Just did a re-inspect before closing today on a gas leak I detected and water heater PRV that was plugged with a bolt. I wrote both of these up as safety concerns. The seller fixed these items for the buyer and I took 15 minutes out of my life to sign off that these areas were now satisfactory.
I feel very comfortable in my re-inspection as now these area are of NO concern. I don’t see where this will end up a problem for me because I helped in eliminating two very serious potential safety hazards that if left alone could have destroyed lives.
As much as I don’t want to deal with re-inspections, I am willing to do them if needed on those RARE occasions.
I was able to educate the seller and buyer about the hazard of PLUGGING the PRV and the need to have proper extension.
I was actually called to do the re-inspection on some plumbing issues and water entry through foundation where wood paneling on the basement wall was warped. I originally wrote it up as a potential water intrusion causing the warping due to the fact that I couldn’t see behind the paneling, but the paneling was removed and there was no visible water intrusion. The lender wanted these ares looked at again. It wasn’t until I just happened to look at the water heater to see if the PVR was unplugged that I noticed it was not fixed. Then looked at the gas line and saw that someone had put some kind of sealant around the seams that wasn’t there before. I ran out to my truck, grabbed my gas leak detector, and low and behold, the leak was still there around the VALVE which was where I reported it. Since the seller was there I grabbed him and showed him these issues, since he was there helping fix the other plumbing issues, and pointed out what needed done. He fixed the PRV right away with proper extension and tightened the nut on the back of the gas line valve. I hit it with my detector and all was good.
Is making sure these safety issues are addressed wrong for me to do? It seemed like the right thing to do since the lender was going to close on this property without making sure the safety issues were fixed. Seemed odd that they were more interested in the water working correctly than the fact that the seller turned the water heater into a missile and a gas line was leaking. I live my life by doing what’s right. But was this the right thing to do in this situation. I felt if I left these issues alone and didn’t get the seller to fix them, it could have resulted in very bad things happening. Am I more liable in leaving them alone or in making sure they got fixed? I know it probably wasn’t my place to step in and get it done, but nobody else was.
So I do up the inspection report for the areas of concern and submit it to the bank so they can close. The bank then in turn tells the agent that they need a letter on my company letter head stating that the foundation is fine and all repairs were done by licensed contractors and all is good!
I contacted the bank and let them know that I can certainly give them the letter on my letter head, but it wasn’t going to state anything other than what my report stated. I wasn’t going to sign off that the foundation was fine and the wall was perfect. I also wasn’t going to sign off that all the repairs were done by Licensed contractors. That is not my job to make sure they are licensed or qualified. I merely inspect visually and if it is done correctly, that is great. The foundation was still covered by drywall. So I reported on the condition of the drywall and told them that I can’t see behind the drywall to know if the foundation is falling apart or not.
So they accept my letter but then refuse to close until they have me add to the letter that I met up at the property when the plumbers and appraiser was there. Found out that the appraiser was supposed to put in his report that he met up with me and the plumber but the numbskull forgot. So I had to mention it.
Does this sound like anything I sould be worried about as far as liability is concerned?
This bank along with another I have dealt with have no clue about home inspections in Iowa. They actually wanted a Licensed Inspector. Well, I was upfront and told them that, in Iowa, there is no such thing. No state regulations and no licensing requirements. I, of course, let them know that I was AHIT certified and also certified through InterNACHI. I think it is important to be upfront about the non-license requirement in this state. I want to gain the trust of my client. I feel being upfont about that helps them to understand how important it is to make sure you are dealing with a Certified inspector who really does give a damn.
There is some scuttlebutt running around concerning re-inspecting deficiencies; that you are liable and responsible beyond belief. Personally, it is my humble opinion that if you can determine a deficiency to start with, you can determine if it no longer exists.
I think that the intended perception was that you are not responsible to evaluate the performance of a particular contractor and that if you say everything is okey-dokey and it’s not, you’re responsible.
You simply write what you observe. The HVAC system didn’t function when I turned it on. A mechanical contractor came in and did some work. When I went back, it turned on and made some heat!
It’s when you do like the bank is requiring you to do, commenting on someone else’s job performance is where you do have problems. So, if you’re going to say that the foundation is sound and it is not because of latent deficiencies, you may become liable.
As for the bank requiring special reporting information outside of the state requirements and standards of practice under universal home inspection standards, this usually comes from banks that work through several different states. Obviously they don’t know about yours.
The standards of practice specifically addresses capacity and evaluation of components. You’re not a structural engineer, you are there to see if there are any visual deficiencies that you can see in the daylight or with a flashlight.
I would simply put in my letter how the foundation was inspected, what could be visually observed and if there were any issues that were out of the ordinary. Add in to the letter that the inspection has limitations due to the scope of the inspection.
I will happily re-inspect in situations like this. My re-report simply states that the previously mentioned faults have been addressed by - (insert contractor’s name here). I make no claim as to the quality of the repair and refer the reader to the named contractor, or if the name of the contractor is not available, to the owner who contracted the work. I am responsible for my own work, not that of the contractor. I will confirm that a repair has been done and that it looks like it has been done properly, but I leave the proof of whether or not the repair is ‘up to code’ to the professional who completed the repair.
The only re-inspect I will not do is re-inspecting a home that another inspector has just looked at.