I see damaged, improperly installed, missing, ugly, beautiful, and even sexy light fixtures all the time as a Seattle Home Inspector.
The inspector’s recommendation, when something is wrong, is usually quite straightforward and doesn’t take up much report space. Usually it goes something like this, “The NW Bedroom light fixture is not properly attached to the ceiling and is in danger of falling and bonking someone on the head. I recommend repairs by a licensed electrical contractor or other qualified repair person.”
You get the idea.
Well on a recent inspection I ran into a broken porcelain bulb holder that had an unusual additional element that, for me, complicated the write up. I am wondering how other inspectors might have written it up, or better yet, how would the client want to see the inspector write it up?
The broken porcelain is pretty obvious.
That the bulb is stuck in the insulation is pretty obvious.
But—-what about that asbestos “gasket” between the porcelain and the metal box? How should the inspector deal with that issue?
Things to consider:
1. Isn’t it too small a quantity to worry about?
2. Is it an issue at all?
3. How big of an issue?
4. Is it really asbestos?
5. What if it is asbestos?
6. Should it be tested?
7. What if we test it and it comes back with a false positive?
8. Worse yet—a false negative?
9. What will the electrician say?
10. Will the electrician “deal with it?”
11. Is the electrician “qualified” to “deal with it?”
12. Will the electrician care one way or the other about it?
13. Are there any “risks” or “liabilities” if the electrician “deals with it” AND doesn’t care one way or the other about it?
14. Should the homeowner spray it with water and remove it? (That sounds like a great idea around electricity—scratch that!)
15. Should someone get a permit and “deal with it” properly?
16. Should an asbestos abatement company be called in?
17. Do I need to put a haz-mat suit on to go look at it?
18. Is it a danger to my kids?
19. Worse yet—my pets?
20. Will my future kids have extra toes?
21. Why was the inspector coughing?
22. Or was he choking?
23. Or was he joking?
24. Is it totally possible to think-oneself into a sealed container?
25. You know—like a casket?
26. And, last but not least, does the container have an asbestos gasket?
Well, there you have it—what would you want the inspector to say about it—-or has he already said too much?
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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