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Missing fixtures


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I inspected a new home yesterday where there is no AHJ. It was missing the usual items for a home that not inspected by a AHJ.

In the bathrooms the towel rack and paper holder where missing. My client and his agent told me the builder said he would install them for a fee. To me this is part of the bathroom.

I am looking for info to back this up.

Thanks for the help

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Around my area there is a developer building, what some people might consider "Starter Houses." They have a way of cutting the price by a few nickles & dimes by cutting some big corners: The most obvious is the attached garage only having drywall on the walls which connect to the house.

My grandfather always told us: "If your going to do a job, do it right." If your going to build a house, build a complete one.

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Hi,

While I personally think that the builder is being a putz for taking that stance, I think it is the builder's business and not our's. Bathroom toilet paper rolls and towel racks are not fixtures, they are appurtenances - basically accessories to the bathroom - and are technically options. Ever look at the sticker on a new car and notice that they charge you for every rinky-dink gizmo on the car that doesn't make the car go back and forth, stop and shelters you from the weather? That's basically what the builder is doing, and, maybe to that builder it is good business sense, and if you get into the middle of it you'll be getting into an area that you should consider unrelated to the inspection.

Unless you've been seen a copy of the purchase and sale contract between the builder and the buyer, and you know that it specifically spells out that a towel rack and toilet paper holder will be included in the baths, or you are under some kind of wacky home inspection law that requires you to report about such things (I've got the Texas requirements in mind), you should not be writing up missing accessories as a deficiency. In fact, the first thing that many homeowners do when they move in is to remove the cheap, spec-grade toilet paper holder and towel racks and replace them with those of their own choosing.

My Dad has been building homes for more than 50 years. I can tell you from experience, buyers will nickel and dime a builder to death, if he or she allows them to do it. I don't think that we home inspectors should be getting into stuff like that. If it isn't germane to what we do - Structure, Exterior, Roof, Site, Foundation, Heating System, Electrical System, Plumbing, AC System, Insulation and Ventilation, Attics, Fireplaces and Woodstoves, Interior - I think we should keep our nose out of it and not editorialize.

OK, I know you might argue that it's part of the interior, but there is no requirement in any standard to report on that kind of thing - and for good reason. The SOP's require us to describe any interior components or finishes and inspect walls, ceilings and floors, steps, stairways and railings, countertops and a representative number of cabinets, a representative number of doors and windows and the garage doors and automatic garage operators. Nothing in there says we are to inspect and report on the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room accessories. Once we start that, where does the line get drawn?

If the buyer wants a towel rack and toilet paper holder, he or she can insist on that without making you the heavy. When you become the heavy for nonsensical stuff, you reinforce a builder's perception of all home inspectors as being clueless idiots that inspect homes because they couldn't make it in the construction world (Believe me, that's how many of them perceive us.).

I'd tell the homeowner that I personally sympathize with him or her, but I'd also explain that they are appurtenances, completely outside the scope of a home inspection, and tell the buyer to review the purchase and sale contract and reinforce it, as necessary, with the builder.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Tell your client to go look at the model. If the items are installed there and there not labeled as options then they can tell the builder that they want the same style as in the model. If he fails to provide them then it's false advertising.

However, it is very likely that your client will not like what is in the model and then they can go buy their own.

Don't get any further involved unless they are paying you to do so.

that's my two cents.

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No such law (about accessories) in the Texas book. In fact we specifically exclude cabinets, floor coverings, etc. Nothing prevents them from being reported on, but nothing requires it. About the only strange thing for most people outside the state would be reporting on the oven temperature.

There is no national requirement for building codes. Texas only recently approved a default building code as part of a builders home warranty law, but there is no enforcement or inspection at the time of construction for areas outside of a city or county that has adopted a building code and enforcement.

I second the vote on reporting on the structural and mechanical systems. Sympathize with the buyers, but don't report an the lack of optional items. No code requires toilet paper holders, not a life or safety issue. Now common sense is a different animal.

Jim

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Other things that where missing where ARC Fault breakers and smoke detectors in the bed rooms. There is no model home. This is a small subdivision.

I have to have info to back something up before I write it up. Most of the new homes I see has the holders installed. I did not tell my client that they are suppose to be there. I said I see them in most new homes that I inspected. Unless I find some thing that says they are to be there I will not say anything in my report.

The home is outside the city of Tuscaloosa which the builder and the subs also work in and the city is under 2003 IRC.

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Adding to the problem (noted in Jim's input above)are the builders "out in the county" who oft-times feel they are under 'no rules'. It is a fine line we balance when it comes to the basic fundamentals as noted in the IRC.

The amenities (IE: tp holders) are like paint color, carpet style, etc. They technically don't impact the "functionality" of the home.

On "new home finals" I'll help clients by advising them to be watchful and critical with their punch list as they do their final walk with builder.

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This subject is nothing new. Back in the late 60's to early 70' medicine cabinets where standard in all homes in this area. When the builders made them optional and then quit installing them completly, there was a major stink. Which eventuaally gave way to being accepted as the norm.

Tom Barber in VA

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Great thread!

My 2 cents conjured up after considering what has been said.

An amenity is an enticement. It may come in the form of an accessory or an appurtenance that is intended for the greater enjoyment of the fixture etc. i.e. an affixed toilet roll holder or towel bars are accessories if affixed are provided for the greater enjoyment of the fixture (the wall or cabinet or bathroom) but are not functionally necessary as one can always employ a free standing toilet roll holder or towel rack etc.

Fixtures are considered functionally necessary, a sink, a toilet, a tub a bathroom door, a light fixture but not the mirror, medicine cabinet, toilet roll holder and towel bars etc.

What this thread clarified for me is that we are in the business of inspecting fixtures or rather the aspects that make something a fixture but not the aspects of a fixture that are accessory to it.

Chris, Oregon

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Hi,

I have a way to make this clear to folks up front. I tell them that I'm there to inspect the house - not the accessories. Then I make them understand it by using the analogy of their automobile.

I point out that if they bring their car to the shop to get it checked over and obtain a list from their mechanic about what's wrong and should be corrected, their mechanic will inform them about bad brakes and tires, if the engine needs a tune up or the oil changed, whether there are bad shocks or loose ball joints or wheel bearings, whether the muffler needs replacement, etc., but the mechanic won't care about the radio or cd player in the dashboard, whether the radio or cd player has good reception or performs well, or whether the auto-dimming mirror is functional, the upholstery is torn or whether the fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror are straight.

They get it right away and I almost never have to waste precious time discussing nonsensical stuff.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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