October 2001 Edition

Builders Requiring Home Inspectors To Be Structural Engineers?

We are about to close on our new home and want to get it inspected. The builder refused to approve our inspector because he was not a "Certified Structural Engineer". Now we cannot find a home inspector who is a structural engineer. Why is the builder requiring this?
First of all, there is no such thing as a "Certified Structural Engineer". What the builder is referring to is a "Professional Engineer" as in Civil Engineer.
Some of the builders started requiring this to limit the number of home inspections on their homes. They know this is a ridiculous requirement, but the builder can include anything they want in their contracts.
There was an article in the August 31st issue of the Atlanta Business Chronicle about this same problem. The article addresses a home buyer who runs into a road block when her builder would not let her home inspector inspect the house because he was not a "Certified Structural Engineer". The buyer looked around and found an inspector that was code-certified and is an engineer. The builder still refused to accept her inspector. The buyer got really mad and called the Structural Engineering Association of Georgia and they explained there was no state certification saying someone was a "certified structural engineer". The highest grade is a "professional engineer".
Problems such as these are becoming more common, according to local home inspectors. They say the hurdles to get onto properties are more frequent than ever.
Since the builders own the houses and property until the buyer closes on the house, they have the right to make certain request of inspectors. They can request home inspectors to be a member of a trade organization such as the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. (ASHI) or the Georgia Association of Home Inspectors, (GAHI), carry liability insurance or have a valid business license. These are reasonable request.
But GAHI President Dan Peace said "builders have recently entered into the ridiculous with their requests, creating requirements and stipulations designed only to keep inspectors from doing their jobs."
"The one that is currently popular is that the inspector be an engineer". Peace said, "To the public, this sounds logical, but engineers without specific training in home inspections do a poor job of inspecting. The reason builders do this is to restrict the pool from which a home buyer can choose an inspector."
Rick Rogers, a local inspector and president of ASHI’s Southeast Chapter, said unusual request from builders have come to a head recently in metro Atlanta.
"One thing we are doing more inspections than we ever have," he said. "We’re becoming more aggressive and looking at things more closely than we did five years ago, so builders are trying to come up with something to restrict us any way they can."
According to Tore Knos, owner of Champia Corp. Home Inspection, "Some builders take the attitude that they will fix whatever code items they feel they should fix, and if you don’t like it, find another house. The market has been good enough that they know someone will be right behind you to buy the house if you don’t."
"Although unusual request have become more common, most builders, such as Hedgewood Properties Inc., usually require inspectors to be a member of a valid trade organization, have a valid business license and carry general liability insurance. Hedgewood Properties President Pam Sessions said she wants to make sure her company deals with licensed professionals". We whole heartily agree with these requirements. There are many people out there claiming to be home inspectors, but do not have the proper training.
"Home buyers should read the fine print on any paperwork they sign when buying a house", Peace said. "What happens is a person goes to buy a new house and they get excited about the decision, then sign a stack of documents, which no one really reads, and end up signing away their rights to a home inspection."
He also says, "home buyers should watch out for phases in contracts that say signing the document is an understanding and/or acknowledgement that ‘the finished house is built in compliance with state and local codes’."
Source: Jacques L. Couret Jr., Staff Writer
Atlanta Business Chronicle

CPSC warns that smoke alarms in about 16 million homes do not work!

Fire is the second leading cause of unintentional death in the home. Each year, nearly 3,200 people die in residential fires serious enough to be reported to the fire departments.
About 90 percent of U.S. households have smoke alarms installed. However, a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) survey found that the smoke alarms in 20 percent of those households - about 16 million - were not working, mostly because the battery was dead or missing.
"Smoke alarms can save lives, but they won’t work if they are not maintained," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "They should be tested monthly, and the batteries should be replaced at least once a year or when they make the ‘chirping’ sound."
Long-life smoke alarms with 10 year batteries have been available to consumers since 1995. These long life alarms also should be tested monthly.
CPSC recommends consumers place a smoke alarm that meets the requirements of Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) standard on each level of multi-story homes outside sleeping areas, and inside bedrooms. CPSC has worked to strengthen smoke alarm performance and installation requirements.

Source: ASHI Reporter, December 2000

If you have a question, change of address, comment, home tip or would like to send Home Tips to your clients, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can E-Mail your questions to us at rodharrison@christianbuildinginspectors.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

"We Are Moving"

Our New Address Is:

Christian Building Inspectors

3697 Habersham Lane

Duluth, Georgia 30096-6111

Office: 770-849-0920, Fax: 770-849-0540

Effective October 15, 2001

Quote Of The Month

"Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but must always participate in the swell of the ocean, so we can never experience life by ourselves, but must always share the experience of life that takes place all around us."

- Albert Schweitzer

A Tip Of The Hat To:

Barbara and Ausker Morris

Northside Realty

4177 Roswell Road

Marietta, Georgia 30062

**** Thank You****