Question on building inspectors

13 Replies

I ordered a building inspection for a 4 plex in St. Louis that I'm buying. At the time of booking, I asked if a roof inspection was included, which was an important deciding factor in using this particular company. They said it was included. On the day of the inspection, there was snow on the roof of the property and the inspector said he could not get on the roof, but he could inspect the roof from inside the attic. Odd, I thought. 

Roll the clock forward 2 days and I email the company to find out if they're going to do the roof inspection or whether I should expect a refund of any description. My realtor calls me to tell me the owner of the company said that there would be an additional charge to go back out to inspect it. 

Is it just me, or should I expect to receive services that I paid for? Or expect to be the one that gets screwed due to the weather?

Orf Inspections in St Louis if anyone is looking for a recommendation. To stay away from.

Hey @Michael King

I’ve heard of inspectors coming back at no charge if they are in the area but in this case it would be considered a re-inspection and is typically charged at half the price of the original inspection. Hind sight knowing there was snow on the roof I would’ve rescheduled the inspection unless you were to against a deadline. In that case have your realtor submit an amendment for an extension period. 

@Michael King, not a joke--how do you define a building inspector's roof inspection?  Most home inspection services I've had experience with will use binoculars or drones to observe the roof from the ground.  

If you want boots-on-the-shingles type inspection, hire a licensed roofer.  Make sure the weather gods are smiling that day.

They went out to inspect the property, which you hired them to do. However, they can't inspect what they can't inspect. If it's July, they can inspect the sprinkler system. If it's December and the sprinklers are winterized, they can't inspect.

They can inspect the roof when it's clear. They can't inspect it when it's covered in snow.

By observing the roof from the interior, he can determine if it's leaking. If that passes, the only issue to look at is the condition of the shingles on the outside which most laymen can do. Watch a Youtube video on how to inspect a roof and knock it out yourself.

Originally posted by @Patrick Hill :

Hey @Michael King

I’ve heard of inspectors coming back at no charge if they are in the area but in this case it would be considered a re-inspection and is typically charged at half the price of the original inspection. Hind sight knowing there was snow on the roof I would’ve rescheduled the inspection unless you were to against a deadline. In that case have your realtor submit an amendment for an extension period. 

Yes I see your point, but I paid $1300 for the inspection, the snow was there for the day of the inspection only and was gone 2 days later. The inspector made no mention of it until he had finished the inside apart from going into the attic. He would have known from the get go. This is the first time ever I've had a building inspection with snow on the roof. Hindsight is 20/20 for sure. I know he missed a number of things; tiles that look suspiciously like they contain asbestos for one. 

Hindsight I'll find another inspector next time. Thanks Patrick for responding, I'll be a little more tuned in next time, I hope!

 

@Marc Winter thanks Marc. I've only seen one building inspector use a drone because of his age and mobility (wasn't a good pilot, he crashed into a tree and we spent 45 minutes lassoing it down with a 100' garden house...). Never did get the video. I can't count how many building inspectors I've hired. 

@Nathan G. Thank you Nathan. I wish the guy had said he couldn't inspect the roof due to snow; I would have delayed the inspection. Never had snow on a roof during an inspection before, so didn't know. He would have though. I might not be so perturbed by it had the guy actually crawled around in the attic; he just stood on top of his ladder and there was plenty of room in the crawl space. It's a 2000sf footprint. He would have been able to see maybe 10' away from him in any direction. Beyond that and the frame would block his view. 

Guess they don't need repeat business, that's okay. I've learned some good lessons out of it I think; hopefully the lessons are about building inspectors as opposed to serious items overlooked by a - I suppose - lazy inspector.. 

Originally posted by @Michael King :

@Nathan G. Thank you Nathan. I wish the guy had said he couldn't inspect the roof due to snow; I would have delayed the inspection. Never had snow on a roof during an inspection before, so didn't know. He would have though. I might not be so perturbed by it had the guy actually crawled around in the attic; he just stood on top of his ladder and there was plenty of room in the crawl space. It's a 2000sf footprint. He would have been able to see maybe 10' away from him in any direction. Beyond that and the frame would block his view. 

Guess they don't need repeat business, that's okay. I've learned some good lessons out of it I think; hopefully the lessons are about building inspectors as opposed to serious items overlooked by a - I suppose - lazy inspector.. 

Yes, he sounds lazy. When my inspectors go into an attic space, they can be up there for 15 - 20 minutes, walking every inch of it and taking plenty of pictures along the way.

 

Originally posted by @Patrick Hill :

@Michael King

Have you used Castle Home inspections? They have been great on my last few inspections in the city along with Sewer Pro for the lateral inspections.

I have not. I've used BPG a couple of times and the one guy, a great inspector, used the drone on the roof of the house I'm at...because of his age and mobility. The only reason I went with Orf was my realtor was so confident about their inspections - and I didn't want a drone's eye view - so I let the realtor pick Orf. So mad at myself for trusting his opinion. There were 3 stages to my realtor's experience with this company, slightly off topic. 1. Extremely confident. 2. Had never used them before. 3. Owner of the company is an old school buddy.  So a lot of BS floating around there somewhere. 

They did get Sewer Pros to do the lateral, which was a relief.

Patrick, thanks for taking the time to post here, much appreciated!

Mike

Originally posted by @Michael King :

I ordered a building inspection for a 4 plex in St. Louis that I'm buying. At the time of booking, I asked if a roof inspection was included, which was an important deciding factor in using this particular company. They said it was included. On the day of the inspection, there was snow on the roof of the property and the inspector said he could not get on the roof, but he could inspect the roof from inside the attic. Odd, I thought. 

Roll the clock forward 2 days and I email the company to find out if they're going to do the roof inspection or whether I should expect a refund of any description. My realtor calls me to tell me the owner of the company said that there would be an additional charge to go back out to inspect it. 

Is it just me, or should I expect to receive services that I paid for? Or expect to be the one that gets screwed due to the weather?

Orf Inspections in St Louis if anyone is looking for a recommendation. To stay away from.

 This is normal. In fact the majority of inspectors don't go up on the roof. They usually inspect them from the ground. Also what they are doing from inside the attic is checking to see if there is moisture or signs of water damage.

Originally posted by @James Wise :

 This is normal. In fact the majority of inspectors don't go up on the roof. They usually inspect them from the ground. Also what they are doing from inside the attic is checking to see if there is moisture or signs of water damage.

Thanks James, all the inspectors I've hired do roof inspections too, so that's what threw me off the most.  And if the guy had actually crawled around in the attic, rather than stand on top of his ladder...then maybe he would have had a little bit of credibility to his inspection. 

Thanks again James, I appreciate your response.

As a home inspector, if the roof is covered with snow then, yup it can't be inspected visually from the outside, but the attic can reveal issues. You paid a lot of money for that inspection. The inspection company should have gone back when the snow cleared the roof for a visual inspection if that is what you wanted. Depending on the type/pitch of roof they may not be able to walk the roof, but it can be observed from the ground or other access points in the house. We would go back if the client requested at no cost.

If this is a multi family house or apartment building the inspector was probably not going to go on the roof anyway and the interior attic inspection is actually pretty valuable to determine if there has been past or active leaks. 

How big is the building? $1300 sounds expensive for a home inspection.

Can you check with the local town/city offices and see when the roof was last replaced based on any permits that were pulled?