The longer I am in business the more I realize that we should all beware the repair receipt from a "licensed professional."
A couple of weeks ago I was to do a re-inspection of some work done to correct some serious problems I had identified during the initial inspection. There were a few posts about that house.
The realtor canceled the re-inspection, saying that they had receipts from professional companies that had repaired everything.
But I got a call from an underwriter to please go back to the house to check a number of things he wanted investigated that were on the initial inspection report. It seems he could not find any licenses or certifications for this "company" that was hired to do the repairs. He sent me their invoice/receipt.
I could see why he was concerned. This company's name is very slightly different than another in the area. The other company is bonafide, has a good reputation and all the necessary licenses and certifications to do what they do. Their name begins with "US Air..."
The company name on the invoice begins with "USAir..." with the rest of the name exactly matching the bonafide company. And the license number they have on the invoice does not appear on any local jurisdiction's or association's listing. I will bet it is only one digit different than the other real company.
These are two views inside and under the heat pump.
It is the return-air area just before the unit, and basement return vent.
One problem the underwriter wanted me to reinspect was the cleaning of a previously-filthy heat pump and ducts.
The invoice says, "Full service deep clean at the furnace mold control."
WELL, IT DOESN'T LOOK REAL CLEAN TO ME!
Further, "Deep clean at the main tannel [sic] with sanitize the air duct system, we clean blower, rator [sic], air supply vent." And they charged a LOT of money for that! I have no idea what that means. But I have seen ducts sprayed with anti-microbials and they didn't look like this!
Well, looking at the photos (two of many) the answer to that one is NOPE!
One of the problems in the first inspection was that both bathrooms vented into the attic space. That contributed tons of moisture to an attic without any external venting, and the moist condition encouraged many types of mold.
Connecting the two uninsulated tubes together to more uninsulated tubing and to each other and the roof with aluminum tape is not exactly a professional way to solve that problem!
IN FACT IT IS TOTALLY INCORRECT!
Further from the invoice, "Connect exhaust lines to the roof." For that beautiful work they charged almost $2000!
Previously there was a lot of mold in the roof sheathing, rafters and fire wall.
This concerned the buyers as the wife and children are extremely susceptible to mold infections.
Notice the black spray paint in the bath vent photo?
The special, black spray paint was all over, haphazard and infantile.
But not toward the edges, for some reason. I guess the mold over there did not need the spray paint!
Mold was visible everywhere.
From the invoice, "Also we do treatment of mold in attic. We check insulation no mold." And again, they charged LOTS of money for this.
What? Having never seen this wondrous spray paint before, I called a mold-expert friend of mine. I asked if there was some new form of anti-microbial black spray paint for attics. "No." And I asked if you can't see mold on upside-down insulation is it infested? "Yes. Ideally it is removed and replaced. But a foil vapor retarder facing up in an attic without ventilation is not good anyway." I had said that on my previous inspection. He also said, "Painting anything after a mold treatment is counter to every mold code. Spray painting would be considered painting. It is wrong."
Like the underwriter and myself, my friend could not find this company listed anywhere for mold identification or remediation. He said the county attorney is VERY aggressive with this kind of thing. He seemed as angry as I was, and I wanted to go pound sand.
I did something I have never done before. I contacted the listing agent and seller! They had done what they thought was right in this case. The seller even paid for a 2 year warranty for the buyers! In speaking with the seller I told her what my friend had said and she said she would pursue this.
I HOPE SO!
This isn't all that the underwriter wanted me to check! There is more! But I will leave it at this.
My recommendation: follow-up inspections to check the work of "licensed professionals" is a VERY, VERY good idea! Gee, you mean not every company is as professional as the other company? And all work is not of the same caliber?
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560