Tag Archives: Miami Home Inspector

CPSC Identifies Manufacturers of Problem Drywall Made in China

Chinese DrywallWASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing today the names of the problem drywall manufacturers whose drywall emitted high levels of hydrogen sulfide in testing conducted for the agency by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). There is a strong association between hydrogen sulfide and metal corrosion.

 

Of the samples tested, the top ten reactive sulfur-emitting drywall samples were all produced in China. Some of the Chinese drywall had emission rates of hydrogen sulfide 100 times greater than non-Chinese drywall samples.
“Homeowners who have problem drywall in their homes are suffering greatly”, said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “I appeal to these Chinese drywall companies to carefully examine their responsibilities to U.S. families who have been harmed and do what is fair and just”.
At the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings in Beijing May 24-25, U.S. officials pressed the Chinese government to facilitate a meeting between CPSC and the Chinese drywall companies whose products were used in U.S. homes, and which exhibit the emissions identified during the testing procedures. The Strategic and Economic Dialogue represents the highest-level bilateral forum to discuss a broad range of issues between the two nations.
The following list identifies the top 10 drywall samples tested that had the highest emissions of hydrogen sulfide, along with the identity of the manufacturer of the drywall and the year of manufacture, from highest to lowest.
– Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. Ltd.: (year of manufacture 2005) China
– Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2006) China
– Shandong Taihe Dongxin Co.: (2005) China
– Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. Ltd.: (2006) China
– Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2006) China
– Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2006) China
– Shandong Chenxiang GBM Co. Ltd. (C&K Gypsum Board): (2006) China
– Beijing New Building Materials (BNBM): (2009) China
– Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2009) China
– Shandong Taihe Dongxin Co.: (2009) China

Other Chinese drywall samples had low or no detectable emissions of hydrogen sulfide as did the drywall samples tested that were manufactured domestically. They include: Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin: (2009) China; Tiger ***ShiGao JianCai***liangpianzhuang: (2006) China; USG Corporation: (2009) U.S.; Guangdong Knauf New Building Material Products Co. Ltd.: (2009) China; 3/8″ drywall manufacturer uncertain (date uncertain): China; Knauf Plasterboard (Wuhu) Co. Ltd.: (2009) China; CertainTeed Corp.: (2009) U.S.; Georgia Pacific Corp.: (2009) U.S.; Dragon Brand, Beijing New Building Materials Co. Ltd.: (2006) China; CertainTeed Corp.: (2009) U.S.; Pingyi Baier Building Materials Co. Ltd.: (2009) China; Sample purchased in China, manufacturer unknown: (2009) China; Panel Rey S.A.: (2009) Mexico; Lafarge North America: (2009) U.S.; National Gypsum Company: (2009) U.S.; National Gypsum Company: (2009) U.S.; Georgia Pacific Corp.: (2009) U.S.; Pabco Gypsum: (2009) U.S.; Temple-Inland Inc.: (2009) U.S.; and USG Corporation: (2009) U.S.
Last month, CPSC released the results of drywall emissions tests by LBNL. The studies showed a connection between certain Chinese drywall and corrosion in homes. In addition, the patterns of reactive sulfur compounds emitted from drywall samples show a clear distinction between certain Chinese drywall samples manufactured in 2005/2006 and other Chinese and non-Chinese drywall samples.
To date, CPSC has spent over $5 million to investigate the chemical nature and the chain of commerce of problem drywall. Earlier this year, CPSC and HUD issued an identification protocol to help consumers identify problem drywall in their homes. Last month, CPSC and HUD issued remediation guidance to assist impacted homeowners.

Go here for the CPSC article: https://www.cpsc.gov/content/cpsc-identifies-manufacturers-of-problem-drywall-made-in-china

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc

New Construction

new constructionShould new construction be inspected? This question comes up a lot. Many clients call for an inspection after the property is finished and we do what his called a walk thought inspection. In my most current case it would have been wise to have phase inspections completed. In this case there has been a change of contractor. I was called in to inspect only the electrical to look for code violations. The new electrical contractor did not want to take over the work from the old contractor – he wanted to rip it out and start over. And I can’t really say that I blame him. Most of the work was done in an un-workman- like manner – it was very sloppy, and there definitely a few code     violations.

new constrution

The first and biggest violation was the placement of the interior panel box. The picture at the right shows where he ran the wires. They were at the back-end of the slab. That slab was installed for the washer and dryer, which will not longer fit on the slab due to the placement of the box. Even if the box would fit there, it is a violation of work space and access per the National Electric Code. The code calls for 36 inches of unobstructed work space in front of all panel boxes. In order to work blueprintson the box in the future, the electrician would have to climb on the dryer to have direct access. As you can see from the blueprints, the box was supposed to be placed about 30 inches in front of the slab, which was actually opposite the meter on the exterior wall.

 

 

new constructionThe next code issue was the service lateral. The original electrical contractor had installed Schedule 40 PVC pipe. This pipe is not allowed in this location. Both the NEC and  FPL call for either galvanized pipe or Schedule 80 PVC pipe to be installed. Schedule 40 pipe should never be used in a location that could be subject to physical damage. Schedule 80 and galvanized pipe are much stronger and can withstand more punishment without damaging the pipe.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc

The history of residential wiring

residential wiringDid you know that the history of residential wiring dates back to 1879 when Thomas Edison lit up a few homes in New York. 1892 he was awarded a patent for the electrical conductor. Armored cable was first used in 1899 and BX has been around since 1903 but not widely used until the 1930’s. NM cable first came onto the market in 1926. 1962 was the beginning of having  equipment grounding for all branch circuits popularized the use of NM cable with ground. This us just a small snippet of what is contained in the article. Click here for the entire article:  History_of_Residential_Wiring_practices_in_the_USA

How do you Choose a Home Inspector?

To choose a Home Inspector can be a difficult decision. You have made the decision to by a house. Now you have the task of wading through realtors, title companies, mortgage companies, appraisal, and inspections (and I am sure other things). The realtor, the title company, and the mortgage company all get paid at closing. The appraiser may also get paid at closing. Inspections are paid by the borrower at the time of the inspection. So, your home inspector must be chosen carefully, as they are the ones that will give you the real details on your new home.

Referrals:

Most buyers will let the realtor choose the inspector for them, either knowingly for unknowing. A list of three home inspectors is usually given to the borrower by the real estate agent. Now, if you like your agent, you are going to believe them. But do they really have your best interest at heart, or are they giving you three inspectors that write ‘soft’ reports to help the sale go though. I do know that there are plenty of good realtors out there that do have their buyers best interest at heart, but there are also many that do not.

Asking a friend that has bought a home is a good source for a referral. They have already used an inspector and they will tell you how they did. Ask them how long the inspection took to complete, when did the report arrive, did they explain the major issues, while also listing all of the minor issues, and did they have an understanding of when the roof, AC, and water heater may need to be replaced. Also ask if any problems occurred after the inspection.

Web searches:

The last place you can look in on the internet. Most inspectors have beautiful looking web sites. However, most of these sites all say pretty much the same thing. Here is what to look at when doing an online search:

1} How long does is say the person has been inspecting homes. Most will list 20-30 years in the industry, but not be very specific as to their area of expertise or how long they have been actually been conducting home inspections. If Florida you can get an idea by their license number. Anyone with a high number over 6000 has only been in business a short time. Licensing came about in 2011 and at that time there were about 4000 that obtained their license.

2) How many inspection does it say they have completed. I look at a lot of web sites and normally is see anywhere from 5000 to 15,000 inspections completed. Does that make sense for the years in business? And are those inspections full home inspections, or just insurance inspections. There is a big difference.

3) Look to see what certifications they have. All that is needed in Florida is a license to operate. Be wary of association certifications. Many of them are very easy to get – most only require an online course (one or two hours) and a test at the end. Also see how many hours of continuing education the inspector does every cycle. Florida only requires 14 hours per cycle, or 7 hours per year, which is not very much, especially with the codes changing every few years. Do they go above an beyond or do they only do the minimum?

You should always interview your inspector before hiring them. You want to get the best value for your money, and that does not always equate into the cheapest price. Remember that the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

Ask if they know or cite building code references in their reports. Most will say they do not, that they are not code inspectors. Citing code has nothing to do with being a code inspector. It has to do with knowledge of how things are built. They can be used as clarification as to why something was installed improperly. The most important thing an inspector can do is back up what he is calling out with a reference. This will save all parties involved time and energy trying to figure out why something was written.

Sample reports:

You should always ask for a sample report. Most reports are computer generated using industry software. They should be easy to read and understand. It is not only our job to tell you something is deficient, but why it is deficient. We should be calling for repair or replacement and in South Florida, most inspectors will give a cost estimate. If the report calls for ‘further evaluation’ by a licensed professional on every item, why bother hiring a home inspector in the first place. Why not just hire the roof, AC company, plumber, and structural engineer the first time around.

Be wary of inspectors that offer warranties for everything they inspect. Most of these warranties are sort term only and don’t cover what you would hope they would cover, and many come with deductibles. Ask yourself this – if the inspector is good, why should I need all of these short-term warranties. In my opinion all they do is give the inspector a reason not to do a good job. They can rush from one job to the other. Also, do you want to have to deal with a warranty company. If the inspection was done right the first time you may have been able to get the seller to fix or replace those items.

The last thing I can tell you, and it has been mentioned above, is do not choose your home inspector by price. The experienced inspector will cost more, and that is because he has more knowledge. In the end, a good report will list multiple items, Some will need repair, some will need replacement, and some are maintenance items. If you read and understand the report you will most likely be able to re-negotiate for a better price. Many clients have been able to negotiate hundreds or thousands of dollars based on good inspections and well written report. One of my recent clients was able to save $39,000 off the purchase price, and that was after the seller brought in their own contractors to verify what was in the report.

Posted by Bill Siege Florida Home Inspection Team Inc.

Investor / Flipper breaking the law

Investor / FlipperI recently did an inspection in Miami. The seller was an investor who bought this home to flip it. His goal was to make $100,000.00 after the sale. All work done on this house was done without permits. He actually even admitted that he had not permits, and stated that it would have been too expensive had he pulled them – it would have cost him another $40,000.00. There are multiple fines that could be associated if the building department gets involved and the non-permitted areas may have to be brought up to current code, which will add to the expense.

My client backed out of the deal. We did not even complete the inspection. Here is a list of the items found to be wrong in the first 30-45 minutes of being on the property:

  1. The front windows had been replaced. There were missing framing screws and the installed screws were not screwed in all the way, plus the windows were not impact rated, nor was there any impact protection (shutters) installed.
  2. The kitchen and bathrooms had been remodeled. Improper piping was used under all of the sinks. He used flex pipe, which is not approved under the Florida Building Code. No GFCI protection was installed, as required, at the outlets, yet all of the outlets were new. Both bathrooms had stall showers installed. Neither of the floors were sloped properly and they did not drain – water remained on the floor.
  3. He claimed the AC system was new. The date plate had been removed from the condenser unit, and the air handler serial number indicated that the unit was a 2007. The service disconnect behind the condenser unit had improper work clearance and was missing its cover plate.
  4. The flat roof was older but did not have any permits on file with the city. There was a missing lead shield on one of the vent stacks, and there was no flashing / pitch pan at the electrical weather head.
  5. A new electrical service panel had been installed with no permits on file. Inside the house there were multiple outlets that were not properly grounded.
  6. The water heater was new and installed with no permits. There was no electrical disconnect within sight of the unit, nor was there a water shut off valve installed.

My client was able to cancel his contract and able to get his inspection fee back. The sad part is, and I am not sure if this is true or not, the seller told my client that he had another buyer, who also had an inspection, but indicated that his inspection passed with flying colors. Either he is lying or the other inspector does not know what he is doing.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. Miami home inspector

2007 Condo Inspection

Condo inspection

Improper electrical outlets

Recently I did a condo inspection on a 2007 unit in Aventura. The picture above shows the living room wall, which I believe had been added or modified after the original construction. There were no permits that could be found after doing an online search (other units had permits). I was informed that the unit was the same as after construction, but I highly doubt that.

The picture shows one outlet on the wall. That wall was almost thirty feet in length. Per the National Electric Code, and I know everyone gets upset when a home inspector references the code, there should be one outlet within reach of six feet, meaning the outlets should be placed a maximum of 12 feet apart.

I posted this on another message board and most inspectors indicated that they would not mention the code but only that it is a safety hazard. I was wondering what anyone who reads this thinks. My position is this: if it is wrong, why should I not include the code. The code only clarifies my position and helps my client understand why it is wrong. I am not doing a code inspection and I am not enforcing the code, only using the code for clarification.

If the wall was added or modified after the original construction permits would have been required. If you go to the Aventura building department web site you will see that it is clearly stated that any modifications to the structure require a permits. The flooring may also have been installed after construction, which also requires a permit. Second question to all of you – would you mention the possible lack of permits on your inspection report. As a realtor, seller, or buyer, would you want to know this?

I did mention the possible lack of permits, stating that a complete check with the city could be done. If this is not done and the city gets wind of this, my client could face fines, as any violations stay with the property and not the person. I would rather my client find out before closing so they can negotiate, rather than after closing when the city might get involved.

I am looking for comments on this from buyers, sellers, real estate agents, other home inspectors, insurance agents, title companies, and mortgage companies. Thank your all for reading and taking the time to respond.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc

Hurricane shutters

Do you have Hurricane shutters on you house? As we leave hurricane season this year it now becomes time to think about next hurricane season.  If you live in an older home that does not have protection, either with a shutter system or impact windows, the off-season is a good time to consider having them installed. Prices will be a little bit less expensive and you can go into next season knowing that you have fortified you home and protected not only your home, but your family. Not only that, but you may qualify for wind mitigation discounts, which will lower your insurance premium.

The following is a guide put out by the IBHS:

• <img class=“alignleft size-full wp-image-113381” src=“https://i2.wp.com/floridahomeinspectionteam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/images.jpg?resize=249%2C202” alt=“Specific parts of home inspections in Miami, FL” width=“249” height=“202”>

Posted by Bill Siegel. Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513. Miami Home Inspector