Re-inspections, law suit playground?

Here’s a question I’ve been taking to heart recently and wanted to know what others are doing about this.

Let’s say you, the home inspector, recommended electrical work to be done by a licensed electrician. The electrician comes and dones his work and the realtor calls and wants you to do a re-inspect on the home before closing. Is a home inspector really qualified to re-inspect an electrical system after the professional electrician has already done the work?

Or, saying it another way, aren’t you putting yourself back in the seat of liability by re-inspecting the system after the professional? What if the electrician missed something, then you miss it, then a month later something goes wrong in the home and you’re the one stuck with the liability because you were the last one on the scene?

Anybody see the problem here?

Two sides to this coin. First, I only confirm work was performed. I make sure to mention that unless I see the work being done, I just don’t know. I also say to get registered contractors and a warranty.

Second, at your initial inspection, who’s work do you think you’re inspecting? Tradesmen (hopefully) performed a majority of the work you are looking at the first time around. If we can look the first time around, why not the second?

This has been discussed on here many times.

Yes, the last man in has some increased liability.

Yes, electricians do make mistakes that HI’s can find on a re-inspection.
Sometimes the work was actually done by a friend or neighbor. I did one that the electrical work was done by the neighbor/licensed home inspector and he had the basic bonding wrong.

If you have E&O with FREA, you will void coverage on all items re-inspected.
Other insurance companies may be the same.

Re-inspections require that you take a list of items and carefully check each item. Distractions can cost you big time on these! I often have to tell sellers or contractors still on the property to “please let me do this alone”. (if client has not given you the list of items to re-check in writing you must do the whole list to protect yourself)

Do not sign off on any roof leak or mold related item! No way the house has experienced the necessary weather and time factors to determine anything.
Items such as “recommend furnace servicing”, do not sign off on it unless you watched the guy do the service work and know what to look for.

Be aware that many re-inspections will take a long time, you may have to pull covers on a few panels, enter attic, enter crawlspace etc. The travel time, emails, phone calls etc. can all total 2-3 hours average.

Don’t be afraid to list new items found, you will find new items on many re-inspections.

If you ever do a re-inspection and think everything is done, stop and recheck, you missed something : )

The truth of the matter is that 99.9% of the work of an electrician will require a permit and it will be (as it should be) the AHJ who will inspect the work done under the permit and give the official “okay”.

So you know - the NEC, as does every city and county ordinance, gives immunity from civil or criminal charges to every AHJ for anything that could possibly come as a result of his inspections. This immunity is NOT given to home inspectors.

If you can’t be trusted to inspect the second time, I just wasted money hiring you the first time.

The idea of re-inspection is a business decision you must make on your own , depending on the level of service you promise .

You either dis-claim everything and defer or you take the bull by the horns,
If you gotta ask , you may not feel confident enough to do the re-inspection. (make sense)?

That is the reasoning I use. Typcially, use the same general criteria and reporting method as you would for the original inspection. (I typcially like to avoid iron clad statements - e.g. condition appeared to have been corrected)


If you can find it “Broke” in the first place, why can’t you find it “Fixed”?

Lawyers got you all jumping through your @ss!

Sounds reasonable to me. Good answer.:wink:

You guys who do the follow-up inspections…do you make a trip before the dry wall goes up, then come back when all of the apparatus is in place? Do you charge for two (or more) trips?

Yes. At least half my original fee.

Just did one on the electrical panel a week or so ago. Half the original fee.

Stuff was still wrong.

Went back again the next evening, again, half the original fee. It was right this time, but the agent reimbursed the buyer the cost of the second re-inspection as it was the electrician she referred that didn’t fix it right the first time.

Minimum reinspection fee here (for me) is $149.00.

If I can tell it’s wrong the first time, I can tell it’s right the second (or in this case, the third) time.

Doesn’t cover hidden work though.

I agree with most here. Most of my jobs are 15 minutes or less. The % of people that want re-inspections is low, so I increase my fee by $25.00 for everyone and just include a re-inspection. The nice thing about the re-inspection is that people don’t get mad at you if you can’t inspector something due to stored items or power being turned off.

If you need insurance for re-inspections, go with Allen Insurance. They discourage re-inspections but will cover you.

I would recommend including in your re-inspection report that the standards for inspecting are the same as noted in the original home inspection agreement.

Been doing re-inspections for 8 years and so far no law suits.

I hear what you’re saying, but if you take enough bulls by the horns you’re bound to catch one in the butt.

I’ve seen enough over confident home inspectors lose their shorts because they took a blind approach to possible litigation issues. This is one issue I’ve lived with for a long time, never been sued and I’d like to keep it that way. (make sense)?

This is a great point. Thanks for the response.

Recently our Legal Dept added the following line to the existing InterNACHI residential inspection agreement, the agreement within the Commercial SOP doc pack and the online signable inspection agreement system

If CLIENT requests a re-inspection, the re-inspection is also subject to all the terms and conditions set forth in this agreement.”

Typically I’m inspecting 10 or 20 years of ‘weekend worrior’ plumbers and wanna-be electricians work who wouldn’t know a shock hazard if it climbed in his lap and called him mamma.

A re-inspect on the other hand is typically, not always but typically, following up on a licensed professional in his or her chosen field.

99.9%? Not around here for typical repair/corrections.

Same here. Unless it has something to do with the exterior of the house or replacing the main panel, a permit is not going to happen.

You are reinspecting the correction visualy as with a normal inspection.

What is so hard about going back to look at a componant of a system which needed correcting.
I mean if you saw a problem the first time, what are you gonna miss.

This is not doing the whole inspection over, for crying out loud.

Worry about liability all the time would keep me away from this profession if thats is how I felt.

I am sorry to threadjack this tread, but I don’t understand posts #1,13,14, & 16 where ehyde is listed as an interNachi member and it says Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with InterNACHI.

Did I miss something? How can this be?