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I see that stuff now and then too here in Richmond. It's definitely some form of fungi. It doesn't usually coincide with structural damage, and is typically seen in old houses with no vapor barrier here. I call for any fungal growth on floor framing to be treated.

It's kinda funny how framing on old homes almost seems to become petrified and impervious to decay.

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OK, I've been gone for a couple weeks. Can anyone explain (again) why we shouldn't call the green moldy stuff "mold" or "fungus", or "mold like fungus"?

I've been reading a number of other home inspectors reports for an attorney lately (he can't figure them out). Seems everything gets sent out for further evaluation w/the same boilerplate language. Is anyone capable of making a call on stuff nowadays?

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Originally posted by paul burrell

Refer it to a qualified, licensed, bonafide, certified mold expert company for evaluation and repairs as needed.

And how do you go about finding someone who's genuinely qualified?

I only ask because, around here, *every single time* that someone hires what they think is a "qualified expert" they end up with a low life, blood sucking, money grubbing, half wit con-man. These people are thieves and scoundrels and they proliferate like roaches in a city dump.

Of course do not say it is mold say it is what appears to be a mold like substance.

Why on earth wouldn't you want to say that it's mold? Maybe it's just me but I don't have any difficulty at all in looking at stuff growing on wood and deciding for myself whether or not it's mold. Once I've made that distinction, why wouldn't I want to share that information with the customer who's paying me for my opinion?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I agree with Jim and Kurt. I would say "Looks like you got some mold on the wood down there. It needs a food source and water and it appears you have both." Call someone that can identify the kind of mold it really is, if it bothers you.

I look at reports from inspectors everyday and most are just a bunch of BS, boiler plate, CYA. People pay me (us) for my/our opinion and that is what we give them. Never been sucessfully sued because we make that perfectly clear and don't even pretend we know everything.

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I saw some pretty significant mold issues after the hurricanes while doing the FEMA gig down south. Old ladies had their homes all cleaned up and it smelled like bleach and lysol. Other, shall we say, more enterprising folk had intentionally left it all closed up to grow. (A few flooded their own homes ith their garden hose, but that's another story)

My comments are similar to what Les said. Below is an excerpt from a recent report.

" I saw some growth in the basement on the floor joists that I'd call mold because my mother would have called it mold. When she saw it she cleaned it with bleach and let it dry out. If you're concerned about this beyond my observation and my mother's remedy, about the only reliable authority would be a mycologist or industrial hygenist. There are dozens of mold remediation firms that don't get paid unless they remediate something.

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And how do you go about finding someone who's genuinely qualified?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

That seems to be the problem. As soon as I "refer it out", the realtors take over & the lowlifes proliferate & dispute everything I'm talking about.

Walter Jowers got me started on ditching the referral thing; it never takes my customer anywhere they want to go. In specific instances, I'll refer certain things to folks more qualified than myself, but rarely. (Swimming pools come to mind, but even that is a crap shoot.)

I'm cocky enough & sure enough of what I know (and don't know) that I'm ready, willing, and able to make the calls. I write my reports in a manner that makes disagreeing hard or impossible. If someone wants to disagree, fine, but they have to back it up w/references, which never happens. Win, win for the customer & my business.

We're the experts (or should be). Don't let realtors water down what we know to be true.

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Kurt,

You’re reading reports for an attorney and you are concerned about boilerplate language? The bloodsucking lawyers are the reason we all have to use language like that.

genuinely qualified

That would be a matter of opinion.

Jim,

they end up with a low life, blood sucking, money grubbing, half wit con-man

Good description for any group, builders, trades people, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, lawyers, politicians, Brokers, on and on ad nauseam.

Why on earth wouldn't you want to say that it's mold? Maybe it's just me but I don't have any difficulty at all in looking at stuff growing on wood and deciding for myself whether or not it's mold. Once I've made that distinction, why wouldn't I want to share that information with the customer who's paying me for my opinion?

I just identify the problem, then let the client decide. I can only make conclusions about things I am completely sure of.

Les,

I look at reports from inspectors everyday and most are just a bunch of BS, boiler plate, CYA. People pay me (us) for my/our opinion and that is what we give them. Never been sucessfully sued because we make that perfectly clear and don't even pretend we know everything.

BS, boiler plate, CYA - In your opinion that is.

We are all different. Some people are scared of their own shadow, then there are others who will do anything and everything until a Judge tells them they can not. And everything in between.

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Originally posted by BlackJack

Kurt,

You’re reading reports for an attorney and you are concerned about boilerplate language? The bloodsucking lawyers are the reason we all have to use language like that.

If you think using weasel language will protect you from a lawyer, you're wrong. Period. In court, you'll always, every time, be better off if you state things clearly. Dancing around an issue or referring every damn thing in the report to an expert is a tactic that will bite you. When the customer figures out that you've just taken his money to do nothing other than refer every issue away, he gets pissed and calls his lawyer at the first sign of a problem. Furthermore, it tarnishes the entire profession.

genuinely qualified

That would be a matter of opinion.

No, it's not a matter of opinion. That's the whole point. "Qualified" means that you don't need to form an opinion. A lawyer is "qualified" to practice law. A doctor is "qualified" to practice medicine. In Oregon, a home inspector is "qualified" to do home inspections. As far as I can tell, the only person qualified to do mold investigations is an industrial hygienist. No one ever calls them on a real estate transaction. They call them when there's a Big Problem that's developed *after* the lying weasels have done their thing.

Jim,
they end up with a low life, blood sucking, money grubbing, half wit con-ma

Good description for any group, builders, trades people, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, lawyers, politicians, Brokers, on and on ad nauseam.

Wrong again. In each of your examples, there are lots good and useful members of the trade. In my area the majority of tradesmen are good, decent and basically capable. Money-grubbing half wits are the exception. In the mold biz, half wits are the rule and in my experience, there are no exceptions.

Why on earth wouldn't you want to say that it's mold? Maybe it's just me but I don't have any difficulty at all in looking at stuff growing on wood and deciding for myself whether or not it's mold. Once I've made that distinction, why wouldn't I want to share that information with the customer who's paying me for my opinion?

I just identify the problem, then let the client decide. I can only make conclusions about things I am completely sure of.

I'm completely sure of what mold is when I see it. I'm completely sure that anyone the realtor calls will be a mold half-wit. I'm completely sure that my customers *want to know this information.*

You say you "just identify the problem." That's great. That's what I'm telling everyone to do. You see mold, you say, "There's mold." You don't say, "There's this stuff, see, I know it's mold, but I don't want to say that it's mold because someone might sue me, ok, so I'm going to think of the lamest words that I can come up with instead. This way, if you sue me, I can say I never said it was mold."

Les,
I look at reports from inspectors everyday and most are just a bunch of BS, boiler plate, CYA. People pay me (us) for my/our opinion and that is what we give them. Never been sucessfully sued because we make that perfectly clear and don't even pretend we know everything.

BS, boiler plate, CYA - In your opinion that is.

Gotta disagree. CYA is CYA there's no opinion about it. When you cover your own butt at your client's expense, you do your client a disservice. My rule, "Cover your client's butt and yours will be covered automatically."

We are all different. Some people are scared of their own shadow, then there are others who will do anything and everything until a Judge tells them they can not. And everything in between.

Well there's some startling news. Stop the presses. I say, shave away the people from either end of the spectrum you've outlined above. Just grab them by the nape of the neck and toss them into government jobs where their talents will shine. I'm thinking the DMV needs more staff.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by paul burrell

Refer it to a qualified, licensed, bonafide, certified mold expert company for evaluation and repairs as needed.

And how do you go about finding someone who's genuinely qualified?

I only ask because, around here, *every single time* that someone hires what they think is a "qualified expert" they end up with a low life, blood sucking, money grubbing, half wit con-man. These people are thieves and scoundrels and they proliferate like roaches in a city dump.

Of course do not say it is mold say it is what appears to be a mold like substance.

Why on earth wouldn't you want to say that it's mold? Maybe it's just me but I don't have any difficulty at all in looking at stuff growing on wood and deciding for myself whether or not it's mold. Once I've made that distinction, why wouldn't I want to share that information with the customer who's paying me for my opinion?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

The (supposedly)only person that can identify mold is a mold expert. They (supposedly) can "evaluate and identify" what type action is needed. I can not take on the responsibility of con men. And I will not. I make the customer aware of the what appears to be mold and what to do about it. "Call an expert".

In my part of the world one has to be licensed and certified to identify mold and termites etc. If some clorox and water will do the trick on "mold" and a "expert" gets big $$$$ for nothing there is nothing I can do about it. If the inspector is not licensed and certified he better do a little CYA but still make the customer "fully aware" of what to do as best he/she can.

Paul B.

To each his own. If it works don't fix it.

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Hmmmm...

When I went to a Pro-ASHI Seminar a while back one of the speakers was an attorney that specialized on mold cases. He pretty much encouraged us to:

1. State that we observed was an unidentified form of fungal growth assuring us that it's ALL fungi of one form or another.

2. Refer it to an "Industrial Hygenist". (There is actually an engineering firm here in town that does testing and makes recommendations.)

3. Lean toward it's potential to be a threat to structure and not over-emphasize the health implications.

4. And leave it at that.

That's 2 - 3 year old info, but that's what I do.

It's pretty rare that I see fungal growth that requires that kind of action. Most of the time it's the normal low grade run of the mill crawlspace crap that pest companies have sprays for.

It's got to be pretty bad for me to refer out.

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Originally posted by BlackJack

Kurt,

You’re reading reports for an attorney and you are concerned about boilerplate language? The bloodsucking lawyers are the reason we all have to use language like that.

Well, I'd say that's not true. Folks that haven't learned to describe what they're seeing in easy to understand language have to use language like that.

"The best way to protect yourself is to protect your customer." Jim Katen, Ancient Zen Master

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Conversely, in most cases, if you serve your companies best interests from a liability standpoint, you will have served your client's best interests as well.

Why? Because if your client never needs to call you in the future for clarification or to complain you have nothing to worry about.

This is one of the basic principles put forth in The Zen of Home Inspection.

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