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Flat Roof Question


randynavarro
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Hi Randy,

Looks like granule-coated modbit. Is that right? I'm guessing there was a repair done there. If it's bonded properly and there aren't any leaks or lifting laps, I'd note the repair in the report and move on to the next item.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Randy,

Looks like granule-coated modbit. Is that right? I'm guessing there was a repair done there. If it's bonded properly and there aren't any leaks or lifting laps, I'd note the repair in the report and move on to the next item.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

I'd do the same as Mike.

I've also just got to say that I hate plain overlapping seams on the metal coping atop parapets.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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How about,

Stains in this area indicate a low spot where water will pool.

Light pooling of water is not uncommon in flat roofs and these areas will require additional maintenance over time.

The evidence is clear that at least one repair was already made in this area.

I recommend keeping a close watch on the interior area underneath this location to watch for any signs of leaks and repair if needed.

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Okay, so here's the skinny.

Inspection was done over a year ago. Client calls says roof is leaking in the same spot. She's very cordial and amicable but frustrated and wants to know what recourse she has with my company. We talk. She says that they're looking at $30,000 in overall repairs.

I tell her to call the roof company to see what warranties they would honor because it alreaddy leaked once.

Guy from the roof company says there's not enough slope and they would never put a roof on that didn't have enough slope--they won't warranty the roof install. "Its the builder's fault and your home inspector clearly should have called it."

Client also says they had a home with a flat roof in Oregon and swore they would never buy a flat roof again--she's well aware of the inherent problems.

I reported that the roof had been patched and she needs to ask the sellers why. I also reported that the roof was in good condition, fairly new and there was sufficient slope; "the builder even added extra dams to divert water into the drains".

The weak link: this report was written over a year ago. Between you, me and the fencepost, the language in my reporting even just a year ago was weak--not horrible, but mamby-pamby and indirect. I led them to believe that the roof wouldn't have problems for the next 4-7 years.

I will probably post the report language here for review by all, especially you expert witnesses. There's plenty of CYA wording in there that, on paper, really relieves me from liability. But I feel it would be good, especially for anyone struggling with bad report writing. Let it be an example!!

Fortunately, as mentioned, this is very cordial. They do not want to sue me. They simply want a refund of their inspection fee, which in this case is quite sizable because its a large home.

On principal, I do not want to give it to them. I discovered it, they knew about and didn't follow up, BUT my report language wasn't clear.

I want to do the right thing.

My next steps are to disseminate:

1) Is the roof install bad and should I have called it as such?

2) Should I just give the money back ($745) to make it all go away.

3) Should I offer half the money back, with a detailed letter explaining my position and possibly open the door to a suit / claim?

4) Should I not give anything and be prepared to go to battle(If they get disgruntled)

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Guy from the roof company says there's not enough slope and they would never put a roof on that didn't have enough slope--they won't warranty the roof install. "Its the builder's fault and your home inspector clearly should have called it."
I'm not sure I'm following this. The guy who installed that cover is saying that the roof doesn't have enough pitch and he would never have installed a cover on one without sufficient pitch - yet he did; or is this another roofer who is saying that?

S'funny how the home inspector always should have discovered it. You saw a patched roof and reported it. For all you knew, whoever patched it was supposed to be competent. Unfortunately, you didn't know who that person was at the time of the inspection; so you couldn't call him and talk to him, and your crystal ball was broken at the time. So you reported it to the client. The client had a flat roof, swore she'd never have another, yet, when you told her that roof had been patched, she never bothered to have a roof guy come out to proffer an opinion, even knowing that the roof had already been repaired. So, did she somehow have the idea that a home inspection substitutes for a homeowners warranty, because that's what it sounds like.

$30,000? Not in a million years. She's bluffing. I think she's got a bid to repair the roof and the guy who's going to fix it is going to do it for your inspection fee or less. She's just figured out how to get it done for free is all. The roofer who's making the noise is trying to get himself a roof job. If he can't get the whole thing, he'll patch it without a warranty for your inspection fee.

I could be wrong - have been lots of times - but I bet I'm in the ballpark.

Then again, maybe I'm just a natural born cynic.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks Mike.

Roofing rep works for the same company that installed the roof but wasn't working for them at the time the job was done.

She mentioned $30K. I didn't get the details. There's drywall and interior repair. I know that number is WAY too high. I just said "ok" on moved on to the next item of discussion.

I'm focused on keeping this amicable and ultimately resolved!

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She's got homeowner's insurance. It will pay for the damage to the interior of her home but not for the roof repair. The roof rep needs to go back to his boss and say, "Hey Boss, Joey over there screwed the pooch and we need to step up to the plate," not try to slough it off on you.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Hmmmm, is there a minimum pitch for modbit or torch down? I thought that was the material of choice for nearly flat roofs.

Randy, these situations suck, you want to do the right thing but don't want to get screwed.

Do you have E&O? If so, I would let them deal with it since the potential liability is supposedly $30000. Personally, I would rather pay a $1000 deductable than give back an undeserved $745. If they decide to settle, they will have her sign a liability waiver. She may be happier with the outcome too (or not) and you don't have to worry anymore. If you don't have E&O, I would adamantly deny any responsibility if there weren't signs of leakage when you inspected. I would feel that whoever did the patch is responsible for the repair and liability. Or perhaps the homeowner should foot the bill, what a novel concept!

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She's facing $30,000 in repairs, but she's willing to settle with you for $745. Uh-huh. My first instinct is to agree with Mike, but the actual report language might sway me otherwise. And no matter what the ultimate truth may be, is it better to settle quick & cheap and just keep going? In the end only you can answer that one. Tough question.

I appreciate your honesty about last year's reporting Randy, but if you wind up in court anything posted here may show up there. You may want to ask Mike to nuke this thread if you decide to stand firm. It is a good object lesson though; write strong reports now or step in front of the bullseye later. [:-wiltel]

And I detest flat roofs in general. Thankfully they're pretty rare in residential construction around here.

Brian G.

Basic Principles That Work: Slope to Drain at the Roof, Overhang, Overlap, Clearance, and Sloped to Drain at the Ground [:-thumbu]

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No!

Bad advice. Do not even call your insurance company and do not give her the name of your E & O provider. She could be looking for a payday, hoping that you'll do just that. Giver her the fee back, but not until you've got a signed hold harmless agreement in hand that says that no matter what else happens to that home, you are off the hook. After all, it has been over a year. If she doesn't want to do that, tell her that you did your job, tell her to re-read the pre-inspection contract and politely hang up.

I once called my insurance company when I knew a lady was trying to take me for a ride. They sent out an investigator. He agreed with me 100% and told me that they had turned down her claim. I never heard another thing from her. About 4-5 months later, I got a bill from them for the entire deductible. I called them up and asked them what the hell was going on. Seems that even when they don't pay out on a bogus claim, they still bill the insured for their trouble. I was mad as hell.

Then, to add insult to injury, they called me up months later and said that the thing was still not resolved; and asked me whether I would agree that they should give her a full refund of her fee, so they could close the thing on their books. Talk about pissed; I was damned near speechless. I told them to do whatever the f**k they wanted and hung up. My E & O went up 50% that year and the insurance company made a net profit of $650 off of a blatantly bogus claim which they knew was a lie.

You should call Gil Stewart and ask him to talk to you "off the record."

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I have to say, I have had completely the opposite experience. The one time I had an issue like this, I gave them the ins. info and stepped out of it, I figured that was what I was paying them for (my god, why else are we paying these premiums?). They handled everything. Yes, i did end up paying the deductable, they settled for some reduced amount, I never heard from them again and my rates did not go up.

Maybe it depends on the Ins. Company.

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Originally posted by homnspector

Hmmmm, is there a minimum pitch for modbit or torch down?

Great question. You can see from the photo that there is visible pitch. As I've mentioned, the builder (or roofer) even added those diversion dams-something I'm not use to seeing on flat roofs around here.

I thought that was the material of choice for nearly flat roofs.

Good point. They call 'em flat for a reason

Do you have E&O?

Yes I do, but as Mike has mentioned, they're not going to get a whiff of this if I can help it.

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I have not looked this up since I have had no complaints since starting my own business (serious knock on wood concern here) , but at least with my insurance company I read that I had to notify them of any complaints that may end up being a problem. If you want the exact wording I could read through the book of paperwork they sent me (boring). The paperwork basically said that I would not be covered if they were not notified in a timely manner. My insurance company is FREA.

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The E & O should be used as a last resort only. I learned that the hard way.

We have literally thousands of new guys diving into this business head first and they have folks tell them, "No problem, just get E & O. If you screw up, you can call your insurance company and everything will be fine, " when that's not the case. The first time they have a complaint, they call their insurance company and the insurance companies are paying out practically everything out-of-court, because these claims are usually too small to make it worth it to them to fight them. In the end, that ends up driving up the rates for all home inspectors.

E & O is for the type of thing that can take your home, your kid's college fund, put you into bankruptcy and ruin your future. It shouldn't be used for small claims and a roof leak is a small claim.

We need to learn to deal with them, without running to our insurance company every time someone squawks. Then, if the situation escalates and looks like it might end up in a court situation, think twice before we make that call.

Just my opinion - worth the price charged.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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FREA, same here Brandon. I have no complaints about how they handled things, except that they paid for a portion of a bogus claim, but that is not really my concern, its theirs. As long as my rates didn't go up. I'm OK with that (course the $1000 deductable kinda sucked) but with me, like with Randy it was a $750 inspection so I wasn't too much in the hole. FREA will not drop you or increase your premium at least for one claim as far as I can tell. I guess my feeling at the time was why should I deal with it? I have better things to do. Let the experts determine who was at fault.

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Returning the inspection fee could be viewed as admiting guilt an lead the way to a law suit. I wouldnt turn over a dime based on a phone conversation alone? I would stand by my work intill there was at least a serious written threat. Then I would think hard about how to handle it. If the insurance does not require you to report complaints, I would keep them out of it. One thing for sure, never disclose your limits of liability in terms of dollar amount. Sometimes even having insurance is an invatation for a law suit.

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