David Collins, claims manager for Rapid Solutions, explains why it is vital to report the limitations of your pest inspections.
Reporting of the limitations affecting inspections is an important area in preventing and successfully defending claims.
In the case of pre-purchase inspections, it is not uncommon for termite activity, timber pest damage or other reportable issues, not identified in the inspection report, to only become apparent to the new owners after the vendor moves out. When challenged, the inspector will be adamant that there was a chair, a bookshelf, a painting or other feature hiding the reportable issue. However, unless this has been reported correctly in the inspection report, often with the support of photographic evidence, defending a claim becomes more difficult.
Here are some common limitations you may find.
Limitation 1: Vegetation hiding an exterior wall
The inspectable area of the external wall of the home pictured above is severely limited by the foliage. The photograph clearly shows this and explains why the inspector did not identify a hidden, but expensive, crack.
The report should include the photo and a description of the limitation along with clear advice to gain access to the area.
Limitation 2: Belongings and furniture preventing access
To individually describe the limitations preventing access in the situation in the photo is not practical. Some reports refer to “personal effects”, “furniture” or perhaps “owner’s property” as restrictions to the inspection.
However, photographs clearly demonstrate why the inspection was restricted in a way that the written word cannot.
Limitation 3: Issues preventing safe access
As an inspector you must consider your own health and safety, particularly when inspecting roofs, both internal and external, and sub floors.
\What would you do if you found a snakeskin in the roof void or subfloor?
This is an uncommon, but not unheard of situation, where you would be entitled to advise that until the roof has been checked for the presence of snakes, you will not enter the roof void. You should also advise that there may be undetected reportable issues present in that area and that a full inspection should be carried out.
There can be many limitations to inspections and indeed some are identified in the inspection agreement even before going to the property.
Those that are encountered once the inspection has commenced must be documented so that your client is informed about the areas you could not access, the reason why the area or element could not be accessed and whether they should gain access to the area to allow for a thorough inspection.
Photos are invaluable evidence of the conditions on the day of the inspection. You may choose to include them in your report however we recommend at least that you keep them on file with a copy of the report.
We would even suggest that you take a photo of all rooms and areas as you conduct your inspection regardless of any access issues that you may find. Using an application such as our Report Writer will greatly assist you and your technicians in this area, providing a consistent reporting and recording method for each client you visit.
Photos of access restrictions have provided valuable evidence to enable us to defend claims that might have been payable without them.
Rapid Solutions‘ in-house claims team has many years successfully defending our clients’ claims. It is our friendly team’s experience at investigating the reasons behind claims going wrong and their pride in delivering exceptional support to clients that ensures our service is second to none.
David Collins, Claims Manager, Rapid Solutions