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Many people are using gravel and stone around their properties these days. Instead of mulching with organic material they are using rock gardens and all that kind of stuff.

These non-organic materials like stone and gravel are extremely permeable and allow water to sift straight down to the grade underneath.

The problem I see is how can an inspector verify the true grade underneath these permeable materials?

Positive grade away from the foundation is very important. Do any of you recognize this situation and when you do, how do you respond?

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You are right on the money about improper grading below stone.

This includes under stone under concrete.

Recently I had to resolve a situation where new concrete was installed over a stone bed without proper grading below. The concrete was sloped "perfectly" away from the house, when it rained the water ran off the concrete and right back under and into the house.

I ended up removing a portion of the concrete, removed the stone, sculpted a "sink" as a low spot to collect the water and diverted it via a drain pipe to where it would run off properly.

I would include in the report that you have no way of determining if the grade below the stone is properly graded.

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Steven,

Then you need a statement that:

- you have no way of knowing whether all of the downspout receivers are connected to one another and to drainage

- you have no way of determining if the footing drains are properly installed

- you have no way of determining if the sewer line is properly installed

- you have no way of determining whether the main water line is properly installed

- you have no way of determining the condition of the footings

- you have no way of determining condition of wiring in walls, ceilings and floors

- you have no way of determining condition of plumbing in walls, ceilings and floors

- you have no way of inspecting the ceilings in the attic because they're under insulation

- you have no way of knowing if there's insulation in every single wall cavity

- you have no way of knowing if there's underlayment anywhere under the field of the roof except at the perimeter

- you have no way of knowing etc, etc, etc.

Where does it end? The whole purpose of the pre-inspection briefing and contract explanation and signing is to make people understand and agree to the limitations of the inspection. I don't think there's anything to be gained by filling a report up with disclaimers that are self-evident.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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If you subscribe to a particular standard of practice, either include the applicable portion of the SOP at the top and bottom of each section or simply hand the client a copy of the SOP. There's no need to waste time beating a dead horse.

Devwave does that with their Inspect Express report format. They've basically paraphrased the requirements of each section of whichever SOP is being used and placed these at the beginning and end of each section in fine print. That portion at the beginning of the section says what the inspector is required to do, that at the end of the section reiterates what he is not required to do. It's in fine print. The way it's formatted, it's there if the customer needs it and it doesn't waste the writer's time trying to re-write it for every different house or circumstance.

The IE landscaping and drainage section says at the beginning(underlining is mine), "our inspectors are required to inspect walkways, patios and driveways leading to entrances and the vegetation, grading, surface drainage and retaining walls when they are likely to adversely affect the residence." At the end of the section, it says, "Our inspectors are NOT required to inspect or report on the presence or condition of fences or erosion control. Earth stabilization measures, and geological, geo-technical and hydrological conditions are likewise not inspected or reported."

That sums up for the reader what they'll do and not do. There's also a whole other exclusions page in the front of the report that's also done in fine print. Why sit there and worry about disclaiming stuff when it's already there and complies with one's standard?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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That's a good point, Scott. During the pre-inspection portion when I get to the paragraph in the pre-inspection agreement that discusses latent defects, I always point out that I don't have x-ray vision and I'm not a swami, so there're going to be things that I can't possibly see or know about.

If you're got a properly prepared report format and pre-inspection contract, and spend some time to go over the contract with the client, and make sure that he or she understands what you're going to do, what you won't do and what to do in the event they think you haven't done what you're supposed to have done, you pretty much eliminate any need to even think about disclaimers when you're writing because it's all been covered multiple times.

If you spend half your time pointing out potentials that you can't be responsible for, because you can't see them, you can end up looking like a weasel doing damage control before there's any damage discovered.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 3 months later...
Originally posted by hausdok

That's a good point, Scott. During the pre-inspection portion when I get to the paragraph in the pre-inspection agreement that discusses latent defects, I always point out that I don't have x-ray vision and I'm not a swami, so there're going to be things that I can't possibly see or know about.

If you're got a properly prepared report format and pre-inspection contract, and spend some time to go over the contract with the client, and make sure that he or she understands what you're going to do, what you won't do and what to do in the event they think you haven't done what you're supposed to have done, you pretty much eliminate any need to even think about disclaimers when you're writing because it's all been covered multiple times.

If you spend half your time pointing out potentials that you can't be responsible for, because you can't see them, you can end up looking like a weasel doing damage control before there's any damage discovered.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

I do the same thing - I jokingly tell them that I am not wearing my cape today and can't see inside walls, underground, etc. we can all see the same thing it is just that inspectors have had more experience interpreting the view.

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Too much time disclaiming, not enough looking.

Scrape the stone away in a couple spots & check it out. You should be able to make a respectable determination about what's going on (or not going on...).

I "cheat" all the time; I just don't do anything that'd cause permanent damage, or allow anyone to see me slicing & dicing my into things.

It's like the electrical panel cover that's taped in place. One can disclaim the panel, or one can cut the tape w/their sneaky razor knife.

If you aren't comfortable doing this, don't do it. If you want to have reports full of accurate statements, get sneaky.

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I'm in Kurt's camp and, only once, did a seller call to raise a stink because I sliced the wallpaper border that slithered around her electrical panel. When she finally stopped moaning to take a breath I asked her how much she thought a repair would cost. Fifteen dollars, was her response. I told her I'd send her a check for twenty if she promised never to call me again.

Another way to not-really-break-the-rules, John, is to pull out carpets in the corners of basements you suspect may have water problems. The tack strips can speak volumes. Reinstall the carpet with a good ol' multi-purpose flat-head screwdriver.

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I know most of you guys make fun of these lengthy dis-claimers but dare one of you to show me a short two sentence contract.

I do not think there is any doubt that everyone in this room has at the very minumum a full page contract full of disclaimers.

It might be funny to say I am not a psychic, "but I do not need to be a mind reader to know a contract not filled with dis-claimers will be chewed up and spit out in court".

These are the times we live in.

You even need to click "I agree " every time you download a simple piece of software.

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I always make it a point to disclaim what was present on a specific, given job, but was not inspected. I do that with one catch-all sentence at the end of the report. Most, if not all of it, is normally covered in the pre-inspection agreement, but clients don't remember that stuff. I prefer to add a short, specific reminder in the report, rather than invoke my PIA later (when they're already unhappy).

If I did a house where I was really concerned about the "uninspectable" grade, I would say so in the appropriate section of the report. I don't consider that a disclaimer. I call that a "heads-up". I think what works against an HI are the disclaimers that look and read like disclaimers, instead of being informative and useful.

Brian G.

CYA As We Know It Is Mostly BS [:-alien]

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Heck, I got disclaimers in the contract, on the 2nd page of the report where I indicate restrictions to access & specific exclusions, and throughout the report.

Honest, I don't think they mean squat. They're going to make the guy that thinks I owe him a new dishwasher because his old one broke go away, but they aren't going to do one damn thing for the major defect I didn't find because I didn't go the extra step to find something out.

BTW, Bain's thing of pulling the carpet back in bsmt's. to check out the tack strip is a pro shot. Tack strips are great telltales.

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