Thursday, May 29, 2014

Oregon Codes: Origins and Thoughts

Attending an Oregon Codes class at a local community college, I learned that codes did not come into effect in Oregon until the early 1970s (about 1973-75). This issue has perplexed me since being an inspector, because some electrical panels have code permits affixed (which to my understanding is the law) while others do not. And as often as not, those electrical panels that do not have affixed permitting often (but not always!) have electrical wiring that looks slovenly, jury-rigged, and/or dangerous.
The other day, I inspected a 1963 built structure. It had a very faded electrical permit sticker from the Oregon Bureau of Labor from the. . . 1960s! So apparently there was some measure of standardized permitting practiced and/or required from earlier than the 1970s.

Codes are well and fine. But having lived in a house that was built to bare minimal code requirement and seeing firsthand how cheaply (qualitatively and quantitatively) unscrupulous or money-scrupulous builders can build a structure that meets minimum code requirements just to save a "Fistful of Dollars," I am reminded of Mike Holme's (of "Holme's on Homes fame) statement on codes. He says that building to code is often just not good enough. (The Holmes Inspection, 2012). Our house is living proof of this statement.

[On an aside: one time I cited M. Holmes to a thirty+ year home inspector -- this old, grizzled guy who is sort of scary to be around but has a lot of wisdom to absorb if you can do it without getting blasted. . . He immediately scoffed at this citation, dismissing Holmes as a populist "construction celebrity." (This is the frequently used and ancient Ad-Hominem fallacy turned to the construction arts! The inspector's intent was -- I shall not listen to anything that M. Holmes says! He, after all, is a TV celebrity type of construction guru who is more into fame and money than straight construction competence. The argument was wrongly diverted away from Holmes' truth statement to Holmes' character.) Anyway, the facts about M. Holmes from my perspective is this: the man knows his stuff. He knows more about construction than I ever will. And I will listen to whomever I can to gain knowledge and wisdom! When I told this old inspector that he reminded me of M. Holmes (knowledgeable, a straight shooter who is not afraid to speak the truth, etc.), clearly it was time to git out of Dodge lest I git kilt! That inspector never did seem to like me after that one!]

Certain municipalities in the historical past (Near Eastern, European, and US) have established laws and rules for building structures. More on this a bit later. . .

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Incredible Hulk (aka The Green Monster)

Do you have money? I will show you regard. 

Do you have potential to help me make money? To be successful? Of course I will attend to your needs. If not, you shall not hear back from me.

Do you have power? Influence? Reputation? Those or other things that may advance me if I associate with you? Then please come, let us walk arm in arm. How can I help you today?

The irony of it all.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Munera and Home Inspecting!

This morning, moral commands given anciently for a people group:
You will not accept the person (show favor to persons) neither accept munera (bribe or money/favor/repayment), because munera blinds the eyes of wisdom and changes the words of just ones.

These words given by a lawgiver/lawmaker to a people under this lawgiver’s jurisdiction.

Put another way: hey people under my jurisdiction, you shall not show favoritism and you shall not receive unfair payment (whether money or some other form of advantage) on the side. These things blind wisdom and pervert justice.

Keep these words in mind and watch the news of any night of any day of the week, any week, any month, any year, for just one half of one hour. You will see the wisdom of these words lived out in real life. What politician or public figure or whoever has inclined a judgment or showed preferential treatment or blinded justice or sought a wrongful conviction or whatever just for the sake of profit or competitive image or the like.

Back to the old question in the context of this blog: what on earth does this have to do with inspecting properties?

Everything! This passage deals with self-serving human nature, which transcends every and any occupation.

One old time inspector in our area is known for writing the inspection reports in ways that the realtor wants to make the deal go through. This inspector even jokes about it; with a wink and a fake elbow jab the realtor is asked how s/he needs the report to be written this time around. . . What things did the inspector need to mention as needing replacement or repair to make the deal sweeter for the buyer.

An inspection another inspector did of an outwardly beautiful resort property found item after item of serious, hidden issues. The buyers were visibly dismayed and then angered as the inspector found these things. (Kill the messenger for the negative message!) They had clearly wanted this property, and badly. They thought the property was “a real gem” as the colorful advertisement promised. A real gem indeed! A diamond made of broken glass! As serious issues came to light foiling the plans of the realtor and buyers, the inspector was pressured to downplay items by the realtor. The inspector did not, and lost future business with this realtor (and likely associates in the sphere of this realtor) as a result.

So money and business is lost. And so what. For as Charley Waite says in Open Range (K. Costner, 2003): "there's things that gnaw on a man worse than dying." Waite spoke of cowardice in his context. [And for those of you who say this is just a movie and not real life. . . Please! There are infinite examples of people in real life situations who forsook their integrity in fear of saving their own lives!] Another thing could be added to Waite's list: living life with money as a character-motivator to direct , influence, or corrupt right behavior. Which this ancient writing, this ancient command from a Sovereign to His people, addresses directly. 

  I will not be an unfair respecter of persons and neither accept material favor, because this blinds the eyes of wisdom and perverts justice. I will seek to inspect a property fairly and just objectively report on the condition of the property as it stands without regard for transactions or favor from buyers, sellers, realtors. Though an independent businessman, I will work as if my ultimate employer (Who exists, and Who sees all, knows all, and cares deeply about diligent, honorable work) is walking (or crawling!) by my side, watching my work and my progress.