To your point, Jerry, If I see an unsafe condition, I am REQUIRED by our state HI law to call it out, and label it “significantly deficient”. In this way, I protect my clients, and myself (from a future lawsuit). That is the paradox, here. HIs have liability (unless they call it out) but we have no authority (we cannot REQUIRE anything). On the other hand, the codies to have authority, but they have no liability. They cannot be sued because they failed to call something out that was, obviously (albeit, after the fact) a safety hazard.
I really don’t care if the local codes or even the national codes do not specifically prohibit it. There are many safety issues that are not addressed in the codes.
And if the builder of the seller or the seller’s lawyer or the agent asks, “But is it against the code!?” I explain, “It is against reality. Does the “code” have any liability if someone gets hurt? No (in Illinois, code inspectors have NO liability). I am here to serve the best interests of my client, and especially their children. If you want to say it is “OK” and use the “codes” as your justification, are you, personally, willing to assume the liability? If so, I have a legal paper here that I can have you sign. Is that OK with you?”
That shuts them up. :mrgreen: For some reason, known only to Gahudi, they never seem willing to sign. I wonder why?
But, it also brings everyone to a sense of reality.
I also recommend, highly:
Installation of digital CO detectors in every bedroom that kids sleep in. The normal CO detectors are kinda like car “idiot lights”. They go off at about 35 ppm, but CO levels as little as 10 ppm can affect kids, especiallt if they take naps and spend a lot of time in their rooms.
I always defect log lighters in fireplaces. No safety shut-offs or thermocouples or other safety features. If the valve is on, gas comes out. Sure, they are “ok, by the code”, but I am there to determine if they can hurt someone (even adults). Little Johnny will ALWAYS find the key and turn on the valve. It has happened many times and the cleints call me to ask what to do.
Local codes “grandfather”. I do not. A house built in 1964 has no GFCIs. It is fine, according to local codes, but it is not safe, by current standards. I call it out and explain how they work and council my clients to install them.
I also call out all of the old (or new) bare buld light fixtures. The bulb has to be protected. Not just from someone putting too many comforters in the closet and the blankest toughing the bulb, but with the new CFL bulbs, that release mercury if they are broken. Sure, the amount of mercury is small and, really, poses little threat, the general perception (and the legal precidence) is that mercury is very harmful. So, I call them out. Covering my butt? Sure, But when I cover my butt, I am also covering my clients butt. It’s all good.
Vinyl or foil clothes dryer vent hoses. I call them out all the time, especially on new construction. The local applaince stores use them all the time. I have even gone to a few of the local appliance big box stores (ABT, Grants, Best Buy) and talked to the manager and showed him the CPSC literature on these. Usually, I get laughed at and told that I am not a code inspector and that I have no authority to tell them not to use them. I then ask the manager to sign an assumption of liability form. They never do. Then I ask them for their full name, company address and their home address. They ask why. I inform them that the next time a builder or agent or lawyer says that the dryer vent hose is OK (and are not) I will give them your and your companies contact information, tellingh them that you said it was OK and when they have a lint fire, it will be easier to contact them and not me, because I am calling it out.
BTW: 50% of all house fires are related to improper dryer vent hoses. Usually, the damage is minimal, but the damage is there, just the same.
And, I am DEFINETLY not getting sued for it.
- Roof decks. This is a personal favorite of mine. Everybody, in Chicago, especially, and especially around Wrigley Field, wants a roof deck. There is no specific Chicago code against it, so the builders think this gives them a green light. The build wooden frame decks and lay the 2 x 4 “joists” directly on the modified bitumen flat roofs (usually covering the roof vents, which are NOT required by local codes). Then the decks move (humidity, temperature, live loads) and tear through the roof, usually in about 3 years. Then, the good (i.e., professional, state licensed) roofers in this area refuse to fix them (because, once you tough it, you own it) and the clients call me for a roofer reference. I just explain, “Hey, I called that out during the inspection. You still have a roof deck?”.
They want what they want and, usually, it takes the bad consequences (leaky roof, mold, rotted roof joists) to prove my point. I do my best to explain and educate, but I always call it out. Just because the client does not want to listen is no reason for me to bet sued for their willfullness.
This went on a little long, but I hope that you gave understood my point. Protect your client, even if they don’t want your protection.
And, protect yourselves.
Hope this helps;