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    Construction Analyst

woodbyter's Achievements

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  1. I'd be interested in how "Lightweight " a 14'5" wooden ladder is??????
  2. Since many of us are from all over the country and not exclusive to one region I will say that I think the chart is useful to have for refference. I do not care who doesn't enforce code violations etc. Wait until you are called as a witness in an electrical shock or death case and the prosecution is looking at a copy of your report that doesn't even mention that a GFI - while possibly not being required, is not even mentioned as a safety upgrade recommendation if for no other reason than to reduce potential liability. Any person who does not use all of the information available to advise all parties in a transaction of potential dangers and possible remedies - they see - is a sitting duck - in many jurisdictions - for a civil lawsuit at the least and with juries giving out huge settlements your E&O could be cleaned for good. Something to consider.
  3. It is an excellent program and the added bonus of really being where the help is needed and being able to make a difference in people's lives. This program helps get the needed expertise (you) out there and the evaluation done and repairs as quickly as possible. In the old days the government sent us(government workers) to these areas to do the evaluations however we were hampered by the lack of personnel to meet the needs in big disaster areas. I think it is a great program and generally you can work in a geographic aera you are familar with. Not pulling some "Kentucky Hill Hoppers" like me and sending us to California.LOL Great program.
  4. Keep in mind the garage and the house need to be completely seperated and this is not only true in new construction but also in older homes. A often missed issue is the garage connected by a screened in breezeway. And this is sometimes an add on issue. A detached garage that has been connected by a breezeway does need to be protected up to the underside of the roof decking. To be safe the breezeway should be blocked at each end and not just at the house connection point but always where the breezeway connects to the garage.
  5. This won't be for everyone but I think it is important enough to make you aware of the opportunity. Decide for yourself. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has reorganized and is contracting out most of their inspection work to the private sector in an effort to reduce their permanent employee figures and the long term liability and obligation for retirement etc. This work is basically in the Multifamily divisions and involves inspecting new construction as well as substantial rehab work. HUD requires the work to be inspected twice a month at a minimum and for those with construction knowledge especially in the multifamily sector (Apartments etc) this could be a way to add a couple of days regularly scheduled work and possibly up to approx $2,000 a month for the life of the contract. (Inspection fees vary from office to office and generally could range from $500.00-1,000.00 a trip. For those interested you might want to contact the HUD office in your area and speak to one of the following: the Contracting Officer; The Construction Manager; or a MAP or TAP team leader. HUD has a two team option approach to application processing. TAP=Traditional Application Processing and MAP = Multifamily Accelerated Processing. The only reason for mentioning this is they both maintain seperate inspection pools. As projects are processed and commitments are issued the jobs are listed for bids and inspectors are brought on board for each project. Length of contracts can run from a few months to several years per project. Some offices prefer to hire architects for some jobs while other jobs are being bid out to qualified construction inspectors with knowledge of general construction practices. Review of change orders and working with standardized costs is helpful. Good luck if you are interested.
  6. If the general public only realized how much we try to protect them from themselves. I do not agree having a permit for the second floor would cover the missing safety feature. For one thing the permit for the second floor hopefully was "design reviewed" by the permit issuing department. Secondly most permit issuances carry a small print declaration stating the work has been reviewed and a permit issued but final approval is based on field inspection of the completed work. If the permit issuing department has already "final field inspected" the installation and passed it (which is why I have little faith in many code enforcement inspectors) I would still point it out and report it in writing. (If hauled into court as a witness I would prefer to defend my actions of reporting it than to explain why I didn't) As for the realtor's comments when did they become inspector's anyway (except when it protected their meal ticket and commission?)
  7. Jim- I can agree with your concept of grandfathering to an extent. As you mention allowing those in who "invented the field" is one thing but keeping those in who have kept up with the field is another thing. When I took over a large staff I had field inspectors ranging in age from 26 to 79 and sad as it seems some of the older ones had no idea what code changes had taken place nor did they care. Several of the younger ones thought they had all the answers (which they didn't) and and a couple of darn good inspectors were offended at having to take a test to keep their positions even though I explained it was the only legal and fair way to accept some people and cull out others. Everyone had to be given the same opportunity. I will give you that it rankled some to have to do this and I lost a darn good inspector who would have been a good staff member simply because he let his ego get in the way. He didn't have to prove himself to anyone and I was some years older than he was. I guess I know how you feel and it seems like some of the older folks should know this stuff better than the newbies but you can't tell by looking sometimes. In theory you are right--in practice I can't take that chance. It is an imperfect world and all we can do is try to keep making it better. I don't have all the answers and wish I did. Jim
  8. Your analogy of boarding a plane and the pilot training as relates to home inspectors and their training shows the critical missing link and that is nationwide approved training and certification. Hopefully when the HI industry grows up and matures it will be able to follow standardized requirements and training and thus be recognized as a respectable and reliable professional occupation. Currently many home inspectors(with good reason)are thrown in with used car salesmen, home improvement salesmen and other occupations who exist and earn their living by telling people what they want or need to hear to make a deal work. The FAA oversees the licensing requirements and recertification procedures for pilots which keeps just any old numb dummy from climbing into the flight deck and trying to get you from point "A" to "B" without turning everyone in to a flaming briquette. It is a "long hard SLOG" as Secretary Rumsfield would say, similar to what the appraisers have had to go through. Even with USPAP and state and national licensing the appraiser's still have been subject to selection of those who will give what clients want and not necessarily what they should be getting for their fee. The appraisers are ahead in the evolution process HI will follow eventually.
  9. Good topic There is a lot of complaining about required schooling for HI however the fact of the matter is the overall results show the better educated (via whatever means) the inspector the better he/she can serve their client base. I currently live in a state that has no requirement to become a home inspector other than hanging a sign on the door and we get about what you could expect in results. We have some excellent inspectors however they are the result of their our professional development. It is like anything else if the person wants to provide a professional and vaulable service they will prepare themselves and find the training necessary to do just that. I would prefer to see training and certification based on quality of knowledge and not quanity of inspections. As the old saying goes you can acquire 20 years of experience several ways. One is to have 20 years of every increasing knowledge and experinece which in the end provides a consistently improved inspection which also keeps up with new technology in your field or you can have 2 years experience 10 times over. Several years ago I took over a department of approximately 100 inspectors that was loaded with persons,some of whom were excellent and some who were pitiful and beyond. I developed a written test based on good inspection practices and acceptable building codes. I even allowed it to be open book since I do believe it is just as important to be able to look up the information as it is to have it on the tip of your tounge. I had to let 65% of the staff go simply because they could not even find the right answer. Imagine what good they were in the field. Home inspectors can and do fill a very important role in the transfer of ownership of a dwelling just as good compliance inspectors can keep the new construction industry in line. Doing 5,000 H/A inspections no more qualifies a person to become a professsional than driving 5000 miles makes anyone a great driver. Some people are just lucky and can get though anything and not learn enough to be professional and educated in their chosen field. In the end, as an organization, the home inspectors can police themselves by having the good inspectors drive the bad ones out of the field. The poor inspectors will get out and go into other fields if you who are doing the best possible jobs of inspecting simply take their market away from them. I believe in the survival of the fitest and and raising the industry standards from within our own organization but not by saying x number of inspections makes someone qualified. Basing designation of quality of an inspector based on their number of insections or years of service is similar to a pyramid scheme. You can fool some people for awhile but in the end the scheme fails. Woodbyter
  10. First of all I have really enjoyed this forum. The amassed knowledge and experience presented here is remarkable. I have a couple questions. For those of you in the front line of inspections do you see many violations overlooked by the city or township inspectors as you make our rounds and secondly how many (or what percentage of)inspectors do you know who severly skew their reporting procedures to insure continued business either from lending institutions or homeowners clients? Don't use names please. I have been involved in single family and multifamily inspections for years and have a great deal of respect for the professional job you try to do, sometimes in the face of stiff competion from windshielders and other nerdowells. As you may have guessed I'm developing a report and thought this forum might have some valuable input. P.S. I am not in competition with anyone in the private sector so I'm not the guy down the street.. Thanks for you time.
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