Jeff Barnes of Kansas Home Inspector Licensing Board caught issuing fake license to himself.

More than a month before the Kansas Home Inspector Licensing Law goes into effect, the Chairman of the Kansas Home Inspector Licensing Board, Jeff Barnes was caught secretly issuing himself a counterfeit license #0001.  The abuse-of-office scheme was uncovered when Mr. Barnes began an advertising campaign touting himself as “The only licensed inspector in Kansas” and “Kansas’s 1st Registered Inspector” in an effort to gain a market advantage over competing inspectors.

Read investigative reporter David Klepper of the Kansas City Star’s November 27, 2009 article regarding the corruption scandal.

World Health Organization’s mold guidelines.

The following are some quotes from the recent (July, 2009) World Health Organization’s Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality, Dampness and Mold which confirms that mold is a health hazard and that inspection and measurements can be used to confirm indoor  microbial growth (note, we bolded the bold parts):
“The conditions that contribute to the health risk were summarized as follows.
  • Microorganisms are ubiquitous. Microbes propagate rapidly wherever water is available. The dust and dirt normally present in most indoor spaces provide sufficient nutrients to support extensive microbial growth. While mould can grow on all materials, selection of appropriate materials can prevent dirt accumulation, moisture penetration and mould growth.
  • Microbial growth may result in greater numbers of spores, cell fragments, alergens, mycotoxins, endotoxins, β-glucans and volatile organic compounds in indoor air. The causative agents of adverse health effects have not been identified conclusively, but an excess level of any of these agents in the indoor environment is a potential health hazard.
  • Microbial interactions and moisture-related physical and chemical emissions from building materials may also play a role in dampness-related health effects.

On the basis of this review, the following guidelines were formulated.

  • Persistent dampness and microbial growth on interior surfaces and in building structures should be avoided or minimized, as they may lead to adverse health effects.
  • Indicators of dampness and microbial growth include the presence of condenation on surfaces or in structures, visible mould, perceived mouldy odour and a history of water damage, leakage or penetration. Thorough inspection and, if necessary, appropriate measurements can be used to confirm indoor moisture and microbial growth.
  • As the relations between dampness, microbial exposure and health effects cannot be quantified precisely, no quantitative health-based guideline values or thresholds can be recommended for acceptable levels of contamination with microorganisms. Instead, it is recommended that dampness and mould-related problems be prevented. When they occur, they should be remediated because they increase the risk of hazardous exposure to microbes and chemicals.
  • Management of moisture requires proper control of temperatures and ventilation to avoid excess humidity, condensation on surfaces and excess moisture in materials. Ventilation should be distributed effectively throughout spaces, and stagnant air zones should be avoided.
  • Building owners are responsible for providing a healthy workplace or living environment free of excess moisture and mould, by ensuring proper building construction and maintenance. The occupants are responsible for managing the use of water, heating, ventilation and appliances in a manner that does not lead to dampness and mould growth. Local recommendations for different climatic regions should be updated to control dampness-mediated microbial growth in buildings and to ensure desirable indoor air quality.
  • Dampness and mould may be particularly prevalent in poorly maintained housing for low-income people. Remediation of the conditions that lead to adverse exposure should be given priority to prevent an additional contribution to poor health in populations who are already living with an increased burden of disease.
  • The guidelines are intended for worldwide use, to protect public health under various environmental, social and economic conditions, and to support the achievement of optimal indoor air quality. They focus on building characteristics that prevent the occurrence of adverse health effects associated with dampness or mould. The guidelines pertain to various levels of economic development and different climates, cover all relevant population groups and propose feasible approaches for reducing health risks due to dampness and microbibial contamination. Both private and public buildings (e.g. offices and nursing homes) are covered, as dampness and mould are risks everywhere. Settings in which there are particular production processes and hospitals with high-risk patients or sources of exposure to pathogens are not, however, considered.
  • While the guidelines provide objectives for indoor air quality management, they do not give instructions for achieving those objectives. The necessary action and indicators depend on local technical conditions, the level of development, human capacities and resources. The guidelines recommended by WHO acknowledge this heterogeneity. In formulating policy targets, governments should consider their local circumstances and select actions that will ensure achievement of their health objectives most effectively.”

Read more about the mold report from the World Health Organization, find a certified mold inspector, become mold certified, or buy the book “How to Perform a Proper Mold Inspection.

Chinese Drywall

I’m sure at this point you’ve heard about imported Chinese drywall and how might cause health problems in homes. Class action lawsuits against builders, importers, and manufacturers of the material have been filed by people, mostly in Florida, who say their appliances are breaking and their health is suffering due to toxins. The companies that make and use the drywall claim there is nothing wrong with it but the Florida Health Department says different. Take a look at our new article on Chinese drywall information to find out more about how it can be identified and its potential dangers.

How To Prepare For a Home Inspection

When you are in the inspection process of your home buying transaction, there are several items that need to be done before the inspection.  In this article I am going to list and explain these items for a seller, buyer, and real estate agent.  With this information you will be more prepared for your home inspection, thereby helping the inspector perform a more thorough and complete home inspection.

Home Sellers

Let’s start off with the sellers’ inspection.  Many homeowners today are having their homes inspected before they are put on the market.  This is a very savvy marketing tool to help your home sell quicker and more profitably.  For your home inspector to do the best job possible, he or she will need several things to be done before they arrive to check the house over.

  • If it happens to be winter, please make sure the driveway is clear of ice and snow.  An inspector cannot see through this stuff, thereby limiting the inspection.
  • Please make sure that all utilities to the home are in operation mode.  Inspectors do not light pilot lights, turn on water mains, or main panel breakers. If these are not in regular operating mode, the inspection will be limited and less beneficial to you.
  • Make sure attic access is not obstructed in any way.  You inspector will need to get in here to check insulation, roof sheathing, trusses, etc.
  • I realize that if you are selling, you will be packing.  However, please do not have every packed box crammed into a corner in the basement, or else your inspector will not be able to see the walls and foundation.
  • If permits are needed in your area for remodeling have copies of these ready.  In some areas an inspector will need these.

Home Buyers

Now, if you are a buyer, your list will be a little shorter.  But, it is still just as important to do your homework.  You are paying for the inspection, so stay on top of everything.

  • Once you call the inspector and set a date and time, call your real estate agent and verify this time. Some inspectors do this for you and some don’t (I call the agent myself, and they relay to the seller when we will be there).
  • If this is a vacant foreclosure or bank owned property, find out who you need to contact in order to get ALL utilities turned on and into normal operation mode.  Again, inspectors will not turn these items on for you at the time of the inspection.  If they are not on, they will be disclaimed as not inspected.
  • If you are having any specialty testing like lead, mold, water, septic done, try to do these on the same day if the house is occupied.  Sellers will thank you for not making too many trips and inconveniencing them.

Real Estate Agents

Now let’s focus on what the real estate agent needs to do before each home inspection.  Some buyers may not realize what these people do for you.

  • If the inspector has not verified the appointment before 3:00 the day before the inspection, call to verify.
  • Help the buyer with getting utilities and the like into normal operating mode.  This will allow a more thorough inspection and speed up the sale.  It will work out better for you.
  • If you will not be attending the inspection, please let the inspector know how to gain access.
  • If there are going to be items not operating please call the client and explain this to them, so they may decide whether or not to reschedule the inspection.  Most inspectors do not come back a second time for zero fee.  Your buyer will be liable for this return fee, and probably upset about it.

I hope everyone can take something from this list and use it.  I really do feel bad sometimes when the inspection is limited due to a lack of communication between all parties involved.  If any of you have items that you feel should be on this list, please feel free to let me know.  I am always willing to listen and learn how others operate.

Ian A Niquette
WI Home Inspector

As many of you know, we recently aquired  The domain name is a perfect reflection of the way I think the inspection industry is going, and is certainly a reflection of where we see InterNACHI pushing in the future.  Nowadays, if you’re just a “home inspector” you’re not going to make it.  With ancillary inspections like Chimney, Energy Loss, Lead, Log Home, Meth, Mold, New Construction, Pools and Spas, Radon, Septic, Stucco, Thermal Imaging, Water Quality, WDO/Insects and WETT inspections, as well as Commercial InspectionsGreen Certification, and  Pre-Listing/MoveInCertified Inspections, we’re seeing the inspection industry fully outgrow the word “home.”

That’s not to say that we’re leaving home inspections behind.  Many of our members are still primarily home inspectors, and it’s likely to stay that way for a while.  But we also hope to show our members the advantages of offering many more inspection services, as well as generate many opportunities for these additional inspections in the future.