Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Michael Brown

Home Inspector Licensing

Recommended Posts

I see you had to use dictionary.com’s definition to find out what psychrometrics is. (Oh, and there was a typo in my first response; it's psychrometrics, not psychometrics.) [:)] However, while your definition is not “wrongâ€

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, actually, it was the Yahoo Reference library. If one is attempting to display their knowledge, they might wish to start w/ proper spelling. It's a little thing, but kinda important.....

You're still not there. I didn't ask you for a definition of something you didn't spell properly in the first place; I asked you how these things are used in a common home inspection and of what value they are to our customers.

In debate, this is often called evasion, which usually shaves points off one's total; that is, if the judge is paying attention to the topic, which you don't seem to be.

If one is looking for water problems in a house, reading a chart might be a way to start to understand the issue(s). If one wants to actually solve the riddle, one might simply start looking for the source of water. Are you seriously stating that it is necessary to read a (how do you spell it again?)chart to analyze water issues in a home?

I'm still waiting, and evading the question w/charts ain't gonna cut it. Taking another track, this supports one of my points earlier in the thread, and that is, engineers are woefully poor in communicating simple topics to lay people. Explaining the simple relationship between indoor & outdoor air temps w/(how do you spell it again?) charts and engineering terms might impress the other profs around the water cooler, but it wouldn't take you very far w/Mr. & Ms. Average Homebuyer. You continue to make my points for me.

On a broader note, a fair amount of my work comes from some of the better engineering & architectural firms here in the Big Dirty. Engineers that actually practice engineering often tell me that home inspectin' has little or nothing to do w/ engineering; it has to do w/understanding systems and the principles, materials, & methods used in their installation. I think I'm going to show them your (how do you spell it again?) chart and ask them what benefit it might provide our customers; you don't seem able to answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kurt, man, you are hilarious. And also 100% correct. I frequently have structural engineers defer to me with something like, "You see this kind of thing more often than I do. What do you think is going on?"

Experience with building and contracting; knowing how things should be done and how they're typically flubbed, cannot be taught or read from a book. I was in a 150-year-old house a couple of weeks ago and the client hired a structural engineer to have a look around while access to the house had been granted. Everthing was fine, the engineer said, except for the wood shims between the piers and the beam. I pulled him aside and said, yes, they've compressed, but the compression has also reached stasis. Do you really want some buffoon in here jacking up the floor system of a two-story 150-year-old house to replace the wood with metal? Maybe one guy in thirty will actually know what he's doing. The engineer gave me a long look, probably picturing some trogladyte working on the beam with a sledge hammer, and said, "Good point. I think we'll just leave the shims alone."

The same house should have had sill plates, too. Do any of us think they should have been added 150 years after the fact? You can't always have the houses mirror the diagrams--or is it charts?--found in textbooks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Corners, based on your last few posts, you don't have a clue about what's involved in doing a home inspection. In another thread, you said that you had yet to do one for a fee. Don't you find it odd that someone who's never done a home inspection would presume to dictate to others (some of whom have done thousands) what training and qualifications are necessary to do this job properly?

Arrogance and ignorance are a poor combination to build a career on.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now hold on everyone. This was not to turn into a pissing match. While I've given my opinion (I a fully knew it wasn't going to be popular), I've also stated that I lack the knowledge to ethically (IMO) take someone's money for my services. I've also stated that there is no replacement for experience. If some of you think that I'm trying to "show off", or have a "chip on my shoulder", you are not reading me correctly. The reason I'm here is to learn. Not from "lesser souls", but from more experienced inspectors. I was only giving my OPINION. I've even stated that I think the PE license is too easy to keep and hold. So, for those of you who think I'm trying to be better than anyone, ask yourself this; why am I here asking questions if I have all the answers? Now on the other hand, I’m sure I can offer others here some good advice as well, as long as those “experiencedâ€

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reeeaally quickly, 'cause it's getting late in my part of the world. Corners, boiled down, what we're trying to tell you is that inspecting a house requires knowledge about multiple professions, trades, and disciplines. You simply cannot--save for schools which train specifically for performing home inspections--obtain a degree or license which prepares you to hang out your shingle in this business. You must be willing to study each of these professions, trades and disciplines for as long as you own your business, if you want to provide a responsible service for your clients.

Is a structural engineer taught anything about plumbing or electricity? Does an electrical engineer know the allowable span of a 2" x 10" floor joist? Do you know if a strand of 14-gauge wire can be connected to a 20-amp breaker?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by Bain

You simply cannot--save for schools which train specifically for performing home inspections--obtain a degree or license which prepares you to hang out your shingle in this business. You must be willing to study each of these professions, trades and disciplines for as long as you own your business, if you want to provide a responsible service for your clients.

While I've never made the claim to disagree, this is exactly what I have yet to start collecting fees for my services as a home inspector. I want experience. Others may just jump out of the box not knowing what they’ve doing (I live in a state that does not require any HI licensing), but I want to know exactly what’s going on. I have certain personally created goals that I want to meet before I start. That’s just how I feel.

The only point I was making that a PE, or any engineer has a better platform to build experience on. That's all. Is that really that crazy of a take on this subject? Most people have this misconception that, take a structural engineer for example, only take classes on structures, which is not true at all. The core engineering curriculum for most any discipline includes classes in fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, electrical circuits, and statics. It's not that a engineer is better than anyone else, it's that they pick up on things much quicker than others (well, those who paid attention in school that is [:)])

Are we all still friends? [:)]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, we're still friends. You're still hanging around after taking heat; you got something goin' on.

Corners, I didn't take it to be a pissing match, and I don't think you had a chip on the shoulder; if you did, it wasn't very big. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. Don't mistake my argumentative attitude for anger; I really enjoy it when someone can put me down in writing. None of this is personal. It is debate though, & I'm not counting you w/a lot of points.

Your opinion is very similar to many of the engineers I've met trying to get started in this business. It just happens to be wrong. I think w/ time & experience, you will understand just what the business is, and is not. It really doesn't have anything to do w/ engineering.

It has to do w/ knowing truly stupifying amounts of seemingly trivial information & facts related to specific materials and methods of construction. I could go on for about a week w/ specific little tidbits, but I think you get my point. The longer I do this job (I'm ticking on to 23 years full time this year), the more I realize how it is literally impossible to know all the stuff we need to know. It's a journey, not a destination. I also have to disagree w/ the comment "engineers understand quicker....". Well, yeah, maybe, kinda, but not really. I've had too much interaction w/engineers to anoint them all w/divine powers.

There isn't one person in here who would disagree w/ the need for education & experience, and a recognized standard of accomplishment. The disagreement comes w/folks w/ little experience that think they know more than they really do. An engineering degree is certainly a credential I'd like to have, but to imagine that it prepares one for a career in home inspection is sure proof that one doesn't have a clue as to what the biz is really about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to hear it Kurt. I too love a good debate. As the saying goes, mud wrestling with a pig is like arguing with an engineer; sooner or later you'll realize the pig likes it.

(Truth be known, I didn't answer some of your questions because I felt the conversation was going south...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://holyjoe.org/poetry/holmes1.htm Being the astute poetry expert - this is a long one, but came to mind when I was reading the posts in this forum. I like it and have had to re-read it once or twice a year to refresh my enthuiasm for this business. It is about engineering and written by a "lawyer"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty good. Engineering is heavily influenced by lessons learned (just like any code book, IRC, IBC, ASHRAE, NFPA, B31.1, B31.3, etc...). Yes, failures have occurred in the past, but these failures are a part of our learning as human beings and make us smarter in the long run. Thank god for engineers (it is almost St Patrick’s day you know; the patron Saint of Engineers). Actually, engineers have developed all the codes and standard practices inspectors follow. It’s the engineer’s broad based technical education that is the building blocks of progress of humans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My opinion,

No licensing law will ever be worth the ink used to print it, unless it includes a well delineated and objective on-site peer review. Any licensing law that relies merely on experience, mentoring and passage of a written test is a farce written by those who have ethical issues and don't have the moral courage to develop regulation aimed at true consumer protection.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I thought this thread ended a week ago. Looks like Corners got things going again - cool!

I'm glad to see everyone already went through the rinse cycle and came out clean.

Hey Corners, you and I share certain viewpoints. I have been making the ASHI types gag by my persistent talk about bringing education into the mix. I do not like the fact that a hair-stylist and I both have the same starting line. I have an ABET (isn't it something else now?) degree and a degree in Building Science. I never did the PE thing because there was already plenty of money to be made (computers) without the EIT/PE hassles. Hats off to you, though!

I've been in the HI biz for over a year now, and I have found that my practical building experience, and even my Habitat work has contributed more to my quality as a HI than all of the abstract field theory, diff.eq's, and even physics.

I totally agree with your alternate paths to qualification of HI's. Given the relevant education, I absolutely believe I absorb the technical information/science associated with HI work more quickly than someone without that education. I could definitely use you in my corner within ASHI.

BTW, I should add that the lessons I have learned from the likes of Kurt have also meant more to my HI work than diff. eq's. Best of luck to us all!

Originally posted by hausdok

My opinion,

No licensing law will ever be worth the ink used to print it, unless it includes a well delineated and objective on-site peer review. Any licensing law that relies merely on experience, mentoring and passage of a written test is a farce written by those who have ethical issues and don't have the moral courage to develop regulation aimed at true consumer protection.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If nothing else, licensing will help provide consumers and our profession some protection by requiring insurance and registration of inspectors. This can help to weed out SOME of the inspectors that just want to make a quick buck, screw the client, and go on to their next scam. We still have a long way to go as a profession and many mistakes have and will be made, but I think we are slowly moving forward [:-turtle].

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gary,

I couldn't agree more with your observations about the need for inspectors to have some understanding of the building sciences to be better at this. In fact, Are You A Building Scientist? was the first oped article I wrote nearly 6 years when the original version of TIJ debuted.

However, you're wrong if you think it's only the ASHI types that don't want to hear about a higher education requirement for the profession. I've found it to be across the board within this profession. The excuses, explanations, justifications, rationalizations for why it isn't necessary or wanted are many and are on a par with why they say peer review is impossible to implement. They're all equally as hollow. However, that's another discussion entirely.

Welcome to the ranks of the drum beaters, but don't be too optimistic that you'll see things change in our lifetime. Melvin Chalfen is 88 and I believe that he first began doing this around 1957. He was ASHI #00079 and one of the founders of the New England ASHI chapter. He retired around 2000 and then helped to start the P.R.O.B.E. Network (http://www.probenetwork.org). Most of Melvin's active inspection career had been keenly focused on educating home inspectors and trying to raise the bar within this profession. I think he might tell you that his experience has shown that in the case of home inspectors you can't even lead a horse to water.

Hell, at this point, I'd be happy if they did nothing else but pass a law in all 50 states that says you aren't allowed to do this job until you can prove you can at least write at the level of a 6th grader. That alone, would probably weed out a huge chunk of the field and do a lot to improve our image.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Howdy Mike,

No, I don't believe the problem is just with ASHI, but ASHI is the only one I care about; it is the one I most expect to see raise the bar by recognizing education. (Outcome looks grim, however.)

I went to the PROBE site. Melvin's reports look outstanding - just like mine[:-magnify. Is PROBE just in MA or does "network" extend further. Looks like a very professional guy, this Melvin.

Not in our lifetime, huh? Boy, no matter how dark it gets, you just keep pulling down the shades.[^]

Par-um-pum-pum-pum...

[:-graduat should count for somethin'.

Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Gary,

I couldn't agree more with your observations about the need for inspectors to have some understanding of the building sciences to be better at this. In fact, Are You A Building Scientist? was the first oped article I wrote nearly 6 years when the original version of TIJ debuted.

However, you're wrong if you think it's only the ASHI types that don't want to hear about a higher education requirement for the profession. I've found it to be across the board within this profession. The excuses, explanations, justifications, rationalizations for why it isn't necessary or wanted are many and are on a par with why they say peer review is impossible to implement. They're all equally as hollow. However, that's another discussion entirely.

Welcome to the ranks of the drum beaters, but don't be too optimistic that you'll see things change in our lifetime. Melvin Chalfen is 88 and I believe that he first began doing this around 1957. He was ASHI #00079 and one of the founders of the New England ASHI chapter. He retired around 2000 and then helped to start the P.R.O.B.E. Network (http://www.probenetwork.org). Most of Melvin's active inspection career had been keenly focused on educating home inspectors and trying to raise the bar within this profession. I think he might tell you that his experience has shown that in the case of home inspectors you can't even lead a horse to water.

Hell, at this point, I'd be happy if they did nothing else but pass a law in all 50 states that says you aren't allowed to do this job until you can prove you can at least write at the level of a 6th grader. That alone, would probably weed out a huge chunk of the field and do a lot to improve our image.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gary,

A few years ago, the P.R.O.B.E. site had buttons you could click if you were interested in becoming affiliated. No more. I haven't talked to Mr. Chalfen by phone for at least a year, so I don't know whether they are accepting new folks to their ranks or not. If you'd like to read more about Mr. Chalfen, click here.

My dream is to be part of founding the first higher education institution in this country dedicated entirely to teaching Building Science and Home Inspection. I've even got a name for it, in honor of a great man that I've never even met - the Chalfen Institute of Building Science and Home Inspection.

A guy can dream can't he?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the link to Mel. His personal webpage is mentioned in that article - I tried it, but it's not there. Hmmm...

I can see your dream happening only after the profession gains consistency & respect. Not in our lifetime... Oh well, Mel made a difference without it, so I guess we can too.

Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Gary,

A few years ago, the P.R.O.B.E. site had buttons you could click if you were interested in becoming affiliated. No more. I haven't talked to Mr. Chalfen by phone for at least a year, so I don't know whether they are accepting new folks to their ranks or not. If you'd like to read more about Mr. Chalfen, click here.

My dream is to be part of founding the first higher education institution in this country dedicated entirely to teaching Building Science and Home Inspection. I've even got a name for it, in honor of a great man that I've never even met - the Chalfen Institute of Building Science and Home Inspection.

A guy can dream can't he?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think all in all most ASHI folks and other experienced inspectors would like to see the "Bar" raised; but a very large percent of those that have already jumped through hoops and or have already met the current membership requirements are not willing to jump any higher. The new higher bar is a great idea, if I don't have to do it because of my past experience and membership level!

The higher bar needs to come from a third party that is not associated with any of the home inspector organizations and does not count on Membership dues for it's livelihood. This would be about the only way it will happen. All of the membership organizations need to keep entry fairly easy, if they don't their numbers will fall and their doors will close. It's simple economics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, you might be right, Scott...

But I'm really curious... what might this non-HI associated, non-membership, third party be???

A University? No, that can't be right. What did you have in mind?

Ooooooh, the frustration... deep breath...hold it...out slowly...all better. Ahh.

Not in our lifetime, Mike, you're right.

Originally posted by Scottpat

The higher bar needs to come from a third party that is not associated with any of the home inspector organizations and does not count on Membership dues for it's livelihood. This would be about the only way it will happen. All of the membership organizations need to keep entry fairly easy, if they don't their numbers will fall and their doors will close. It's simple economics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The higher bar needs to come from a third party that is not associated with any of the home inspector organizations and does not count on Membership dues for it's livelihood. This would be about the only way it will happen.
So, Scott, do you refer to legislation by states? If so, so far, their track record shows that they're only willing to pass weak legislation and give most folks who're in the profession a 'by'. That hasn't made anything better.
All of the membership organizations need to keep entry fairly easy, if they don't their numbers will fall and their doors will close. It's simple economics.
Well, I don't want to open a huge organization bashing debate here, but pardon an independent from jumping in here and saying that I think that's a pretty flimsy rationalization for doing nothing.

Why would raising the bar kill an organization? One can name dozens of fields where raising the bar hasn't done that. Let's take higher education providers for example. Yale, Harvard, MIT or Princeton haven't made entry any easier, yet they still garner enough folks who want to be able to say that they are an alumni of one of them to stay in business. Do they provide the absolute best education in the business? Well, if you ask them, they say that they do, although you can probably find guys who become just as educated in plenty of 4-year state run universities. Still, if you ask the average person on the street to name the top ten colleges or universities in the country, these will be named, nes pas?

So, why do they survive? The answer is that if you set a bar that everyone acknowledges is the highest, you can charge more for it. Not everyone will want to pay for it - there'll be plenty who're happy to go to the 4-year state-run school - but there will always be those that want to be considered the best of the best and those folks are willing to pay to get there.

So, if loss of dues is the issue with raising the bar, raise it anyway and raise the rates. If the org is truly the cream of the crop, those who care that it is will pay the additional rates, those that don't want to,...well, they'd be dead weight anyway, would constantly strive lower the bar and you'd be better off without them. Mr. Chalfen once told me that the original intent of the 'founders' was to set the bar extremely high and, for a few years, it was. Then, folks got elected into office who found motivations for lowing the bar and they gradually began eliminating some of those requirements - one of them being peer review.

If they had stuck to their original principles and had kept peer review, it would be the standard today and I bet internet-based organizations, or other organizations with weak entry requirements and also with no peer review testing, would never have been able to gain any traction in their present models. In fact, I think if they'd stuck to their guns that anyone arguing against a high bar and peer review wouldn't even be listened to today. Doing away with peer review, way back then, was a self-inflicted wound. It's only recently began to have it's affect.

But that's my opinion and I've only been around about 10-1/2 years, so what do I know? So far, I've spent 4 years in each of the two oldest national organizations and found them to be very similar in their approaches to everything. Since going independent again, I can't say that there's been a lot of difference in my life.

By similar in approach, I mean that I think that the only two words to describe their approaches to everything are slow and ponderous. Bigger isn't necessarily better, unless you've designed a system that's designed to think, plan, act and react very quickly, in order to stay up with, or ahead of, the rest of the pack. That's why Nick's privately-owned "association" is beating the membership number pants off of the others. I certainly wouldn't consider his model to be top shelf, but I think a word that can describe it is nimble.

ASHI was conceived in a time when there were no other models and no competition. NAHI was an offshoot of ASHI - actually a sort of rogue ASHI committee that decided to go off and do their own thing. Still, both were conceived before the internet and the information age found their way into everyone's living room. Those kinds of models worked back then - they don't work well now.

Now, despite the fact that other organizations have been sprouting up like dandelions on a nice lawn, these old style associations still don't seem to have adapted well to the 'modern' world and are stuck on that old saw, "We were the first, so we are the best." To some, it's beginning to sound hollow.

ASHI has always claimed to hold the high road and talks about quality of their inspectors. OK, why not walk the walk? Bar entry to anyone that hasn't completed 250 inspections. That's been the standard for "membership" privileges for so long anyway, so why not eliminate that demeaning 'candidate' title and only accept those with experience?

If members feel a need to gratify themselves with some sort of ranking within the organization, in order to feel like their status is somehow more exalted than the newer members, why not establish a Certified ASHI Master Inspector level that's got requirements similar to, but more rigid, than those found at http://www.certifiedmasterinspector.org, and then allow all members all benefits, logo uses, etc? Why not re-establish a rigid peer review process and put every member through it, without grandfathering? If ASHI did that, it could reclaim the high ground.

You'd cull a lot of dead weight. Plus, with a smaller organization, you'd need less 'civilian' staff and would be able reduce payroll costs, which I'm sure have to be a substantial chunk of the annual budget.

After that, revamp the entire decision making process, so that ASHI stops moving like a lethargic sloth, can make decisions more quickly, take action quicker and can keep a 21st century pace with the other players out there, instead of lolling around wringing its hands and wondering why others are gaining ground.

Just wondering out loud here. Sorry for the thread drift. [:I]

OT - OF!!!

M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It boils down to money. Professional Associations in every profession are fighting for their membership numbers. This started a few years ago. If the entrance requirements are too stringent you will loose a higher percentage of prospective members.

As for state licensing. Well you have legislators who do not want to put any of the voting public out of business. This is why we see grandfather provisions.

I have a HI license in two states. MS & TN, I consider both to be fairly good license laws. They offer a level of protection for the consumer and at the same time for the home inspector.

Sorry if I did not cover everything in your post, but I got lost in it! [:-bigeyes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...