Steve Smith, one of the long time, ancient, AR Inspector-gods, did a really good blog, Are Codes the Only Answer?. It is about some of the issues around the differences between what we do as home inspectors and what code officials do. It got me thinking about another way that I could help to clarify the issue and make it even more confusing all at the same time. How could one ask for more than that!
Some things to remember about building codes:
1. They are not what you “think” they say
2. They are not what you “want” them to say
3. They are not what you “need” them to say
4. They are not what you “wished” they would say
5. They are not what you “believe” they say
6. They are not what the builder “thinks” they say
7. They are not what the builder “wants” them to say
8. They are not what the builder “needs” them to say
9. They are not what the builder “wished” they would say
10. They are not what the builder “believes” them to say
......”it is just the code.”
Now perhaps one can see why there is so much confusion.
The rub comes in the “interpretation” of the code. While the jurisdictional code official may have the “final word” as to what a particular code reference means in the context of a particular installation, they are no less immune from what is true about the building codes:
1. They are not what code official “thinks” they say
2. They are not what code official “wants” them to say
3. They are not what code official “needs” them to say
4. They are not what code official “wished” they would say
5. They are not what code official “believes” they say
......”it is just the code.”
And this is the “rub” for the consumer----whom are they to believe?
The "builder" is only held to the standard of the code, the "code official" interprets the code (the minimum standard), and the "home inspector" may be more interested in a bigger picture that will no doubt include code considerations. The home inspector will also be interested in issues outside of the code. Most of the time we have no “authority” other than our what our reputations gives us and what the person hiring us gives us. In Washington State, if your inspector is a Licensed Structural Pest Inspector, they actually do have some authority that puts them on a par with jurisdictional inspectors, in that we have certain things spelled out in law that we must report on. Code or not----we can call to have these things corrected----and in a sense are the final say in these matters.
So, back to the tug-of-war between the warring parties. Currently there really are no other options for buyers that find themselves in the position of having to make a decision about how important what the inspector is telling them is to their purchase of the property. Is it worth loosing the home over? This decision will be as varied as the homes being discussed and the parties having the discussion.
I would like to see the conversation move away from “whom to believe” and move toward what the "buyer wants." The buyer may just have to come to terms with the fact that they may have to be the ones to make the improvements to the property----not the builder----not the seller-----if they really want the issues addressed.
PS, for those of you that are new to my blog (or for some other "unexplained" reason have never noticed)all pictures and smiley-face inserts (emoticons) (when I use them) have messages that show up when you point at them with your cursor.