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Permits

As we are now into the new year, I hope everyone had a great holiday season. This weeks blog is about Permits. Not about home inspectors needing permits, however home inspectors searching for permits on the property they are inspecting. So, lets begin.

Just about every scenario we do, we are always in contact with the local building departments for building permits. At the end of the year a repeat client of ours was purchasing another property. They wanted to know about any open permits since the home had been just recently renovated. So, in our search we found 2 open permits.  Which brings us to this blog.

The work for the permits had been performed correctly. The building department was in error because they did not close the permit. It happens. Now what about other scenarios. For example, there maybe new electrical panel box and no permit. This is always noted on our reports. Or new garage door and opener but no permit. This happens too. So why permits?

A permit is to protect the home owner and government. For example, if the current home owner applies for a permit for finishing a garage area then their is multiple trades involved. Additionally, it protects government because they have a record on the property. If there is ever a bad error then the work can be pointed back to the contractor on record or the building department. Also, if no permit then their maybe repercussions when closing and a property appraiser sees new work that was not properly recorded.  The worst case scenario is a home is about to close and no permit was applied for upgrades and the county records office catches that a new kitchen was installed prior to closing. This will definitely raise a red flag.

So, when you are about to purchase a property or change insurance companies and need an insurance inspection, ask your inspector about permits. It is easy to obtain and we provide this service at no cost to our clients. For more information contact us anytime at 352-322-2700 or www.emeraldinspectionservice.com  Our inspections usually range from Clearwater to Odessa and from Zephyrhills to Hudson Florida areas.

 

4 Point Inspections

This weeks blog is about 4 point inspections. The purpose of 4 point inspections and some tricky sales gimmicks of other companies that inflate the inspection process. So lets begin.

A “Four-Point Inspection” is an inspection catered to the insurance companies. With this type of inspection an insurance carrier does not want to go thru 50 plus pages of a home inspection report. There is a lot of software out there and all is different reporting styles when it comes to the actual 4 points.

The 4 Points inspected are: Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC. So for example, the roof is inspected to make sure no leaks, no turn shingles and also no condensation in the attic. The electrical has to be in good working order. This means the panel box has no double taps, no over heated breakers and that if aluminum multi-strand wire, the wire has an oxidizing agent applied to the wire. When the plumbing is inspected there can not be any leaks under sinks, hot water heater is in good working order, no corrosion on pipes and if a well is on premise the well pump and filtration system is in good working order.

Lastly, is the HVAC system. Here in Florida, a lot of times we will see heat pumps. This is your a/c and heat. The air handler unit is usually in the garage or the attic. We check to make sure the system is performing properly. No burnt wires inside the housing, the coils are cleaned on the units, drip pans are not clogged, the disconnects to the units work properly and the thermostat is working properly. I usually check the ambient temperature to compare to the outside. Keep in mind that the a/c can not be checked if the outside temperature is below 60 degrees. This may cause damage to the compressor and other components of the system.

So above is the inspection points of the Four Point Inspection. The inspector also, has to check with the local government building department for permits on the home, for the 4 Points.

Now lets briefly discuss why insurance companies require them. First of all, any home over 25 years old the systems may start to enter the bonus life of the system. For example, if a hot water heater is over 15years of age. Its time to replace or really start to budget for that item. So the insurance carrier wants to see if there are any updates been done to the home. The 4 Point Inspection is not to be considered a full general inspection, nor is it never to be. The reporting for the 4 Point is on insurance dedicated forms. For example, “Citizens Insurance”, ” Tower Hill” or “State Farm” insurance.

In closing a lot of home inspection companies will offer this service as an ancillary service with the home inspection, only. We offer this service as a full service for our clients. And you may here from time to time catch phrases during the inspection process of 7 points, 21 points, etc. Pay no attention to them. At Emerald Inspection Service, you have your 4 Point Inspection, our self generated 5 Point Inspection which is for mobile homes and investors only, and the General Inspection. We perform these type of inspections from Sebring to Hernando. From Saint Petersburg to Sumterville Florida within a 24-36 hour time frame. For more information about #4PointInspections  go to our website: https://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com/4-point-inspections.html

Or call us anytime, 352-322-2700 or 844 RADON 40.

4PointInspector

Wind Mitigation Inspections

This weeks blog is about wind mitigation inspections. For some in certain places of the country, you do not have this type of inspection. However in the south, Florida, we do. So I want to share with you about how to save money on your insurance and what is actually performed during the inspection process. We perform these type of inspections in Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, Hillsborough, Polk, Pinellas and Pasco Counties of Florida normally within a day notice. We use the Citizens Insurance Reporting Form. There are others that we use but this is the most popular reporting form.

So lets begin. A wind mitigation or wind-borne inspection is a process where the home inspector will inspect the roof for any shingles that may be loose, separated or torn. Additionally check the ridge vent and valleys for defects. Also the inspector has to determine the roof style for the report.  And then the skylights. The sky lights will have a rating on there if its rated for hurricane winds.

Secondly, the inspection process is to check to see if there any shutters that maybe attached to any windows. These type of shutters are metal shutters that cover the window or patio door in case of hurricane winds. These type of shutters have a rating that can be used to determine what the shutter can sustain in case of an object being flown and impacts the shutter. This is not the shutter that attaches to the home next to the window or the wood style that close. While inspecting for any shutters, the inspector additionally inspects the glass. The glass if it has sticker that states, Brovard County or Miami-Dade rated then this is additional discount. This is also if you are going to update the windows get the rating for this, to save money on the home owners insurance. After this, then the inspector checks to see if there is any glass block. Some older style homes will have glass block maybe for crawl spaces, bathrooms or part of the wall that allows light thru in a sun room for example. There are different ratings for glass block but also a great idea to have shutters for these as well.

Thirdly, the inspection process continues if there to check the garage door. The garage door normally has a style of missile bracing on the inside of the door. This is to protect the interior. Not necessary the door. Missile bracing is referred to if a small limb or tree is being blown around. Normal garage doors are thin metal and an object flying around can be a missile and go thru the door.

Then the process continues to the attic. My favorite part on a hot summer afternoon. (no seriously) So in the attic, the inspector will measure the distance and determine what the lenght of the nails are for the sheathing. A good rating is usually 8D and about 2 1/2 inches in depth of the framing member. The inspector will also check to see what type of type downs there are. For example, the trusses or rafters may have wraps, or straps. There maybe clips holding framing members to a main roof structure. Then on a lot of newer homes there are bolts that go from the foundation to the top plate of the wall. And of course inspect the framing members to make sure no cracked or split joists. And to check for any moisture or leaks on the sheathing.

Once this process is complete, the inspector has to check with the local municipality to check for any permits when the roof was either installed or re-roofed. Without a permit or any roof information this could be a deterrent to getting any credits for the roof.

So in closing having a wind mitigation inspection could save approximately 10-40% off your home owners insurance premium. At Emerald Inspection Service we can schedule these within 24 hours if you live in or near the areas of  Tampa, Clearwater, Brooksville, Polk City Florida.  For more information check out our website link on wind mitigation at https://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com/wind-mitigation.html

Or feel free to call us anytime at 352-322-2700 Thank You.

Wind-Mitigation

Roof Inspection and Certifications

Roof, Styles

This weeks blog will be about roof inspections and roof certifications that are sometimes needed for insurance policies. Lets start off with a roof certification, or sometimes known as a roof condition report. A roof condition report for an insurance company, will report the age, condition, covering of the roof (s) and the permit from the county. This process is usually for parts of Tampa, Lutz, Lakeland and Port Richey Florida. Also, there is approximately 6 pictures that need to be taken during this process. If there is more then one roof, then all are reported the same. An insurance company will request this when the roof is metal or any style that is 10 years of age or older.

Performing a roof inspection is the process of inspecting more then just the roof covering and age. During the roof inspection, the inspector will identify and inspect over 20 line items on the roof and state their condition and if any deficiencies.  Also to be able to identify and report the style of the roof. The following information is an inspection for an asphalt shingled roof.

During the roof inspection, the inspector will first inspect the roof covering and report the type of covering. If the roof covering is starting to separate, blister, or curl at the edges. If there are any nail pops on asphalt roofs.  Additionally, looking for any torn or missing areas of the roof covering. Secondly, the valley’s will be inspected (if any) to look for debris collecting in the area, ponding, if flashing is shown and the condition, and this is a spot where nests and moss will collect. The next process of the roof inspection is inspecting the drip edge, chimney flashing and the area that joins the house siding to the roof. The drip edge is the metal strip that secures the felt paper to the sheathing. From there on newer roofs, a thin trowel covering of tar should be placed over the seam. The chimney flashing is inspected to make sure that no tar is separating from the chimney, a cricket is secured or needs to be installed and it is not damaged. Lastly is the area of the house that meets the roof. Sometimes there maybe flashing, and sometimes there is not. It depends on the style of the home. But in this aspect the inspector should be checking if there is any water collecting, nail pops, stucco cracks, j-channel filled of debris or j-channel missing, to name the majority of items.

For flat roof, a lot of the similarities as mentioned above but the big difference is the seams. The seams have to be water tight, no blistering and no curling. On flat roofs, we may see a tar covering over the roof. This is good for 5 years. After 5 years the sun and weather will affect the roof covering by a blister or separation effect.

I will continue this blog next week about clay tile and concrete and metal roofs. If you have any questions feel free to contact us anytime at; info@emeraldinspectionservice.com or call 352-322-2700. http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

Wind Mitigation Inspections

wind inspection, wind mitigation

Wind Mitigation Inspection

A wind mitigation inspection is a report that is generated for the insurance carrier. As a home owner with windstorm insurance, state law entitles you to certain premium reductions. However, without a wind mitigation inspection, you can not get the discounts. If you have not had a windstorm insurance inspection at your home you are PROBABLY PAYING TO MUCH FOR YOUR WINDSTORM INSURANCE!

During a wind mitigation inspection, a qualified inspector reports on the key features that may decrease the amount of damage your home suffers during a hurricane or strong windstorms. There features fall into several categories; such as exterior construction type, roof shape, construction methods, age of the roof covering, door and window opening protection, as well as the year the home was constructed. Another factor maybe the elevation of the home and how it relates to wind speed.

When performing a wind mitigation inspection we take precise care to record the following information and take pictures (as seen below) to report to the insurance carrier if you may receive any discounts. Part of the wind mitigation inspection is we go into the attic. In the attic we randomly pick three roof rafters or roof trusses. We usually try to select two on each end of the roof and two near the center. We determine the nail length penetrating into the roof framing member. We also, measure the length of the nail penetrating through the sheathing. Once the attic portion is complete, we inspect any windows and glass block for hurricane stamps or Broward/Miami Dade stickers. This tells us if the glass will be hurricane wind resistant. Once that is complete we from there inspect the garage door for bracing and if any shutters can be attached to any glazing elements. Upon completion of the wind mitigation inspection, we visually inspect the roof and record all dimensions and take a few pictures of the exterior. While we make no guarantee that you may receive discounts from the insurance carrier, we will do our best to inspect all elements required by insurance companies for wind mitigation.

Most insurance carriers have their own type of reporting and we are fully equipped for that specific type of  report. Additionally this process is completed anywhere there is windstorm insurance. Whether its Tampa, Webster, Leesburg or Port Richey. For further information check out our website; http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime at 352-322-2700

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