What I'm Seeing Now

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We Build To the Minimum Standard Required By Law - Part 1

Pretend you saw this ad in the paper:

We Build To the Minimum Standard Required By Law!

When was the last time you saw that ad from a builder?  Never?  Why not?

Would you buy that house? Would you take your clients to speak with that builder? Or to view that house?

Why have you never seen that ad?  Because that isn't how they say it.  What do they say instead?

All Our Homes Are Built Strictly To Code!

Well, the code is the minimum standard required by law.  Explain to me the difference between those two ads above.  There isn't any!

This very conversation happened just this past week.  Just before a new construction inspection, to me, and in front of my clients, the buyers, a supervisor said this:

Supervisor - (proudly smiling) "You won't find much wrong with this house.  We build all our houses strictly to code."

Me -- "Do you mean to say that you build your houses to a minimum standard?"

Supervisor -- (no longer smiling) "Absolutely not!  We are much better than that!"

Me -- "But you just said you build your houses strictly to code.  The code is the minimum standard required by law.  Is that what you meant to say?"

What I wanted to add but did not, for fear of being even more impolite, "If you built a house for yourself, would you build it to minimum standards?"  Well, that question might not have started things out on the right foot...

SO I ASK YOU...

If you were building your own house, would you build it to the minimum standards required by law?  Would you pick out the thinnest metal flues for the cheapest furnace you could find?  Or the thinnest metal bath tubs?  Or the cheapest cabinet drawer glides?  How about the least expensive light fixtures, shower heads, shingles, circuit breakers, faucets, counter tops, gutters, carpeting, plumbing, door bell, or any number of other installs?

Would you hide a multitude of sins under improperly installed stucco, or drywall, or insulation or flooring knowing that later it would leak, or separate, or mold and rot, or fall apart?  Would you leave rotting food inside wall cavities, used hypodermic needles under the basement stairs, purposely leave used condoms, beer cans and defecation in the sump pump pit, untreated lumber left buried beside the foundation walls*?  Of course not!  What would you do?

ALL THAT IS WITHIN THE CODE.

ALL THAT COULD BE CONSIDERED THE STANDARD OF PRACTICE.

ALL THAT STINKS AND I AM FED UP!

My Recommendation:  Stay tuned, boys and girls, for part 2...

 

* Yes, I have seen all that, and more.

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 12 commentsJay Markanich • January 03 2009 03:00PM

Comments

I've often thought the same thing when I've seen or heard that claim "built strictly to code."  Like... why are you advertising you build to MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS?  Tell me what you do that's BETTER than everyone else!

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

OUCH!----that hurt!  But so true----go get em Jay.  It is amazing how a good sales person can take a "minimum" and turn it into a "selling point."

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Margaret - Here, here, my dear!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Charles - Don't get me started.

I said, DON'T GET ME STARTED...!

Why I oughta...

I have to admit, I walk the edge of the line with my sense of humor and some of these builders.  Well, you gotta have some fun in life.  Like, for instance, fruitcake!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Oh -- I am so glad you are writing this post. I have a difficult time getting buyers to understand this!  I'll be back for part 2.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 10 years ago

Joan - uh, oh!  Now I have to come up with one...

Kidding...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay you did a great job with that.  Can't wait for part II.  This is one of my biggest peeves and it gets bigger every time I hear it. 

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) almost 10 years ago

Jack - it is part of the sales pitch.  It may not be the best thing to point out about what you have done.  As to the stuff in the last big paragraph - have you seen all that sort of thing on your sites during Phase Inspections?  There is more stuff than what I mentioned...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay, If I didn't know better I would think this stuff bothers you more than a little. Building to code is no different than inspecting to a SOP. It's a bare minimum and in reality not very good.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 10 years ago

James - don't get me wrong, codes are great.  It's just that using them as the "standard" is not the best "standard of practice..." - my opinion however.  When I was a kid you had to apprentice before they would let you do anything relevant on a construction site, no matter what the trade.  I was sent to 7-11 for hot dogs and drinks, not tradesmen...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

I've come to expect some of the things you mentioned, but you forgot the empty six pack.  The crawls are the ones that amaze me with their collection of creative trash.  I guess they figure that no one will ever go down there.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) almost 10 years ago

Jack - SIX pack?  Oh, you meant case, I'm sure...!  Yes, crawls are interesting - if not for the trash, then for the wildlife.  Once I was bitten by a black widow - made my eyes blurry and I was dizzy for a while.  Everything in the crawl that could have helped me was empy though...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

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