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Friends,

I know that the electronic age has resulted in huge productivity gains for everyone that works. I'll bet you didn't know, however, what great leaps forward are being made by your public sector counterparts.

See below the text of a local TV news item about some of our area county inspections.

An 11Alive News investigation into some building inspection records from several Metro Atlanta counties raised some questions about the depth of the inspections and whether the inspectors are being overworked.

Georgia is one of the few states in the country where home builders are not licensed, although the legislature is in the process of addressing that issue, which makes home inspections even more important.

In one of the counties included in the investigation, 11Alive News found records of building inspectors conducting more than 80 to 90 inspections in one day. One day in July, one of the inspectors reported 101 inspections at 28 different homes.

His supervisors said that roughly a third of those were quick re-inspections to make sure problems that failed previous inspections had been fixed. But records show many of those 101 inspections were more involved.

Don Jascomb of the Department for Planning and Development in Gwinnett County said the inspectors were meeting standards set by the International Code Conference (ICC). The 11Alive News investigation, however, suggests otherwise.

For example, the standards recommend 45 minutes for a final inspection on a new home which includes the final check on the structure, the plumbing, electricity, and heating.

But when one the inspectors followed by 11Alive News during the investigation, the same inspector who reported 101 inspections in one day, he spent 10 minutes or less on several final inspections.

Meanwhile, in Cobb County, records show one inspector had a day of 52 inspections and averaged about five-and-a-half minutes per inspection the entire month. His supervisor called him an experienced employee and said his expertise allowed for such short inspections.

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There's a ripe future in and great need for code certified private sector inspectors to perform phase inspections for buyers of new homes. The lack of trained quailified tradespeople, resulting in shoddy work; and overworked AHJ personnel resulting in defects that get under the wire, has sealed that fate. Frankly, a properly educated HI will outperform his AHJ counterparts due to the fact his personal a$$ets are on the line.

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The two biggest hurdles in doing construction phase inspections are marketing and dealing with builder interference.

How do you successfully and cost effectively market to the new construction home buyers?

Some builders in AZ won't allow inspectors on site, and others make it difficult.

If ASHI and other organizations want to truly benefit their members, a construction inspection campaign blitz is in order! This is a HUGE untapped market!

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Originally posted by chrisprickett

The two biggest hurdles in doing construction phase inspections are marketing and dealing with builder interference.

How do you successfully and cost effectively market to the new construction home buyers?

Some builders in AZ won't allow inspectors on site, and others make it difficult.

If ASHI and other organizations want to truly benefit their members, a construction inspection campaign blitz is in order! This is a HUGE untapped market!

Branding, Chris; ASHI is benefiting it's members by Branding. That's what the "polls" showed membership wanted, right? It's just a steamrollin' wonderful thing they're doing to, oops, that's for, us, right?

OK, enough nonsense.

You're exactly right. There is a huge untapped market, but it is fraught w/pitfalls. The plus side is that they are manageable, but it will require state or local legislation that prevents the builders from shutting us out. I don't do them because of the need to be @ the site whenever I deem necessary, not when the builder decides to let me in. Since they won't let me in when I need it, I'm not gonna hang my nuts on the line working to their restrictions.

In Chicago, there isn't any progress inspection by the City, and virtually no final inspections. There is no municipal oversight, w/very rare exceptions that probably total less than 1 in 500 buildings. No one has ever been able to determine how or why someone pops up on the inspection lottery wheel; the geek just shows up, or doesn't.

Even when they do show up, it is formulaic; @ this point, they check the deck or porch construction to avoid another deck collapse ala July 2003, and that's about it.

Someday, the private sector inspection will be standard, but it's gonna take major head to head w/ NAHB, municipal legislation that transfers inspection duties, & god only knows what else to make the switch. It's years away.

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Ever since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 our firm's phase inspections have increased ten fold. I attribute this to the fact that the structural failures which occured during Andrew exposed the builders and municipal inspectors for what they really were.

In addition our firm is multi-disciplined wlth state licenses in building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, coastal construction, termites, and radon. The above lent us to follow residential construction, on behalf of buyers, from the ground up. Our gross receipts just kept on growing based on word of mouth advertising and a few strategically placed newspaper interviews.

From a technical aspect the work was relatively simple. The down side was the constant confrontation with the builders. In an effort to rid themselves of us pain in the ass private inspectors they would attempt to limit access to their properties, require higher and higher limits on our insurance, and refuse to provide us with blueprints and specifications.

When we did cite deficiencies they would respond "the city inspector passed this and that's the end of that". Naturally the municipalities wouldn't back us up, even if we were correct, as doing so would be tanamount to admitting they were incorrect in their initial inspections.

Two or so years ago, just about the time we were going to cut back on phase inspections and concentrate on re-sale work, the complexion of the entire issue suddenly changed. The builders, who we thought were beating us into the ground, were actually feeling the pressure more than us. I was shocked when, one by one, they began to approach us asking if they could possible retain our services as independent third party consultants for the purpose of providing quality control on their projects. Much to our surprise the builders, both project level and high end custom, told us "we need you to help us build our houses correctly the first time in order that we don't have to deal with you as the buyers advocate".

We've now entered into very comfortable contracts with some of the largest builders in our geographical area and the stress and confrontation are a thing of the past. We come and go as we please. They actually thank us when we point out potential sources of trouble. It's kind of like having the keys to the city.

Have we sold out to the builders? Hell no. We just found an easier way to get a better product on the market and make both the builders and purchasers happy at the same time.

I look at it as a three way win win-win situation. The builders have little to no complaints to deal with, the buyers have little to nothing to complain about, and we get paid weekly and have nobody to argue with.

NORM SAGE

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Damn. Proof that there may be intelligent life on earth. I have never understood why builders didn't utilize our services for these very reasons.

On every one of these jobs (that I used to do, & may do again), I walked away knowing that an approx. 10 minute inspection could have saved the builders thousands, or tens of thousands, or dollars. I've tried to impress upon them that I could be used to save them money & make them look smart in the same motion, but they never went for it. Too much ego on the line.

Everyone thinks they do it the right way because they are the one's doing it. The Russians & Eastern Euro's that now comprise the trades here in Chicago are the worst; ever had a run in w/ a Russian? They yell at you even when you're talking about the weather.

Peter Drenan presented @ InspectionWorld a couple years back on this practice. After the seminar, I tried to market it to the builders, but quite simply, they were too arrogant to cede any input to anyone outside their company. Oh well.......

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I do a good number of Phase construction inspections. It is very difficult to market to the uneducated masses.

My website is the best tool I have. However, it only works if someone is looking for an inspector to do Phase inspections!

I'm still amazed at the number of people who call us only when a problem arises. They didn't get any Phase inspections or a Final Inspection "because the home was new" or "because the builder told me we had a 1 year warranty" or (and I like this one best) "My friends said I was silly for having a new home inspected"

Only when rain is pouring in on their heads do they decide to give us a call.

Many builders still try to keep us out of some homes. There are a few who are telling their clients to get a third party inspection. Those usually also tell them to make sure their inspector is Code Certified. That is why all our new hires must be Code Certified or become so pretty quick after hiring. The tide is turning, but painfully so!

Whenever I hear about a builder trying to keep us out, I just turn it around on them and ask the Client what's the builder trying to hide? "Heck, other builders tell their clients to get their own inspector and here is your builder trying to keep us out of the house you're going to buy! He must be afraid of something."

Works more times than not.

I do wish there was an organization that would help get the door open to either the public or builders about what a benefit our inspections are. Until that day comes, I'll just keep plugging away.

Here's the solution I have for Superintendents I know will be a problem. I send my part time inspector, who is a City Inspector, out to do the inspection. He is an old fart who loves nothing more than to inspect homes under construction and set crappy builders straight.

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Originally posted by kurt

Damn. Proof that there may be intelligent life on earth. I have never understood why builders didn't utilize our services for these very reasons.

On every one of these jobs (that I used to do, & may do again), I walked away knowing that an approx. 10 minute inspection could have saved the builders thousands, or tens of thousands, or dollars. I've tried to impress upon them that I could be used to save them money & make them look smart in the same motion, but they never went for it. Too much ego on the line.

Everyone thinks they do it the right way because they are the one's doing it. The Russians & Eastern Euro's that now comprise the trades here in Chicago are the worst; ever had a run in w/ a Russian? They yell at you even when you're talking about the weather.

Peter Drenan presented @ InspectionWorld a couple years back on this practice. After the seminar, I tried to market it to the builders, but quite simply, they were too arrogant to cede any input to anyone outside their company. Oh well.......

Kurt, tell them Olga sent you and watch them whimper.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Here's a fellow who seems to be able to do listing and sellers inspections and has done a relatively good job of getting some publicity for himself:

http://www.williamsoregonnews.com/artic ... 8&cp=11044

Just don't understand why he'd want to be seen driving around in one of those butt-ugly Honda whatchamacallits.

OT - OF!!!

M.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Nice article. I was with him the whole way through till he came to the part about the $50 discount.

Damn! He coulda been a contender.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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