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Are you too fat?


Ben H
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I had a first this morning...Lady calls up to schedule a home w/ a crawl. Half way through our conversation, she says " I don't wanna sound rude, but can you fit into a crawl space opening?" I almost giggled...

Anyone else had this question asked before?

Some people will call you asking the same question, but don't mention that the house is only about 6" or so off the ground.

Marc

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I once had a lady want me to send her my picture before should would agree to hire me. She had a bad experience with a fat inspector in the past. I pointed her to my webpage where I have my mug posted.

There is a really overweight termite inspector around town, he can't get in many crawlspaces, I don't know how he stays in business.

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Yep,

I'm too fat. I bounce around between 245 and 260 lbs. I'm about 5'10". I can fit through an opening 10-inches by 20-inches or 13-3/4 by 13-3/4. A quarter inch smaller and I can't get through. I'll go into anyplace that's large enough for me to squeeze through the hatch and be able to get turned around in. A roof has to impossible for me to safely get onto and off of from my ladder, or be so steep that I can't get traction with my shoes or maintain traction with my palms, has an unstable surface that's sloughing off, or is slick with damp moss or algae, before I won't climb it. Some come on here occasionally and classify that as showing off; it's not, it's just part of the job - I do it whether anyone is watching me or not, it has nothing to do with showing off.

Under our new SOP here, a home inspector must enter, and traverse, attics and crawlspaces and traverse roofs.

"Enter" as defined by the law is to physically go into the attic, crawl or other area. Simply sticking one's head and shoulders into these areas is not entering.

"Traverse"under the law is the act of physically moving through a crawlspace or attic or over the surface of a roof during an inspection when it is safe to do so.

The SOP does state however that the inspector is not required to perform any procedure or operation that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or others or damage the property, its systems or components.

Basically, the inspector has an out for safety of himself or others or not to cause damage; however, if a client sues for negligence it's ultimately going to end up being a judge or jury's decision as to whether the inspector was just being too lazy or was simply too fat to enter; and, knowing that he or she was too fat, should have had a backup plan to get the attic or crawlspace inspected properly - such as a skinny assistant or dropping some of that girth.

Some of us on the board here wanted a rule that when a client calls up for an appointment the inspector must tell the client during that phone conversation when/if it is the inspector's policy not to ever go into attics or crawlspaces or to ever go up onto roofs, or to not climb ladders, etc.. The majority of the board overruled that motion; so now, if the client shows up for the inspection and they are going through the inspection and are halfway through it and the client asks, "Aren't you going up on the roof," and the inspector says something like, "No, I don't ever go up onto roofs for safety reasons," the client is basically screwed. The only option for the client in that circumstance, is to stop the inspection and get another inspector that will go onto the roof or into the crawl and attic; or, if the roof leaks or there are other issues, initiate a complaint to DOL that the inspector was negligent. If their investigation determines that he was not, the client still has the option of suing but it's still a far from ideal situation for a client.

In the end, I think it best that the customer ask up front during that first phone conversation whether the inspector habitually does those things except under extreme circumstances that make it unsafe or whether the inspector doesn't do those things most or all of the time.

The telephone installer, cable installer, plumbers, electricians, alarm system installers, insulation contractors, crawlspace vapor barrier installers and cleanup guys all go into these areas and seem to survive. Chimney sweeps, roofers, telephone company, cable company, electricians, gutter guys, roof cleaning companies all seem to be able to safely go up onto roofs. One would expect that a home inspector that's supposed to be an expert when it comes to houses would be at least as competent at going into/onto these areas as these other lower-paid trades.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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My website boasts I'm physically fit, and can fit into tight crawl spaces, walk roofs, and do things other inspectors (read fat ones) can't do. 'Course, as I ballooned last year when I quit drinking, I had to take that part out.

I am getting to my goal, though, as discussed on a previous thread, of losing 55 pounds by my 55th birthday seeing how I was born in '55. Down 45 pounds already, so I put that part back in the website. Don't know if I can lose the next 10 by the 22nd of this month, though.

How are all the rest of the weight-losers from that othere thread doing?

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me? I'm 65, squirrley, kinda fit and a genuine genius regarding houses! Oh ya, I smoked Camels for 46 1/2yrs. Only a couple packs per day. Quit about a year ago and now can substitute "fat" for "fit".

Good for you on quiting smoking Les. I was at 3 packs of Camels a day for more years then I care to remember. That and coffee by the gallon. I started smoking in the 4th grade.

It's really hard to quit, one of the hardest things I've done as I'm sure with you. Sometimes I miss it but I know if I smoke only one I'll be back to 3 packs a day in no time. It's really bad health wise but I can't believe the price of them now. I quit in 91 when the price was about a buck a pack - I'm a cheap-o.

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2 packs here - one at work bent over laying brick with the smoke streaming back up into your face and one iin the evening to supplement the other things I was smokin' ... who me? Finally quit in 94 when I lit a cig and realized I had one going across the room in an ash tray. That did it.)

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I've always been one of those guys that gets called "skinny" or "thin". I am currently about 6' 190 'ish, and had never been called too big until recently. I showed up at a pre- listing inspection, and the client was hesitant to let me in her home because she said I was too big to do the job. While the agent talked the client into letting me in, I stood back amused and trying not to laugh.

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Under our new SOP here, a home inspector must enter, and traverse, attics and crawlspaces and traverse roofs.

Does that drive the cost of insurance and equipment for company's with mutiple inspectors through the roof?

The OSHA regs for fall protection when working on roofs, require even low sloped roofs to have a guard rail system installed to protect employees, along with paragraphs of other not very cost effective fall protection regs. And, we all know, if your on the roof, in OSHA's eyes your working.

OSHA 1926.501 Duty to have fall protection.

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure you guys read these laws, and considered all of this before including it in your SOP.

I'm just curious about how your council made the decision to mandate this rather than to leave it to the discretion of the individual, in the interest of safety.

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The OSHA regs for fall protection when working on roofs, require even low sloped roofs to have a guard rail system installed to protect employees, along with paragraphs of other not very cost effective fall protection regs. And, we all know, if your on the roof, in OSHA's eyes your working.

No, that's not correct. Measuring, estimating, inspecting or visually evaluating the roof does not require fall protection. Where in the regs do you interpret that OSHA requires fall protection for just being "on the roof".

Read the whole thing, not just one small excerpt from 1926, which is the standards for construction. Inspectors are not engaged in "construction, alteration, or repair" when on a "jobsite".

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Where in the regs do you interpret that OSHA requires fall protection for just being "on the roof".

Everywhere it states, " walking / working".

Measuring, estimating, inspecting or visually evaluating the roof does not require fall protection.

I don't see that written anywhere. I just read it again. The whole thing, again.

It's not my interpretation. It's how my question was answered when I asked about it during an OSHA 10 course.

If we're not covered under the construction regulations, what are we covered by?

Anyway. I was just curious. Forget it.

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The good news, other than forums like this, in seventeen years, the word OSHA has never come up as a concern or as a warning or citation. I think we're awfully small fish for them to try to fry (pun intended), not to mention being an ever moving target. Now in masonry, we had a visit or two from that gang - just keep an eye out for the guy with the camera.

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Very true Mike. That's because OSHA actions are complaint driven. Maybe they should write a regulation though, about inspectors setting ladders on composite decking. It seems to be the most common cause of injury to inspectors.

Gary, theres a specific exemption from fall protection requirements for inspecting roofs unless "construction operations are underway".

"The exception would apply where an employee goes onto a roof in need of repair to inspect the roof and to estimate what work is needed.... The intent of the provision is also to recognize that after all work has been completed, and workers have left the area, there may be a need for building inspectors, owners, etc. to inspect the work".

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Very true Mike. That's because OSHA actions are complaint driven. Maybe they should write a regulation though, about inspectors setting ladders on composite decking. It seems to be the most common cause of injury to inspectors.

I was unaware of that problem. Thanks for the warning, because I have definitely done it. I won't again, though without something to spread the load. This post may have just helped me avoid a disaster, and at 57 I don't mend like I used to.

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From 29 CFR 1910 OSHA:

1903.1 Purpose and Scope

The Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (84 Stat.1590 et seq.,U.S.C. 651 et seq.) requires, in part, that every employer covered by this Act furnish to his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.......

1903.3 Authority for Inspection

(a) Compliance Safety and Health Officers of the Department of Labor are authorized to enter without delay and at reasonable times any factory, plant, establishment, construction site, or other area, workplace or environment where work is performed by an employee of an employer; to inspect and investigate........

What Bill said.

Marc

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