Perhaps a link to the ruling would be helpful.
Good wisdom… to put in every agreement page…
we are not code inspectors.
This is why the Kentucky Licensing Law prohibits home inspectors for reporting code violations…
Kentucky was smart.
This is what I constantly harp about. When one possesses special knowledge, it can be a two-edged sword.
Its also a good idea for any of you “engineer” types that you do not include your “professional” background along with your Home Inspection business. Lawyers can hold you to a higher standard other then a “visual” inspector. Food for thought.
Possessing the knowledge might make one a better inspector…but marketing the fact that you possess this knowledge can make one a bigger target, it seems.
This is a killer for the “credential collector”, IMO.
A truly wise and prudent home inspector will continue to accumulate knowledge and skills that will be seen in the quality of his reports…not his web site.
How about a link to the actual court case. I can’t help but believe that you and Joe F have another motive in mind here.
Don’t think that because you want to keep everyone at the lowest level and dumb as dirt that they won’t be sued.
That wont hold water in court. You will be held to your higher standard regardless of what is included in your business profile.
Once a lawyer gets you on the stand he will ask you for your credentials. Once established that you are an engineer they will hold you to that standard.
When lawyers go after commercial entities, (look at cigarette manufacturers and alcohol, for example) they build their case upon what made their client select that business in the first place.
“I thought that cigarette was safe, since 9 out of 10 doctors prefer to smoke it, themselves. I had no idea it would make me sick like all the other cigarettes.”
Juries eat this up.
Yes, I know that you told me that you do not do a “code inspection” so to speak, but when I saw on your business card, brochure and web site that you advertised your expertise with ICC, I presumed otherwise for why would you advertise something that you would not provide?
I think this is the angle that Mr. Cohen is referring to which, apparently, resulted in a successful finding for the Plaintiff.
It only makes sense that if you tout yourself as “code certified” and you are a “certified home inspector” that the consumer, who generally has very little idea of what we do, will draw the conclusion that the code certified inspector will inspect the house to ascertain whether it is “up to code”.
Regardless of how we manage our clients expectations, or what is stated in our pre-inspection agreement, we’ve all had stupid phone calls. “You didn’t tell me my air conditioner was going to break in two years”, “you inspected my house 6 months ago and now my toilet doesn’t flush”, etc. Just think of the doors that open in the mind of a client who thinks you’re inspecting his house to code.
Codes are great training, and useful in our knowledge base for sure, but to advertise yourself as “code certified”…not so much.
I have been told that this principle extends to the type of tools an inspector uses. For example, if you use the type of specialized tools that only a licensed furnace tech or a licensed gas tech would use, you are implying that you have the expertise and qualifications to use these tools and can be found liable should there later be a problem with the systems you inspected using these tools, that you did not find during the inspection.
Hmmm . . let’s see if I can use fewer words;
If an inspector uses tools that would normally be used only by licensed techs he is implying that he has the knowledge and expertise to carry out the duties of that licensed tech and can be found liable for problems not found using these tools. ( Better?)
In the end, I think that it works like this…
Home inspectors who advertise themselves as home inspectors who inspect to a particular SOP for a fee, providing a report on those things observed while following their SOP, will be held accountable to that SOP.
Home inspectors who advertise themselves as “exceeding” a particular SOP, along with empahasis on their qualifications to observe/interpret codes and the use of specialized tools that extend beyond the SOP — can probably expect to be held accountable for more than the first inspector.
Listen to the client who explains to the judge how, instead of paying $175 to Inspector A for his inspection…he chose to pay you $400 for your “higher” standard, application of higher skills as evidenced by your advertising, and the use of your specialized equipment described in your advertising. He paid more because he expected more. If you do not provide more…shame on you, says the judge.
I think that Mr. Cohen is pointing out that it is unreasonable for an inspector to expect to *advertise *a higher degree of competency and not be held accountable to that standard, should he end up in court.
No one, IMO, is saying that the acquisition of additional skill and knowledge is wrong in any way. Using the tools that will help you write an accurate report is essential. Just be aware of how your advertising can become a tool in the hands of an opposing attorney to burn you.
Lets not look too much at the “what if’s” but lets look at the “what is”
I like the one what if — Sir you have an IR camera and know how to us it. -
Why did you not use it? - Client would not pay for the “tec inspection”
------------See why this board is worth its weight in gold??--------
Too bad we all don’t see the light as to the value of NACHI
I respectfully disagree with you.
Attorney: What qualifications do you hold to perform a home inspection.
ME: I am a member of NACHI.
Attorney: Are you not also a licensed engineer in the state of ----
ME: Yes I am.
Attorney: As a home inspector, can you explain why you did not report this (structural) problem.
ME: It was not visible during the insepction and according to our SOP we do not report items we can not see.
Attorney: As an engineer, if you were called out to inspect this property, can you tell us what your finding would be.
YOUR attorney: I object. He was not hired as an engineer.
Attorney: Your honor, the witness has estblilshed himself as an expert as an engineer.
Jugde: Over ruled. I will allow.
Now where do you go. If this is a jury trial, you just hung yourself out to dry.
As a side note, if I was an engineer, I would be sure to charging extra for my credentials.
ME: Yes, I can. The client hired me as a home inspector to inspect in accordance with my NACHI SOP, which I did. Had he contracted me as an engineer, my procedures would have varied - significantly - as well as my fee. That is why I do not include my engineering background in my advertising, so as not to confuse the two.
You see, Mr. Attorney, I have many other skills - as well as being an engineer - that I did not apply. None of them were advertised…and none of them were paid for.
ME: No problem, I cannot give you an answer.
Attorney: You are refusing to answer?
ME: I’m under oath to give the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and “guessing as an engineer” is just the same as lying. We do not guess, we test, probe, and then we evaluate. Since I was not paid for any engineering services, I have not done any engineering testing, any engineering probing, or any engineering evaluations. So I won’t lie and guess at your answer.
Tom: Would this fly?
And where do you think a jury will hold you responsible at this point?
I really dont want to get into a pissing match on this one. I really believe that you will be held to your highest liscense when everything is said and done. And even if your are not, think of the expense to defend yourself.
Children are held to a different standard that adults