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Did I cover my butt enough


gtblum
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This is a discription of a picture in my report (that i won't upload) from yesterday's inspection. Do I have any responsibility to follow this up because I discovered it? Forget about the Romex, it's moot.

This wire(romex type cable) was at one time, an electrical source to a garage that has been removed from the property. The wire has unprotected ends and is coiled on the ground at the south east corner of the concrete patio at the back of the house. This wire was energized at the time of the inspection and is dangerous. The seller's real estate agent was contacted by me on 7/ 5/ 08 @ 1:07 pm and was informed of this condition. He then contacted the seller, who later called me, at 4:14pm on 7/ 5 and stated that he would have this corrected by Monday 7/ 7/ 08

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Hi Gary,

I'm not sure why you feel you need to go to such lengths to "cover your butt." You didn't create the situation; all you need to do is report it. If you told someone about it, fine, but you're not required to go to such lengths to document everything you said and did. Just write something like, "There's a live current carrying wire coiled on the ground at the southeast corner of the patio behind the house. The wire has exposed ends and is dangerous; it can kill you - get an electrician to remove it immediately."

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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There may be a very few things I would feel the need to immediately contact the seller or their agent about (gas leak, burst water pipe, etc), or have the buyer's agent do that, but if we had to notify the homeowner about every hazard (electrical and others) we found, we would probably be making those calls after every inspection.

We are not doing a safety inspection for the existing homeowner. In fact you are probably exposing your butt more by contacting them about SOME safety issues and not ALL. The line has to be drawn somewhere and I'm with Mike on this. Your job and responsibility is to report the hazards and needed repairs to your client.

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Mike,

I'ts mainly because, there's a hungry lawyer under every rock and another one having a graduation party this weekend. I don't want to get hung if someone comes behind me, and stumbles in to this trap. The way I see it, my responsibility ends @ 1:07 but, without documentation, I might not have a chance if someone else sees that another way. Now, What if someone dies because the seller did'nt think it was as important as did and waits to correct it. where do you guys draw the line? How far do you take it? We're not talking about a tripping hazzard here. Please understand this is not just about my wallet.

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You can tell the world about what you found, but if a person is killed by the electrical line the owner is the one that has the ultimate responsibility. Regardless of what you say in your report, you could still be named in a lawsuit. If it got to court, your part might be dismissed as you did ID the problem and let other folks know about it but you would still have to defend yourself.

I'm trying to figure out how the garage was removed?

I would phrase it like Mike did and leave it at that.

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Gary,

You have no obligation to the seller, he didn't hire (contract with) you for the information. Only for very significant issues of safety, (large gas leak, wires burning in the panel), will I mention a condition to the seller. Basically, your concern is what did you tell the client and what course of action did you specify - such as a need for repair.

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I regularly find improperly terminated live wires. If it's in a location where someone can easily touch it, it takes about 15 seconds to get my roll of red electrical tape and wrap it up. I'll probably be the one to quickly forget about it and brush against it. It also makes it readily visible for the person that's looking to fix it.

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Eric,

Read it again, I never contacted the owner. He called me.

I would consider a live wire on the ground, every bit as significant as a large gas leak or a fire in a panel. At least those snakes will rattle before they bite.

Scottpat,

Nice catch on the garage. loved it

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Whatever you see, report it. If you take photos during the inspection, take a photo of the issue. If you follow these guidelines in the course of performing a thorough home inspection, you've done your job.

I don't tell the seller anything about the inspection unless there is an immediate safety issue, like a gas leak, plumbing leak that could damage the structure, etc. The buyer is my client and most code of ethics (and some states) require the inspector to only release the results of the inspection to the client only.

I also find improperly terminated wiring all of the time. If its hanging down into a space that could easily be touched, I probably would tell the seller (to be careful) if they are home.

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I inspected a home where there was a leaking oil tank from a removed oil burner. The leak had a formed a puddle about 10 feet in diameter in the middle of the crawl space. Someone had scattered wheat straw in the oil spill in an attempt to soak up the spill? In the center of the puddle was a natural gas furnace. The oil soaked wheat straw was in direct contact with the natural gas furnace. The furnace was actively in use at the time.

Called the buyers agent and reported safety issue. Sent email with pics to the buyers agent. In both communications, I requested he contact the sellers agent and seller about the safety issue.

Several hours went by and I called the fire department. The tenents were confused when the fire department showed up and complained that they had not called the fire department.

Fire department decided it was a haz mat spill. About $5000 later, the problem was resolved. Buyers agent still uses me. I believe the deal went through. The buyers agent was also the buyer.

My inital responses were CYA. As I mulled over the immediate danger to tenents, I felt I had a moral obligation to get the fire department involved.

My only regret is that I waited so long to contact the fire department.

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Originally posted by David C. Argabright

Did you consider shutting off the breraker to the energized circuit?

I considered it but, nothing was labled. What if the sump was on the same circuit? Look, the client, his dad and me were the only people there. The selling realtor's sign was in the lawn. So it was him or the fire department and a red tag. Thinking that a phone call would make this go away, (wrong) I called him. When I realized there was no apparent sense of urgency, I started with the "what ifs" like a family that stops to look or the neighbor kids, dogs, cats,(not so much) that kind of stuff. I'll never lose a wink of sleep over whether or not there's sheetrock under a staircase, which of course will save your life if the fire starts directly under it. In my mind this was lethal. One last thing from me then I'm done with this. Wrapping red tape around the ends of an energized line with out killing the power does only one thing. It makes you the last guy to have worked on it
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