I attended the Feb 19, 2008 meeting of the TREC Inspectors Advisory Committee SOP sub-committee meeting and teleconference. Here are my notes and thoughts regarding the meeting.
The ‘base station’ of the teleconference started at 9:00 am at the TREC HQ building here in Austin. The IC chairman and TREC counsel was present and numerous other folks were present on the GoToMeeting.com teleconference call. I estimate that there were 3 sub-committee members and 8-12 other on-line attendees.
I asked the IC chairman how word was gotten out about the teleconference and he said an e-mail was sent to the trade associations and he thought it was posted on the TREC website. I knew of the meeting from word of mouth and saw no posting on the TREC website nor did I receive any notification through any trade organization channels either.
In general, the teleconference process worked very well and the sub-committee chairman kept order and the meeting moved along slowly but orderly. Sub-committee members interacted as if it were a live meeting and the guests use the Chat function to request to be heard through the separate telephone link that was provided. So, we were all able to see the changes being made to the Microsoft Word document as well as hear the comments and discussion as it progressed. All in all, the teleconference method showed excellent signs of being a very viable tool for the committee.
I did leave the live meeting early and returned to the office and logged on to the teleconference so I have seen both sides of the process. I did notice that this particular teleconference was limited to 16 attendees so, if this is to work well in the future then that will need to be expanded or a different format considered such as a Webinar.
Here are some of the many, many topics that were discussed and debated and my notes:
The term “deficiency’ was discussed again and a troubling extension of that topic was brought up. One or more of the sub-committee members has been involved in litigation where the Buyer (recipient of the inspection report) claimed that although the Inspector noted a defect on the report that they didn’t understand the repercussions or ramifications of that defect nor what they should have done about it. Subsequently, that defect lead to issues that the Buyer incurred costs to repair and was suing the Inspector for not being explicit enough in describing what the Buyer should have done earlier. The Sub-committee seemed to be leaning towards making it more of an SOP requirement that the Inspector expound upon defects and recommend specific actions. TREC counsel voiced their opinion that such ramification description was not needed. So, how will this all shake out? Time will tell.
Discussion was lively about the need for a clause to include the need to identify and describe ‘prior repairs’. In other words, should the SOP require the Inspector to note every instance of prior roofing repairs, framing repairs, electrical repairs, etc, etc? I have to admit I don’t know the final thinking of the sub-committee but it seemed to be leaning toward requiring the identification of prior repairs and whether they were done in a ‘workmanlike manner’ at least for some topics. Read the latest SOP draft to decide for yourself.
There are several very specific new requirements being added to the SOP such as the need to identify the technical attributes of the garage to home door. Instead of simply saying the inspector shall inspect for the proper door construction it will spell out, in detail, that the door must be 1 3/8” thick sold core or honeycombed steel or a listed 20-minute fire rated door. I still do not understand why the sub-committee feels it necessary to go into specific details on some items but not others. Read the latest SOP draft to decide for yourself.
Another heated topic was the need to identify cosmetic floor & wall covering defects. The sub-committee seemed to be in agreement to include the requirement in the new SOP. Bottom line is that this will require inspectors to render an opinion of how clean and serviceable the carpet is. Personally I don’t have an issue with calling out peeling linoleum, cracked ceramic or even asphalt tiles, defective hardwood floors, etc but I expect carpets will be a challenge. Sure seems like an easy way for the Buyer to get new carpets installed by the Inspector if you ask me. Read the SOP draft to decide for yourself.
I encourage every Texas Home Inspector to read the proposed SOP draft and get your comments to TREC and to do that as soon as possible. Contact me for details on who to send your comments to if you need that information.
I’ll attach copies of the draft SOP when available in the next day or so.