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Rick Bunzel

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    Home Inspector

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  1. Wow they still make Filemaker Pro? I am currently using 3D which includes a client DB, reporting, merge capability (create contracts) and scheduling (which I don't use). I am looking at moving away from 3D, so looking at small business DB apps etc. I thought I would cast the net to other HI's to see what they are using. I will settle for dominating the Pacific NW. If healthcare comes with world domination then I may aim for that! //Rick
  2. I am considering moving over to HIP from 3D. One of the components that HIP is missing is the client / office manager. HIP encourages users to use Inspector Support Network (ISN). But ISN charges $4 per client entry. The first price break is at 50 entries (in a month) so with my current forecast is going to cost me $1,000 plus a year. I am looking at alternatives and wonder what other inspectors are using to track clients and reports? //Rick
  3. Steve, I hear what your saying but if that's the case then where is ASHI on CO Alarms? Only 25 states now require CO alarms. What are we doing about the other 25 plus possesions (PR and Guam)? Hundreds of people are sickened or killed each year and the cost of installation is less than $40. Maybe ASHI should be pushing for residential sprinkler systems. There were 362,100 residential building fires in 2010 and lots of deaths. Sprinkler would have saved most of those people.... My point is we should stick with our core competencies and not stepping into a controversy that has been going on for many years. //Rick
  4. As a home inspector I don't think about standards as often as I should. Henry Ford should get some of the credit for standards. Prior to standardized manufacturing everything had to be custom made by hand. If your steam boiler broke you had to go to the blacksmith to get a new part made. Today we take the part to the corner hardware store and pick out a new one knowing the sizes are standard. * Have you ever stopped to wonder why you can use your bank card almost anywhere in the world? * Buy an electric appliance and know that it will work when you plug it into a outlet. * Buy a DVD and it will play at home? * Or the packaged food you eat is fresh and safe? As home inspectors we are surrounded by an standards from organizations such as the IBC, NEC, CABO, UPC and NFPA (to name a few). These organizations provide a valuable service setting the standard for home infrastructure should be installed in the home. This make our job easier as it give us criteria that we can use to determine good installations versus bad installation. Take the slope of a drain line. Too little slope and the homeowner has lots of headaches. What if there was no standard and we had to argue the point with plumbers who were saying "it looked OK to me." Our job would be a lot harder because now it?s our opinion against theirs. Recently it come to my attention that ASHI is being ask to set a new standard regarding smoke alarms. There is a proposal before the board to recommend photoelectric smoke alarms only. Why ASHI is being ask to go against the Consumer Products Safety Commission, National Fire Protection Association, Underwriter Labs and the NEC (to just name a few) is absurd. Although I believe that we should looking out for our client's safety I think its going to be hard to explain to a client who is buying a brand new home that all the "builder installed" smoke alarms should be replaced when they have been UL approved, been installed to NEC and NFPA standards and then inspected and approved by the local building department. Once we start down this path, what's next? Will we become the light bulb police and identify incandescent light bulbs because they don't conform to the Light Bulb Law*? Personally I like being able to point to standards as I identify issues and use the standard to encourage the repair of the defect. Let not deviate from our mission: To set and promote standards for property inspections and to provide the educational programs needed to achieve excellence in the profession. *http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/new-lighting-standards-begin-2012
  5. It really doesn't matter whether its failed coating or moisture between the panes. The glass has failed and needs replacement. At least this type of failure is easier to spot! //Rick
  6. I took the heat exchanger inspection course from Ellis Pratt several years ago and one of the students ask what furnaces he preferred for his own home. He basically said stay away from those condensing high efficiency furnaces. For the additional money you pay, there not worth it. He said the heat exchange will fail before you see a payback. His advice buy a plain old 80% efficient furnace and keep the filters clean. http://www.heatexchangerexperts.com/
  7. Try Mail Chimp. Its free for the first 500 names and cheaper than Constant Contact after that. Mail Chimp's reporting is on par with Constant Contact but the mail creation is easier. Give Mail Chimp a try! //Rick San Juan Island Home Inspections
  8. Another reason to keep the blade on your lawnmower extra sharp!!! Boy I bet they make a mighty crack when you run over them! //Rick
  9. Marc, Some people will use a checklist, others will call it a workflow. You develop a "process" that works for you to ensure that everything gets inspected. I don't have a checklist other than what is in my 3D Report Software. I think most people on the TIJ board (grizzy veterans!) have developed their own process over the years. If I had to mentor someone I would probably write it down and create that list. I do have an exit checklist to ensure the furnace and oven is off, doors and windows locked, etc. This way if there is any questions I can say with confidence that we checked to make sure the oven was off!!! //Rick
  10. Steve, I think you missed the point of the article. I never said that there could be a perfect inspection however our client's and those that watch Holme's Inspection program believe we should see and write up everything. Can we as an industry do better, yes, I think we can. Good practices and years of experience can get you to near perfection. Can you still miss issues, yes you probably will, as I probably will have misses. We work in an ever changing environment and have clients with different needs. Good preparation and good process's during the inspection will give you the opportunity to catch and document all the issues. Will it be perfect, probably not. But it doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement..... //Rick http://www.paccrestinspections.com/Orca ... ection.htm
  11. Marc, Fundamentally I agree with you. My emphasis was not on increasing the quantity of inspections but rather the quality. We do not work in a controlled environment like McD's or Boeing but if we bring controls into our environment by establishing how we do the inspection we have a better chance of catching significant issues. For example on yesterday's inspection I was on my second trip around a house in the opposite direction I discovered issues at the eaves of the home. On the first trip into the sun the issue was in the shadows. If my process didn't call for a second pass in the opposite direction there was a good chance I could have missed it. The fact that I was following my own process put me in a position to see something that was obscured on my prior pass. Do they processes work in all environments, no - but that we adapt and overcome! //Rick
  12. Jim, Interesting info. Good thing I didn't actually have one of their pics on my site!
  13. I received a demand letter from Getty Images saying I infringed on one of their pictures and that I owe them $780.00 or they would take me to court. The letter was quite professional and included a screen shot of the image in question and my website. Interestingly the screen shot of my website did not include their image nor do we have their image on our site. It smell like a scam to me. Has anyone else had this happen to them? //Rick
  14. Mike, I didn't see anything other than this "Mold: Cause, Effect, and Response" http://store.awci.org/cgi-bin/awci/product?;43; This seem general and not specific to attics. If you got a link I would like it!! thanks //Rick
  15. Thanks for the clarification. One question I didn't ask but will now is how will the loss reserve reflect against the total value of your coverage? For example if I carry a $500K policy and my insurer is carrying a $300K loss reserve against a potential claim does that mean my coverage is reduced/ reserved by that amount? If this is not true then how does the loss reserve potential affect me if I am staying with the same insurance company? thanks //Rick
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