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Some #$%^&ing people! The following is a transcript of a recent email correspondence. The names have been omited, to protect the ^%$#@s:

(sent to my website contact form on 12/24/06)

Comments: We just bought a home in AZ. From day 1, we have heard

'popping noises' in ceilings and walls. We have had a structural

engineer out who was unable to find a problem. If I hire you, what are

the chances you can find the problem. The noises are intermittent day

and night, but worse in the early morning and often sound like a rock

hitting the home. I need an inspection which can detect the problem so

the builder will help us with it. The builder has also been unable to

find the problem. The noise is not related to the furnace or plumbing.

The noise is louder over the vaulted ceiling. Have you ever heard of

such a phenomenon? Thank you, XXXX

Response sent later that evening- Yes, on Christmas friggin-Eve!!!)

In order to tell you, with 100% certainty, what the problem is, there would have to be some "destructive testing" done. This means cutting holes in various places to see what is causing the problem. This is beyond the scope of a home inspection.

That being said, I'm pretty sure what the problem is. Your ceiling/wall system is built with trusses. Metal clips ("L" shaped fasteners) are used to fasten the walls to the bottom cords of the trusses. These clips

are designed to let the trusses flex and move from expansion/contraction and general settling. Proper installation of the clips would allow the movement to be relatively silent.

You're problem is most likely that the clips were installed improperly and/or the walls are too close to the trusses. The connection binds when the trusses move. In order to eliminate the problem, the clips need to be "relieved" or the top plates of the walls (where the meet the

trusses) trimmed.

Merry Christmas! Chris Prickett

(Reply- sent on 12/25)

Chris,

I just thought of one more thing. When we moved in to the house, we installed travertine tile flooring in all the home except the 3 bedrooms and bedroom closets. It is a 1300 sq. ft home and we covered about 75% of the home with the floor tiles. We also removed the wood floor trim and added 5" travertine trim to the walls which was grouted/attached to the floor tile. Could this restrict the movement of the home at the slab level enough to cause this problem? Could you recommend someone to help me inspect this problem. Unfortunately my home warranty is expiring Jan 1, 2007. Thanks for everything. Happy Holidays, XXXX

(My Response on 12/25)

You can schedule an inspection with our office, call 555 555 5555. Ask to book with YYYY, he’s our warranty expert. We should have an availability that works for you this week. As long as you get the issues documented before your warranty expires, you should be in good shape.

Even though you’re going through a very frustrating time, I recommend that you try to work with the builder. Just make sure you document every conversation and meeting, and get everything you can in writing.

I don’t think your flooring is an issue, but that doesn’t mean the builder won’t try to throw that theory out, to see if it sticks!

I wish I could be more help, but I’m recovering from a hernia surgery (yeah, my second double friggin' hernia on 12/22) , and I’m out of comission for another few weeks.

Chris Prickett

(Her Response)

Chris,

I thank you so very much for your input. The fact that you took the time to communicate with me during the holidays is greatly greatly appreciated. I have an email into the builder right now, if he is not willing to send anyone out on their behalf, I will call your office. What would be the charge for the inspection?

Best wishes on a very quick recovery.

Most sincerely, XXXX

(I sent her my pricing, which is just a bit higher-$50 or so, than the average Joe. Heard nothing more. Then yesterday I got a the following email from a competitor who had attended one of my new construction seminars)

Chris,

I know you are busy guy and I hope you don't mind my questions. I really appreciate the time you take to give me your opinion. I recently had a call from a man whose house is popping and cracking so loud that it wakes him and his wife from there sleep virtually every morning at the same time. It is a typicall stucco home about 1 to 2 years old. The side of the house that is popping is the west side. I went up in the attic and found nothing unusual other that some tight fitting stack vents making contact with the sheating for the roof. I realize the west and south sides of a house can makes some noises due to the sun raising the temperature of the stucco. The only thing I can think of is that the scissor trusses have not been fastened to the top plate of the wall with proper metal ties that allow for the movement during "truss uplift". If these walls were" nailed only" do you feel this would cause the popping during movement? Thanks, ZZZZ

(I basically cut a pasted the same opinion I gave the "client" and asked if it was, perhaps, the same person- then got back his reply)

Chris,

That is so funny, yes it is XXXX. Thanks for the feedback. Knowing that my theories were in line with someone as experienced as you is great to know! (gee, maybe because that's what I taught you six months ago, and spoon-fed the homeowner) What would you typically charge for an inspection like that? I know I need to raise my prices.

(My response)

ZZZZ, Since I quoted her on an inspection, actually she said she was going to hire us, I really don't want to get into offering price consultation to someone who's competing for my business. Hope you understand. (that's about as nice as I could possibly be, considering)

(Then I felt the need to send XXXX one last note)

XXXX,

Just to let you know, some the other inspectors you are soliciting are calling me asking me what my opinion is on your house problems. Home inspection is a tight knit community, and many inspectors in this area have attended my seminars on new construction inspection. While I’m a bit disappointed that you would price shop after I took to the time help you, I’ll give you one final bit of free advice: You get what you pay for. You’ll definitely save a few bucks hiring the cheaper inspector, but if he has to call me to diagnose the problem, what are you really saving?

All the best! Chris Prickett

(End of correspondence)

Well, I guess it comes with the territory...

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The same thing used to happen to me when I owned a construction company. People wanted to interview me and hear my ideas about an addition or similar large project, which almost always required design time back at the office. Several times, after never hearing from the potential clients again, I'd later drive by the house in question and see a Bubba and his half-wit son building the addition that I'd spent time designing for the homeowners, who no doubt wanted to spend less money than I had quoted them.

In bidness school, they teach that the pro bono, initial consultation is recouped "in the back end" of the deal. But the same analogy also holds true when you waste your time and knowledge with unappreciative a*sholes.

John

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Originally posted by chrisprickett

You gonna be hangin' at IW, sparky?

Nope, but I'm gonna miss the gang, dammit.

I signed a contract for 49, count 'em, 49 walk in health clinics here in the Big Dirty, and they want the reports now, or sooner.

Too busy to go west, young man.

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