Home Inspection and How I Got Into the Business
I have operated a family owned, full service, commercial and residential property inspection business since 1997. I have inspected over 2000 homes in the course of my career.
I have also performed hundreds of radon, mold, asbestos, lead paint, lead dust, water purity and septic tests along the way. I teach classes on home inspection, radon testing
and radon mitigation for local Real Estate companies.
Prior to this I was a general contractor, one of my clients, a single mom had just bought a house, after having a home inspection performed (by the only company listed in the yellow pages, no longer in business). As I explained the extent of the plumbing repairs she needed she began to cry. I felt bad but the house needed a lot of plumbing work, it had several blatant code violations, some safety issues and most of the drains were backed up.
She explained that she had very little money and the only reason she bought the house was that her home inspector had said the house was in great shape, including the plumbing. I asked to take a look at her report. She said he was in his 20’s and thought he finished the inspection pretty quick, about an hour. For her $350, she got a five page check list with a few written comments. No defects were listed at all in the plumbing section. I realized there was a need for a better home inspection service.
Today, for that same $350 I provide a very thorough inspection that takes an average of about 4 hours. And my clients get a custom 63 page report in a 3 ring binder. Most homes I inspect well over 500 separate items, sometimes more than 1000 items, and that’s through the eyes of a pro with more than 30 years in the home industry.
(Read more on my inspection services…)
My Radon Testing and Mitigation Company
The need for a radon testing and related radon services grew out of my inspection business. As a home inspector I began to realize I live in high radon part of the country. Many of the homes I inspected had radon systems and my clients increasingly wanted to have radon tests done along with their home inspections.
Most inspectors don’t report on the condition of radon mitigation systems mostly because it is not required in the standards of practice, and therefore most have not taken the time to learn the details of proper and improper systems. I took some classes and did some research on what a proper and improper installation was, I observed that above 90% of the systems I saw were not installed according to the EPA’s radon mitigation standards.
In New York and many other states there is no regulatory oversight or code enforcement governing mitigation systems. The public at large has no idea so many contractors (most in Central NY) cut corners and install substandard systems to increase their profits. Even worse I have seen many systems that homeowners assumed were working properly – reducing radon to an acceptable level, but when tested, the radon levels were still quite high. For more on this see “Radon Testing – Conflict of Interest and Fraud”.
There was a great need for a reputable radon testing and mitigation company so I started
a radon mitigation company in 2006 and now install about 100 radon mitigation systems per year, with a 100% success at lowering the radon levels to below 4 pCi/L; most are below 2.0 pCi/L and many below 1.0 pCi/L. I have helped trouble shoot and repair many other radon systems that were not properly installed.
I maintain an informational radon website: www.reduce-radon.com and online radon store.
(Read more on radon safety, testing and mitigation…)
My Start: Army Engineers and General Contracting
I was a non-commissioned officer in the US Army Engineers, serving 4 years in the US and Germany. My work included building bridges, large housing units and roads. I was also an instructor.
After the army I was 4 years at college where I had a part time job as the “Campus Energy Conservation Officer”, sounds fancy but consisted mostly of little energy saving jobs like caulking and weatherstripping. I also served as an electricians apprentice for a year.
After college I started and ran my own general contracting company for 16 years. We specialized in kitchen and bath remodeling, but did a some of everything including plumbing service, roofs, siding, windows, doors, flooring additions, renovations and some new construction.
Along the way I did some sub contracting, worked with some builders doing new construction, worked for a high end “Four Seasons” patio company installing very nice sun room additions with insulated glass ceilings and walls over cedar and redwood framing.
As I became more proficient at plumbing I developed a niche, specializing in kitchen and bath remodeling. I had a small company usually doing most of the work myself. I did custom design and fabrication work, ceramic tile, sheet rock, all types of flooring. I was a dealer authorized installer for Peach Tree windows and doors.
I also had maintenance agreements with some propert
- I have a New York State License for Home Inspection, License # 16000011376
- I have conducted hundreds of home inspections since 1999 and building evaluations since 1983.
- I am a member in good standing of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI).
- I am a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York.
- I am trained and certified by Pro-Lab for environmental testing.
- I am trained and certified to do mold inspections and air quality testing.
- I owned and operated a construction company for 16 years.
- I was a CNY dealer authorized installer for Peach Tree windows and doors.
- I am trained and certified in flexible gas line installation and sales.
- I was a registered plumber in Onondaga County, doing emergency service & installations for 5 years.
- US Army Engineers, 4 years, Army Achievement Medal for performance as Construction Quality Control Officer.
- I was Energy Conservation Evaluation Officer for a College campus.
- Served an Electrician apprenticeship.
- I own and use high-tech equipment such as electronic gas leak, radiation, carbon monoxide, and oxygen testers, circuit test meter, and much more.
- I have passed NACHI’s on-line inspector examination.
- I have completed NACHI’s Code of Ethics obstacle course and abide by it.
- I have passed NACHI’s Standards of Practice test and follow them.
- I fulfill and exceed NACHI’s and New York State’s continuing education requirements every year.
A Message About Continuing Education
From the InterNational Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Executive Director:
- Continuing Education is an integral aspect of InterNACHI’s mission to help inspectors maintain inspection excellence.
- Continuing Education permits InterNACHI members to meet the requirements of new home inspection legislation.
- Continuing Education helps ensure that each member recognizes changes within the home inspection industry.
- Continuing Education improves our membership’s combined knowledge and helps make InterNACHI a strong association.
Courses I have taken and received credit for:
- How to Perform Roofing Inspections
- Structural Issues for Home Inspectors
- Residential Plumbing Overview for Inspectors
- Green Building Inspection
- How to Perform Mold Inspections
- How to Perform Energy Audits
- Radon Measurement Service Provider
- Wood-Destroying Organism
- Building Science and Thermal ImagingCode of Ethics Obstacle Course
- Residential Standards of Practice Quiz
- Inspecting Water Heater Tanks
- Home Inspection Fundamentals: The ExteriorInspectionHow to Inspect for Moisture Intrusion
- Log Home Inspection
These are some of the courses I have taken in the last couple of years. The State of New York requires continuing education to maintain the State Home Inspection License also. The above listed IntrNACHI courses were not approved yet by NY State for continuing education, so I have taken several other State approved classes from the American Building Inspection & Training Co. in East Syracuse, NY.