Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


One Stop Shopping: Charles Buell Inspections, Washington State Licensed Home Inspector and Licensed Structural Pest Inspector.

     As both a Licensed Structural Pest Inspector and a Licensed Home Inspector in Washington State, I provide my buyers with the kind of service that has become expected of Home Inspectors in Washington State.

     This is a little bit unusual when compared to other parts of the country, but here in the NW, were we have such a wide variety of wood destroying organisms, the home inspector really is in the best position to assess all the areas of a home that these critters might show up in.  While recent licensing of home inspectors in Washington State allows Home Inspectors to identify Rot and conditions conducive to Wood Destroying Organisms, if the home inspector encounters Wood Destroying Insects he or she is required to “….refer the identification of or damage by wood destroying insects to a structural pest inspector…” (RCW 18.280.190)

I am going to eat that wood where you can’t see me

     This of course assumes that the Home Inspector knows the difference between Carpenter Ant Frass and the scraps from Uncle Harry’s Hobby.  Some inspectors say they will get around this issue by recommending the evaluation be done by a Licensed Pest Control Operator (Includes the Structural Pest Inspector License).  This approach ignores the obvious conflict of interest in having the guys that treat for bugs also be the ones that figure out whether they are present or not.

     Other inspectors don’t want the additional liability implied by having the license and missing something.  This ignores the fact that if you miss something that is destroying the home----you are in deep doo anyway.

     A home inspector that is also trained to identify wood destroying insects can not only call for the appropriate trades to make whatever repairs are called for, but can also call for proper treatment by the Licensed Pest Control Operator when necessary.

     Take Anobiid Beetles for example.  These little critters are very common here in the NW and are primarily an insect that is opportunistic.  In other words they like to infest wood that has elevated moisture levels.  They really like under-ventilated crawl spaces without vapor barrier/ground covers and spaces with poor clearances that prevent adequate air circulation.  They are really good at totally obliterating the interior of the wood while leaving the exterior surface relatively normal looking except for their exit holes.  The home inspector that, in the course of their inspection, does some random probing of structural components in the crawl space and disintegrates a support post with their rock hammer would have to “….refer the identification of or damage by wood destroying insects to a structural pest inspector…” (RCW 18.280.190)

Anobiid Beetle Exit Holes

     Am I missing something here? 

     Wouldn’t it be a lot more efficient for the Home Inspector to just be able to deal with it in the context of their inspection instead of having to call for another one?  Even with that there could still be delays for getting repairs for estimates----but at least one step would be eliminated.

    More or less-----one stop shopping.

 Charles Buell




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Comment balloon 15 commentsCharles Buell • October 30 2009 07:03PM
One Stop Shopping: Charles Buell Inspections, Washington State…
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