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John,

Did you ever have an aquarium that had a tube heater in the water? I guess you could call it a water heater, but would not describe it as a hot water heater. Hot is qualitative - I think my wife is hot!!

The device/appliance can be described as a hot water storage tank that utilizes a burner or element to heat and store water for domestic use. Mostly, for me, calling a water heater a hot water heater tells me the speaker either mis-spoke or is not knowledgeable.

Exceptions abound; solid fuel burning device vs wood stove, doors and windows vs fenestration, collector vs plenum, stairs vs steps, etc.. You don't have to always use the fifty cent description, but when examined/questioned, you must know the difference.

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If you find a contravention of code, standard or instruction, how do you write it up?

I have up till this point simply said something along the lines of "so and so was not correct, it was not correct because it was required by c/s/i to be so." Then say something like "correct it so that it meets the c/s/i."

Per this discussion that is not the proper way to write it up.

Chris, Oregon

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I often report that items are not installed per the manufacturers guidelines and if I have the Blueprints, I will say that "The ___ is not built per the architects design criteria on the Blueprints".

In a normal home inspection I don't always tell why and item is not correct or how to repair it.

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I guess my question more pointedly is should we avoid referencing codes as the reason why someting should be repaired in our work with respect to doing normal home inspections?

I am not talking about obvious functional and safety issues here.

I can think of a number of common contraventions that are not likely to lead to functional or even real safety issues.

I just am having trouble imagining a way of writing them up when in my opinion its not justified except that it arbitraily there in the code etc.

I imagine someone out there has slick way of writing such things up without it sounding like code enforcement.

Chris, Oregon

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Just curious...

If one says "electrical panelboard" instead of "panelboard enclosure", I could see a slight credibility problem in court,'cause one thing ain't the other.

However, if one says "hot water heater" versus "water heater", what else could one mean? Everyone would know what you mean. What else could you mean? How does that create potential confusion? I don't see a problem saying "hot water heater".

I remember correcting a Client about this years ago. Won't ever again...he thought I was a wise-ass.

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Originally posted by Chris Bernhardt

I guess my question more pointedly is should we avoid referencing codes as the reason why someting should be repaired in our work with respect to doing normal home inspections?

Yes. I think it's a mistake to use a code citation as the reason for fixing a thing. It's better to explain the practical consequences of why a thing is wrong. Done well, this educates the reader.

Now on a new or recent house or on a house that's been recently renovated, I see nothing wrong with citing a code section as a source for your opinion about why a thing is wrong. But it's just that: a source. It's like a footnote or reference to provide some credibility to your opinion. These kinds of citations are particularly useful with certain issues that are commonly misunderstood or with issues that you know will meet with claptrap from the builder. By giving a reference up-front, you anticipate and undercut silly excuses and arguments ahead of time.

I am not talking about obvious functional and safety issues here.

I can think of a number of common contraventions that are not likely to lead to functional or even real safety issues.

I just am having trouble imagining a way of writing them up when in my opinion its not justified except that it arbitrarily there in the code etc.

Your opinion is the key.

If, in your opinion, something isn't worthy of repair you should have the nuts to say so. Just be sure that you can defend that position. If, in your opinion, something ought to be repaired, you should be able to explain why using practical and convincing reasoning. And if you can cite a relevant code section to back up your opinion on occasion, that's a good thing -- particularly on new or recent construction.

Spouting code just for the hell of it makes you sound like a taciturn schoolmarm.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi Jerry,

I agree, it's splitting hairs over a non-issue. In different parts of the country, some things have different names and that's a fact one has to recognize and get used to. In some places, they're "gutter troughs" while in others they're "gutters". In some places they're "downspouts" while in others they're "leaders". In some areas it's called "Window flashings" while in others it's called "window splines". In some areas, they're called "head flashings" while in others they're called "cap flashings". In some areas, it's known as a "rim board", while in others it's a "rim joist" or a "band joist."

It's a water heater and it's also a hot water heater. Run the hot water and cold water enters the tank to get heated. However, if you don't run the hot water at all, after a while the water in the tank gradually cools to a set point and then the heater kicks on and the already-hot water is re-heated to the maximum temperature setting, though it's still pretty hot. So, it is in fact a hot water (re)heater. As regards this one piece of terminology, I think it's making a mountain out of a mole hill and that's what I'd personally tell any attorney who tried to use that kind of a faux pas as currency in court.

I've spent a lot of time on witness stands word fencing with defense attorneys over criminal cases and never had one beat me yet. I don't think it would be that much different in this gig. Their mission is to try and make it look like what you wrote could have been misconstrued to the point where the client gets to blame you for having said the wrong thing. It's just a matter of keeping your cool and calmly explaining any distinctions and why it was impossible for anyone to misconstrue what you said or wrote.

I'm not concerned that if I ever have to deal with a litigator in court for a home inspection issue that I won't be able to handle their inane little attacks and make anyone listening understand exactly what's being said.

But that's me, I suppose. Others' mileage may vary.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I agree with the limited use idea, but application of it is a personal comfort thing. The only cite I have in my boilerplate is for the "one neutral per terminal" thing, because violating it seems to be a religion with electricians around here. After the third time one refused to correct the wiring after being called out, I started citing the NEC and UL references. I don't know how much difference it makes in getting the job done, but it stopped clients from calling me back when sparky said I was full of it...they already know better.

I've also used code in consulting cases where a job was done under a certain code, but wasn't done TO code and the homeowner couldn't get the contractor to make it right. If you're looking at last year's roofing job it doesn't matter how old the house is.

And while I'm not in favor of lots of code cites on typical resale inspections, there's little doubt, if any, that in the future codes will be more and more important to home inspectors. Code adotion will continue to spread, contractors won't get a lot smarter or more vigilant, and lawyers won't change a lick.

Brian G.

Human Nature + Housing Industry = Job Security For Smart HI's [^]

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There seems to be a common theme in this thread - knowledge/education.

Mike, I like your tepid or tempered or warm water re-heater thought!

Jim, I think you hit the nail on the head! They are paying you for your opinion and you need to know how you got that "opinion".

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Jerry,

That was my question (above). I guess like I said, a water heater technically heats cold water to make it hot, so it is not a HOT water heater, it makes the COLD water hot. I know from going to court for a friend of mine that the other person's attorney will disect every word you say on tne stand so you have to speak precisely.

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Originally posted by bandag

Jerry,

That was my question (above). I guess like I said, a water heater technically heats cold water to make it hot, so it is not a HOT water heater, it makes the COLD water hot. I know from going to court for a friend of mine that the other person's attorney will disect every word you say on tne stand so you have to speak precisely.

Should one wish to be really precise, there is no such thing as *cold*; just degrees of heat. Ain't no degrees of cold.

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Have you ever heard of a house fire because the B-vent was in contact with the drywall ceiling?

That is impossible to occur. But there it is. Arbitrarily.

What about in contact with insulation?

Now I did read somewhere on IN that non-uniform temperatures caused by stuff in contact with the B-vent could cause venting issues but I don't think that is what the guys who wrote the listing had in mind.

The 1" separation is arbitrary. Engineering wise you could set some performance guidelines that based the separation on the expected extreme temperatures of the vent and the flammability of the material adjacent to it but that would require to much thinking.

Get my point?

Chris, Oregon

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