as a “tool” for years, here locally, but I can hire them for the cost of an average home inspection. I have not seen a great demand even as an add on service. Nor have they!

Just a few thoughts on this matter.

Regards, Claude in Canada

  1. Does it raise the level of risk?

Plugging in a circuit tester raises just as much risk. It is simply using a tool to see what can’t otherwise be seen. If one hangs their hat on the “visual inspection only” concept these would be out the door as well.

  1. Is it covered under the E&O policy?

May or may not be. Must check if you carry it.

  1. It certainly provides “new” opportunities - but at what cost?

Cost is coming down and there is great money to be made if you know “exactly” what you are doing and how to market the service.

  1. Is there litigation against a home inspector for using such and exceeding the SOP?

None that I am aware of.*

  1. I know of professional engineers and forensic engineers that having been using it as a “tool” for years, here locally, but I can hire them for the cost of an average home inspection. I have not seen a great demand even as an add on service. Nor have they!"

Clients don’t know about engineers and most engineers don’t know how to use the IR for proper inspection. The rest purely in knowing how to market the service for profitability.