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New Home Inspections/ Code references.


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I have been doing a lot of new home inspections. I am not code certified, but read the dang code books daily, so I have a decent grasp on the content.

On new home inspections, do you guy's provide code references in the inspection report? If not typically, do you charge more to add references? If the client or Realtor call and say the builder won't fix blatant code violations do you charge extra to go through and provide code references to help them out to ensure everything gets fixed?

The reason I ask, is more often than not, I give the report to the client/ Realtor, and they give the report to the builder. The builder picks through the list and lets them know what they will and will not repair.

My Realtor from yesterday's home just called me and told me the builder had agreed to do some of the items on my list. The builder did not agree to do any of the bigger items and say they will not make any repairs beyond what they have already agreed to do. I of course told her that was bogus, and they are required to comply with our building code. (in this case it should be based on the '03 IRC).

Here is a list of just some of what they say they will not repair:

2" rise at exterior door threshold, excessively sloped tread at concrete garage stairs (it was terrible), excess riser height variance at concrete garage steps, improper grading at the entire back yard (big back yard-- 5% grade toward the home instead of away), valley shingle joints too close to valley center lines, improperly installed sediment trap, combustible material too close to the water heater B vent, missing flashing at trim protrusion, etc., etc.

On this one, I am going to write up all of the code references and have them talk to the AHJ.

Any opinions or advice for the way I do things in the future would be appreciated.

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This obviously speaks directly to the issues of how much we're supposed to provide. It's been discussed in many different ways before (IR cams, narratives only, narratives w/ photos, photos only etc).

I think it comes down to pure business.

You've done your job and done it well by the report you've already completed. That's one price.

If you want to go the extra mile, you'll be spending a lot of extra time for which you didn't get compensation.

There will be a price to pay - who's gonna pay it?

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I just cited the code as a source, the way Charlie Wood taught me to. For instance, something like:

There are leaks in the roof flashing. Have the flashing repaired. Source: 2006 IRC, ABC.123.

Or,

Blah, blah, everything's wrong with the brick veneer. The following bad things could happen: Yada yada. Source: 2006 IRC, XYZ.678.

Two or three sentences are plenty to take care of code references. One need not include the code text. Just send the reader to the chapter & verse.

WJ

PS: Before anybody starts down the "we're not code inspectors" road... That's right, we're not code inspectors. But the codes are public domain; they belong to everybody, and there's no good reason to pretend that the building code belongs to the AHJ.

The HI has got to be smarter than the AHJ.

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

I have just been citing the code source as well.

For anyone using the searchable software version, does it work well for you?

I like it. I use code check to see where it is in the IRC codes then I go there and cut and past. You can print from it too.

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

Darren,

how much time to you spend searching through the codes for a normal new home inspection?

Do you use software that is searchable to speed things up?

Just asking, because I can spend hours extra actually tracking down all of the code references.

To be honest, most of the problems with new homes are the same as with an older house. The macros in my report for an older house are used for a new house, some have the code section already written, some I have to add.

There maybe two or three instances where I have to double check the code book; no, I don't have the CD, so I have to thumb through.

The problem I have is once in a while, you get the house that was built according to the 2003 book and it doesn't meet the 2006 code. For instance, NJ didn't adopt the 2003 so we go back to the 2000 code. There was a change for rail requirements from 3 risers to 4 between the 2 codes. A house I did last year had no rail on a 3 riser deck step; I wrote it meets the 2006 requirements but doesn't meet the requirements the house was built under.

My only suggestion would be to read the entire section of the code you are referencing; there may be an exception later on in the section.

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The buyer just signed today. The builder told them that they would not do any of the repairs, and that if they wanted the house they would have to take it "as is". The buyer's are in their upper 70's at least, are downsizing due to financial strain, and have health problems.

Do I have a right to be Pi$$ed, and look into further action, or should I just forget about it?

Doesn't the builder have a legal obligation to comply with the bare min. code requirements that I brought up in my report?

I am tempted to go over there, trip, and break my leg on one of the several trip hazards before the new owner's do. At least that way I will have the "pull" I need to make sure they fix things.

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I would call the local construction department and talk to the construction official. Take your report and pictures with you. Just make sure you are correct in your reporting (check & double check)

If that fails, call the agency that oversee the code enforcement. Somebody has to protect these people.

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Do I have a right to be Pi$$ed, and look into further action, or should I just forget about it?

A couple of years ago on a new construction inspection I called out a water heater sitting on the garage floor that wasn't one of the anti-vapor ignition types and which looked to be direct vented but was in fact getting its combustion air from the garage.

I wrote it up and the builder blew it off. After all it was his licensed plumber that installed and it had past the plumbing final.

On the reinspect I was lucky enough to be there when the final electrical inspection was being done by the muni, and with the builder standing right next to me I asked the muni why they passed the water heater?

The builder went ape sh*t spouting how he didn't have to do this or that blah, blah, blah. The muni got a smile on his face and said "Well, let's call the plumbing inspector."

The builder turned beet red and wanted to kill me, but there were too many witnesses.

The muni handed the phone to me and I got on the line with the P.I. and explained what I found. He was silent for a moment on the other end, then he said "Your right! How did I miss that, what do we do?"

I said to him you're the P.I., you need to come back down here and write it up. In a panicked tone he agreed and said he would be right back down as soon as he could.

Like I said the builder wanted to kill me but couldn't.

Jim K. posted a mock reinspection report for me a year ago here on TIJ, but I can't find it . In there he has good examples on responding to unrepaired code violations on new construction.

Chris, Oregon

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

The buyer just signed today. The builder told them that they would not do any of the repairs, and that if they wanted the house they would have to take it "as is". The buyer's are in their upper 70's at least, are downsizing due to financial strain, and have health problems.

Do I have a right to be Pi$$ed, and look into further action, or should I just forget about it?

Doesn't the builder have a legal obligation to comply with the bare min. code requirements that I brought up in my report?

I am tempted to go over there, trip, and break my leg on one of the several trip hazards before the new owner's do. At least that way I will have the "pull" I need to make sure they fix things.

See, that's what I was talking about in another thread the other day when I talked about going out of bounds.

I'm a retired military cop; when I was a rookie, I took offense whenever I saw a bad guy walk or simply get his or her wrist slapped, but I eventually learned to get past that and concentrate on the job at hand. I had to learn to let other people sort out what would happen with the bad guys after I'd dealt with them. In this business you have got to do the same.

Does it mean that you'll occasionally see a zoid and a shitheel builder get away with something that they shouldn't get away with? Yep. Does it mean that you'll occasionally see your clients shafted? Yep. Is it fair to your client? No it's not, but that's the way it is. You agreed to do a job for the client, not to forever become Uncle Brandon. You have to draw the line with your own emotions and investment in the situation somewhere or you'll reduce your own focus and effectiveness.

People sometimes get miffed with the seemingly cold and detached way that doctors go about dealing with patients. That's because they don't realize that if a doctor lets himself become emotionally invested in every patient he'd be useless as a Doctor.

You have got to train yourself to be more objective and detached from the consequences or non-consequences of what you report. I'm not saying that you have to be a robot; I'm only saying that once you've reported something as thoroughly and as accurately as you can, you've done your job and need to let go of it, let someone else worry about what happens next, and concentrate on the next task at hand.

If you're concerned that maybe your client will be swayed by others - even "experts" - into disregarding your advice and accepting what someone else is telling them, maybe it's time to work on the way you present and deliver your findings to the client. If you want the clients to listen to you, regardless of what all of the stakeholders in the sale are telling them to the contrary, then the clients must have absolute faith in you and your abilities. Your presentation is what you can probably do something about; the client's ultimate decision to accept or reject a home, based on what you've reported, is something you can't and shouldn't be trying to influence, beyond the delivery and final explanation of the results of your inspection.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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On new home inspections, do you guy's provide code references in the inspection report?

I explain the problem and recommend referring to that code for proper correction. That way I'm not saying that it's wrong because of what the code says, I'm say that correction should be made to what the code says (which can be applied to new and older homes).

Example: Riser on stairs is considered to high (18 inches) which can result in a mis-step, leading to injury. Recommend referring to the IRC 444.44 for proper correction.

To make life easier, you can just refer to the code book itself and not the location.

Your lawyer will love you for it.

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On new home inspections, do you guy's provide code references in the inspection report?
In my opinion, if you are inspecting a new home and you are not providing references to code, NAHB or similar guidelines, the JLC Field Guides, or manufacturers installation instructions then you are handing your client a gun loaded with blanks.
Blah, blah, everything's wrong with the brick veneer. The following bad things could happen: Yada yada. Source: 2006 IRC, XYZ.678.

Two or three sentences are plenty to take care of code references. One need not include the code text. Just send the reader to the chapter & verse.

That is similar to the way that I do it.
For anyone using the searchable software version, does it work well for you?
I have both: software version and paper code book. I use both -- frequently. I think it is a worthwhile investment to have both. When I'm looking for something specific and I can think of some good keywords to find it, I use the software version. I also use it when I want to copy and paste. If I'm not sure what I'm looking for or if I am browsing to learn or study something, I prefer the paper version. It also comes in handy to raise the height of your monitor on your desk or to cure the occasional bout of insomnia.

If you are getting the software version of the ICC model codes (as opposed to the version adopted by your state), get the "I-Quest" version instead of the PDF version. It costs a little more but the search engine and copy/paste function is a lot better.

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In my opinion, if you are inspecting a new home and you are not providing references to code, NAHB or similar guidelines, the JHC Field Guides, or manufacturers installation instructions then you are handing your client a gun loaded with blanks.

I agree,

I provide links with manufacturers installation instructions when I am sure who the manufacturer is.....this is sometimes pretty tough. Has anyone had their clients provide a list of the manufacturers for materials used, in order to ensure installation instructions are met?

The problem with providing client's with specific code soures is that it takes a lot more time, which of course will cost them more as it will take more time. I am toying with the idea of giving everyone the option to upgrade to a report with code sources, etc. Right now, I tell every client that the builder will likely tell them I am wrong. I let them know that when this occurs, they should contact me and I will provide the proof they need.

Now, time to purchase the I- Quest version. I don't even use the PDF version I have, it's so much easier to use the paper version.

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