I would like to include a comment that would cover me if I come across and item that could pose a safety concern even though the construction conforms to current building standards. Does anyone have any good comments they use?
Please be aware that this item could pose a safety hazard, even though it meets current building standards, because____________.
Oh, and…Welcome to our forum, Dan!..Enjoy!
Is this CYA wording really necessary? I see it this way, for example, you mention what you perceive as an electrical hazard. Someone hires an electrician to look at the “hazard” you’ve mentioned and he states that it’s code compliant. Then what?
I agree to a point, Rob.
Sometimes it takes a while for the “current building standards” some time to catch up with the “potential safety hazard”…and, the home inspector is reporting an opinion with this anyway. IMHO, YMMV
I see your point Larry but the OP said that the “construction conforms to current building standards”, IMO it sounds like the safety hazard comment is the HI writing their own code.
I hear what you are saying, Rob, and what home inspectors do, occasionally, is give their opinion, too.
Thx but here in Canada we can’t mention the words building code
I’d be a bit cautious about calling out safety hazards that are based on opinion. Reason: What if other safety hazards (code compliant) exist that you chose NOT to include in your report? Once we step out of our lane we open ourselves up to liability. Let’s say you call it out on this home and decide not to call it out on another home. Isn’t it reasonable to expect that you’d always call it out? If not, why?
See where I’m going with this?
I’ve had similar situations and rather than committing it to writing I will discuss it verbally only with the client. This way there is no record for a lawyer to attack me with.
Hope this helps.
I never bring up code, but rather best practices at that point in time. If I consider it a safety issue, i bring it up, regardless of any codes in place at that point that may disagree. Not because of legality, but rather I think its the right thing to do. A deck or step only say 12 inches off the ground but code doesn’t require a guardrail in that particular jurisdiction? I don’t care… I’ve watched a client completely fall on their behind in a situation like that where a guardrail would have helped. Before I had my ACL replaced I completely popped my knee out of socket in a similar situation.
I call out handles in bi-fold doors too close to the hinge. Not because its required by code, but rather, because I’ve watched a dozen clients pinch their knuckles (oh and the manufacturer doesn’t recommend this spot).
Thanks, That has all been good information for me.
I never use the words “Building code,” the euphemism you’re looking for is “current safety standards.”
My summary intro contains the following:
"No attempt has been made to prioritize items in this report. They appear in the same order as the report body. Common sense dictates that safety items should take precedence over other concerns.
Examples of this would be electrical problems where the danger of fire or electrocution exist as a result of installation method, materials used, or improper maintenance. Fuel burning equipment or appliances whose installation, maintenance or age present a hazard of Carbon Monoxide or fire, and structural problems that may result in occupant falls or collapse of the structure."
Since everyone claims to have ‘common sense,’ whether they do or not, that pretty much covers it!
I would never state that an item conforms with current building standards during a home inspection. To do so is outside of the SOP.