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Commentary On HGTV Site


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This is mildly interesting. A seller writes to HGTV's experts to complain about an inspector who called for a landing outside of a door opening into a garage and for windows to be replaced because they were too small for egress. The "Certified Master ASHI Inspector" who responded makes a good point about none of this being "required" in a 50 year old home.

HGTV Article

However, it is only half of the story, that is given from a seller's perspective. It would be interesting to know if the "Certified Master Inspector" ever bothered to contact the inspector involved and got his side of the story. What if the inspector made it clear in writing that those were safety 'recommendations' that are based on current practices, and there was no actual requirement for the seller to build a landing or change out windows?

Perhaps the buyer took it upon himself to ask for it anyway. I've seen many a buyer go into negotiations with a "nothing ventured, nothing gained" attitude, thinking that they're going to try and get everything that they want, regardless of whether it is actually "required" or not.

That aside. HGTV bills this guy as a "Certified Master Inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. I know that ASHI allows members who've successfully attained "member" to say that they are "certified", but I've never heard of an official ASHI designation "Certified Master Inspector". The way this is worded, It may give the uneducated reader the idea that this guy is with ASHI HQ and therefore a guru in the profession.

Maybe someone in the ASHI hierarchy needs to have a word or two with this fellow.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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This was sent to Dwight on my behalf.

Dwight,

I am curious to know just how a fire is to recognize in which house it should occur based on the grandfathering of window sizes. I personally feel that your poorly worded answer set the credibility of entire inspection industry back a huge step.

The most important function we can perform for our clients is that of a safety inspector. Frankly if someone cannot get out a bedroom window in the event of a fire I doubt that your comments and observations concerning code history will bring much comfort to the bereaved. You disservice us all by not digging deeper to find out if the inspector that you slandered presented this as a recommended safety upgrade or not. And you erred equally by not pointing out that subtle but huge difference to the person who inquired and the rest of the readers.

It takes a big man to publicly admit that he erred but I am hoping your shoulders are broad enough to bear that burden and that you make your comments right for the sake of your industry and fellow inspectors.

Steve Tutt

Homespection Services

(877) 619-5679

(866) 546-9680 FAX

steve@homespection.net

serving the entire Bay Area since 1998

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HGTV is in the entertainment, not education business. It's a mistake to confuse them.

Remember when William Shatner lobbed his baton at the legs of a fleeing felon on TJ Hooker and the bad guy fell down and presented his wrists for cuffing? I bet cops all over the world must have wet themselves laughing.

HGTV= art

home inspections= life

The guy probably blew it, but I did an episode of House Detective a couple years ago and they finally sent me a video of it last month. Some of the stuff I said sounded pretty silly after the editors and narrator got hold of the footage (plus the blaggards edited out some of my finest jokes). The take-home lesson is: "Be as careful as you can when you're doing TV, radio, newspapers, etc., but don't be surprised if you come off poorly anyway."

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

HGTV is in the entertainment, not education business. It's a mistake to confuse them.

Yeah, but 99% of the general public will do that. It doesn't help when the guy has a "Master Certified" title.

Frankly I find the idea of chapters making such distinctions absurd. Designations should be run by national, and only national, but that's a different thread.


The guy probably blew it, but I did an episode of House Detective a couple years ago and they finally sent me a video of it last month. Some of the stuff I said sounded pretty silly after the editors and narrator got hold of the footage (plus the blaggards edited out some of my finest jokes).

Much of what I hear on that show sounds pretty silly. Some of those guys are idiots, plain and simple, but there they are speaking for the entire profession.

And damn them for cutting your best jokes. [:-jester]


The take-home lesson is: "Be as careful as you can when you're doing TV, radio, newspapers, etc., but don't be surprised if you come off poorly anyway."

Probably right.


Grandfathering has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with our job. Part of our responsibility is to recommend for our clients' safety according to our best current information, no matter how old the house is. If the client chooses to ignore that or the seller refuses to make the changes, so what? Let the chips fall where they may.

Then there's that whole "the inspector required" thing, AKA "the inspector made them " do this or that. I'm not an AHJ. I can't require or make anyone do anything (just ask my wife).

Brian G.

I am also e-mailing Mr. Barnett.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

HGTV is in the entertainment, not education business. It's a mistake to confuse them.

Remember when William Shatner lobbed his baton at the legs of a fleeing felon on TJ Hooker and the bad guy fell down and presented his wrists for cuffing? I bet cops all over the world must have wet themselves laughing.

HGTV= art

home inspections= life

The guy probably blew it, but I did an episode of House Detective a couple years ago and they finally sent me a video of it last month. Some of the stuff I said sounded pretty silly after the editors and narrator got hold of the footage (plus the blaggards edited out some of my finest jokes). The take-home lesson is: "Be as careful as you can when you're doing TV, radio, newspapers, etc., but don't be surprised if you come off poorly anyway."

Jim,

I'd love to see that video. The ones I have of your "earlier work" have become quite grainy from repetitious play.

I too have been a victim of the cutting room floor. It's pretty amazing how they can turn almost anything around to portray the viewpoint they want.

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Well, on "This Old House", Norm was designated "Master Carpenter". I'm not aware of any Master designation in the carpentry trade either.

TV is about fluffing. They found an inspector who would flog the opinion that they already had, not an independent inspector.

OTOH, the idea that someone is going to change out windows in a 50 year old house is dreamland. Crusty point is taken, but it is still dreamland. Folks need information they can use, not recommendations that are never going to be implemented. How about smoke detectors? If everyone had operable interlinked smoke detectors, I'd sleep in the BR without egress windows.

I almost forgot; when are we going to get busy and tear out all the stairs in every old house & rebuild them? It is the #1 accident in houses.

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This person most likely bestowed this title upon himself. The bad thing about titles such as "Master" or "Certified" is if the time ever comes that you have to defend this title in a court of law. If you want to use a title why not one like "Chief" Inspector or "Senior" Inspector, of course you may have to defend this type of title also.

In my state the common title is "Licensed" Home Inspector, this tends to give more credibility to the consumer than any title I know of.

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The amazing thing about this profession and the primary reason I throw my weight in the direction of a state specific, rather than national, affiliation is the regional differences. I am originally from Ohio where I general contracted and spent several years in the East as well. Just getting re-educated to the regional construction terminology is big stuff. For his area I'm sure Kurt is right, the windows may never get changed out. Here in the SF Bay Area California, well over 50% of the houses over 50 years out have already had the windows changed out. The low cost of energy at the time and moderate climate led to some pretty crummy products being installed. And increasing bedroom egress size is enforced if permits are pulled.

TV is fluff but contrary to popular advertising jargon, perception is one's own reality and for a lot of people this so called master is as credible as Oprah. Based on what he wrote, no matter where his title came from, he unfortunately is not the master that he represents himself to be. A master would have the ability to analyze the situation much more thoroughly and with less knee jerking. IMO he has violated the Code of Ethics as I understand them.

I believe we are nothing more than trained observers and purveyors of information. Due to the technical nature of what we observe we are also charged with the necessary added burden of educating out clients in order for them to understand our observations. The real estate community has also place another added burden of telling them how to fix the problem, which most in our profession have wisely chosen to twist slightly, and instead give them direction, deferring them to the appropriate specialist.

Kurt brings up a great point in "give them information they can use." It's taken a few years but I finally traded in my white horse for a small SUV. I no longer flatter myself by believing my recommendations are implemented. Hell, with some of the agents I deal with and their clients who utilize English as a second language with varying levels of success and don't have e mail access, I wonder if any information ever gets to them. I once did the long version of my electrical grounding issue speech in the post inspection recap only to hear the agent translate it as “No problemo.â€

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Originally posted by kurt

OTOH, the idea that someone is going to change out windows in a 50 year old house is dreamland. Crusty point is taken, but it is still dreamland. Folks need information they can use, not recommendations that are never going to be implemented.

I couldn't help thinking the window recommendation sounded more like CYA than "You REALLY need to do this", and a certain amount of CYA is unavoidable. My problem with what the "Master" wrote is that he very strongly implies Grandfathering is an HI issue, and any inspector who makes safety recommendations contrary to that is incompetent. Bull. I wouldn't expect the windows to be changed out even if I did note it in the report, but what about total lack GFCI's / smoke detectors / CO detectors, doors opening out over stairs, etc. Real world safety issues that can be solved should be top priority, with no consideration for age.

I also don't think it was very professional of him to offer an opinion based on assumptions (He was betting the door in question was half glass without having any idea of the actual case).

This is also the second guy in a couple of months I've seen in print with the "Master Certified ASHI Inspector" title, and I didn't agree with what the first guy wrote either. I'll see if I can find it.

Brian G.

Master Chief Certified Grand Poobah Hot Shot Home Inspector, By God [:-batman]

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This thread reminded me of a show that I watched on H&G TV a couple of years ago. I forgot the name of it, but I was shocked to watch a whole episode in which they showed how the homeowner can finish a basement into a bedroom. There were no real windows in the room and they even went to the trouble of creating a faux window with a light behind a curtain.

There was no mention about code, egress, or any life safety issues in making a basement sleeping room with no way to get out. I wrote to H&G and suggested that they have an architect or code expert review their shows prior to airing to help make sure that this type of error did not happen. I never got a response.

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Monster House is a mess, IMHO. HGTV is worse than an episode of "Friends". All of these shows display stuff most of us have spent our lives campaigning against. Unfortunately, what we do is boring, & maniacs building stupid crap out of flammable materials is funny & "interesting". Guess who gets the airtime?

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Originally posted by kurt

Unfortunately, what we do is boring, & maniacs building stupid crap out of flammable materials is funny & "interesting".

Ah Brother Kurt, therein lies the problem with almost all true reality where television is concerned...it's boring. Is there a greater oxymoron in existence than "reality television"? I doubt it.

An attractive young man whose life is a mess stands in the rain and yells his girlfriends' name at the top of his lungs....movie of the week!

An ordinary man who manages his life pretty well makes huge sacrifices to do everything possible to get the best treatment for his wifes' cancer while holding the family together....boring! I've had this conversation more than once with my young adult step-daughter..."Stay away from the first guy, he's an idiot. Look for someone like the second guy, that's what's real, that's what lasts."

The other problem is that it's almost impossible for TV or movies to capture one pure ounce of the glue that holds the second guy together.

Brian G.

Don't Get Me Started [:-irked]

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Jim,

I'd love to see that video.

Send me your Girls Gone Wild collection and I'll send you my House Detective tape. Fair enough?

Seriously, though. I tried to find your NPR interview online and couldn't. How did it come off?

The producers of House Detective told me a dozen times that the show is "story driven" which loosely translates to: It doesn't much matter what the truth is, it matters what makes a good story.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Jim,

I'd love to see that video.

Send me your Girls Gone Wild collection and I'll send you my House Detective tape. Fair enough?

Seriously, though. I tried to find your NPR interview online and couldn't. How did it come off?

The producers of House Detective told me a dozen times that the show is "story driven" which loosely translates to: It doesn't much matter what the truth is, it matters what makes a good story.

Regrettably, I only have "Seniors Gone Wild", but the oatmeal scene is pretty racy!

The NPR interview went similar to your experience with House Detective. We did a 25 minute phone interview, and it was reduced to 2 short sound bites, playing into the slant they were going for. It was basically "builders are throwing houses together at lightning speed, and buyers are pissed". None of my witty lines or my riveting insights were used.

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  • 3 weeks later...

While we're drifting away here...

I think one of the saddest and scariest shows on TV is Jerry Springer. It's not Springer himself...although he should be hung, drawn and quartered. It's not the advertisers...although they should have their products forceably inserted into their shameless corporate never regions. It's not even the "contestants"...although, how they keep finding pairs of 300lb coyote ugly "ladies" willing to fight to the death over a 125lb piece of mullet adorned trailer-park trash is beyond me. It's the audience that truly amazes me, and occasionally makes me pause (briefly) when channel surfing. The mass chants of "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry" whenever the divas start scartching and clawing reminds me of old newsreels of Hitler's Nazi rallies...only much stupider (and without the neat uniforms). My only hope is that this is actually the same travelling band of morons that would normally be filling the seats if the WWF was in town, and not an additional or (shudder) representative one.

Gotta go...a horribly disfunctional family is building a really neat motorcycle! It's on the Discover channel so it has to be educational...right?

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Originally posted by hausdok

Jerry,

I was just browsing NACHI's current events list and I noticed that they on July 8th they trademarked the Certified Master Inspector (CMI) designation. Won't their holding the trademark for that designation prohibit your chapter members from using it on any of their marketing materials?

OT - OF!!!

M.

I don't know. But the "testing" to attain such a status won't change, albeit under perhaps a different designation.

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