Recommend the Appropriate Contractor Recommending the appropriate contractor to repair/replace or evaluate a deficiency is not specifically required by most SoPs; however, most home inspectors do so. This is part of providing the client with information necessary to make decisions. Recommending the appropriate contractor does not mean recommending a specific contractor. If the home inspector elects to recommend a specific contractor, the home inspector may not accept any compensation or consideration for the recommendation. Doing so could be an ethical violation or, at best, create the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Recommending the appropriate contractor is often easy. Plumbers handle plumbing deficiencies, electricians handle electrical deficiencies, etc. One difficult situation is when the cause or source of a deficiency is not apparent. Moisture stains are an example. Sometimes moisture stains are caused by a roofing deficiency, sometimes they are caused by a plumbing deficiency, and sometimes they are caused by an insulation or vapor retarder deficiency. In these situations, the home inspector may either use his/her best judgment about which contractor is most likely to be appropriate, or the home inspector may make a generic recommendation about using an appropriate specialist.
Another difficult situation involves structural deficiencies. Should the home inspector recommend a contractor or an engineer? Recommending a contractor is appropriate when there is a common or prescriptive action to address the deficiency. An example of such a deficiency is an improperly drilled or notched dimensional lumber floor joist. This deficiency can usually be addressed by installing blocking or by installing a sister joist. Refer to the Structural Components chapter for more about typical repairs of structural deficiencies. If after evaluating the deficiency, if the contractor believes that the situation is beyond the contractor’s expertise, the contractor should engage an engineer.
Recommending an engineer is appropriate when there is no common or prescriptive action to address the deficiency. An example of such a deficiency is an altered truss. An engineer must design and approve truss repairs. Many foundation-related deficiencies are also examples of deficiencies that require an engineer-designed repair.