Take the job or not?

New inspector, done around 50+ inspections with a multi-inspector firm. All of them have been J-1 (Hawaii state contract inspection period) inspections except for 3. Two at the request of home insurance companies and one just recently the homeowner had roof and plumbing leaks and wanted us to find where the leaks were coming from. My question is…do you, as a seasoned home inspector, take jobs like this? If a homeowner has very specific requests, and has already paid for a “standard residential inspection”, do you forget about the “standard residential inspection”, just do what they are asking and take the money? Or do you turn down unconventional jobs like this citing reasons like, “not in my scope”, “insurance won’t cover me”, or…?? The inspector who is training me tends to want to take on more of these unconvetional jobs, but I am more hesitant. Your thoughts??

First, you need to be qualified and equipped to do what the client is asking.

Sounds like “find where the leaks were coming from.” is a lot more than looking for signs of leaks.


III. The inspector is not required to:
inspect any system or component that is not included in these Standards

  • offer or perform any engineering services.
  • offer or perform any trade or professional service other than a home inspection.

So you have to modify your inspection agreement spelling what you will be doing that is not part of the home inspection.

Next, I would talk with your Insurance guy (my guy is on speed dial). If you’re not insured you may need insurance in the millions, and they may not like you doing that.

Your state HI Law (not NACHI) probably gives you permission to work outside the norm, so long as you’re qualified to do so.

(c) This rule does not limit home inspectors from:

  1. Reporting observations and conditions or rendering opinions of items in addition
    to those required in paragraphs (7) through (16) of this rule; or
  2. Excluding systems and components from the inspection if requested by the
    client, and so stated in the written contract


(c) Home inspectors shall not:

  1. Offer or perform any act or service contrary to law; or
  2. Offer or perform engineering, architectural, plumbing, electrical or any other job
    function requiring a license in this state for the same client unless the client is
    advised thereof and consents thereto

You can find all this stuff if your read your Home Inspection Rules that apply to you.

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Finding the source of roof leakage is very tough, even with a construction background. It’s often a process of observe, guess, fix, and wait for the next rain. Then repeat the above process… Infrared analysis can help, but it’s not a guarantee to find the problem first time. If you are hesitant, follow your hunches.

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Finding the source of water intrusion is like herding cats. It’s never as easy as what you think it will be. As soon as you think you are done, you discover another one.

It’s more than likely going to require some kind of destruction of building materials. I would let a contractor handle it.

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Yes, we do specialized inspections to help discover the cause of a problem. We call them forensic inspections. We use moisture meters, IR cameras, borescopes, etc. Often it gets into litigation work as well.


I would stick to the standards if its a Home Inspection. It sounds like they are asking for you to do something like pulling a hose up and pinpoint a leak. Way out of scope and if you cause damage, how will you explain it the the insurance company? Hmmm… Slippery Slope my friend…

Reminds me of a video I just watched :rofl: