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What kinds of chances do you guys take?


Bain
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I was in an old house with an addition yesterday, and the only attic access was through the addition's ceiling. To get into the original house, I'd have had to climb through a hole punched into its former exterior wall. Problem was, there was knob-and-tube wiring with exposed conductors at the bottom of the hole. The wires had been stepped on so many times that the insulation had been abraded away by the knob. I told my client that entering the original house was unsafe but that I would return once the problem was corrected. Ten years ago I would have scrambled on in without a thought, but now I find myself being much more careful. What would you have done? Am I a pansy?

John

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I can't tell by the picture, but I would have gone through if I could squat down and step through. I would not have gone through on my hands and knees. Remember, how much is your life worth? (my wife would answer, about what life insurance would pay) [;)] You made the right call.

Kevin Teitel

House-Pro Inspections

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Originally posted by Bain

. . . I told my client that entering the original house was unsafe but that I would return once the problem was corrected. Ten years ago I would have scrambled on in without a thought, but now I find myself being much more careful. What would you have done? Am I a pansy?

What I would have done doesn't matter. You were the one who was there.

Every now and then, we have to weigh the risk of some action or other against the benefit that we're likely to receive from it. What benefit was waiting inside that attic? Unless it was the cure for cancer, I think you made a darned good call.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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11 rows of bricks high and 2 bricks wide with exposed conductors of brittle K&T running over the 'threshold'? Depends on how big you are. I too have gone thru these little holes too. I now ask myself 'is it worth the trip?". "Observed from opening due to inadequate safe access" or something like that would suffice here. Your call.

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From what I can see in the picture, I would say "No". My wife is a paralegal and I hear a lot of things people sue from. If there was a fire in that house, even if it wasn't in that area, the lawyer will go after you. It costs a couple of thousands just to say the fire had nothing to do with you did. If they really go after you, then your talking a lot more money. I report it and leave it alone. In most cases, I would think you would be fine but why take the chance. It's surprising how lawyer look at things that the normal person would never think of.

You did what I do. It's better to be safe than deal with lawyers.

Do as you please but always keep this in the back of your head.

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If you can't enter and inspect an area because of limited access or if you have safety concerns you should be OK as long as you explain why you did not enter the area in your report.

You should also itemize the things that you typically inspect in the inaccessible area and let your client know that there may be problems that were not found. For example, if you can't get into an attic you should report that you could not determine the adequacy of insulation, ventilation, roof framing, etc.. within the scope of the inspection because the attic was not accessible.

I also offer to return and inspect the area if it is made accessible to me prior to closing. Unless the building is very close or I can go there when I have another job nearby, I charge an extra fee to return to the house.

Of course you can still be sued if there is a problem that was not found. You will have a better chance of defending yourself if you are clear in your report. Additionally, if your client does not ask you to come back you can argue that it was their decision not to have the inaccessible area inspected even after you warned them of what you could have missed.

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