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Jim Katen

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Jim Katen last won the day on September 18

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About Jim Katen

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  1. That looks like a nicely balanced gas flame. Perhaps when you put the ceramic logs in place, the flames will cool as they impinge on the ceramic?
  2. Good grief! Of course it's mold. So what?
  3. Never seen a bearing that I couldn't replace.
  4. Why not just replace the bearings on the existing motor?
  5. If it were up to me, I'd still be using Windows 3.1.
  6. We've been steady for the last 7-8 years or so.
  7. I saw one several weeks back (months back?) It startled me, but seemed like a good idea.
  8. Sounds like it would be an easy sell to pick up some litigation support work.
  9. Not necessarily. I don't know what's happening in Jim B's case, but in my company's case, the homeowner, who bought our inspection service, was suing a subsequent contractor who did work on the house. They allege bad workmanship. The contractor, on the other hand, alleges that the damage that they're suing for pre-existed. Both sides subpoenaed our report and *all* related documentation, including ISN records, emails, any existing notes, etc, etc, hoping to help prove their case. So far no one has called to ask us for expert witness work - which suggests that neither side found what they were looking for in our records. So far, we're just out several reams of paper, for which each side paid us $30.
  10. Letter? No. Subpoena? Yes. We just had one where the plaintiffs subpoena'd *all* of our records, then a few months later the defendants did the same. Sheesh! We send each one several pounds of paper.
  11. No. Chris is talking about a stairway that runs from the kitchen into the basement. At this stairway's landing, a door opens to the exterior. In my opinion, that's still just a primary egress path. The basement is supposed to have an emergency escape & rescue opening in addition to its primary egress path.
  12. Here's an idea: Instead of advising your inspectors to *never* exceed the standards, I suggest introducing the concept of "tactical exceedance." Begin by including a statement like this in the inspection agreement, "The inspector may occasionally exceed the standard of practice as a courtesy to the customer, who agrees that, in doing so, the inspector will not exceed the standard in every regard or in every instance." Or something like that. I'm sure that your lawyers can get the gist across. Then, inspectors can feel a bit more free to perform risk assessments to decide when it's more beneficial to go the extra mile or so to find problems. As an insurer, providing guidance about how to perform that risk assessment and when it's actually beneficial to exceed the standard would be a lot more useful - and do more to reduce claims - than simply issuing blanket advice to never exceed. By the way, if you implement this concept, I want full credit. It should be called, "The Katen Method" and spoken of reverently, in hushed and respectful tones.
  13. I fully understand your purpose as an insurance provider. But I think that your advice is short-sighted and, ultimately, self-defeating. Inspectors don't get sued for finding problems, they get sued for missing them. The very slight increase in liability caused by exceeding the standards is far outweighed by the very great decrease in liability gained by finding otherwise hidden problems. I'm old enough to remember when inspectors first started to use moisture meters. My insurer a the time advised me not to use one and, if I were to use one, never to mention it in the report or to let the customer see me using it. Their reasoning was that using a moisture meter would instantly make my inspection "technically exhaustive" and open me up to all kinds of disastrous claims. That was dumb reasoning at the time and every inspector I know uses a moisture meter today. What really happens is that the moisture meters help to find problems and reduce the inspectors' liability. They are, of course, beyond the standards. (The same argument is now playing out with IR cameras.) Likewise, I remember when we first started to use digital cameras. Again, my insurer advised against taking any pictures during the inspection because one of the pictures might capture a defect that I didn't include in my report and that picture could be used against me in court. They were also concerned about a seller suing if I took pictures of personal property. None of that turned out to be much of an issue. (And if an inspector does take a picture of a defect and not report on it, then he or she probably should be responsible for the oversight.) In the long term, pictures reduce liability and InspectorPro (and probably every other insurer out there) knows that perfectly well (you having just written an article about how every inspector should take hundreds of thousands of pictures every minute). They, of course, go beyond the standards. You stand at one small corner of the home inspection profession and your view is distorted by your perspective from that corner. I suggest that by taking a step or two back, you'll see that advising people not to exceed the standards is actually increasing rather than decreasing the overall risk of your customer pool. Bottom line: exceeding the standards might make it a little bit more difficult for an attorney to defend an inspector, but it makes it much less likely that the inspector will need that attorney in the first place.
  14. Home inspector standards of practice are the bare minimum performance standard; the floor that you stand on when you do a home inspection. They define a dollar-store home inspection product.
  15. This isn't an interpretation. It's a fact. The first sentence of the ASHI SOP under "purpose" reads: The purpose of the Standards of Practice is to establish a minimum and uniform standard for home inspectors who subscribe to these Standards of Practice. The opening paragraph of the Oregon State Standards reads: OAR 812-008-0202 through 812-008-0214 of this rule set forth the minimum standards of practice required by Oregon certified home inspector. Nothing in either of these standards even comes close to suggesting that the standard is not to be exceeded. (I can't speak to the standards of other organizations or other states - especially stupid states like Texas.) By parroting myth that exceeding the standards increases your liability, InspectorPro is contributing to the problem, not helping it.
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