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January 2009 Inspector eNews

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CREIA Inspector Journal
January 2009 | Archives

Chairman's Message - Get Ready, Get Set, Grow!

Thank God that 2008 is finally over! From the overwhelming coverage of the Presidential election to the stock market meltdown and finally to the slowdown in our profession, I am happy that we now have a new year ahead of us and the last one behind. With that in mind, let’s look to what 2009 has to offer.

Mark Your Calendars! Click             here to             register NOW!First is education. This year CREIA will have plenty of education coming right to you. Douglas Hansen kicks off January with an all day event in Oakland, CA covering Significant Code Changes. Dale Feb is earmarked for a completely new fireplace presentation at Costa Mesa, CA in February with a repeat performance later in the year in Northern California. An additional four education events, following the conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, will be scheduled up and down California.

While we are on the subject of our conference, don’t miss the chance to learn about new topics like:

  • Photovoltaic installations from the top inspector trainer, Chad Medcroft
  • Build It Green from our own Duane McCutcheon
  • Thermal Imaging by Flir and Fluke representatives
  • Phase Inspections by Bob Kille
  • Marketing Techniques by Ken Compton
  • The “How-to” of websites by Vince Graziano
  • Tile forensics by Greg Mowat
  • An all day certification event presented by TRI for tile roof installations (Additional cost).
  • For a complete CREIA Conference 2009 Information Packet click here.

Second is opportunity. CREIA is working out the final details of the new CAP program. CAP stands for CREIA Accredited Professional. CREIA realizes that the core number of our members perform residential inspections only. Some members, in addition to residential, perform commercial inspections, litigation support and specialize in a particular aspect of construction. In addition, members of CREIA affiliated organizations like RCI, specialize as expert witnesses. With the new CAP program, qualified affiliates will have the opportunity for direct referrals that benefit them and all CREIA members.

Last, at least for now, is the new “Ask.CREIA.org” website, that should be up and running this month. This innovative idea directs the public to the CREIA website for answers to common questions regarding all areas of construction and inspections. If a buyer, seller, REALTOR®, lawyer or anyone else has a question, they go to the CREIA website, then enter the “Ask.CREIA.org” website through our home page to pose their question or read if that questions already has been asked and answered. When completed, there will be approximately 30 categories with common inspection questions and answers.

What makes Ask.CREIA.,org concept so powerful is the benefit to all our members of being able to hand out a business card with the website directions to everyone in the real estate community. The design and graphics for those cards is also in the final stages and, once completed, cards will be available to all CREIA members to distribute. CREIA will be the “go-to” source for any question related to inspections and, by association, the “go-to” source to find a qualified inspector.

So, get your education while it’s hot and grab the opportunity to expand your business for this New Year.

As always, if you as CREIA members have any comments on how to improve our Association, please contact your Chapter President, Regional Director or simply e-mail the Board of Directors through the CREIA website.

Michael Foschaar, MCI
Chairman of the Board 2008/2009


Click here to learn about OREP             Home Inspector E&O Insusrance


This Issue ...

Real Estate Inspectors As House Doctors

Seismic Gas Shut-off Valves

Off the Net (Members Only T.I.E.)

California Ranks First on 2008 Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Photos From the CREIA Conejo Valley Chapter Holiday Party

Business Practices That Can Help Build Relationships and Reduce Ethics and Performance Complaints

CREIA Bylaws 2008 (Members Only)

$25 Link Fee

CREIA's Online Calendar

Upcoming CREIA Events
February 2009

"A Better Understanding of Chimneys & Fireplaces, with Dale Feb" — 8 CECs

Saturday, February 28, 2009 — 8:00am - 5:00pm

Orange Coast College
2701 Fairview Rd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

The new contents of this class will enlighten your hearth knowledge and protect your assets. This eight hour class will include Product Identification & Application, Identifying Modification and Alterations, Heat Transfer and Result, New Construction and Resale Inspection, New Information on Insert Installations, Carbon Monoxide Exposure, Moisture Entry, Structural Concerns and Much More, Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Give your support to CREIA while increasing your knowledge and protecting your clients.

8 Continuing Education Credits (CEC's)

$159.00 Register Now!

Contact:   CREIA Meetings
meetings@creia.org
800/848-7342
May 2009

"The Latest and Greatest" — CREIA's Conference 2009 in partnership with the AZ ASHI Chapter — 25 CECs"

Friday-Saturday-Sunday — May 1 - 2 - 3, 2009 — 7:30am - 5:00pm Daily

Chaparral Suites Resort
5001 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(480) 949-1414 - When making reservations please identify yourself as "CREIA" to get conference $139 (single/double) room rate, available until April 8, 2009. Map

CREIA presents 3 days full of education: 25 CECs, 2 continental breakfasts, luncheon award ceremony, reception, exhibits, peer-to-peer interaction, conference CD and onsite discounts.

25 Continuing Education Credits (CEC's)

CREIA Conference 2009 Information packet click here.

$259.00 Register Now!

Contact:   CREIA Meetings
meetings@creia.org
800/848-7342

Real Estate Inspectors As House Doctors

Much like a doctor practicing as a GP (General Practitioner) when conducting a physical exam of their patient, in this case a house, the inspector detects something that in their opinion qualifies as a material defect should automatically generate the response by deferring such a defect to a competent (qualified) industry expert for further review and recommendations. This does not mean that every defect requires a deferral, but only those that are beyond the expertise of the inspector and/or in the inspector’s opinion requires repairs or replacement. It is also important that the industry expert or whoever is actually performing the repairs or replacement be the only persons to provide cost estimates and warranties. This means the inspector does not return to his/her patient (house) to re-examine and bless any corrective or replacement work performed by folks as this type of legal liability more often than not exceeds the expertise of the inspector. All such work normally requires permits along with inspections by the local building department and accepting the liability that the work performed conforms to all local city/county ordinances and state adopted building codes is accepting a ridiculously high risk even if a fee is charged for a return visit to exam and bless the work done by others. Never forget that real estate inspectors are the low hanging fruit in the tree of litigation…or that “no good deed goes unpunished”.

Submitted byJerry McCarthy, Construction Consultant


Page 1



EVENTS &
EDUCATION

Click here to go to the CREIA Meeting and Events Calendar


Congratulations!

New Candidates

John O'Green
Tirso De Ubago
Robert Waysack
James Chung
Andres Garcia
David Erie
Tom Fasold
John Lewis
Scott Jemm

New CCIs

Brad Carter
Ridwanto Tirtatunggal
Steve Roseberry
Ryan Cooper


 

CREIA 2009 AZ Conference Info Package

All domestic non-members pay $25 per subscription year (12 e-issues).

CREIA Inspector Journal
January 2009 | Archives

Back to front page »

Seismic Gas Shut-off Valves

Spoiler alert. The following information exceeds CREIA’s Standards of Practice. Stop reading this now unless you wish to offer your client more than just a minimal home inspection. CREIA members are not required to determine “compliance with manufacturers’ installation guidelines or specifications, building codes…”

Siesmic Gas Shut-Off ValveRegarding my plumbing experience, size does matter. 1 of 10 seismic gas shut-off valves (herein referred to as a SGSV) is incorrectly installed. These valves are too small or installed on the wrong side of the gas meter. These SGSVs should be the same size or larger than the building stub size. In other words, a ¾-inch valve may not serve a 1½-inch gas line. Sensibly, every valve manufacturer makes more than one size valve because one size does not fit all. SGSVs are mechanical devices mounted near the gas meter that are designed to automatically shut off the flow of gas during a significant seismic event.

The Southern California Gas Company states 14,062 natural gas leaks were reported in customer facilities after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Like ground fault circuit interrupters, a SGSV could be a thoughtful safety upgrade if not already required by the local building authority.

The mandatory installation of these valves could be triggered by transfer of property, new construction and certain remodeling. SGSV valves are already required by a few insurance companies and communities like Contra Costa County, Los Angeles, Alameda County, West Hollywood and Marin County.

Securing the SGSV to the structure with a brace is a requirement of the installation and will help prevent false or nuisance activation. Little Firefighter states their valve “shuts off your home or business natural gas supply in the event of a 5.4 or greater earthquake.” Los Angeles requires approved seismic gas shut-off valves to have a minimum 30 year warranty.

SGSV LocationDon’t rely on the building code to determine valve sizing. The plumbing code mandates pipe size only. Some locales will require a gas valve sized to the house line rather than the gas meter line. Documented ordinances like Los Angeles and the valve manufacturer’s installation instructions are your only proof of non compliance if you need to back up your suggestion for repairs.

Typically, only the blue box- type SGSV’s were allowed on the utility side of the gas meter and these valves were installed by the Gas Company. Southern California Gas Company’s parent, Pacific Enterprises, created a subsidiary called Energy Services (PEES) that has heavily marketed its SGSVs since September 1996, when the Public Utilities Commission granted the utility permission to install Los Angeles-approved SGSV’s on its side of the meter. SGE Blue Box SGSV ValveThese valves are no longer installed by the Southern California Gas Company (on or about 2/13/2002) because of accusations of unfair competition, burdensome self inspections/maintenance, and increasing liability for the Gas Company.

Weeks ago, I found a newer gas line that was not protected from seismic activity. This gas line to the new pool heater was installed upstream from an existing SGSV and not at all protected from seismic activity. Look at these valves closer on the next home inspection. CREIA is all about continuing education.

Submitted by: Joe Nernberg, CCI


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Off The Net (Members Only)

Click here - 20 minutes into the Home Inspection

Click here - Stucco: Soffit weep screed system


California Ranks First on 2008 Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently released the 2008 energy efficiency scorecard with California once again topping the list, outranking all other 49 states and the District of Columbia. The scorecard ranks each state based on its adoption and implementation of energy efficiency policies and programs, with the goal of encouraging states to raise the bar in efficiency commitments. It also emphasizes the importance of energy efficiency as a reliable, cost-effective and speedy way to actually reduce energy consumption and combat rising energy demand.

The survey evaluates states based on eight separate measures including transportation, building codes, appliance standards, and public and utility benefits. California scored first on the list in nearly all categories, and beat out Connecticut (number 3) and Oregon (number 2) for first place in the all-around total score.

Other states fell short, with North Dakota and Alabama scoring a meager one and a-half points out of fifty and Wyoming scoring zero. Fortunately, in addition to providing a benchmark, the scorecard serves as a roadmap to those states attempting to improve. Indeed, a number of states have improved their scores since the 2007 ranking, including Idaho, Maryland, and Ohio which were named the ‘most improved’ states this year.


Page 2



EVENTS &
EDUCATION

Click here to go to the CREIA Meeting and Events Calendar


Congratulations!

New Candidates

John O'Green
Tirso De Ubago
Robert Waysack
James Chung
Andres Garcia
David Erie
Tom Fasold
John Lewis
Scott Jemm

New CCIs

Brad Carter
Ridwanto Tirtatunggal
Steve Roseberry
Ryan Cooper


 

CREIA 2009 AZ Conference Info Package

All domestic non-members pay $25 per subscription year (12 e-issues).

CREIA Inspector Journal
January 2009 | Archives

Back to front page »

Photos from the CREIA Conejo Valley Chapter Holiday Party

CREIA CV Chapter Holiday                         Party

CREIA CV Chapter Holiday                         Party
CREIA CV Chapter Holiday                         Party

Great lap times by fellow inspectors (handle/nickname): B-rad, Slick, Speed Racer, Deal Killer, Choo-Choo- Charlie, Racer X and Palika.


Click here to learn about OREP Home Inspector E&O             Insusrance


Inspector Ethics - Business Practices That Can Help Build Relationships and Reduce Ethics and Performance Complaints

Unless he walks on water, at least on a semi regular basis, the time will come when a REALTOR® or client will be upset with the inspector, the inspection and/or the inspection report. There may be some basis for their displeasure, but most of the time, there is little or no basis. The house is falling off the foundation and it is obviously it is the inspector’s fault since he was the one who found it. It’s the “shoot the messenger for delivering the message” mentality. In past articles, as well as on the CREIA web site, the difference between a performance complaint and an ethics complaint has been discussed at length. To review, a performance complaint deals with the finding of fact. The inspector allegedly missed something or made an error of fact. An ethics complaint deals with violating guidelines that could create conflicts of interest. As indicated on the CREIA web site the most common ethics complaints relate to “advertising, improper or unauthorized use of the CREIA logo, improper use of the word ‘certified’, inaccurate listing of credentials or CREIA offices held.”

It is our responsibility to do the very best inspection we possibly can. If we do the best inspection possible and adhere to our Standards of Practice it will reduce the chance of a complaint later. Ken Compton, America’s premier home inspection marketing coach and a seminar leader at our upcoming conference in Scottsdale, AZ, drives home the point that a client or Realtor must know you, like you and trust you. If they do, the inspection orders will follow. It’s about relationship building. I think there is a corollary, “If a Realtor or client knows you, likes you and trusts you, they will be less likely to file complaints and be more likely to call you on the phone and work to resolve any potential problems.”

In our last article we indicated that CREIA has done a good job of policing themselves and the number of complaints in 2008 was relatively low. I would suggest there are certain business practices which, if we carefully follow them, we can help lessen the number of complaints and call-backs. The following are certainly not original ideas and many of you may already have incorporated them into your business practice.

  1. Create a company image. You are a professional. Act like a professional. Dress like and professional. Talk like a professional. Drive a clean vehicle - like a professional. Do a professional inspection. If there are issues with the property – deal with them in a professional manner.
  2. Don’t use “inspect speak”. Learn how to communicate in a professional non-threatening manner. I do not understand the trades or occupations of many of my clients. I’m not a car mechanic or landscaper. I would need for the mechanic or landscaper to communicate in a manner I understand. Don’t assume the client knows what a truss or reversed polarity is.
  3. Follow the Standards of Practice.
  4. Make sure your advertising is consistent, truthful, accurate and reflects your position in the market place. Your advertising may be your client’s first impression of your services. Make your impression memorable and positive.
  5. Make sure your web site communicates the benefit of using your services. Clients want to know what’s in it for them. Tell them.
  6. Have the client sign an inspection agreement prior to the beginning of the inspection. I would recommend you attach a copy of the Standards of Practice with the inspection agreement. Inspection agreements which incorporate the Standards of Practice are available from the CREIA web site. The key is to manage your client’s expectations. Let them know the scope of what you do before your start the inspection. Their expectations may exceed the scope of what we do. A client may expect that you test for mold but mold testing is beyond the scope of our inspection. They may think you can see inside walls to see the sewer line buried in the soil. Manage the client’s expectations.
  7. Ask the client if they have any concerns with the home or property. Make sure you address their stated concerns. If their concern is outside of the Standards of Practice, let them know. If they express a concern about the water fall in the back yard, let them know inspection of water falls is outside the scope of our inspection and suggest they hire a qualified professional to address their water fall concerns.
  8. Follow the Standards of Practice.
  9. Sometimes the client will bring the ultimate construction authority, “Uncle Buck” or Cousin Fred, to the inspection. You are a professional. Thank them for being there. (Quietly take two aspirin – extra strength if need be.) Respect their “input” or observations (even when wrong). Make it a point to thank them for attending the inspection before they leave. Remember, you are a professional.
  10. Arrive to the inspection early. On time is ten minutes late.
  11. Ask if there is a current pest report available for review. The report could alert you to potential problems that may be within the scope of your inspection.
  12. Deliver the report, by whatever agreed method, when you promised it.
  13. Follow the Standards of Practice.
  14. Follow up, after the inspection report has been delivered, with the Realtor® and the client. Do they have any questions? Answering questions or concerns now may prevent calls and concerns later. Remember it’s about building relationships.
  15. Send a thank you note to the client and Realtors®.
  16. Did we mention follow the Standards of Practice?
  17. If a problem or call-back occurs, deal with it in a professional and courteous manner.

Many of these may border on being marketing points. So be it. We want the client to be in a positive frame of mind. The key point to remember is that we are in the relationship building business. A happy client will be a good source of referrals for years to come. It is much more cost effective to retain a client or Realtor® for future referrals, than to repeatedly have to market our services to new clients and Realtors®.

Don Jackson in his book, 2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success, relates the following story. “A friend of mine bought a Lexus – a $45,000 piece of machinery. He could afford a Mercedes, a Jaguar, a Cadillac, but he went with the Lexus. His lifetime value to that automobile manufacturer could be in the high six figures. My friend took delivery of his elegant new Lexus from the dealer and started to drive it home, luxuriating in the smell of the leather interior and the glorious handling qualities. On a whim, he turned on the radio. His favorite classical music station came on loud and clear in splendid quadraphonic sound. He pushed the second button; it was his favorite news-weather-traffic station. The third button was set to his specific tastes.

Was the Lexus psychic? No. The mechanic at the Lexus dealership had noted the radio settings on the old trade in and duplicated them on the new Lexus. My friend was, in a word “delighted”.

He goes on to say, “Remember what this technician did for my friend cost Lexus nothing. Zip. Nada. Not one cent. Yet it solidified the relationship. Over the coming years, Lexus will have to screw up big time to negate that divine moment.”

As Ken Compton relates, “Delight A Customer (or referral source) And You Can Have That Customer For Life!” Remember we are in the relationship building business.

Submitted by:David Pace, Ethics Chair, CREIA MCI


Page 3



EVENTS &
EDUCATION

Click here to go to the CREIA Meeting and Events Calendar


Congratulations!

New Candidates

John O'Green
Tirso De Ubago
Robert Waysack
James Chung
Andres Garcia
David Erie
Tom Fasold
John Lewis
Scott Jemm

New CCIs

Brad Carter
Ridwanto Tirtatunggal
Steve Roseberry
Ryan Cooper


 

CREIA 2009 AZ Conference Info Package

All domestic non-members pay $25 per subscription year (12 e-issues).
 

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