Is it possible for your inspector to also serve as your repairman? Although it is a common question, answering it is difficult.
Offering a moisture assessment/stucco inspection as a stucco repair professional has always struck me as a conflict of interest. There is a narrow line between counseling a homeowner about stucco difficulties and informing the homeowner about the expense of repairing the damage.
Here’s the Scenario
Let me tell you about a recent occurrence. A well-known general home inspector who also does moisture assessment/stucco inspections had examined a new house development for a luxury builder who was also a personal friend.
This inspector was well-known for not only doing the inspection but also providing bids to remedy any issues that he detected. He would then delegate the project to a family member. Because we were aware of the scenario, the builder/friend asked if I could accompany him to the reinspection because the inspection looked to be a bit “off.”
What We Did
The first thing I did was have another close friend call the inspector and schedule an appointment for one hour after the reinspection. The appointment was for a repair estimate for stucco repair.
The inspector began his testing after all parties were on site for the stucco reinspection. The first thing that startled me was that he was testing the walls from the inside of the home using a wet wall meter.
This experiment was carried out during the summer, when it was rather hot and humid outside. The temperature inside the home was 72 degrees. The home was around 7500 square feet in size, with magnificent marble flooring and 14-foot ceilings.
This is significant because stucco should NEVER be checked from the inside. The moisture value will be skewed by the ambient humidity inside, resulting in false positives. As you may remember from earlier articles, a moisture measurement must be obtained from the outside so that the meter’s prongs penetrate the plywood under the stucco.
Our inspector rejected this and showed us other locations that he believed were soaked with water. We had him evaluate over 20 areas, and each time he got abnormally high readings. Remember, this was a brand-new house. While not impossible, it was exceedingly improbable that these readings were correct.
As the examination progressed, the builder and inspector became more irritated. So it was time to ask the all-important question. Can you submit a proposal to repair all of the damage?
The inspector said no, but I questioned him about his next appointment. He claimed it was almost time for him to go for the appointment. That’s when he was told he had an appointment, and that it was for a stucco repair quotation.
Conflict of Interest
All of this is crucial since we found absolutely dry conditions when we opened the wall from the outside in one of the spots assessed and deemed damaged by this inspector. The inspector made a mistake.
This raises the question of whether the inspector’s conclusions were correct. Is it feasible that he made a genuine error? Did he give incorrect findings on purpose in order to get a repair contract?
This is an illustration of a conflict of interest. Your inspector should never be allowed to tell you what is wrong with your home and then charge you to remedy it.
If the inspection was defective, would you be notified? Is there any recourse against the inspector, and is there a return from the inspection or repair to ensure you aren’t paying for something that wasn’t required?
These are the reasons why it is vital to have an objective, third-party assessment and an independent stucco repair contractor on your task. Honesty and integrity are unquestionable. You can always rely on your inspector to ensure that the stucco work is done correctly. If the report overlooked something or produced a false positive, you may always rely on your stucco contractor.
You Can Trust Toms River Stucco
We avoid conflicts of interest at Toms River Stucco. We would never offer to evaluate your stucco home. We may refer you to a number of competent inspectors. We specialize in stucco home repair.
Contact us to learn more about what Toms River Stucco can do for you!