Zip Level Narratives

I was wondering if anyone using a zip or smart level altimeter to measure a foundations benchmark would like to share narratives with me. Please do not respond if you don’t use this type of tool or think that its beyond the scope of work.

Welcome to our forum, Jason!..Enjoy and participate.

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What exactly are you doing with the zip level?

I use mine all the time. But I barely mention it other than “floors were checked with…”


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It’s clearly beyond the SOP.
It’s fine.
But I only use it on jobs where I know the home will be leveled.

In those jobs it would be nice to have a baseline, but chances are that baseline will never be relevant, or never be found years later when needed.

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Finding a stable benchmark that will be there five to eight years from now is critical. Never use any part of the house for your benchmark. Most buildings settle with in the first five to eight years just from the weigh of the house. Floating slabs like basement floors, garage floors and patios are impossible to predict future performance. For quality control on new construction the ZipLevel is a good choice. Where you can get in trouble is taking elevations on an older building without having the as built elevation. No foundation was poured perfectly flat. I have found basement floors that were 2” high or low just due to poor construction. Sorry I am rambling, you can drive a 20p spike in the base of a nearby tree for a benchmark. Having two different benchmarks is even better. Keep in mind there can be multiple foundation problems that are totally unrelated. One more point remember foundation walls serve two basic functions. It acts like a retaining wall to hold back the soil and it transfers the building loads to the soil. Just because a foundation is cracked or shows signs of settlement doesn’t mean it’s not performing the two basic functions. Be careful how you word this service and check with your E&O provider to see if they are comfortable with you adding this service.


Following the thread

So all of you out there that do not use a Zip Level are “lazy inspectors that are only out for the quick buck”. :roll_eyes:


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I am curious, why do you think that is?

Shifting soils (expansive clay) in the area may be the biggest reason.

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It’s clearly beyond the scope. I don’t care if you want to do it but calling people who don’t use a zip level lazy makes you look bad.

If you want to go beyond the scope go ahead but keep in mind if you go be on the scope once then a judge will expect you to go beyond the scope every time.

If you go beyond the scope in one area, you may be expected to go beyond the scope in other areas also.

Going beyond the scope takes you from being a generalist to an expert and the term expert is a legal classification.

By the way it’s perfectly okay to buy some cool tools just because you like them you don’t need an excuse… just tell your wife all the cool kids have one…

or do like I do and tell her “I’m the man here I make the decision on which tools we buy” should work out well

I have the same concerns. I have this theory:

If I exceed scope on one home, I should do so on everyone home (barring a safety limitation) or I may be considered bias or inconsistent. Consequently, the SOP may lose its meaning or power to protect me when I am placed in a defensive legal position. Or worse, I am defending my bias with one clients needs over another.

I would love for a lawyer to weigh in on this. @jbushart2 do you have any experience with this?


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No one had knocked you at that point or any point.

No one is offended by you. You seem to be the one offended and are punching back at air.

The SOP discussion was a broader discussion. Use your zip level, have at it. I exceed the SOP on every single one of my inspections.

I personally was genuinely interested in the value this tool may bring to an inspection.

I hope some narratives come your way. In the meantime, I think the SOP discussion brings value to other inspectors who may also have an interest in this tool and how to navigate exceeding the SOP


If you think these are negative comments you should go look at my first posts :joy: you’re overreacting


Good times :smile: :smile:

You are just the person to help him along

I use a zip level on every residential inspection. I will be teaching a class at our Texas Convention on January 13-15th, 2022 in College Station Texas. You’re welcomed to come check us out.

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Thanks Everyone