Tag Archive | Construction

Double Taps On Breakers

This weeks blog is about “double taps”. During the inspection process we inspect all electrical panels. There are several reasons why this process is done. And in this blog I am going to share about electrical inspections and electrical safety. So lets begin.

During the inspection process part of the electrical inspection is to inspect the panel box and sub-panel boxes. In Florida, we have with new construction a main breaker at the meter then that feeds to the panel box that maybe in the garage or bedroom. This is nice when a technician has to work on the panel. So while inspecting we check both. A lot of times the main disconnect may have a breaker for outside lighting or the pool equipment. With some homes, they almost use it as the main panel to feed the shed and/or other equipment. However, we also have the double tap as well.

maindoubletap

Some non-experienced workers will run a feed for an exterior circuit to the main electric feeds. Or if there is a small amp circuit for an additional receptacle they will tap off a 20 amp breaker because the panel box is full. Neither are appropriate and are not safe. The entire purpose of the breakers are in-case the amperage is to high the breaker will trip. Imagine operating heavy mechanical equipment that require 30 amps in your bedroom from the circuit that is only 15 amps. The circuit will trip every time and then the eventually cause damage to the main. As so this is true double tapping any other breaker or main. If the panel is full then either a sub-panel is needed or a complete upgrade. Yes it can be costly but it is safer. Now I have seen also where people will install an exterior receptacle and tap it to an appliance breaker. This is not good either. The starting amps for an appliance is going to be within 10% of the breaker allowed amperage. So if there is a tap to the heat-pump for that circuit and the unit comes on as you start up a weed wacker again you could trip the breaker or cause more damage then known.

So whats the solution. When adding additional circuits there is a proper process. Yes you can look on the internet but if you do not know electrical math to gain the resistance and amperage of a said circuit you could really do damage to the homes wiring. When we find these deficiencies we immediately tag the circuit. If the circuit is not energizing any food appliances we suggest to the home owner or agent that we would like to shut off the breaker as it is unsafe.  This deficiency is marked in the report and we usually have to do a return visit to inspect the deficiency being corrected.  By no means is this a deal killer for a transaction but it needs to be attended too.

For more information about electrical inspections and double taps, feel free to call us anytime. 352-322-2700. Or look us up at, www.brandonhomeinspectors.com or www.emeraldinspectionservice.com We perform this type of inspection solely or with a 4 point inspection and general inspection in the Tampa, Hudson, Hernando, and Clermont Florida areas.

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.

 

New Home Warranty

This week’s blog is about new home warranty.  When we buy a home after 1 year the builder will conduct an inspection.  So why should you obtain a 3rd party inspection on your home. Well let’s begin.

When we buy new homes, we really don’t think of deficiencies with our home. Then after we buy the home, we really do not think of issues with our home after a year.  However, it happens.

When you buy a new home the Realtor will inform you about the warranty from the builder. Now this is nice. But, they just usually say. The builder has a warranty with the home in case of any small drywall cracks so they can come back and repair.  True but not true. The builder is responsible for everything they did to the home. Small cracks to Windows and doors not functioning properly.  And after you move in, if these deficiencies are not corrected promptly the warranty will expire.

So you maybe curious of how a 3rd party inspector plays in this role.  (me too).

Before the 11 month of new home ownership the builder will want to schedule your appointment to do a walk thru and make a list of deficiencies.  This is when you call a home inspector for the inspection too. Yes you want to compare apples to apples. Remember this is your home.  The builder will not conduct an inspection such as a home inspector.

Once the appointment is made let the home inspector know why you want this. And also let the builder know you are obtaining a 3rd party inspection. Let’s be fair to everyone. The inspector will conduct a normal home inspection. Check every room, roof, appliances, mechanical systems and exterior to report the deficiencies.  Once this report is obtained let the builder know.  They will send an employee out to do an inspection. Compare the two reports. Have the builder agree to the deficiencies to be repaired. Then schedule the appointment for the repairs.  This appointment is crucial for keeping do not miss this appointment as you maybe pushed back weeks and then a simple repair may turn into a major job and cause a conflict between the builder and home owner.

Normally, after the repairs are done there will be one more inspection near your 2 year mark. Alot of times it’s a simple follow up. However, things can occur.  Let the builder know and if you feel you need another inspection, then call the same inspection company.

So in closing the main purpose of this type of inspection is so that you and the builder know that an independent 3rd party inspected the home to report the deficiencies and it’s properly recorded. Most builders will honor the reports and repair the deficiencies.  But just in case a builder will not then you have the report to refer too.

If you like to learn more about our 11 Month Warranty Inspection, go to www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime at 352-322-2700. We perform these type of inspections on new homes in Plant City, Tampa, Hernando, and Pinellas Park Florida as well as other areas.

Also, from our Family here at Emerald Inspection Service, we like to wish everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tools Of The Trade

Camera, Infrared, Endoscope

This weeks blog, I wanted to share is about the tools inspectors use and how they can make a report better and additionally assist the buyers and sellers in an inspection.  Now while each state has its own standards of practice for inspections, normally most inspectors will be up to date on technology and tools.

Years ago, the typical inspector would have a camera, (Polaroid Instant), clip board, electrical tester, and flashlight.  They may have forms that were printed or they just take notes and complete the report when they return to the office. Believe it or not some inspectors are still this way but upgraded to a digital camera.

So lets begin with the inspector of today. When I started Emerald Inspection Service, my initial investment was approximately $700.00. You may say ok, what did you buy. Well first of all, we use a tablet that has a camera and is internet ready. We don’t use our phone. Then over the course of the year we upgrade on tools and equipment.

We use a laptop for wind mitigation, 4 point inspections and Chinese drywall inspections with a camera because of the standard forms. Our digital camera is waterproof and is very high in pixels. We have CO2 detector, for any type of gas lines. We don’t use soap or the bubbles as they will corrode the pipe eventually. We have a million candlelight power hand held spot light. This is great if somebody, painted over an old stain.  We use pin-less and pin moisture meters to determine if any wood or drywall or flooring is holding moisture. If we suspect something in the wall or can’t get to an area, we use a 16’o inspection camera scope or use our endoscope camera. Additionally, some inspectors can not perform energy audits because they are not certified nor have an infrared camera. We have that too.

So, as you can see this is just a sample of the tools in our toolbox. When you are looking to hire an inspector, ask him what type of tools they have. Also, ask them if there is extra charges for using some of these. Some we don’t charge because it makes the report a lot better. However for an Infrared Inspection, we charge in the range of $250-550, depending on the type of inspection.

If you like to know more about this or have questions, feel free to call us or email us anytime. Our office numbers are 352-322-2700 or toll free at 844-RADON-40. Email anytime at; info@emeraldinspectionservice.com

Construction Inspections

203-K Consultant, Construction Inspection

This weeks blog is about “Construction Inspections”.  The past week, Emerald Inspection Service, LLC performed 2 construction inspections and resulted into a mold testing. This weeks blog will focus more on construction inspection. So to start, what is a construction inspection and is the home inspector licensed in Florida and experienced and certified  to perform this inspection.

A “Construction Inspection” is an inspection that is catered to the client. The construction inspection can be very detailed and code oriented, a 203-K Consultant,  or a quality assurance/quality control inspection. Most home inspectors will not perform this due to the paperwork involved depending on how the inspection is performed.  Below in detail will be a description of each type of inspection and credentials required to perform each type.

Lets talk about the 203-K Consultant and Inspection process. The inspector that performs this type of reporting first has to be a licensed home inspector in the state they practice. The inspector has to have liability insurance at the state’s requirements and should have and Error & Emission Policy. The inspector then becomes a “Consultant” for the new property owner to inspect the property under FHA Standards. This is not an inspection for a buyer or seller. The inspection process is known as “The Minimal Property Standards” by FHA. This process also requires the consultant to inspect the work being done by licensed contractors and performed to an acceptable building standard and during the construction work for draw  inspection.                                                                                    (A future blog will be on 203-K Inspections Only and a very detailed explanation of the process.)

For the next type of construction inspection, this can be detailed toward code and specifications of the building plans which sometimes mirrors a quality control/quality assurance inspection. A third party inspection that is generated to inspect that the contractors are performing the work as required to specs and code is usually simple. Yes, you will have a building inspection. Yes different trades will be inspected by the local municipality, however if the specifications in the blueprints state a specific item to be built over and above the local codes this may not be addressed by the local building official. This is where sometimes a third party inspection is required. The building official will inspect for their requirements and be done. A third party inspector may address deficiencies of code or specifications and need to be addressed to the contractors. This is the part that a QA/QC sometimes mirror each other. This is also where the client that wants this type of inspection wants to know that the inspector has a background in construction, remodeling and or a previous contractor. Not a handyman. If the inspector can safely state contractor experience and provide licensing, even if prior, then that maybe the inspector deemed toward this type of inspection.

Now for the third type of inspection. Quality Assurance and Quality Control. A QA/QC inspection starts when the homeowner has concerns about the quality of the current contractors and their performance. Usually, a homeowner seeing work performed by the contractor will know if they are happy in the performance of the specified plans and specifications. When they are not, a third party inspection is usually the best alternative to rectify any concerns. Specifications on blueprints will override any general documentation on the prints and supersedes what the plans are. For example, the client may had want “aging in place” support framing. The contractor did not perform that so the deficiencies are reported to state what the contractors’ need to correct.  With this, many deficiencies are usually noted to the client in a detailed report. The client of ours, then takes our report to let their contractors know of their concerns. Sometimes a repair verification report maybe required to make sure the deficiencies were performed correctly.

Lastly, is a great tool for any home owner. We all have our careers and family as well and a simple construction inspection will give you, our client piece of mind not to worry during remodeling times. Or as our logo states; Providing Inspections With Clarity.

Thank You for taking the time to read this lengthy blog. We are certified with the IRC for construction inspections. This process is performed a lot with us in Plant City, Mulberry, Tampa and Port Richey Florida. However, we will go anywhere in Florida to perform this type of inspection. But having construction inspections can be your best way to know the work was performed correctly, according to specifications and safely. For more information, feel free to contact us anytime at: info@emeraldinspectionservice.com or 352-322-2700. www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

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