The Standards say “inspect for bonding”. That causes the question "How do you inspect a 1960 home? To code? Which code? (we all know this story)
TREC inspector committee stated the Standards already had bonding in them and that the change to the form was simply a clarification. (we all know this)
The CSST industry want DIRECT BONDING and not the older method of bonging through the equipment ground (EGC Indirect).
Most CSST homes prior to 2009 met code by bonding through the equipment ground (EGC Indirect)). They do not meet current CSST recommendations.
The Lubbock Texas Fire Marshal banned new CSST installs. He is powerless to cause older GEC bonded systems be updated to new DIRECT BONDING.
TREC was specifically informed about the difference between GEC and DIRECT. If TREC voted DIRECT ONLY they would supersede the code authority. If they voted “bonding” they accept GEC and DIRECT. They voted to inspect for bonding and that includes approval of GEC or DIRECT.
To protect the inspector a question needs to now be sent to TREC legal to assure they accept EGC Indirect bonding. That will prevent people from claiming the inspector did not do their job.
A representative from CSST industry said the language was not exactly what they wanted and they expect inspectors will refuse to inspect CSST. The representative said that will work for them because it will force secondary inspection.
My take is TREC has learned how difficult it is to introduce code into a home inspection standard. They know the problem. I have no idea if they can solve it.
IMO the CSST industry is using home inspection to defer or reduce CSST liability, be the risk of fire real or not. CSST is not a friend of home inspection.
CSST is not just about bonding. It’s about proper installation. It is proven that a CSST manufacturer pointed a big insurance company to an inspectors insurance. The insurance company subrogated the inspector and the inspectors insurance settled because it was cost effective. WHEN the next CSST fire happens you can bet insurance will also subrogate on a poor installation argument. The problem is the evidence is burnt and the inspectors insurance will not spend money to defend. Therefore, when you say not inspected you need to make sure you say “the entire CSST system including bonding”.
If I see a problem I report it with “such as but not limited to” then depart from it and recommend a qualified CSST installer inspect all aspects including verifying the requirements of the home owners insurance.
If your routinely depart from inspecting CSST verify that your doing it correctly. The argument is that you are not qualified to determine if GEC or DIRECT BONDING is appropriate and furthermore you are not qualified to say all CSST is bad. The inspector is caught in the middle of three arguments that means the inspector is not qualified to make the decision. Therefore departure is justified. I will run that by TREC an update you later.
Another item TREC ignored is that all parties agree CSST bonding will likely fail in a direct hit. They recommend “lighting prone” areas to additional have NFPA lighting suppression systems. In Texas that would mean not only bonding but a lighting suppression system. TREC had that question presented and skated on it.
- TREC indicates EGC Indirect bonding OK
- TREC indicated DIRECT BONDING OK
- TREC includes all CSST and not just yellow jacket
- CSST wants only yellow jacket targeted.
- CSST want direct bonding only
- All agree bonding won’t work in direct lighting hit.
- Home owners insurance will sue a home inspector
- TREC requires the inspector to inspect to code however which code remains blurred.
- TREC states “this is not a safety inspection. The inspector or TREC cannot tell you its safe.” However the top of the form page it says "the inspector is required to report the following hazardous conditions (CSST).
All in all it was good learning lesson for us.It lets us develop the service to assure a level of compliance via good inspecting or departure.