Permits FAR / BAR

Anyone plan on offering a permit search with a home inspection to support the new FARBAR contract?

Permit searches are pretty easy in counties that have online access, although i’m not 100% confident of the reliabilty of the data obtained in all situations. Where online access is available, it would be a nice extra feature to provide for a small fee, or perhaps free as a marketing tool. In counties that don’t have online access, a pretty substantial fee would have to be charged to make it worthwhile. Some building departments even charge a fee to access their files.

I personally had a house that had a new roof after hurricane Charley and they never processed my permit. So according the the online documents I had a 20 year old roof when actually it was a two year old roof.

So when we put something on paper, do we accept the liability for it? I am not willing to take that risk for the peanuts they are going to pay me.

My county is putting all of the “storm” permits into the system, still. If you talk to the right people they will check “the storm pile” for you.

My point is that many will be inclined to ask how and we check roof permits all day any way. I always tell them that I can only convey the information that was revealed to me. Being a contractor/inspector who would be better suited to do this work?

We started writing the name of the clerk on the wind mit form because we did get wrong information, one time.

I check permits online line now but do rarely include it in my report. If there are no permits to view and during inspection there is an obvious modification to the home I know to take a closer look at that area. If it turns out to be POS workmanship then I will include the “no permits on file for work performed”.
I voted yes but…the more I look into it the more bad situations I come up with.
For one…if you offer to “check for permits to compare to the home”, you would spent a lot of time during an inspection looking for possible repairs/upgrades that are not readily visible. Plumbing, elec, etc. Has it been replaced or is it just in good condition?
If you fail to report an item that is later a problem what then?
If your in one of those homes that just does not seem to be laid out right on the inside, where the walls rearranged in the past or is it just a bad design?
Bottom line I will offer it once I have the right disclaimer in place and can explain the limitations to my client.

If you come up with a bullet proof disclaimer — Let us know.

My consultation price is $100/hour. That would be my price, including travel time.

Is that travel time from the kitchen to the living room (where your laptop is), or to the building department? I would hate to ask you for a glass of milk.

Collier county in SW Florida has NO online verification. You actually have to go to the permitting office to pull this off.

Why do you need a disclaimer?

I would tell a client, Here is what I found or was given. I would not be drawing any conclusions, these are only findings, just like a home inspection.

“You can only give the information that the AHJ keeps on file and shared. I make not claims of accuracy or conclusions.” <----- that would be the start of a disclaimer.

If you submit a request in writing to a AHJ and give the client all of the results what liability would you have. I would recommend sending them a form via email/fax and receive the info back and share that info.

I think as time goes on more jurisdictions will supply this information online because of requests.

Maybe I am missing something?

Write it up as YOU know it. NO to Question #2.

I Tell the client that within the next 14 days, you will be willing to produce a new report (with or without an additional charge). If they locate the required documents.

Put it back on them.

Oh, this would not even be mentioned in the home inspection! Of course I would know what to look at while I was doing the inspection, but the inspection stands on its own.

Not sure if this is in response to me?

Anyway, lots of small municipalities and double hurricanes in my area.

I try my best to locate the info. If I can’t confirm roof permits, and it’s obvious that a new roof is on the structure. I give the client two weeks to get the info. It takes 2 minutes to print a new report in put the updated info in.

I get paid, client happy, agent happy, phone keeps ringing…:smiley:

If all you do is provide research…no problem.
But lets say you are doing an inspection and offer to do a permit search. What the client wants to know is are there items in this home that can cause me problems in the future.
It is the difference between doing research only and uncovering modifications to the home during the inspection and then verifying those modifications through permitting.
new roof - permit
new a/c - permit
screen porch - permit
Everything looks good…right.
The new homeowner moves in and starts a remodel and pull permits. The county inspector comes out for the remodel and says hey this eat-in kitchen used to be part of an open dining room where did these walls come from and why is there no permit on file!
You did your job by telling the buyer all permits on file but had no way of knowing a couple of extra walls where installed several years ago. The lay out diagram online is not always very accurate.
Not impossible but I think it will get more complicated than just handing over what is on file.
Definitely a separate service at a separate stand alone price.

Outside of a wind mitigation, I stay far away from codes and permiting.

My advice, you would be wise to do the same. My inspection report cautions the client, that my inspection is “not a code inspection”. The report also recommends the **client **contact the bldg dept to determine if permits exsist.

Getting in to code compliance and permitting issues is a fast way to get sued. If I didn’t pull it, I can’t answer for it.

Bye the way, isn’t open permits, leins, and such, the responsability of the title company and the seller disclosure documents? Why put yourself anywhere near that liability?

Does the SOP ask you to perform a permit search? That should answer your question.

We pull the permitting records for our own information before the inspections.
We may or may not release them to the client as a courtesy - but it not " Offered" as a service per se.