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Michael Brown

Home Inspector Licensing

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Mike, Scott & Others:

If it sounded like my shorts are bunched, I'm sorry. But although I've waved the ASHI Flag for the past 20 years, the politics over there has gotten way too much for me to tolerate or overlook.

Yes the industry owes them a lot, but the past few years we've seen things come up that any intelligent person would puke over. One of these many issues is ASHI rating state licensing laws. Who is ASHI's Legislative Committee - other HI's just like us. Who is ASHI's Legislative Committee - ASHI.

Does stuff like mandatory insurance make a good licensing law?? BS - I have licenses as a Lead Inspector, Septic Inspector, Septic Installer, Asbestos Inspector, Termite Inspector, HVAC Contractor, Plumbing Contractor, Home Builder and none of them have yet required INSURANCE for my licensing.

Although most of us up north get queezy thinking about using a mandatory checklist like in Texas - overall their standards are more stringent where it counts than most anyone elses. For the Non-Texans out there, in Texas if you were inspecting a 60 year old house, you would be required to report an electrical outlet without a GFCI, next to a sink - as "In Need of Repair". They've got a bunch of that type of safety issues, where they don't leave it to the HI to see if he wants to call it an upgrade or not mention it at all due to the age.

I call that stringent. So when I see guys getting all reved up because ASHI rated a law as good - my thoughts are - lets ask NAHI or TAREI or FABI or MAREI how they rate the laws. You think it would come out the same.

Dan Bowers

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Originally posted by DLRambo

Mike, Scott & Others:

Although most of us up north get queezy thinking about using a mandatory checklist like in Texas - overall their standards are more stringent where it counts than most anyone elses.

If I am not mistaken, Texas also requires that Inspectors check the accuracy of the oven temperature, in addition to a couple other nerdly items.

It sounds as if you are somewhat taken w/ the Texas approach; maybe I'm misinterpreting your viewpoint. While you are, on one hand, commending Texas for regulating the profession, you are, on the other hand, condemning other states for regulating the profession.

Explain, if possible, how it is all right for Texas to require various items & considerations in the report, but it is not all right for other States to require things like insurance as a means of protection against incompetent inspectors/inspection companies. Stating that "insurance doesn't work", or similar expulsions of insurance as an option, are not what I have in mind regarding explanation.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Dan,

whPretty kewl! Give the guy time and he's gonna make this thing fly like a Concorde.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Mike

If I am not mistaken the concorde is dead.[:-angel]

Captain out[:-banghead]

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Hmmmm, this thread drift is hung on technicalities; flight, no flight......[:-propeller]

I would like to second Mikes request to fill in the profiles; whenever I see a new member, I click on the their highlighted link to see who they are & where they're from. It's a nice way to show one is interested in the group AND it shows a modicum of respect for the efforts of the Mikes' in putting this place together.

Knowing who's who is also a way for us to verify what information goes up on the board; credibility is key when discussing technical issues. [:-magnify]

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Originally posted by DLRambo

For the Non-Texans out there, in Texas if you were inspecting a 60 year old house, you would be required to report an electrical outlet without a GFCI, next to a sink - as "In Need of Repair". They've got a bunch of that type of safety issues, where they don't leave it to the HI to see if he wants to call it an upgrade or not mention it at all due to the age.


I wouldn't want it on a checklist, but if you wanted to write that kind of thing into standards I'd be right behind you. At the same time, I wouldn't want to check the oven temp.


So when I see guys getting all reved up because ASHI rated a law as good...


I assume that would be me since I'm the one who has been quoting that ranking. Heck Dan, I just don't have anything else to go by. I'll be the first to admit I'm not familiar with the actual laws, so I can't compare them for myself. I also agree that ASHI's criteria is likely to be slanted by their particular perspective. I suspect one thing they discounted Texas for is using their own test instead of the NHIE; doesn't make it wrong, but it's not the ASHI way.

The insurance is mixed thing in my book, some good / some bad. If it weren't required, I wouldn't have it...but that's just me.

Brian G.

Lucky With the Law So Far [:-clover]

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Kurt -

Since I first started inspecting part-time in Texas in 1976, while still a Project Manager for a 5,000 house a year home builder - I'm more familiar with their Standards & Forms than I'd really like to be. The 1st 5 years I did HI's we checked Oven Temperatures - Don't have any reason or desire to do that again. Yes they've got some silly things like that in their Standards, but so does the big "A" (like checking counter-tops) - - but Texas also has some really good things for consumer protection, like making it mandatory that HI's call certain things defective and "In Need of Repair" like no GFCI's, or improperly installed water heaters in garages. Those type issues to me are 100% different than checking oven temperatures - and beside protecting a homeowner help keep the sleezy HI from not talking about significant safety issues.

Mandating E&O Insurance as part of a license law is also not in the same ballpark as Checking Oven Temperatures.

Say has any of the ASHI guys heard anything about some type of possible FTC complaint against ASHI. At a HI meeting I attended last week one of the other guys from St. Louis mentioned that they'd been told by someone in their ASHI group that possibly a Northern State's AG Office (he thought it was Michigan) had written ASHI over some type of complaint he used a word like restraint trade or ??).

Dan Bowers

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Hey Dan, thanks for responding.

Yes, there is something regarding the FTC & ASHI, but it has everything to do w/ silly politics & bent noses & nothing to do w/ anything of particular substance. Someone didn't get their way in an unreasonable situation, & decided to throw a tantrum. The rumor swirled around IW this afternoon. Ask someone else about details; it's too silly for me to waste time typing about it.

I'm gonna talk about the cool stuff @ IW; go to General Chit Chat for an up to date report...

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Kurt - Can't you get a really neat cartoon character like the other guys, instead of that old Lon Chaney photo of the Werewolf. My poor Rottweiler was laying on the floor by the computer the last time I fired it up and he saw that has been whimpering ever since.

Dan Bowers (Kansas City)

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Yea, the cave drawing was good, figured you made the original in first grade[:D]. Otherwise there is a drum photo available, since you made a name for yourself on the drums in new Mexico.[:-jester] Mike can we get Kurt a picture taken at an AARP dance, maybe he would like that instead.[:-jump][:-bonc01][:-jump2][:-bonc01][:-jump][:-bonc01][:-jump2]

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OK fellas; I've submitted some photos to Master Chief O'Handley. The Cocopelli avatar is now up for grabs (although I reserve the right to grab it back!), & Profile photo is now something other than a werewolf.

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Just a thought on mandatory licensing- In my opinion, it is the best thing that has happened to homebuyers since the "buyer beware" mentality got kicked out. E&O is a different thing altogether. I ask anyone who asks about E&O "why? Are you planning to sue me." E&O insurance is to protect the inspector from a litigious public, not the other way around.

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Licensing I believe is not a bad idea, In some respects it will weed out the wannbes' as well as putting the profession on a level playing field. Creating a standard to which all inspectors must meet. Perhaps I do not have room to speak since I am a "licensed" newbie to this profession. Re: ASHI, If I may make an example, 15+ years ago the automotive industry could not produce a car that could not last over 100K miles without major reapirs, the introduction of ISO/QS9000 as put vendors of the automotive industry on a level playing field by standardizing the methodology of manufacturing quality to the auto makers also weeding out the nonperformers. I feel that ASHI is the up and coming "ISO/QS" of the HI profession. I feel that with licensing and standardization of the profession we can all benifit in many ways, the nonperformers will drop out leaving the true professionals to groom and grow the business to a recognized standard. Think about it how many of you guys/gals are now driving or have driven vehicles with well over 100k miles? Perhaps being a newbie I have much to learn and I'm sure some ppl out there will let me know it. This is my opnion.

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Originally posted by rkmori

I feel that with licensing and standardization of the profession we can all benifit in many ways, the nonperformers will drop out leaving the true professionals to groom and grow the business to a recognized standard.

You have to love the unspolied idealism of a high-minded newbie. Ah the memories...

I hope we all live to see the day, but I'm sure some of the nonperformers will have to thrown out, kicking and screaming.

Welcome to the board and the profession Rex.

Brian G.

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Well, that's the general idea of all the licensing & ASHI work, but reality & ideas are pretty divergent right now. It's still pretty much a motley grab bag.

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Originally posted by admin

Should home inspector licensing be mandatory in every state? [:-wiltel]

At a minimum, HELL YES. Not to start a flame war, but personally, I believe that inspectors collecting money for their technical services should hold a professional engineer's license. And to take this up another notch, not to knock on all the other licensed PE's, but not only should you have an ABET accredited engineering degree and 4 years professional experience under a PE, I think you need to retake the NCEES PE exam every 4 years to hold your PE license. But, I guess I’m a hardass like that. To be a good in a technical background, you need education and/or experience. Both is better.

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Originally posted by Corners

Originally posted by admin

Should home inspector licensing be mandatory in every state? [:-wiltel]

I believe that inspectors collecting money for their technical services should hold a professional engineer's license. And to take this up another notch, not to knock on all the other licensed PE's, but not only should you have an ABET accredited engineering degree and 4 years professional experience under a PE, I think you need to retake the NCEES PE exam every 4 years to hold your PE license.

I thought this discussion was about ways making the industry better (including licensing) and protecting the consumer? Why would you want to water it down with a bunch of book learned, anal retentive types who's best summary of a building is "this home appears to be in average condition compared to other homes in the area of the same age and type"

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You have to draw the line somewhere, and a licensed professional engineer is the best way to assure that. Of the few houses I purchased, I required a PE inspect my home. There was just no other way, IMO. I guess you can look at it this way. If you’re sick, do you want to see the nurse or the doctor? Sure, the nurse may be fully capable of diagnosing routine illnesses or have several years experience as a competent nurse, but wouldn’t you rather see the doctor? If someone is going to state, “I see damage, so have this _______ inspected by a professional engineerâ€

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Originally posted by Corners

You have to draw the line somewhere, and a licensed professional engineer is the best way to assure that. Of the few houses I purchased, I required a PE inspect my home. There was just no other way, IMO. I guess you can look at it this way. If you’re sick, do you want to see the nurse or the doctor? Sure, the nurse may be fully capable of diagnosing routine illnesses or have several years experience as a competent nurse, but wouldn’t you rather see the doctor? If someone is going to state, “I see damage, so have this _______ inspected by a professional engineerâ€

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I think Kurt nailed it on the head when he said "Engineers understand vast amount of detail about a very tiny range of subjects."

That has been my experience as well.

We're blessed out the Yazoo with P.E.'s in Houston. I know several of them and have went along behind many of them. I've seen the work they do and from their reports, you can get a glimpse of their weeknesses and strengths.

My past time is collecting reports on actual homes that others have inspected. I like doing this because 1. Every once in a while I learn some good information and may see a better way of doing something 2. I see the strengths and weeknesses of other inspectors

I have as many bad inspection reports from P.E.'s as I do Joe Home Inspectors. Now some of these P.E.'s are the tops in certain fields. For instance, there are two that I would recommend to evaluate and design repairs for foundations any day of the week. They are really good at this. One even teaches a course in causes and effects of foundation failures. Hands down the best in the area on foundations if you ask me. However I've followed both of these guys on other homes and the rest of the report goes down hill after the foundation sections.

For example. One of the Realtors who uses my services called one day and asked if I knew a good P.E. Sure I said, "the same one I recommended to you Mom for her foundation." Their client wanted an engineer to look at the foundation before putting a contract on it. While he was out there, they thought it would be a good idea for him to inspect the mechanical, plumbing and electrical. (I had no idea that he even offered "home inspections" but found out differently later) Well, his comments on the furnaces was, and I quote his exact statements here, "Gas furnace; attic, blue flame, okay", "Water Heater; utility room, blue flame, heated water, okay", "Service Panel box; no discrepancies noted" It took him 4 days to get that report to them also.

The agent called me up almost in tears after getting his report and she told me what happed. Their option period was about to expire and she knew this was a bogus report. The Clients were upset. She paid me to go back out after getting an extension on the option period. The furnaces were 14 and 19 years old rust buckets, the Service Panel was a POS FPE with 3 breakers oversized for the wire size and the water heater was 12 years old with rust nearly up to the burner and corroded connections that looked like a science experiment. (I think the Sellers regretted giving that extension)

Now this guy has been an engineer for 17 years. Damn good foundation man but couldn't inspect or communicate his way out of a wet paper bag. The other P.E. mentioned is a heck of a guy but I had close to the same experience on a framing inspection he did (I did the final). He's been doing inspections almost 20 years. Just goes to show you that a P.E. after your name doesn't mean squat. I'd even bet that in this area, and probably most other areas, the average HI is a much better inspector of homes than the average P.E. simply because the HI has a better grasp of the homes entire system and components.

Now if a family member or friend was buying a house that I couldn't inspect for them, I'd hunt me out a Katen, Mitenbuler, O'Handley, Jowers type inspector and I'll be the freakin' hero for having recommended them. If they find something wrong that needs the attention of a P.E., then I'll go find one.

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Very good comments all. I just have a different view on the subject, and I'm sure it contains no bias [;)]. Even with a 65% first time pass rate, and a 32% second+ tries to pass the PE exam, I even think it’s too easy to get/keep your PE license, so I’m kinda out there. I just think the bar should be set high in technical professions, which home inspections are becoming. I think we all agree that some minimum standards need to be set. Yes, there is no replacement for experience. However, experience coupled with a technical education background is far superior. I could go for some licensing requirements that would have experience as a replacement for education. Like, make the requirements:

1) PE license, 40 hours home inspector training, 50 home inspections, and pass a written home inspector’s test.

Or

2) 4 year Bachelor’s degree in science, 40 hours home inspector training, 100 home inspections, and pass a written home inspection.

Or

3) 80 hours home inspector training, 100 home inspections, and pass a written home inspection exam.

Like others have said, the state’s board of technical professions should conduct the licensing for HI’s. For example, here is the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions.

http://www.accesskansas.org/ksbtp/

They keep track of license for architect, engineers, landscape architects, land surveyors, and geologists. Why not add property inspectors to that list?

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I think you're getting in the ballpark Corners.

One of the problems I see is that many states, including Texas, will bend over backward to give out HI licenses to P.E.'s (I'll go ahead and throw in architects here also). It doesn't matter which field they come from; electrical, civil, petro, computers, etc. I do know in the last few years that they have tightened up on who got a P.E. after their name.

The other problem is, P.E.'s are not required to follow the state SOP unless they have a TREC #. Even performing one of their inspections to those minimum standards would be an improvement over what many do now.

As of the first of the year, the hours needed to be able to test for a HI license in Texas jumped from 188 to 440 for the Fast Track route. I'm not sure what the schools here are going to teach now, as they had a difficult time coming up with 188 hours worth of classroom material. If you go the apprentice route, you have to perform 25 inspections under direct Supervision from a sponsoring Professional Real Estate Inspector and another 175 under indirect Supervision (whatever that is) to become a Professional Real Estate Inspector. Personally I'd like to see them add an annual or semi-annual peer review/report verification to the mix.

I think the Fast Trackers also need a minimum of X number of inspections under the watchful eyes of a sponsoring inspector. Many are getting out of school and still have no idea how to write a report or what a purlin is.

P.E's should have to go the same route. Either the classroom route or sponsoring route, plus be required to take some kind of writing/communication classes (in reality, this should be required for all people entering the field). Now that would be a good start.

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Originally posted by kurtThere's a guy here in Chicago advertising his PE status, but he's a petroleum engineer; do you need someone who understands building principles, materials, & methods, or do you want someone who can explain what a cracking tower does?

FYI, a degree in petroleum engineering requires...Calculus 1,2,&3, Chemistry 1 & 2, Material and Energy Balance, Physics 1 & 2, Statics, Thermodynamics, Geology, Diff Eq, Strength of Materials, Momentum Transfer, Electrical Circuits, and Heat Transfer. And these are all the "core" classes. Every one of those classes are applicable to home inspections. His PE status should be advertised, and is rightly earned.

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Originally posted by Corners

Originally posted by kurtThere's a guy here in Chicago advertising his PE status, but he's a petroleum engineer; do you need someone who understands building principles, materials, & methods, or do you want someone who can explain what a cracking tower does?

FYI, a degree in petroleum engineering requires...Calculus 1,2,&3, Chemistry 1 & 2, Material and Energy Balance, Physics 1 & 2, Statics, Thermodynamics, Geology, Diff Eq, Strength of Materials, Momentum Transfer, Electrical Circuits, and Heat Transfer. And these are all the "core" classes. Every one of those classes are applicable to home inspections. His PE status should be advertised, and is rightly earned.

Yes. Absolutely. He's earned the right to advertise his PE status. Unfortuneately, he hasn't earned the right to advertise himself as a home inspector. He's light years ahead of me in the application of higher math to home inspections. Since I've yet to find the necessity for applying complex equations in my job, he's going to remain light years ahead of me.

I came in behind this bozo as a second opinion; he missed so many elementary items I'm not even going to list all of them, but they included termite riddled posts, burnt wires in the panel, and a leaking roof.

The idea that a degree confers competency is a nice idea, but it's simply not true. The same goes for architectural studies; how many buildings designed by architects perform for the climates in which they're located? If my experience is any indication, the average architect in Chicago is still unaware that we're located @ the 42nd parallel, w/amounts of precipitation that could stop an Army.

Thermodynamics probably has it's place, and is applicable to, home inspection, but excuse me while I snicker in the corner.

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Originally posted by kurtThermodynamics probably has it's place, and is applicable to, home inspection, but excuse me while I snicker in the corner.

Yeah, homes rarely have air conditioners and boilers, and knowledge of psychometrics is worthless. [:P]

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Originally posted by Corners

Originally posted by kurtThermodynamics probably has it's place, and is applicable to, home inspection, but excuse me while I snicker in the corner.

Yeah, homes rarely have air conditioners and boilers, and knowledge of psychometrics is worthless. [:P]

You keep proving my point.

I'm all ears. Explain to me how, in the course of a "normal" building inspection (as described by the ASHI SOP, or, say, the ASTM E2018 for commercial), advanced calculus, thermodynamics, or any of the advanced engineering principles you describe aid us in determining the condition and function of a simple AC system or a boiler.

As far as psychometrics, I've been operating under the understanding that it is a branch of psychology that deals with the design, administration, and interpretation of quantitative tests for the measurement of psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude, and personality traits. I've put in a fair amount of time as a guinea pig for the development of the psychometrically validated National Home Inspectors Examination; while certainly no expert @ psychometrics, I have a fundamental understanding of the concepts.

After you're done explaining the thermodynamic analysis of a split AC system and the calculus necessary to analyze a Kewaunee boiler, you could explain the psychometric principles related to home inspection, and how they are of value to our customers.

Your turn......

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