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ASHI

2.18

REPORTER

INSPECTION NEWS & VIEWS FROM THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HOME INSPECTORS, INC.

TO DRONE OR NOT TO DRONE Bruce LaBell, ACI – P22

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SH O W ER STAL L S C R AW L SP AC E I N SP EC T I O N S: PR AC T IC AL IN F O R M AT IO N AN D T IPS F O R IN SPEC T IO N S

SM AR T I N SP EC T O R S C I E N C E I N SP EC T I N G O L D H O U S E S W O O D ST R U C T U R E S , P A R T 2 : T H E H AM M ER AN D N A I L S O F I T

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T H R EE G O O G L E AD W O R D S ST R AT EG I ES YO U SH O U L D KN O W AB O U T

1February 2018

• www.ASHIReporter.org

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018

Radon Gas Test kit Call For Pricing!


2.18

ASHI

REPORTER FEATURES 8

Shower Stalls By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop,

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www.carsondunlop.com, 800-268-7070

Crawl Space Inspections: Practical Information and Tips for Inspections By Rick Bunzel, ACI 18 Up to the Home Energy Score Task: Winners of the 2017 Chapter Challenge ASHI Staff 20 Three Google Adwords Strategies You Should Know About By Andy Patel, CEO, K-3 Technologies

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To Drone or Not to Drone

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Smart Inspector Science

By Bruce LaBell, ACI

By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc. HowToOperateYourHome.com

February 2018

Vol. 35, #2

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS: EMSL Analytical, Inc. Target Professional Programs Allen Insurance America’s Call Center Property Inspector Insurance How To Operate Your Home PoolFax RTCA ASHI Print-On-Demand US Inspect 3D Inspection System

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ASHI Online Learning Center Horizon Inspection Software American Home Warranty InspectorPro Insurance Sun Nuclear Corporation HomeGauge

29 softconference.com/ashi 37 CarsonDunlop.com/tryHorizon 43 ahomewarranty.com 45 inspectorproinsurance.com/ashi 47 sunradon.com 48 HomeGauge.com/CRL

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Inspecting Old Houses By David Rushton, ACI

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40 ASHI Holiday Homes Contest Winners By ASHI Staff

DEPARTMENTS

6 Being Frank Frank Lesh, ASHI Executive Director 34 ASHI Community

Chapter News, Listing and Education

38  Feeling the Love!

By Jennifer Gallegos ASHI Membership Services Manager

42 Postcards From the Field

It’s Wacky Out There

46 On My Mind

By ASHI President Tim Buell

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February 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org

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ASHI National Officers and Board of Directors Educated. Tested. Verified. Certified.

A SH I M ISSIO N S TATEM ENT To set and promote standards for property inspections and to provide the educational programs needed to achieve excellence in the profession and to meet the needs of our members.

Officers Tim Buell, President Marysville, OH, 614-746-7485 tim.buell@gmail.com

Bruce Barker, Treasurer Cary, NC, 919-322-4491 bruce@dreamhomeconsultants.com

Scott Patterson, President-Elect Spring Hill, TN, 615-302-1113 scott@traceinspections.com

Michael Conley, Secretary Anna Maria, FL, 941-778-2385 FLinspector@outlook.com

Mike Wagner, Vice President Westfield, IN, 317-867-7688 mwagner@ralis.com

Howard Pegelow, Immediate Past-President Gilbert, AZ, 414-379-4186 hpegelow@yahoo.com

Directors

Main Phone: 847-759-2820, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Mon. - Fri., CST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Frank Lesh, Executive Director, 847-954-3182, frankl@ashi.org Bonnie Bruno-Castaneda, Executive Assistant, Human Resources & Project Coordinator, 847-954-3177, bonnieb@ashi.org EDUCATION, CE APPROVAL, ASHI ONLINE LEARNING CENTER, INSPECTIONWORLD, CHAPTER RELATIONS

Michele George, Director of Education, Events and Chapter Relations, 847-954-3188, micheleg@ashi.org MEMBERSHIP, BOOTH RENTAL, PRODUCT ORDERS

Jen Gallegos, Manager of Membership Services & U.S. DOE Home Energy Score Assessor Coordinator, 847-954-3185, jeng@ashi.org Janet George, Membership Services Supervisor, 847-954-3180 janetg@ashi.org George Herrera, Membership Services Assistant, 847-954-3196 georgeh@ashi.org

Bronson Anderson 2018-2020 Waynesboro, VA, 540-932-7557 2inspect4u@gmail.com

Darrell Hay 2018-2019 Snohomish, WA, 206-226-3205 darrell@safesoundhome.com

Eric Barker 2018-2020 Lake Barrington, IL, 847-408-7238 ebarker@morainewoods.com

Reuben Saltzman 2017-2019 Maple Grove, MN, 952-915-6466 reuben@structuretech1.com

Mark Lester, Membership Services Coordinator, 847-954-3176 markl@ashi.org

Shannon Cory 2018-2020 Fayetteville, GA, 770-461-3408 shannon@rainbowhomeinspections.com

Bob Sisson 2018-2020 Boyds MD, 301-208-8289 Office@inspectionsbybob.com

ACCOUNTING

James J. Funkhouser 2017-2019 Manassas Park, VA, 703-791-2360 jfunkhousr@aol.com

Blaine Swan 2016-2018 Columbus, OH, 614-506-0647 goodeyeinspections@gmail.com

Beverly Canham, Financial Assistant, 847-954-3184 beverlyc@ashi.org

Bryck Guibor 2017-2019 Tucson, AZ, 520-795-5300 bryck@msn.com

John Wessling 2016-2018 St. Louis, MO, 314-520-1103 john@wesslinginspections.com

Richard Hart 2016-2018 Conyers, GA, 770-827-2200 Ashi1@comcast.net

Speaker, Council of Representatives Hollis Brown, 2017-2018 Manassas, VA, 703-754-8872 Inspectors@ThoroSpec.com

David Haught 2016-2018 Huntington, WV, 304-417-1247 inspector@wvchi.com

Publisher: Frank Lesh Editor: Carol Dikelsky Art Director: Kate Laurent Assistant Art Director: George Ilavsky American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. 932 Lee Street, Suite 101 Des Plaines, IL 60016

ASHI Reporter • February 2018

Michael Krauszowski, Membership Relations Administrator 847-954-3175, Michaelk@ashi.org

Toni Fanizza, Accounting & Purchasing Manager 847-954-3190, tonif@ashi.org

WEBSITE, INFORMATION SYSTEMS, DATABASE

Mike Rostescu, Assistant Executive Director & Director of IT 847-954-3189, miker@ashi.org COMMUNICATIONS

Dave Kogan, Director of Marketing & Business Development Advertising, Marketing, IW Expo Hall, Public Relations 847-954-3187, davek@ashi.org Kate Laurent, Design & Digital Strategy Manager, “ASHI Reporter” Art Director, 847-954-3179, katel@ashi.org

847-954-3179 Reporter calls only

Chris Karczewski, Social Media & Digital Strategist 847-954-3183 chrisk@ashi.org

847-299-2505 (fax) Reporter only Email: frankl@ashi.org

George Ilavsky, Graphic Designer & Free Logos, georgei@ashi.org

Advertising: Dave Kogan Phone: 847-954-3187, Email: davek@ashi.org

THE ASHI SCHOOL

ASHI REPORTER – ISSN 1076-1942 – the official publication of the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. (ASHI), 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines IL 60016, is published monthly. Annual subscriptions: $44.95 to non-members. Periodical postage paid at Des Plaines, IL 60016 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ASHI Reporter, 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016-6546. Copyright© 2018, ASHI. None of the content of this publication may be reproduced, in any manner, without the prior written consent of the publisher. Inclusion of or specific mention of any proprietary product within does not imply endorsement of, nor does exclusion of any proprietary product imply non-endorsement, by the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. Opinions or statements of authors and advertisers are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or positions of ASHI, its agents or editors. See above for information pertaining to submission of articles, advertising and related materials.

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ASHI STAFF

Russell Daniels, Executive Director of the ASHI School 847-954-3178, Russelld@theashischool.com Michelle Santiago, Executive Assistant, 847-954-3198 Michelle@theashischool.com Tracy Vazquez, Sales Representative, 847-954-3181 Tracy@theashischool.com Avery Dinn, Sales Representative, 847-954-3191 Avery@theashischool.com


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February 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org

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BEING FRANK

ASHI AND FABI—STRENGTHENING THE PROFESSION THROUGH PEER REVIEW By Frank Lesh, ASHI Executive Director American Society of Home Inspectors Direct: 847-954-3182 Frankl@ashi.org • www.ashi.org

I

’m writing this message while sitting in the Southwest Airlines terminal at the Orlando International Airport after attending the Florida Association of Building Inspectors (FABI) Winter Conference in Daytona Beach, FL. Although sitting at in airport is seldom fun, the FABI conference was a blast!

More than 30 attendees, whose experience level with inspection ranged from “seasoned” to “new,” participated in an educational peer review activity at a house that was a real piece of…well…“something.”

In case you’re not familiar with the peer review process, here’s a brief history: Years ago, in order to become an ASHI member, a candidate had to be “reviewed” by a committee of seasoned home inspectors. The members of that committee would pre-inspect a house for major deficiencies and decide which deficiencies were “must finds.” Then, each candidate for ASHI membership would inspect the house, find the deficiencies and report them to the committee. Only the candidates who reported all the “must finds” became members of ASHI. This was a great system, but it was difficult for a growing association to replicate it on a large scale, so ASHI leaders decided to replace the peer review with a written test. The test is easier to administer and has the advantage of being objective; the peer review is subjective because each house is unique and each committee includes different inspectors who may look at houses from a variety of perspectives. ASHI’s Great Lakes Chapter (GLC) continued to maintain the peer review experience as an educational opportunity, even after ASHI stopped requiring it. To this day, GLC holds a peer review activity prior to each of its chapter seminars. Other chapters highly value peer review activities as well, and many continue to offer some form of it as education for their members.

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018

It’s hard to express the value of this personal experience. We all know the value of the internet. For old-timers like me, the internet reminds us of the encyclopedia—a world of knowledge at your fingertips. There’s no doubt that the ’net is a great tool, but, like a hammer, if it’s your only tool, everything looks like a nail.

So, when we meet new inspectors who have absolutely no experience other than what they’ve learned online, we shouldn’t be surprised that they could use more hands-on experience. One way to help them achieve that experience is by offering peer review activities. After visiting the peer review at the FABI conference and knowing the success of GLC’s peer review program as I do, I’d have to say that the best people to provide peer review experiences are groups like FABI and ASHI chapters.

Speaking of FABI’s recent peer review, ASHI and FABI did some collaborating at the 2017 Winter Conference. One thing we did was use Facebook Live to broadcast the inspection and then we posted a video of it on YouTube. That video had over 3,000 views within a day of the inspection and the response from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. As a result, FABI has decided to offer a peer review at all of its conferences. A great big thanks to all of the FABI inspectors who helped run the review. Special thanks go to Ralph Cabal, Jean Anne Baker, Jeff Clair, Manny Gonzalez and Glenn Stephens for being the team inspectors. Another special thank you goes to Jon Bolton for arranging the house that was used for the peer review, in addition to being one of the team inspectors. A lot of work goes into preparing for these peer reviews, but the value of the outcomes for our members is immeasurable. For the entire weekend of FABI’s conference, I saw how FABI stepped up to the plate to give Floridian inspectors an eye-opening view of what to look for in a real house. Congratulations to the FABI Board of Directors for allowing ASHI to help achieve that success. Two organizations—uniting to strengthen the profession.


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Shower Stalls

TYPES OF SHOWER STALLS

SHOWER STALLS

One-piece fiberglass or acrylic: This type of shower stall is the least likely to leak because the floor and walls are made of a single unit.

By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop, www.carsondunlop.com, 800-268-7070

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ll shower stalls leak. They don’t necessarily leak when you are doing your inspection, but eventually, they all leak. Worse than that, shower stalls are very expensive to replace. Worse yet, the leakage can be slow and cause considerable damage without being particularly visible. Be very, very careful with shower stalls. Either the base or the enclosure may be the culprit, but the result is similar.

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018

Three-piece fiberglass or acrylic: This is the next best type of shower stall, in which the bottom third, middle third and top third all fit together. Prefabricated china bases: These are sometimes used for shower stalls, although they are unusual. Prefabricated acrylic and fiberglass bases: Known as shower receptors, these bases for shower stalls are somewhat more common and work fairly well.


Shower Stalls

Mortar bed ceramic tile: This is the most popular type of shower stall. Leaks at and around the base are the most common problem.

Prefabricated foam sub-bases for shower stalls: Often, these are sold as part of a system, with a proprietary waterproofing membrane and drain.

Metal: Some shower stalls are made entirely of metal, including a metal base or floor and metal walls. Some of the bases are concrete over metal. These are usually low-quality and are prone to rusting.

Ideally, the first step of installation is to put down a sloped (¼-inch per foot) mortar sub-base; however, this step often gets omitted.

The next step is to put in a membrane-type liner. Older liners were typically copper, galvanized steel or lead. In some areas, hot mopped asphalt and Type-15 felt paper pans were used. Newer liners often are made of PVC or bonded polyethylene sheet products—a single sheet of material that covers the floor of the shower stall with an opening for the drain. These liners are turned up the wall, usually at least 3 inches above the finished threshold. Some areas require the liner to extend 9 inches up the wall and a solid continuous backing for the liner. Find out what is accepted by your local authority.

Once the liner is in place, the top half of the drain assembly is installed, sandwiching the liner between the top and bottom half. Installation details of newer drain products with integrated bonding flanges may differ slightly.

The next step is to put in a mortar base on top of the lining that follows the slope of the sub-base down toward the drain. Finally, the tile is installed on this mortar base.

FLOORS SHOULD SLOPE

All shower stalls should have a slope of at least ¼ inch per foot in toward the drain. The drain obviously should not be at a high point to avoid allowing water to “pond” on the floor of the shower stall.

SILLS AND THRESHOLDS Ceramic or marble tile: These types of shower stalls are much more troublesome, although what’s really important is the base material. For shower stalls that are ceramic tile or marble, the base usually is manufactured on site and the floor of the stall is tiled as well. These bases don’t last forever.

BASES OF SHOWER STALLS

Let’s look at the base of a site-built shower stall. In most cases, we start with a wood or concrete subfloor, and the bottom half of the drain assembly is in place. Shower stall drain assemblies usually have weep holes in the lower half to allow any water that gets through the tile to run along the liner and into the drain through these weep holes.

Shower stalls need to have some entrance point for people to get into them. They will have a curb or sill at the entrance, and it may form a door threshold if there is a shower door rather than a curtain. Typically, the finished sill or threshold should be 3 inches below the top of the liner. Although you won’t be able to determine this, it’s good practice to have the liner (mentioned previously) extend out over the sill or threshold and be sealed tightly along the sides. This is not always done. Sill damage is common.

SHOWERHEAD ISSUES

Some water-saving showerheads only allow a delivery rate of 2.1 gallons per minute. In some cases, people feel that the supply allowed by the plumbing system is not adequate when, in fact, the supply is being restricted intentionally by a water-saving showerhead. Don’t describe the water supply as weak if it’s simply being controlled by a water-saving device.

TOE TESTERS AND MIXING VALVES

Faucets and nozzles for showers are some of the most complicated supply piping in the house. There is often a diverter valve in both bathtubs and shower stalls. Although we never want to fill a shower stall with water, a spout often is provided near floor level. Some people call this a toe tester and it’s used to get the water to the right temperature before turning on the showerhead. Depending on how the shower is arranged, it’s nice to be able to get the hot and cold water mixed appropriately before soaking yourself with shower water.

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Shower Stalls

ENTRANCE PROBLEMS

Look for a minimum entrance width of 22 inches for shower stalls. You should report on shower stalls with entrances that are narrower than 22 inches. Also watch for doors that are not made of tempered glass. In most cases, you’ll find an etching in the corner of the door that indicates that the glass is tempered. This won’t always be obvious, however. If you can’t verify that the door is tempered, you might want to raise the question, although this also goes beyond the ASHI Standard.

Another problem is a shower door that only opens inward. There are two disadvantages to this design. First, if the water temperature suddenly gets very hot, a person can’t get out of the shower quickly. A bigger problem is created if a person collapses in a shower stall and falls against the door. In these cases, it can be very difficult to get the person out of the shower. Shower stall doors should open outward.

SILL AND THRESHOLD PROBLEMS

LEAKS

Leaks are a big issue. There are many places in a shower enclosure where water can leak. We’ve described problems with the enclosure itself, and with the penetrations and joints. We’ve also described the complicated base construction of a mortar bed shower stall and the potential for leakage there. Leaks are always possible through the supply and drain piping as well. One of the tests that many home inspectors perform is a flood test of the shower base itself. Some inspectors plug the drain of the shower stall and flood the base with an inch or two of water. Obviously, we don’t want to get the water up over the sill or door threshold. This is a fairly rigorous test. The longer the water stays, the more rigorous the test. Some specialists say the water should stay for 24 hours!

This test does not necessarily simulate normal usage and it has the added disadvantage of the delayed reaction. In some cases, it will take several hours for the leaks to appear. Obviously, in most cases, a home inspection is not going to last several hours. We’ll leave it to you to decide whether you do this type of test. It goes beyond the ASHI Standard of Practice, but the results certainly can be revealing. In one sense, you’re not going to see many leaks related to the shower stall by looking inside the stall. You need to be looking around and below for leaks, rather than inside, for the most part. Remember to check the walls and floors in rooms adjacent to the stall. Moisture meters can be effective tools for detecting moisture or leakage in areas adjacent to the stall. Look for signs of previous patchwork or damage. Excessive caulking around the stall should raise a red flag. 10

ASHI Reporter • February 2018

Sills and thresholds at shower stalls should be watertight and tall enough to contain the shower water. Poor original construction or maintenance can lead to leakage at and around sills and thresholds. Sills and thresholds that are too low are an installation issue. These problems are common in houses with people who are elderly or who have disabilities. Check sills or thresholds carefully. If they are made of tile or marble, make sure they are well-secured and intact. Ideally, the sills should have a slight slope back into the shower stall so any water that lands on the sill or threshold will drain back into the stall, rather than out onto the floor. With every shower stall, part of your normal routine should be to check outside the sill or threshold carefully for evidence of water damage. It may have been freshly painted, so you may have to be persistent. It’s unusual to find no evidence of leakage around and below shower stall sills and thresholds.


Shower Stalls

LEAKS ARE ALWAYS POSSIBLE THROUGH THE SUPPLY AND DRAIN PIPING AS WELL. POOLING WATER ON THE FLOOR

Pooling water may result from a slow drain or an improper slope on the floor. Stagnant water sitting in a shower stall is not only unpleasant, it also may be unhealthy. Before operating the fixture, make sure that there is no water on the floor and check that the drain is at a low point. When operating the fixture, make sure that water does not back up and pool on the floor.

Relax.

SHOWER STALLS THAT ARE TOO SMALL

Custom-made shower stalls can be any size. Some are extremely large and have multiple shower fixtures. Some have seats. All of this variation is fine, but you should watch for shower stalls that are too small. Generally, 30 inches by 30 inches is a minimum size.

Shower stalls that are too small may trap a person who collapses in the shower. Although it’s not necessary to measure each shower stall with a tape measure, you should have some sense of how big a 30-inch-by30-inch shower stall is and make a note in your report if the shower stall you see is significantly smaller. Carson Dunlop - Consulting engineering firm devoted to home inspection since 1978. www.carsondunlop.com

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February 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org

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Crawl Space Inspections

CRAWL SPACE INSPECTIONS:

PRACTICAL INFORMATION AND TIPS FOR INSPECTIONS By Rick Bunzel, ACI

W

henever I mention that I’ll be going into the crawl space at an inspection, clients roll their eyes and let out a groan. However, on the plus side, the crawl space is where I’m most likely to find important foundation issues, plumbing leaks and pests, among other things. I live in the Pacific Northwest and due to groundwater issues, builders here favor crawl spaces over basements. So, about 80% of the time, my inspections include going into crawl spaces.

COME ALONG WITH ME ON A CRAWL SPACE INSPECTION... At the start of the inspection, I begin by doing a 360-degree survey of the home. This allows me to scope out what’s included and the general locations of things, like the crawl space. If I find a crawl space with an exterior hatch, I open it and take a quick peek inside. According to the ASHI Standard of Practice (SoP), the hatch opening must be at least 16 inches by 24 inches for it to be considered accessible. I also look for standing water and any immediate hazards such as cutoff rebar stubs or electric lines in the opening. Many inspectors will exceed their state’s standards or the ASHI SoP by squeezing through a smaller opening, but each inspector must judge what’s safe for them to do and what’s not. (See the supplemental information about confined crawl spaces on Pages 14 and 15.)

LOOKING FOR IMPORTANT ITEMS

As I move through the crawl space, I inspect and look for the following:

• foundation walls • sill plates • ventilation (is it adequate?) • s igns of pests (for example, termite mud tubes, carpenter ant frass, powderpost beetles, rodents and other animals) • signs of water intrusion (especially under sliding doors) • plumbing (for example, waste lines, supply lines) • damaged subfloor • cripple walls, stem walls, columns and piers • amateur repairs • electrical wiring • insulation

During my 360-degree survey, I also look at the layout of the foundation. I normally save the crawl space inspection for last, as I want to preemptively run water through the home’s waste lines and identify the plumbing locations on the first floor. By doing these things first, I get an idea of the state of the floors around the toilets and I can mentally build a plan for how to inspect the crawl space. Once I’m fully in the crawl space, I try to get into each corner of it. I do this by going in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, whichever makes most sense in that particular space. My actual path may deviate as I negotiate around obstacles such as cripple walls, duct work, plumbing and standing water, but my goal is the same: to get into each corner of the space.

Getting in there 12

ASHI Reporter • February 2018


Crawl Space Inspections

TAKING PHOTOS, PHOTOS AND MORE PHOTOS

As I move, I take pictures of everything. I want my pictures to document the condition of the crawl space as I am going through it. If I see issues or defects, I take pictures of them. During a typical crawl space inspection, I shoot 20 or more pictures. If there is a section of the crawl space that I deem inaccessible, I take a photo that shows why it was inaccessible.

After the inspection, I roll up my coveralls and put my knee pads and gloves in a bag. I clean my mask with an alcohol wipe and store it in a separate cloth bag. If the crawl was really bad, I discard my coveralls in a trash can, and wash off my gloves and kneepads before storing them. This helps ensure that I don’t contaminate my car or my respirator with whatever toxic materials I crawled through. I also clean my hands with hand sanitizer.

ONCE I’M FULLY IN THE CRAWL SPACE, I TRY TO GET INTO EACH CORNER OF IT.

Preparing for the biohazards

PREPARING TO ENCOUNTER BIOHAZARDS

Every crawl space is full of biohazards. For example, a typical home built in the 1960s has over 57 years of dust, rodent droppings, possible asbestos and dried sewage in its crawl space. I really don’t want to be exposed to all of that, so I “suit up” each time I go into a crawl space. I wear disposable, zip-up polypropylene coveralls with a hood and booties. I also wear a half-face respirator and gloves. I’ve tried full-face respirators and safety glasses for eye protection, but they tend to fog up or obscure my vision.

I carry an 800-lumen spotlight, a waterproof camera, and a rock pick or hammer. In my pockets, I carry a backup flashlight, a cell phone and a folding knife. If I have to move insulation, I try to position myself to the side of it to avoid being directly under whatever might start to rain down.

STRIVING TO DO THE BEST INSPECTION— EVERY TIME

By having a process for inspecting crawl spaces, I ensure that I do the best inspection possible every time. If I wing it, the chances that I might miss an important defect statistically increase. Again, for me, it’s important to document even what I can’t inspect. This way, if I receive a call later, I can look at my documentation and know exactly what I inspected and what I couldn’t inspect. Rick Bunzel is the principal inspector with Pacific Crest Inspections and an ASHI Certified Inspector. He holds a BA in Business Marketing and in the past, he chaired the marketing and public relations committees for a national home inspection organization. Locally, he is an active member with the North Puget Sound Board of Realtors and has been a firefighter for 42 years. Visit his website at www.paccrestinspections.com.

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Crawl Space Inspections

CONFINED CRAWL SPACES: ACCESSIBLE VERSUS INACCESSIBLE By Rick Bunzel, ACI

TO SQUEEZE OR NOT TO SQUEEZE In older homes, the size of the hatch and the height within the crawl space can greatly restrict the inspector’s ability to completely inspect the crawl space. Also, plumbers and HVAC contractors often hang pipes and ducts right where we would want to crawl. My general rule of thumb is that if I have to inhale to squeeze around a pipe or a duct, I should not be trying to go around it. Also, it’s important to remember that the potential to damage an older home’s infrastructure is pretty good and because the inspector is “the last one who was in crawl space,” he or she might bear the most responsibility for any damage.

Inspect via vent?

Photo courtesy of Charles Buell

The question at hand: Is it safe to access the crawl space?

This topic has been debated frequently over the years. The contract I use when booking an inspection is very clear in that I (the inspector) will determine whether a roof, attic or crawl space is accessible. Clear and simple, right?

Well, the issue can really become problematic if an inspector doesn’t clearly document why the area wasn’t accessible. In my experience, I’ve seen multiple crawl spaces in which a person is not able to inspect the entire area. For example, I recently inspected a home in which almost all of the insulation was pulled down and hanging vertically, forming walls (see photo). I was able to crawl around this to see behind the “walls,” but I was concerned that the insulation still could be blocking something important. I was able to document this situation by taking photos.

I’ve read that if you can’t access the crawl space, then you should inspect it from the vents. In my experience, this provides a very limited view of the crawl space and could instill in the client a false sense of security about the space. Most cameras will not take a picture through vent mesh, so how can an inspector fully document his or her observations? My opinion is this: If I can’t get into it, it’s inaccessible.

Telling a client about an inaccessible crawl space If I can’t access the crawl space, I use the following statement in my report:

This home’s crawl space was deemed inaccessible due to the crawl space hatch being undersized [include measurements here]. The [Washington] Standards of Practice call for a hatch of 18 inches x 24 inches. We recommend that you request the sellers install a hatch of the requested size and contact our office to schedule an inspection when that is done. If I can enter the crawl space, but I find that there are areas inside that I can’t access, I use the following statement:

Portions of this home’s crawl space were deemed inaccessible due to standing water, low clearance, bio hazards, etc. Please refer to the pictures or the diagram of the areas deemed inaccessible. We recommend that you request that the sellers remediate the issues and contact our office to schedule a follow-up inspection when that is done.

SAFETY FIRST!

To those inspectors who enter the smaller openings, please consider this: If you were to be injured, have chest pains, shortness of breath or become dizzy, could you get yourself out of the crawl space?

Most fire departments are not equipped to do confined-space rescues, so the first responders may have to call on another department to help. Just think: If you find yourself suddenly struggling to breathe or having a heart attack, it will take that much longer for emergency technicians to extricate you from the space. Is putting your life on the line really worth pushing into that tight space during an inspection?

RESOURCES ABOUT CONFINED-SPACE RESCUES • A wall of insulation 14

ASHI Reporter • February 2018

www.firehouse.com/article/10545453/confined-spacerescue-operations ohsonline.com/Articles/2015/11/01/New-OSHA-RescueRequirements-for-Confined-Space-Retrieval.aspx


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15February 2018

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15


Upcoming Classes in 2018 February 12-17 Brentwood, TN

March 12-23 Columbus, OH

February 12-23 Cumming, GA Leesburg, VA Tampa, FL

Mar 26-Apr 6 Lakewood, CO April 2-13 Cypress, CA

June 4-15 Baltimore, MD Bellevue, WA

Feb 26-Mar 9 Baltimore, MD Bellevue, WA Des Plaines, IL

Apr 23-May 4 Columbis, OH Des Plaines, IL

June 11-22 Lakewood, CO Columbus, OH

May 7-12 Brentwood, TN

June 18-29 Des Plaines, IL

March 5-16 St. Louis, MO

May 21-June 1 Cumming, GA Leesburg, VA

Jul 30-Aug 10 Columbus, OH

August 20-25 Brentwood, TN

September 10-21 Baltimore, MD Bellevue, WA Columbus, OH Cumming, GA Lakewood, CO Tampa, FL

August 20-31 St. Louis, MO

September 17-28 Des Plaines, IL

August 6-17 Des Plaines, IL

September 3-14 Leesburg, VA

Note: All class dates subject to change.

ASHI MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT FREE LOGO DESIGN HUNDREDS OF C O M B I N AT I O N S

Homeinspector.org/LogoDesign 16

ASHI Reporter • February 2018


COMPENSATION FOR CULTIVATION BY BOLSTERING OUR ASHI MEMBERSHIP YOU WILL EARN

$50

IN GIFT CARDS WITH EACH NEW MEMBER TO REFER A MEMBER; Download the Membership Application form, have the new member fill it out, (including his/her member number in the referral field). SCAN AND EMAIL IT TO:

MEMBERSHIP@ASHI.ORG OR FAX TO 847-759-1620.

Questions? Contact Jen Gallegos ; jeng@ashi.org.

17February 2018

• www.ASHIReporter.org

17


UP TO THE HOME ENERGY SCORE TASK:

WINNERS OF THE 2017 CHAPTER CHALLENGE By ASHI Staff

Winners of the first annual Home Energy Score Chapter Challenge receive recognition at InspectionWorld® One of the best parts about ASHI membership is being involved in a local chapter. As skilled professionals in a technical field, ASHI chapter members thrive in an environment that compels learning, encourages camaraderie, and reminds you that you are part of a group that’s committed to delivering a valuable and important service in your communities. And although every ASHI chapter embodies these noble traits to varying degrees, there’s another quality that they all have in common—the propensity to want to demonstrate to the rest of the industry that they are, in fact, the best chapter at delivering those services in those communities. It’s the recognition of that competitive-if-friendly spirit that inspired the 2017 Home Energy Score Chapter Challenge, whose proud champions took the stage last month at InspectionWorld® in Orlando to collect their prizes and soak up the (possibly slightly grudging) admiration of their peers and competitors.

A joint project of ASHI, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Home Energy Score program and ID Energy, we launched the Chapter Challenge this past summer as a means of upping the ante for one of the hottest services out there—the Home Energy Score. Indications from all parties are that this competition will become a regular offering, as more and more ASHI inspectors across the country become Home Energy Score Assessors. So, hats off to this year’s challengers, who took home much more than bragging rights! Winners in each category received a suite of prizes, including free registration to InspectionWorld® 2018, hardware and tools valued at $400 from ID Energy, a marketing makeover from ASHI’s in-house specialists and a buzz-worthy certificate ceremony from the Director of the Home Energy Score program. The competition was structured to encourage inspectors at the individual or business level, as well as at the chapter level, and this year’s chapter winner demonstrates that a chapter doesn’t have to be big to be mighty. Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all who participated in the challenge!

Watch this space for the announcement of how to enter the 2018 Chapter Challenge!

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018


Home Energy Score Update

WINNERS OF THE 2017 CHAPTER CHALLENGE

Huntington Woods, MI

19February 2018

• www.ASHIReporter.org

19


Three Google Adwords Strategies

THREE GOOGLE ADWORDS STRATEGIES YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT Andy Patel, CEO, K-3 Technologies

Andy Patel is the CEO of K-3 Technologies, an internet marketing firm established in May of 2005. Andy has got the art” of internet marketing down to a science. Working directly with Google, his company helps home inspectors attract qualified visitors and converts them into leads in the most optimal way possible. He believes in ethical practices and doesn’t think anyone should pay for a service that doesn’t yield some sort of return on investment. Contact Andy with any questions at andy@k3.marketing or on twitter @andyk3m.

I

f you are interested in internet marketing, there is no better way (right now) than using Google Adwords. However, Google Adwords can work for you or against you, depending on how well you understand it. You can either lose a ton of money or you can be extremely profitable. It all comes down to how well you understand Google Adwords and how you manage your campaign. Here are the top three Google Adwords strategies for home inspectors to consider implementing:

1. CREATE RELEVANT LANDING PAGES People are lazy. They search for something, expect to see a link that is related to their search, then click on that link and find exactly what they are looking for. To market effectively on the internet, you need to structure your campaign accordingly.

Imagine this: Bob is looking for a home inspector for his condo in Boston. He searches, clicks on the first ad he sees and then is directed to the home page of a local home inspector. Seems pretty common and normal, right? Wrong! To get more people like Bob to call you (while spending the least amount of money), you should try it like this: Bob is looking for a home inspector for his condo in Boston. He searches, clicks on an ad that relates to a local home inspector in Boston and then is immediately taken to a page that describes condo inspections in Boston. It’s a clean, fast-loading page that also has an easy way for Bob to contact the home inspector. In the second scenario, Bob is more likely to contact the home inspector. Not only that, the home inspector’s cost for Bob’s click to the landing page probably cost less because the home inspector implemented Google 20

ASHI Reporter • February 2018

best practices. The ad related to the search, which in turn opened up a related landing page. Google rewards companies that structure their campaigns like this. The two scenarios may seem very similar, but those subtle enhancements to Bob’s experience make all the difference. It requires a lot of upfront work, but it is 100% worth it!

2. SET UP CONVERSIONS Imagine this: You set up a Google Adwords campaign, turn it on and are extremely excited to see the results. You see a bunch of clicks come in—great! But, you wonder, which key phrases got you the leads? More importantly, which key phrases got you a sale? It is crucial to set up and analyze this type of information on a regular basis. (Keep reading to learn more about key phrases.) This information is very powerful. With it, you can make high-level decisions that can drastically improve your campaign’s performance. Remember, the goal is not to get as many clicks to your website as possible; the goal is to get people who are extremely likely to convert into a sale to visit your website.

Let’s say you’ve been running your campaign for six months. You look at all of your sales, pull that data in Adwords and notice some overwhelming facts: • More than 50% of your sales came from people in their 50s. • The majority of them were men.

• You realized five main key phrases that resulted in most of your sales.


Three Google Adwords Strategies

• You realized that most sales happened on Monday afternoons. • The majority of your searches were made from mobile devices.

• You found that most sales originated in a certain part of town.

Again, these are just examples. Your data may not be this clear and simple, but anything you can pull that shows a trend is great! After analyzing, you can push the campaign to focus on those proven sales strategies and save a lot of money by avoiding strategies that don’t work.

3. CONSTANTLY UPDATE NEGATIVE KEYWORDS This is probably the most important strategy of all. To understand this, you need to understand what a negative keyword is. And to understand what a negative keyword is, you first need to understand what a keyword is. In Google Adwords, there are different types of keywords. Here are some types and examples:

• Broad match: home inspector. Your website could show up for anything Google finds relevant to “home inspector.”

• Broad match modifier: +home inspector. Your website could show up for anything Google finds relevant to “home inspector,” but the word “home” has to appear in the search. • Phrase match: “ home inspector.” Your website could show up for anything Google finds relevant to “home inspector,” but the phrase “home inspector” has to be searched in that order.

• Exact match: [home inspector]. Your website would only show up for a search that includes the words “home inspector” (or close variations).

Remember, the goal is not to get as many clicks to your website as possible; the goal is to get people who are extremely likely to convert into a sale to visit your website. Google doesn’t truly know which key phrases are always relevant. For example, your website may show up for “home inspection certification,” which is clearly not a key phrase you want to pay for. Unfortunately, this is something that happens all the time. That’s just one example of thousands. A negative keyword basically tells Google to never show your ad if that keyword is entered in a search. In the example above, you would want to add “certification” as a negative keyword. Looking at the search terms regularly and updating your negative keywords accordingly ensures that your program gets more refined over time.

GIVE GOOGLE ADWORDS A TRY Although there are many strategies that work well for home inspectors, these are the top three that should make your Google Adwords program work better for you almost instantly. Understanding Google Adwords and checking in on it regularly goes a long way. If you would like guidance on getting started or improving your current strategies, contact K-3 Technologies at www.k3.marketing. We can help you use this marketing tool to your advantage.

MAKE AN IMPACT WITH YOUR MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS

ASHI

Print–On– Demand Use your Free ASHI logo to print your marketing materials.

Create Print Save Time ASHIPrintOnDemand.com 21February 2018

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To Drone or Not to Drone

TO DRONE OR NOT TO DRONE By Bruce LaBell, ACI

Bruce LaBell, ACI, owner of Royal Home Inspectors LLC, Scottsdale, AZ, has been a member of the ASHI Board of Directors since 2010 and is a PastPresident of the Arizona chapter of ASHI. He served as chair of the ASHI Drone Task Force from 2015 through 2017, and he has been involved with the ASHI Foundation and ASHI Education Inc. Visit Bruce’s websites at www.royalhomeinspectors.com and www.justafungi.com.

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018


To Drone or Not to Drone

Do you drone? Some of us do and even more of us are doing it every day.

The conundrum we struggle with is whether the drone is a tool or a toy. Is it worth all the hoops and hurdles one must overcome to use this new means of “getting high”? Every year, there’s a new tool or technology available to home inspectors. Over the last few decades, we have gone from using carbon paper in our reports to carrying out thermal imaging during inspections. Some of us make these adjustments better than others. It can be a dizzying dance, keeping up with those tech-savvy savants. However, the use of drones in home inspections is a whole different animal. There are several ways to inspect a roof without using a drone and when those methods are insufficient, you can always disclaim the lack of inspection for good cause. But for many of us, using a drone is an alluring way to inspect a roof. For everyone who now uses a drone and for those who are contemplating investing in one, I’ve put together this primer.

Thumbs up, salute…here we go!

February 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org

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To Drone or Not to Drone

TOY TO TOOL: A BRIEF HISTORY OF DRONE USE IN HOME INSPECTIONS

GUIDELINES FOR HOBBYISTS AND COMMERCIAL OPERATORS

How many of you are thinking about purchasing or have already purchased a drone? If you just raised your hand, you are not alone. It’s estimated that three million drones were shipped to the United States last year. There are more than 600,000 drones in commercial use and by 2020, there will be seven million drones in the United States. Photography is the primary industry that uses drones and real estate runs a close second. Whether or not you decide to use one yourself, it’s likely that you will be exposed to them in numerous aspects of your life–both personal and professional–in the future.

There are two types of UAS and UAV operators:

During the last three years, there’s been an impressive increase in the commercial use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). UAS and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are the professional terms for “drone.” If you’re considering using this tool, please understand that if you call it a “drone” among people who have UAS and UAV experience, you will be perceived as a hobbyist, not a professional. I could do a much more in-depth review of the history of UAS and UAV, but I won’t; classes are available that cover this in-depth and I suggest that you sign up for one if you’re interested.

• •

 obbyists, whose use of UAS and UAV is governed by the H American Modelers Association (AMA) Commercial operators, whose use falls under the rules and regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

During the last year and a half, the FAA has required (or considered requiring) several credentials to specify the type of flight operations in which users of UAS and UAV will engage. If you’re planning to commercially operate a UAS or UAV, Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) is the controlling document. Section 333 begins like this: “By law, any aircraft operation in the national airspace requires certificated and registered aircraft, a licensed pilot, and operational approval.” Section 333 assigns the authority for air-worthiness determination to the Secretary of Transportation, and it provides specific guidelines for operating UAS and UAV. To address those of us non-hobbyists who use small, unmanned aircraft for, let’s say, a home inspection business, the FMRA’s Section 107 offers guidelines and, more importantly, waivers, depending on what operations or applications you plan to perform. (See relevant resources and web links in the sidebar on Page 27 with this article.)

IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THE LAW AND GUIDELINES Since President Trump signed a directive regarding the UAS Integration Pilot Program (www.transportation.gov/UAS-integration-pilot-program), representatives from several states have been researching and determining what local (state and municipality) regulations are recommended for implementation. The bottom line is that the rules for UAS and UAV use are ever-changing. The information in this article is up-to-date as of December 2017, but by the time you read this, there may have been alterations or additions to rules for UAS and UAV use. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with the background in this field by going—now and often—to the FAA website. Check your local laws before operating a UAS or UAV. Some municipalities such as the City of Charleston, SC, for example, prohibit the use of remote-controlled devices like airplanes and helicopters in city parks, recreation facilities or playgrounds. Another community—Mt. Pleasant, SC—bans the use of UAS and UAV, as well as balloons or kites in Memorial Waterfront Park.

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018

THE FOLLOWING SAFET Y GUIDELINES FOR UAS/UAV USE ARE NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE: • Never fly a UAS or UAV above 400 feet. (There is no reason why you should ever need to fly over 100 feet, in my experienced opinion.) • Always keep your UAS or UAV in sight when operating it. • Never fly near other aircraft! • Never fly over people. • Never fly over stadiums or sports events. • Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires. • Never fly your UAS or UAV when you are under the influence of alcohol or any other mind-altering substance. • Always be aware of airspace requirements including, but not limited to, proximity to airports. Understand the three-mile rule.


To Drone or Not to Drone

There are more than 600,000 drones in commercial use and by 2020 there will be seven million drones in the U.S. DO I NEED TO FOLLOW THE CERTIFICATION RULES? Within the last few months, the FAA has published several guidelines for operating UAS and UAV. I’ve heard from several home inspectors around the country that they feel these rules do not pertain to them and that they do not plan to take the certification class. Furthermore, they do not feel the need to comply with FAA Section 107 guidelines. After attending several seminars, expos and national summits regarding this issue, I’ve learned that the guidelines coming from local municipalities, states and the FAA regarding UAS and UAV use are constantly in flux, and local municipalities and states are taking it upon themselves to self-govern. A cautionary note: If you are using a UAS for business without having the requisite certification or if you are not following your local and national laws, you could easily lose your UAS, and you could lose your ability to own and use a UAS in the future. You also could have to pay some rather hefty fines, with no legal recourse. Don’t worry. I’m here to help. The information contained in the links referenced in this article can give you the information you need to fly professionally and to prevent you from experiencing fines, penalties or the loss of your equipment. To begin, you should go straight to the FAA source, “Becoming a Pilot” (www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/fly_for_work_business/ becoming_a_pilot/). This site will give you free online training related to the content of the exam. Reviewing the materials should take approximately an hour and answering the sample test questions may take another hour or so. If you are debating whether you should take the Part 107 test, I highly encourage you to do so. If you’re on the fence, consider this…it’s free.

WHY CONSIDER USING A UAS OR UAV?

You might be saying, “Why would I do all this? I don’t have to go up there per the ASHI Standard of Practice.” It’s easy to come up with reasons not to embrace new technology. Why should we? We can say “no” to this. We know what we do and why we do it, and we are firm in our decisions. Inspectors, especially those of us with more than a few battle scars, might be hesitant to invest the energy into learning to use a UAS or UAV. It’s our nature; we are creatures of habit. Well, let me say this: Maybe you should at least consider using a UAS. UAS and UAV use is a hot topic for home inspectors. Leading members of the home inspection industry are continually considering how and whether to lobby the FAA for our own SoP to use UAS in home inspections—that is, so that we could set up a specific set of guidelines. These guidelines could describe how to approach the following: • • • • • •

 ccess to UAS training, software, FAA info, support groups and A forums Criteria for selecting appropriate UAS or UAV (that is, size and functions) for applications Budget plans or suggestions on how to account for how much and for how long you will pay for equipment, licensing and training costs, among other things Requirements for which licenses and certifications inspectors would need to obtain Outlines for how, when and where inspectors could use the tool (Just like with thermal imaging tools, there are conditions in which use of a UAS or UAV is not feasible or safe.) Suggestions for appropriate fees to request when using a UAS or UAV during a home inspection or during a stand-alone roof inspection (to be sure that there is a return on investment)

Finally, here are two questions that you could answer to help ASHI leaders tailor the approach to UAS and UAV use: • •

 ow involved would you like ASHI to be in getting you the inforH mation you need about UAS and UAV use? How involved would you like ASHI to be in working on the topic of UAS and UAV use, specifically legislation and regulation on the local and national level?

The subject of UAS and UAV use is long, complex and, for the immediate future, ever-changing. I can’t answer all of your questions in this one article, but I can point you in the right direction. The sidebars offer links to necessary information that can help you understand and adhere to proper, safe and legal operation of UAS and UAV. Again, it is vitally important that you stay abreast of current rules and regulations, both local and federal, regarding UAS and UAV operation.

Happy Flying! 25February 2018

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TO BEGIN, YOU SHOULD GO STRAIGHT TO THE FAA SOURCE, “BECOMING A PILOT.”

(WWW.FAA.GOV/UAS/GETTING_STARTED/FLY_FOR_WORK_BUSINESS/BECOMING_A_PILOT/)

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018


RESOURCES FOR TAKING THE FAA’S INITIAL AERONAUTICAL KNOWLEDGE TEST • FAA provides Airman Certification Standards (www.faa. gov/training_testing/testing/acs/). This site offers access to pertinent documents and organizes the material into subject areas and tasks. These useful documents help identify what you need to know for the test and what areas you need to work on. • The following link provides a slideshow, produced by the FAA, to help you become familiar with UAS and UAV operational rules: www.faasafety.gov/files/helpcontent/ courses/5095_lms_faast/menu/index.htm • The AC 107-2 Study Supplement (www.faa.gov/document Library/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_107-2.pdf) provides additional background on the rules and operational procedures of Part 107. • The FAA’s Remote Pilot—Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide (www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/media/remote_pilot_study_guide. pdf) delves into airspace classifications, weather restrictions, operations and aeronautical decision making. You’ll need to know this material to pass the test. • Review and take the practice exam provided by the FAA at this link: www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/test_questions/media/uag_sample_exam.pdf

OTHER USEFUL LINKS • Registration: registermyuas.faa.gov/

• Accident Reporting: www.faa.gov/uas/report_accident/

• Waiver Application: www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver/ • Notices to Airmen for Flight Planning: notams.aim.faa.gov/notamSearch/nsapp.html#/ • U.S. Air Space Map: http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/air-space-map/ •  Federal, State and Other Drone Laws: www.ncsl.org/ research/transportation/current-unmanned-aircraftstate-law-landscape.aspx • Weather Reports: http://www. aviationweather.gov/

27February 2018

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SMART INSPECTOR SCIENCE

TRAPS WITH NO VENT ARE COMMON

W

e inspect modern and old plumbing systems, and all plumbing traps should have a vent, right? We check for non-vented fixtures every day and document them as defects and amateur work. We know a poorly vented trap or an S-Trap will gurgle as it sucks air and water down the trap. Some create a strong suction as the water flows down the trap and pipe. With no water in the trap, we have lost our trap seal, and we have a sewer smell and a safety issue.

ALL PLUMBING SYSTEMS DEPEND ON VENTS

All modern drainage waste and vent (DWV) systems are designed to allow air into the top of the system to help water drain. I like to think of a DWV system as a straw. You can fill a straw with water and stand it up, but if you block the upper end with your finger, no water will drain. When you remove your finger, air enters the straw and the water flies out.

RE-VENTING

When a trap or fixture is more than a few feet from the main drain stack, there is a potential for the horizontal run to be filled with water, creating suction on the trap. To prevent this, air is provided to the horizontal run with an additional vent pipe. An air admittance valve also may be used to allow air into the drain pipe. This is a check valve that allows air in and seals against sewer gas leaking out.

By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc. HowToOperateYourHome.com

KITCHEN ISLAND SINK

For a kitchen island, there is no convenient way to vent the horizontal run. You may see a vent pipe that runs below the island to a vent stack in the framing below. With more modern systems, you may see an air admittance valve below the island sink.

BUT EVERY HOME HAS A NON-VENTED TRAP

But…here it comes… every modern toilet is a non-vented trap. Have you ever thought about that? A modern toilet depends on no vent and a rush of water to create suction and to clear the bowl and the trap of waste and water. A toilet also depends on a trap full of water to prevent smell and safety issues related to sewer gas. The key with a toilet is that, after every flush, the toilet automatically refills its trap with water. After the water in the tank is used to flush the bowl, water begins to fill the tank. Part of the tank fill system uses a small tube that directs water into the overflow tube in the tank. This water bypasses the tank and flows directly into the bowl and refills the trap. Tom Feiza has been a professional home inspector since 1992 and has a degree in engineering. Through HowToOperateYourHome.com, he provides high-quality marketing materials that help professional home inspectors boost their business. Copyright © 2017 by Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc. Reproduced with permission.

DO YOU LIKE THIS INFORMATION? Watch for Tom’s technical presentations, scheduled at educational sessions, ASHI CHAPTERS AND INSPECTIONWORLD®. CONTACT TOM IF YOU’D LIKE HIM TO BRING HIS KNOWLEDGE TO YOUR EDUCATIONAL EVENT.

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018


WHAT’S NEW IN THE ASHI ONLINE LEARNING CENTER?

30 NEW modules are NOW available!! Enjoy interesting sessions recorded at IW 2018 and past IWs. Find Basic and Advanced Technical, Specialty/Diversification and Business Management topics. Log in on www.softconference.com/ashi/

Easy. Education. Excellent. FREE to ASHI members!! The ASHI Online Learning Center provides 2-hour modules approved for 2 ASHI CEs. (Special section) Many Past IW modules State-approved for online education.

29February 2018

• www.ASHIReporter.org

29


Inspecting Old Houses

INSPECTING OLD HOUSES

WOOD STRUCTURES, PART 2:

THE HAMMER AND NAILS OF IT

By David Rushton, ACI

If you have any questions about inspecting old homes, please contact me at ABLE Building Inspection, ableinsp@centurylink.net or 540-636-6200.

F

or this article of the “Inspecting Old Houses” series, I’d like to start by explaining load support. The object of a structure is to carry dead and live loads down to the ground. Dead load is the weight of the structure itself, including fixtures and finishes. Live load is the weight of the building’s occupants and contents. Walls and columns carry loads down to the foundation and, ultimately, to the ground. Joists, rafters and beams carry loads horizontally until the load can be carried vertically down to the ground. Bearing walls should be located over beams or multiple joists. Columns below headers and beams should have support below them. Roof structure should include triangles or support at all intersections. That is the basis of residential structural analysis.

STRUCTURAL SPANS The lumber used in the wood frame construction of old homes is different than from the lumber used today. This lumber—from large, old trees—is stronger than “modern” lumber and it can bridge long spans successfully. However, there were most likely no tables or building codes to specify the size, type and grade of lumber needed for a particular span. Much of the sizing was done by the builders or carpenters, who based the sizing on their knowledge and experience.

Overspan roof framing in a kit house.

The amount of deflection in a floor or sag in a roof that may seem excessive today was acceptable in the past or may have been the result of undersized framing members. Failure of the framing is indicated by joists or rafters literally cracking or breaking, a relatively rare situation. Usually, the wood perseveres under duress and the framing has multiple members to share the loads. Wood also generally becomes harder and stronger with age. Trying to drive a new nail into an old board with a hammer isn’t easy. Like today, the budget can determine what goes into a home. Nice, old homes have framing that barely deflects or moves. Homes built on a more limited budget can have framing that is grossly “over span” and shows it. People built Sears or other types of “kit homes” economically at the time, but the roof framing, in particular, which was part of the kit, might have been grossly over span. Sagging is different from failure. If the framing is serving the purpose for which it was intended and has been doing so for many decades, it is working. Floors that drop in a particular direction or floors with high spots may be indicating a problem other than over-span joists. Porches were considered less important than the interior of the home. The spans of the porch framing in old houses can be truly impressive.

Excessive floor spans or bounce can be corrected by adding beams and posts below or possibly sistering them with additional framing members. However, once wood has taken a shape and has sagged, it is difficult if not impossible to straighten the deformed wood.

Bay window floor sagging due to inadequate support.

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018


Notched joists and beam.

Mortise and tenon joint.

STRUCTURAL CONNECTIONS Before the early 1800s, blacksmiths made nails individually, so people used nails sparingly. Cutting timber to form joints between the members was common. However, many of these joints, particularly mortise and tenon joints, don’t work well structurally. A large piece of wood is cut to produce a tenon that is inserted in a beam with multiple holes cut into it. These are inherently weak structural connections that should be examined closely for cracks and failure. People began producing cut nails in the early 1800s. Once the wire nail manufacturing process was developed in the 1860s, people began commonly using wire nails for structural connections. Nails are quick and inexpensive fasteners, but they are marginal in their ability to hold structural connections together.

Joist connections to beams or sills are areas of potential movement. Notching the end of a joist to sit on a beam, sill or ledger can weaken the joist at a critical area. Cracks at the notches are common. Adding joist hangers or 90-degree framing clips can reinforce failing connections. Attachment of the ledger boards also can be weak. Check the tops of the ledger boards and the ends of the joists for gaps that indicate that a ledger is rolling away from the beam.

Ideally, any splice between structural members should be lapped or supported directly under the splice. Rafters and ceiling joists should lap at their intersections. Joists and beams should lap at their splices or the splices should be over columns. Nails alone will not make a very strong connection. That is why you see metal framing connectors at important structural connections in new construction.

WOOD, MASONRY AND SOIL CONTACT Today, wood that is in contact with masonry comes from decay-resistant species, or it has been chemically treated against decay and insect damage. In older homes, this may or not be the case. Older wood has much more resistance to damage than modern lumber, however. Large, old trees had generations or centuries to develop their resistance to damage from wood-destroying organisms (WDO). However, particularly when adverse conditions persist, “old wood” may eventually succumb to adverse conditions and decay.

Wood-to-soil contact, unable to inspect and significant risk to buyer.

Joists set into masonry walls.

Clearance between the wood and the soil, inside and outside, is critical. Wood that is close to or below grade is subject to moisture and damage. A foundation should extend 6 to 8 inches above grade to provide clearance between the wood and soil. Beams should be 12 inches and joists should be a minimum of 18 inches above the soil in a crawl space. If these conditions are not met, problems with WDO may occur. Two inches of clearance is recommended between wood framing and masonry chimneys. Chimneys should not support wood structures.

Older masonry buildings, especially brick and block buildings, commonly would have had the floor joists built into the masonry walls when the building was being constructed. Now, the wood is inside a moist, limited air circulation environment that is conducive to every type of concern regarding WDO and it is difficult to inspect for this problem. Repairs are difficult because the joists are longer than the span and the ends are encased in the masonry. A sister repair that extends to the masonry, but does not bear on the masonry, is simply adding weight to a damaged structure. 31February 2018

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Inspecting Old Houses

BEAMS Beams should bear 1½ inches on wood structure and 3 inches on masonry. That may seem counterintuitive, but that’s the standard today. Splices in beams should be over posts or columns. Beams should have no notches or holes. Spans can be referenced from the building code. Beams should go from bearing point to bearing point, and cantilevers should be no more than one-third of the span. A 6-foot, 4-inch x 4-inch beam on a single 4x4 post that is sitting on the brick cellar floor doesn’t do much for the joists above.

The plumber was here.

COLUMNS Columns should bear on beams, multiple joists, foundation walls or footings. Footings should spread the weight of the column onto a larger area of soil and should not be made of wood. Columns should have appreciable width for their height so they don’t bend. Columns and posts added after the initial construction may be reasonably and properly done, but more likely, they’re not.

JOISTS AND RAFTERS The more the merrier.

The box says “not for permanent use.”

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018

Wood structure is designed to deflect under load. No wood floor is level. Ceilings can be flat because plaster can straighten the deflection of the joists, but by the time we see the ceiling, it is most likely no longer flat. New structure and finishes can be installed over the old and conceal the original deflections. Look carefully because new finishes may conceal damage or deflection. Don’t be surprised by what may be wildly undersized members. The key question to ask is: Is it working or not? If your client wants to straighten the floors and make the ceilings perfect, you may want to suggest that they look for a newer house in which the defects are less obvious (but even newer houses have defects).


Inspecting Old Houses The electrician’s helper was here.

A repair with little or no structural value.

Somone tried to fix this a long time ago.

DAMAGE AND REPAIRS Plumbers, electricians and heating contractors always have had hammers, saws and drills, but they may have little respect for or knowledge of structure. Restricted access into a foundation area can make repairs difficult and expensive. Repairs can be performed by people who are knowledgeable, experienced, competent and conscientious, or people who are not. The wood used in later repairs may not have the same structural properties and resistance to WDO as the original material had. Placing fasteners into damaged wood adds no structural value.

Termites are lazy and many times will leave the old wood alone unless the wood is softened by moisture. Borers don’t care and can chew a large log or timber to dust. Mold is far less frequent on old structures than on new and conditions have to be persistent for years before damage will occur. Look carefully and poke, poke, poke. Homeowners may significantly remodel or add to a house every 20 or 50 years, and they do repairs continually. A house that is 100 years old probably has been remodeled two to five times and a 200-yearold house, four to 10 times. That represents a lot of opportunities for human ingenuity to improve or destroy a home.

INSPECTION AND REPORTING TECHNIQUES Documenting what you can’t see to inspect is important.

If there is inadequate clearance in a foundation or attic space, it may be physically difficult or impossible to inspect the space. You should clearly note this in the inspection report because it represents a significant unknown and risk to a potential buyer. It is just as important to document why you can’t see or assess an area as it is to report on those areas you can see. Get in there and look. My rule of thumb is, “If I can fit, I git.” Where you didn’t go is where you should have been. Current building codes can be used as a general reference for spans of beams, joists and rafters. You may not be able to identify the species or grade of wood, but you can see that the joists 16 inches on center under a dining room shouldn’t be 2x6s for a 14-foot span.

These joists looked fine. Poke. Poke. Poke.

It is very important to probe suspected or representative areas for possible deterioration. Technology is making robots that can access and visually show what is in a crawl space, but until a robot can poke an awl or screwdriver into wood with significant force, it cannot replicate what a determined human inspector can do. Wood that does not appear damaged may have significant structural deterioration.

Most of this information is applicable to old and new structures. When inspecting older structures, you will see many things that don’t seem possible. I used to say to my clients, “You can’t do that,” but I’ve changed my comment to be, “You shouldn’t do that,” because, many times, someone has managed to do something that I thought couldn’t be done. I also don’t spend a lot of time speculating why someone did a particularly hair-brained thing. Usually, I don’t have enough information to know and the genius who thought of the idea most likely isn’t there to ask. In the next article in this “Inspecting Old Houses” series, I’ll discuss exterior sidings and roofing materials. If you’d like to ask any questions about inspecting old homes or invite me to present a topic to your chapter, please contact me at ABLE Building Inspection, ableinsp@centurylink.net or 540-636-6200.

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ASHI Chapters and Council News

NORTH CENTRAL ASHI Central PA

www.ashicentralpa.com Second Monday, 6 pm, except Jan. & July, Hoss’s Steakhouse 1151 Harrisburg Pike, Carlisle, PA Kevin Kenny, 717-226-3066 info@midpennhomeinspections.com

Keystone (PA)

www.keystoneashi.org First Monday, 5:30 pm The Crowne Plaza, Reading David Artigliere, 610-220-1907 artihi@gmail.com

Ohio

www.ohioashi.com Ken Harrington, 614-507-1061 ohioashi@yahoo.com

North Central Ohio

www.ncohioashi.com Paul Wancata, 216-571-1074 inspectionsunlimited@cox.net

OHIO SOUTH ASHI Meeting: Last Sat. every month, noon @ Frickers, North College Hill, OH P.O. Box 532197 Cincinnati, OH 45252 Chris Green, 513-939-4036 Email president@ohsoashi.com

Pocono-Lehigh (PA)

www.pocono-lehighashi.org Third Tuesday, Tannersville Inn, Tannersville Ronald Crescente, 570-646-7546 amerispec@pa.metrocast.net

Heartland (IA, MN, ND, SD, WI) www.ashiheartland.org Reuben Saltzman, 612-205-5600 reuben@ashiheartland.org

Indiana ASHI

www.inashi.com Quarterly Danny Maynard, 317-319-7209 danny@inspectinc.net

Iowa ASHI

www.iowaashichapter.org Fourth Tuesday, 7:00 - 9:00 pm Clarion Inn, Cedar Rapids Craig Chmelicek, 319-389-7379 elitehomeandradon@gmail.com

Kentuckiana (IN, KY)

www.ashikentuckiana.org Allan Davis, 502-648-9294 elitehomeinspections@ insightbb.com

Mid-Missouri

www.midmoashi.com Second Thursday, 12:00 pm, even months of the year; Columbia Board of Realtors office: 2309 I-70 Drive NW, Columbia, MO Mark Kelsey, 573-356-5305 mark@inspectcolumbia.com

Northern Illinois

www.nicashi.com Second Wednesday (except Dec.) 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm Allegra Banquets, 237 W St. Charles Rd., Villa Park, IL 60181 Jeremy Meek, 630-854-2454 jeremy@discoveryinspector.com

PRO-ASHI (PA)

www.proashi.com Second Wednesday of Jan., March, May, July & Nov. Ray Fonos, 412-461-8273 southpittsburgh@hometeam.com

Arkansas

Tri-State (DE, NJ, PA)

Great Plains (KS, MO)

www.tristateashi.org Second Tuesday except April, Aug. & Dec., Dave & Buster’s Plymouth Meeting, PA Jules Falcone, julesfalcone@me.com

SOUTH MIDWEST Lonnie Moore, 479-530-5792 mhinsp@cox.net www.ashikc.org Second Wednesday of even months The Great Wolf Lodge, Kansas City Doug Hord, 816-215-2329 doug@firstchoice.com

Midwest PRO ASHI (KS)

MIDWEST Great Lakes (IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, MN, OH, WI) For monthly meetings: www.greatinspectors.com/ schedule-of-events/ Carol Case, 734-284-4501 carol@greatinspectors.com

Greater Omaha (NE)

www.ashiomaha.com Jon Vacha, 402-660-6935 jon@hsinspections.com

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018

Ray Fonos, 412-461-8273 rfonos@hometeam.com

St. Louis (MO)

www.stlashi.org Second Tuesday, 5 pm Creve Coeur Government Center Multi-Purpose Meeting Room 300 N. New Ballas Creve Coeur, MO 63141 Mark Goodman, 636-391-0091 mark@homeinpectstl.com

MOUNTAIN Arizona

www.azashi.org Bryck Guibor, 520-419-1313 bryck@msn.com Quarterly education on azashi.org

New Mexico

www.ashinm.org Bi-monthly meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at Drury Inn and Suites (5th Floor) (Jan., March, May, July, Sept.) located at I-25 and Jefferson in Albuquerque. Meeting starts at 8:30 am; Breakfast starts at 8 am. Lance Ellis, 505-977-3915 lellis@amerispec.net

Northern Rockies (ID, MT) Steve Jenicek, 406-949-6461 Steve@taskmasterinspections.com Secretary: Kelly Campeau 877-749-2225 Kelly@inspectormt.com

Rocky Mountain Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm Brian Murphy, 303-791-7824 brian@murphyinspection.com

Southern Colorado

www.ashi-southerncolorado.org Second Thursday each month, 6:30 pm Valley Hi Golf Club, 610 S. Chelton Rd. Colorado Springs, CO 80910 Daniel Noteboom, 719-332-9660 SCCASHI@gmail.com

Utah

www.ashiutah.com First Tuesday, 7 pm Marie Callender’s, Midvale Fred Larsen, 801-201-9583 Fred.larsen@pillartopost.com

PACIFIC Alaska Meeting dates: Jan. 1, March 1, Aug. 1, Nov. 1 Location varies each meeting David Mortensen, 907-243-4476 dave@discoveryinspect.com

ASHI Hawaii

www.ashihawaii.com Alex Woodbury, 808-322-5174 Woodburya001@hawaii.rr.com

California Randy Pierson, 310-265-0833 randy@southbayinspector.com

Central Valley CREIA-ASHI Peter Boyd, 530-673-5800 Boyd.p@comcast.net

Golden Gate (CA)

www.ggashi.com John Fryer, 510-682-4908 johnfryer@gmail.com

Inland Northwest (ID, WA) Chris Munro, 208-290-2472 chris@peakinspections.net

Orange County CREIA-ASHI (CA) www.creia.org/orangecounty-chapter Third Monday, 5:30 pm Hometown Buffet 2321 S. Bristol, Santa Ana Bill Bryan, 949-565-5904 bill@rsminspections.com

Oregon

www.oahi.org Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm 4534 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Portland Jay Hensley, 503-312-2105 jay@carsonconstruction.com

San Diego CREIA-ASHI First Tuesday each month Elijah’s Restaurant 7061 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard San Diego, CA 92111 Dennis Parra II, 619-232-1100

San Joaquin Valley (CA) Third Thursday, 6 pm 1736 Union Avenue, Bakersfield, CA Raymond Beasley, 661-805-5947 rbinspector@aol.com Mail: 3305 Colony Oak St. Bakersfield, CA 93311

Silicon Valley ASHI-CREIA (CA)

www.siliconvalleyinspector.com Skip Walker, 650-873-4224 homeinspection@sanbrunocable.com

Southwestern Idaho Second Monday David Reish, 208-941-5760 dave@antheminspections.com

Los Angeles-Ventura County ASHI-CREIA First Thursday, 5 pm Holiday Inn, Woodland Hills Bob Guyer, 805-501-0733 guyerinspections@roadrunner.com

South Bay (CA) Webinar meetings Randy Pierson, 310-265-0833 randy@southbayinspector.com

Western Washington

www.ashiww.com Chapter Meetings held at chapter seminars in March and Sept. Karl Nueffer karl@G4inspections.com


NEW ENGLAND Coastal Connecticut

www.coastalctashi.org Third Thursday, 6 pm, Westport VFW Lodge, 465 Riverside Avenue, Westport John Hamlin, 203-912-1917 john.hamlin@pillartopost.com

New England (ME, MA, NH, RI, VT)

Greater Rochester (NY)

www.ashirochester.com Second Tuesday, 6 pm, Jeremiah’s Tavern, 2200 Buffalo Rd. Gates, NY 14624 Jim Brennan, 585-520-5575 jbrennan@independentinspectionservice.com

Hudson Valley (NY)

www.ashinewengland.org Fourth Thursday, 5 pm The Lantana, Randoph, MA Michael Atwell, 617-630-5629 mike@jmhi.com

Second Tuesday, 6 pm Daddy O’s Restaurant 3 Turner Street Hopewell Junction, NY 12533 Michael Skok, 845-592-1442 ashistatewide@yahoo.com

Northern New England (NNEC) (ME, MA, NH, VT)

Long Island (NY)

www. ashi-nnec.org Third Thursday of Jan., April, June and Sept. Tim Rooney, 603-770-0444 homeviewnh@comcast.net nnec.ashi.2016@gmail.com

Southern New England (CT) www.snecashi.org First Tuesdays, 6:30 pm Billy T’s, 150 Sebethe Dr. Cromwell, CT Richard W. Hall, 860-281-4238 rhall@usinspect.com

NEW YORK/JERSEY/ DELAWARE Capitol Region (NY)

www.goashi.com Richard W. Askew, 518-383-4804 rondack1@gmail.com

Central New York

www.cnyashi.com Third Wednesday each month, 6 pm, Tony’s Family Restaurant, Syracuse Richard Alton, 315-415-4847 dick@altoninspect.com

First State (DE)

www.firststateashi.org Third Wednesday, 7 pm The Buzz Ware Center 2121 The Highway, Arden Mark Desmond, 302-494-1294 mark@delvalleyhome.com

Garden State (NJ)

www.gardenstateashi.com Second Thursday The Westwood, Garwood Ernie Borsellino, 973 761 0050 gsashipresident@gmail.com

www.liashi.com Third Monday, 6 pm, Domenico’s Restaurant, Levittown Steven Rosenbaum 516-361-0658 inspector@optonline.net

New York Metro

MAC-ASHI (MD, VA)

www.mac-ashi.com Second Wednesday, Rockville, 6 pm Senior Center, Rockville Mark Mostrom, 301-536-0096 pivotalinspections@comcast.net

NOVA-ASHI (MD, VA)

www.novaashi.com Fourth Tuesday, Associate hour 6-7 pm, Membership meeting 7-9 pm, Northern Virginia Resources Center, Fairfax Tony Toth, 703-926-6213 tony_toth@msn.com

Piedmont ASHI (VA) Robert Huntley, 540-354-2135 rwhuntley@cox.net

SOUTH ATLANTIC ASHI Georgia

www.ashigeorgia.com Shannon Cory, 404-316-4876 shannon1943@comcast.net

www.nyashi.com Last Thursday, 5pm Travelers Rest 25 Saw Mill River Road Ossining, NY 10562 Chris Long, 914-260-8571 pres@nyashi.com

East Tennessee

Southern New Jersey (NJ)

Ray Baird, 615-516-5511 bairdr@comcast.net

www.southernnjashi.com Third Wednesday, 6:30 pm Ramada Inn, Bordentown Rick Lobley, 609-208-9798 rick@doublecheckhi.com

Western New York Second Thursday, 6:30 pm Tony Rome’s, West Seneca Andy Utnik, 716-636-9676 esimail@aol.com

MID-ATLANTIC Central Virginia

www.cvashi.org Second Tuesday, 6:30 pm Keegan’s Irish Pub 2251 Old Brick Road Glen Allen, VA 23060 John Cranor 804-873-8537 cranorinspectionservices @gmail.com

Hampton Roads (VA) Second Thursday, 7 pm, Cypress Point Country Club, Virginia Beach Gregory Murphy, 757-535-4355 gmurphy@coastalinspect.com

www.etashi.org Third Saturday of Feb., May, Aug. and Nov. Paul Perry, 866-522-7708 cio@frontiernet.net

Mid-Tennessee

Mid-South (TN) Steven Campbell, 901-734-0555 steve@memphisinspections.com

North Carolina

www.ncashi.com Meeting TBA Andy Hilton, 336-682-2197 hiltonhomeinspection@gmail.com

South Carolina First Saturday of Feb., May, Aug. & Nov., 8 am Roger Herdt, 843-669-3757 herdtworks@msn.com

GULF ASHI South (AL)

www.ashisouth.org Quarterly, Homewood Library Homewood John Knudsen, 334-221-0876 jgknudsen111@gmail.com

Florida Wiregrass

Gulfcoast (FL) First Thursday, 7 pm, The Forest Country Club, Fort Myers Len Gluckstal, 239-432-0178 goldenrulehi@comcast.net

Lone Star (TX)

www.ashitexas.org Bud Rozell, 214-215-4961 goodhomeinspection@att.net

Louisiana Quarterly Meetings Michael Burroughs 318-324-0661 Mburroughs2@comcast.net

Suncoast (FL)

www.ashisuncoast.com First Tuesday, 6:30 pm; Please see our website for meeting locations. Steve Acker, 727-712-3089 buyersally@gmail.com

Southwest Florida

www.swashi.com Serving Manatee, Sarasota & Charlotte Second Wednesday, 6 pm Holiday Inn, Lakewood Ranch 6321 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota Michael Conley, 941-778-2385 FLinspector@outlookcom

CANADA Home Inspectors Association BC

www.hiabc.ca Sean Moss, 604-729-4261 sean@homeinspectorsean.com

CAHPI Atlantic

www.cahpi-alt.com Lawrence Englehart 902-403-2460 inspections@eastlink.ca

CAHPI Ontario

www.oahi.com Rob Cornish, 613-858-5000 robc@homexam.ca

Alberta Professional Home Inspectors (APHIS) www.aphis.ca Meetings held 3 times a year Alan Fisher, 403-248-6893 admin@aphis.com

Quebec AIBQ

www.aibq.qc.ca Pascal Baudaux, 450-629-2038 info@almoinspection.ca

www.ashiwiregrass.org Second Wednesday, 6:30 pm Sleep Inn Hotel, Wesley Chapel Nancy Janosz, 813-546-6090 ProTeamInsp@aol.com

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ASHI CHAPTER EDUCATION ASHI Central PA Chapter Spring Education Seminar When: March 3, 2018 Location: Park Inn by Radisson 5401 Carlisle Pike Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 Topics: Foundation, Drones, Report Writing, PA Home Inspector Licensing Law Update, Mold, Asbestos and EIFS CEUs: 8 ASHI CEs Contact: Patrick Reilly, pwreilly@comcast.net

St. Louis ASHI Spring Seminar When: March 9, 2018 Location: St. Louis Realtors Assn., 12777 Olive Blvd., St. Louis, MO Topics: Exterior Envelope, Water Infiltration, and Flashings. Understadning Heat Exchanges. CEUs: 8 ASHI CEs Contact: http://stlashi.org/ashievents/

IMPORTANT REPORTER DEADLINES: • APRIL 2018 ISSUE -2/7/18 • MAY 2018 ISSUE -3/7/18 • JUNE 2018 ISSUE -4/7/18 • JULY 2018 ISSUE -5/7/18 • AUG 2018 ISSUE -6/7/18 The Reporter is produced 6-8 weeks ahead of the week it arrives in your mailbox. To have your chapter seminar listed here, email all information about your chapter seminar to: micheleg@ashi.org. BE SURE TO INCLUDE ALL INFORMATION: seminar subject, when, where, CEUs & a link for more information or contact information.

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018

Ohio Home Inspectors Expo

NOVA ASHI Chapter 2018 Spring Seminar

When: March 9-11, 2018 Location: Quest Center, 405 Pulsar Pl, Columbus, OH 43240 Topics: Peer Review, Plumbing CSST Manufacturing and Safety, OH Home Inspector Licensing Information, Mold, Deck Framing Workshop, Mock Trial Speakers: Joesph Denneler, Tom Feiza, Craig A. Holman, Greg Wujcik CEUs: 14 ASHI CEs (8 optional on 3/9/18) Contact: Forrest Lines flines52@gmail.com

When: April 11-12, 2018 Location: Waterford at Fair Oaks 12025 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway Fairfax, VA 22033 Topics: Building Science Fundamentals CEUs: 15 ASHI CEs Contact: Dave Rushton, 540-660-2403

St. Louis ASHI Chapter

ASHI Western Washington Chapter 2018 Spring Seminar When: March 17, 2018 Location: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Everett Topics: Fiber Cement Siding and New House Inspection CEUs: 6 ASHI CEs Contact: joanne.ashiww@gmail.com

When: May 4, 2018 Topics: Annual Peer Review CEUs: 5 ASHI CE hours Contact: Mark Goodman, mark@homeinspectstl.com When: June 12, 2018 Topics: CertainTeed Roofing Manufacturing facility tour CEUs: 4 ASHI CE hours Contact: Mark Goodman, mark@homeinspectstl.com

May 23-26, 2018 Los Angeles/Ventura County Chapter AND San Diego County JOINT CREIA & ASHI CHAPTER Level-1 Thermography Certification Class Taught by Mr. Bill Fabian of Monroe Infrared Presented at the Downey, CA, Board of Realtors Conference Room Registration information TBA.


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FEELING THE LOVE! By Jennifer Gallegos, ASHI Membership Services Manager

Hello, ASHI members! It’s February and here at ASHI, we are picking up where we left off before we headed out to InspectionWorld® last month. We had such a blast meeting so many of you in Orlando and we hope you enjoyed your time there if you were able to join us. February is the month of love, with Valentine’s Day right in the middle of the 28 days. Many of you might be planning something special for your significant other and others might be planning an anti-Valentine’s Day party with friends. No matter what your personal plans may be, the ASHI Membership Team would like to invite you to share the “Inspector Love.” How do you share the Inspector Love? By talking about your experiences with other inspectors, especially inspectors who are new to the profession. ASHI members can find these opportunities by joining and participating in local chapters. ASHI has more than 80 chapters in regions throughout the United States and Canada. Chapters help welcome new members to our society and they provide education to help members expand their knowledge

while earning continuing education hours to fulfill the requirements for state licensure and ASHI membership. Chapter membership also allows you to belong to a group of ASHI members who may live in the same region, but who may have differing personal and professional backgrounds and varying years of experience. Many chapters promote their members in the local area, so your chapter membership can be a way to generate more business for you. Some ASHI chapters provide “parallel inspection” programs to help new inspectors along their journey to success. And, if you’re a seasoned inspector who doesn’t currently belong to an ASHI chapter, now is the time to join. You can network with other inspectors and learn or brush up on important skills to stay current on the job. Plus, chapter leaders keep you updated on local news that can affect the profession. By belonging to a chapter, your voice can be heard at the national level. Chapter leaders share the information they get from their members with the Council of Representatives. This branch of ASHI makes it possible for everyone to have a voice in making changes and improvements to our society. You can also make change happen by volunteering or seeking to become a leader in the chapter.

HOW DO I JOIN AN ASHI CHAPTER?

Join Your Local Chapter Today!

It’s easy! Just log on to the ASHI website and select the Members Only tab. Click on Chapters, and toward the bottom of the page, you will see this message: If you don’t belong to an ASHI chapter, you’re not getting the full value of your ASHI membership. What are you waiting for? Find the closest chapter here. Click on Find the closest chapter here, and you’ll bring up a map. Then, click on your state or province and…Voila! You’ll see a list of chapters in that area, along with contact information, links to websites, listings of ASHI members who belong to that chapter and brief schedules of the chapter meetings. What are you waiting for? Log on to the ASHI website today to get connected with your local chapter. By getting involved with your chapter, you’ll create long-lasting bonds with other inspectors in your region, and your participation will help lead the profession and ASHI into the future.

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018


FREE ASHI Member access to past IW sessions. 1. Go to www.ASHI.org 2. Under Education & Training 3. Click on:

ASHI ONLINE LEARNING CENTER

CURRENT ASHI MEMBERSHIP ASHI Certified Inspectors: 3,392 Inspectors: 212 Associates: 4,010 Retired Members: 118 Affiliates: 84 Total: 7,816 Members as of 1/5/2018

ASHI MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT PROGRAMS ASHI-ENDORSED PROGRAMS ASHI’s E&O Insurance Program: Target Professional Programs www.targetproins.com 860-899-1862 ASHI Personal Lines Insurance Program: Liberty Mutual www.libertymutual.com/ashi ASHI’s Protecting Home Inspectors From Meritless Claims Program: Joe Ferry – The Home Inspector Lawyer 855-MERITLESS (637-4853) contact@joeferry.com www.joeferry.com/ashi ASHI Service Program BuildFax Tricia Julian, 877-600-BFAX x161 TJulian@BuildFax.com www.buildfax.com http://go.buildfax.com/ASHI ASHI Customer Appreciation Program: Moverthankyou.com Brent Skidmore, 864-386-2763 www.moverthankyou.com Brent@POWRsoft.com HomeAdvisor.com Brett Symes, 913-529-2683 www.homeadvisor.com ashi@homeadvisor.com LegalShield Joan Buckner, 505-821-3971 buckner.legalshieldassociate.com buckner@legalshieldassociate.com InspectionContracts.com Dave Goldstein, 800-882-6242 www.inspectioncontracts.com david@inspectoreducation.com

OneSource Solutions 877-274-8632 www.osconnects.com/ashi/ Porch.com Eliab Sisay, 206-218-3920 www.porch.com Eliab@porch.com ASHI Rebate Program Quill.com Dana Fishman, 800-634-0320 x1417 www.quill.com/ashi dana.fishman@quill.com ASHI-ENDORSED EXAMS ASHI Standard and Ethics Education Module Go to www.homeinspector.org, click on Education, then click on the link for the ASHI Online Learning Center. NHIE Exam: 847-298-7750 www.homeinspectionexam.org ASHI-ENDORSED TRAINING PROGRAMS ASHI@Home Training System 800-268-7070 education@carsondunlop.com The ASHI School Russell Daniels, 888-884-0440 Russelld@theashischool.com www.TheASHISchool.com

Febru ary Anni versa ries Thirty Years

Ten Years

Gary Schutta Christopher Ueland

Tim Bethel Erik Christenson Dan Endsley Samuel James Steve Jenicek Jonathan Lang Kevin Leonard Grant Rodney Scott Sauers John Weidner John Wylie

Twenty-five Years Tom Bannister Michael Conley Ken Helbing Norman Rathborne

Twenty Years Jeff Binsbacher James Brock Brian Kirchmer Bill Labita Mark LeGros Scott Maury Wayne Murray Steve Otten Dennis Parra II J. Carl Patterson

Fifteen Years Gene Autore David Behiel Michael Benson James Clark Chris Curles Matthew Dawes John Edwards Jim Estrada Alan Fastman Gary Ford Eric Gay Kevin Heath Charles Nance Terry Rudolph Gerard Skowronski Jim Waddell

Five Years Todd Brualdi James Carney Ryan Fisher Frank Galaszewski Michael Galletta Daniel Garey Roger Gerhardt Matt Honea Christopher Kolb Victor Martiny Tim Murphy Steve Parrish Ed Snope Hector Toledo David Trent Trent Wilson Erich Witzel

PLATINUM PROVIDER Millionaire Inspector Community Mike Crow www.mikecrow.com dreamtime@mikecrow.com Mention that you are an ASHI member.

39February 2018

• www.ASHIReporter.org

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ASHI Homes for the Holiday Contest

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner Michael LaMar! Michael has won a Free Year of ASHI Membership!

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018


Honorable Mentions Bob Ashbrook

Timothy Bunch

Jim Maurer

Stephen Comer

Bob Greeley

Gerry Audrey

David Locandro

Mark Daughtry

David Nason

Mark Fee

Jamie Wahl

Greg Chapman

Mirowski Inspection Team

Thank you, everyone, for making this contest so memorable! 41February 2018

• www.ASHIReporter.org

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Postcards from the Field

NEW POSTCARDS EMAIL!! Please send your name, city, state, photos, headings & captions to: postcards@ashi.org Note: By sending in your postcard(s), you are expressly granting ASHI the right to use the postcard and your name with it in the ASHI REPORTER and in other publications ASHI may select.

Turning a Dead Space into a DEATH PLACE

John S. Gamache Capstone Home Inspection Service San Diego, CA

John Pesek Great Lakes Chapter; Inspector by Review Howell, Mi

They said…

Bypass Trap

…It Couldn’t Be Done.

Michael Chambers The BrickKicker St. Louis, MO Michael Chambers The BrickKicker St. Louis, MO

Oh, That’s What Happened to My Come-Along!

Chris McDougal Apex Home Inspection Aromas, CA

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018 ASHI Reporter • February 2018

Cat’s Outta the Bag…Two Boots

John Ciambello C&S Home Inspections Colorado Springs, Co


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Postcards from the Field No Leftover Parts

NEW POSTCARDS EMAIL!! Please send your name, city, state, photos, headings & captions to: postcards@ashi.org Note: By sending in your postcard(s), you are expressly granting ASHI the right to use the postcard and your name with it in the ASHI REPORTER and in other publications ASHI may select.

John D. Clark R.U. Inspection Ready Pleasant Hill, IA

John D. Clark R.U. Inspection Ready Pleasant Hill, IA

Electricians Shouldn’t Do Plumbing… Don’t Let the Car Mechanic Do Roofing!

Chris Fente Pillar To Post, The Scott Frederick Team Kirkwood, MO

Chris Fente Pillar To Post, The Scott Frederick Team Kirkwood, MO

A New Way to Snake Wires

Jacob D. Troost Buyers 1st Inspection Service Broadheadsville, PA

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018 ASHI Reporter • February 2018

Get the Net!

Bryan Cole Home Check Inc. Pittsburgh, PA

No Clog Trap


February 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org

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ON MY MIND

HOME INSPECTION... YES, IT’S A BUSINESS By ASHI President, Tim Buell

an account number. Using QuickBooks also can help you at tax time because it interfaces with TurboTax, making tax preparation a breeze.

• Find an insurance agent who will provide you with errors and omissions (E&O) and general liability insurance. Make sure you also have ample auto coverage and consider getting an umbrella policy for extra protection.

O

ver the years I’ve spoken with many people who want to get into the home inspection profession. Most of the time, they’ve had experience in the construction business—usually in roofing, carpentry or masonry—and they’ve decided that they want to own a business or start a second career. Some had just lost a job and wanted to be their own boss. For whatever reason, they decided to become a home inspector. Problem is, although they may go on to become great inspectors, they might not know anything about running a business. Yes…it’s a business.

Most inspectors are one-person shops. The inspector wears many hats, including that of the inspector, the marketer, the salesperson, the complaint department, the accountant, the banker, the receptionist and the purchasing agent…just to name a few. I teach at The ASHI School and I constantly get questions from students on various subjects such as these: • If there is a crack in the ceramic floor, is it a defect or cosmetic? • Should I hire an employee?

• What accounting and inspection software should I purchase? • Can you recommend what tools I should buy?

My general answer to these questions is simple: These are the business decisions that each of us must make our own, keeping in mind that the ASHI Standard of Practice is a minimum requirement. To offer a little more help to people who are thinking about becoming a professional inspector or who are just starting in the business, I also offer these words of advice: • Contact a local attorney to help you determine what your entity should be—a corporation, a partnership, an LLC or a proprietorship. • Hire a good Certified Public Accountant to help you set up your books, and provide ongoing tax and banking assistance. QuickBooks is a great tool that links to most banks. Financial data can be downloaded and the only thing you have to do is assign

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018

• Join your local ASHI chapter and start connecting with your colleagues. They will offer you a wealth of information regarding equipment and vehicles and most importantly, they can help you learn to conduct professional inspections. When I was starting out, I often saw something during an inspection, but I had no idea what it was. In these situations, I took a photo with my phone, texted it to several of my contemporaries and usually got a response within a short time. It’s not important that we know everything, but we should know where to get the answer to any question. • ASHI has a number of affiliates that can help meet your needs. From insurance to computer software to ancillary services—these affiliates can be found in the pages of the Reporter and on the ASHI website.

Yes, it’s a business that requires some tough decisions along the way, but what else is new? Every organization experiences the good, the bad and the ugly, but the satisfaction of having your own successful business far outweighs the negatives.

This year, I’ll focus my monthly columns on the business of home inspection. In future issues, you’ll read about insurance, answering the phone, legal advice, ancillary services and more. To help you and me with these articles, I’ll feature information from some of ASHI’s affiliates, all of whom are ready to help you succeed. Last, but not least, I wish all of you nothing but the best and I hope that 2018 is your best year ever.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” —Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman and CEO, Apple Inc.


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Your Partner in Radon Measurement 47February 2018

• www.ASHIReporter.org

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ASHI Reporter • February 2018

February 2018 Reporter  

Home inspection news and tips for inspectors, home owners and realtors.

February 2018 Reporter  

Home inspection news and tips for inspectors, home owners and realtors.