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Michael Leavitt & Co Inspections, Inc.

MONDAY MORNING MESSENGER

Message prepared especially for Members of the American Institute of Inspectors® as well as Home Inspectors abroad

September 29, 2003

GOOOOOD MORNING, A.I.I..... 

It's a great day here in the great wild west. What a strange month it has been. It is so weird to look down at my watch and see that the month of September is gone. Here in Northern Utah we are suffering from decisions made by the local Forest Service to start a controlled burn in the local mountains. Many of you may be familiar with Cascade Springs, which is a beautiful natural springs area on the back side of Mount Timpanogos. The planned control burn near the area got quickly out of hand and ravaged the mountainside. The result was so much smoke in the air for several days that I wanted to take a return trip to Los Angeles to get a breath of fresh air.

We live about a mile away from the base of the grand Mount Timpanogos and we could not even see an outline of the mountain. Sporting events and outdoor recreation was cancelled for 4 straight days. Jessica's Junior High normally pumps in fresh outside air during the night to keep the building cool during the day. When she went to school the day following the start of the fire she could not see the other end of the hallway due to the smoke. They didn't cancel school and the kids suffered through the smoke for the remainder of the week.

Normally I wouldn't think twice about the smoke, but it affected me as well. My eyes watered, the stench of smoke made it difficult to breath, and the worst part of all is that it made you have a horrible headache. I found myself taking time off and laying in bed trying to regain my ability to think. This brought a new appreciation to our community to the difficulty with which our firefighters perform their job. How they fight the brushfires in the heavy smoke day after day is beyond my ability to comprehend.

As last week drew near an end I took my two middle kids, Haily and Adam, and our little poodle Joey to Southern Utah to escape the horrible air quality. Our destination was Ivins, Utah near St. George, Utah, to participate in a big car show put on by the Kruzin Knights car club. Our vehicle of choice for the trip was our 1956 Mercury Monterey. It was great to cruise the backroads highway 89 through Marysville. We stopped by the Big Rock Candy Mountain and posed the kids for a classic shot in front of a classic road trip spot when the Mercury was brand new.

Haily & Adam Leavitt - 1956 or 2003?
Big Rock Candy Mountain
The overly pink show shirt
Last year's Best In Show winner
59' Cadillac engine compartment
This hot rod wowed me!!!
Jack Webb - 1st place winner!
Haily Leavitt - The proud trophy winner!

I found it interesting that we would leave the smoky air of Orem, Utah only to find ourselves on the front row of the smokiest event in Utah. That's right, the burnout contest at the car show was incredible. The hot rodders uncorked their headers and let the wheels fly. The local fire department and police department oversaw the event and after each participant filled the sky with smoke the local fire department would wash away the 3/4" of burned rubber in preparation for the next car. We were within 20' of the spinning tires and it was soooooo looooouuuddd that you could feel the horsepower to the core of our beings. Adam's eyes lit up as he witnessed this spectacle for the first time.

My Father-in-law Jack Webb took first place in the 60's convertible category and our Merc took third in the "Under Construction" category. Haily was thrilled to get the trophy for her room, while I was left realizing just how much more work there is still to do to finish our project. The great news is that the Merc made it 275 miles to the show and 275 miles back again without any major breakdowns. In fact, it cruised very smoothly from 75 to 85 miles per hour and pulled the grades without letting up on the horsepower. For a daily driver I was impressed.

From the standpoint of horsepower, the burnout contest stirred something inside me that I haven't felt in quite a while. I can still remember being 12 years old and going to the Orange County raceway to see the funny cars and dragsters. The raceway sat in the middle of miles of orchards that now make up the city of Irvine, California. The rush of the horsepower was incredible as they warmed up their tires and then made the 6 second passes. The grandstands vibrated and shook with each pass. I imagined that this is what jet fighter pilots felt as they soared through the skies.

What is your experience with big horsepower and thrust?

Your Name: City, State: B1P

Please provide your full name or else we will not know who the response is from.


AII EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REMINDER

Hello Inspectors, Spouses & Significant Others,

Just a quick short note to remind you that the early registration discount for the Annual Meeting is only good if you register by October 1st. If you don't need the $25 discount; register by the 1st and designate the extra money to our Building Fund (oops did I let that slip out?)

Also, the FEMA Disaster Housing Inspection Training class on Tuesday is FULL. We will start a list in case there are any no-shows but that is doubtful. It will be offered again at the 2004 Spring Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Conference registrations have been coming in at a good pace. I'm getting excited about seeing you all. Betty Buckley - AII Executive Director

NOTE: Conference information can be found at www.Inspection.org


FEMA TRAINING

I am looking forward to the FEMA training at the upcoming AII Reno conference. In case you haven't noticed we are living in an era of disasters that are occurring now on almost a weekly basis. If a hurricane or earthquake were to hit your area I am certain that it would devastate the resale home market and put you out of business for a few weeks. And while many of you are financially set and could absorb the hit, I am certain that there are many of you who would need a secondary emergency form of income to keep your income afloat. I have an inspector friend back east named Peter Drenan who sent along the following message and pictures....

I'm on a temporary assignment with FEMA - hope ya'll East Coast folks made it through OK. Here's a couple of shots of the damages. Peter Drenan

Why are you looking forward to taking the FEMA Disaster Relief training?

Your Name: City, State: B2P

Please provide your full name or else we will not know who the response is from.


TEMPERED GLASS TIMELINE

Question for the masses: Does anyone know the when and what locations window tempering was required. We have the GFCI data but I have never seen the tempering "calendar." Thanks in advance. Russ Colliau

Your Name: City, State: B2P

Please provide your full name or else we will not know who the response is from.


BOGUS E&O SCAM

I am sending you the following warning for distribution to home inspectors nationwide.

A person named Michael NAPADOW in the State of Illinois is soliciting and transacting business under the name of Nation's Hazard Insurance Company and is selling worthless Errors and Omissions liability coverage and pre-paid legal services via fax and internet ads.

There are currently 22 states and the federal Department of Justice looking into the activities of this organization and two states, Washington and Illinois, have issued Cease and Desist orders ordering Mr. Napadow and his cohorts to immediately cease operations. He was originally scheduled for a hearing on the Illinois order on 9/10/03, but requested (and was granted) an extension to 10/15/03 because he could not find an attorney to represent him.

Please advise your membership and any allied trade groups that the product offered by Nation's Hazard is a scam and there is no such entity legally selling liability insurance in any state . He has previously claimed an association with Liberty Mutual and Lloyd's of London and is apparently currently claiming an association with The Hartford Group.

Liberty Mutual has notified us that he has been falsely using their name and Lloyd's has advised him that they disclaim any such association and have given him until this Friday (tomorrow) to prove his claim or recant his false advertising. If any of your members are currently using Mr. Napadow's services, they are actually uninsured and they should be directed to contact the Fraud Investigation Unit of their respective state insurance departments.

Please have them go to the following website to locate the telephone number and address of the insurance commissions in all states. http://www.naic.org/state_contacts/sid_websites.htm

Pre-Paid Legal Services of Ada, Oklahoma, is an admitted insurer in most states and there is no indication that they are aware of the fact that their product is being bundled into the bogus liability coverage. I'm sure they would be interested in hearing from their customers in this matter.

I hope this information is of use to you in preventing further victimization of members of your profession by Mr. Napadow and his bogus insurance company.

Sincerely, Scott Moore -Midwest Inspection Services

This information was reported by:

Ted L. Bader,CFE, Chief Investigator
Legal Affairs Division
Office of the Insurance Commissioner
POB 40255
Olympia, WA 98504-0255
(360) 725-7049 FAX: (360) 586-3109
tedb@oic.wa.gov

NOTE: I attempted to contact Mr. Bader to confirm this e-mail and have not yet heard back from him. The phone number above is legit and does go to his voicemail. SO please keep your ears perked up if this offer comes your way via the internet. If you have information either confirming or denying this E&O scam, then please kindly forward it along to me at Peaceofmind@TheHomeInspector.com

Have you heard of this or other E&O scams?

Your Name: City, State: B3P

Please provide your full name or else we will not know who the response is from.


IPAQ 2003 OPERATING SYSTEM UPGRADE UPDATE

I received my latest update disk last week for the Pocket PC 2003 operating system upgrade. As mentioned last week I was unsure exactly what I was going to receive. I was disappointed when I opened the large box and found a single CD. I was frustrated with HP for delaying the shipping of the CD for 3 weeks after my order. In this modern age one would expect a download from their website with an online registration. To think that I had to wait for 3 weeks to receive a CD when I could have downloaded the info easily with my high speed internet connection.

The upgrade went very smoothly, but I must warn you of a few things. First, in order to upgrade to the new OS you must install the accompanying Microsoft 2003 Outlook software. This may not seem like any big deal, but I have a computer with 98 SE running the Microsoft 2000 Office software suite. I have not been enthused with the thought of upgrading the Office XP 2003 suite due to the added investment in the software when Office 2000 works just great.

This may not seem like any big deal, but now when I open my upgrade Outlook and go to create a new e-mail I cannot use the Microsoft Word e-mail creator because Word is still 2000 while Outlook is 2003..... That means that all of my custom e-mail and autotext features are not available to me until I upgrade to Office XP 2003.

The question came in last week regarding Pocket PC upgrades from Robert E. Lee....

I have an iPAQ3635 for daily use, and a 3150 (monochrome) as a back-up, both are still running on the original OS. So I am eager to hear your comments on what we can expect from OS 2003, as well as the new features of version 5 for the pocket pc. Robert E Lee - Rochester, MN

Robert, according to the HP website you can upgrade 3800, 3900 and 5400 series iPaqs. The $29.99 is a per unit upgrade fee. This means that your old monochrome and older color units cannot be upgraded. The latest version of the 3D Pocket Report Writer will actually be two versions in one. One will have all of the latest and greatest Pocket Report Writer features, while the second will have many of them and be specifically designed for the older OS. I used this version in its BETA format all the way until last week and was very impressed. The greatest update in the older operating system version is the ability to navigate the subheadings quickly with a drop down menu. This imitates the heading navigation and it works really well.

The day will come that you will want to use both of your older machines as back-up models and then reinvest in the newest technology. I predict that the time for that upgrade will be just after Christmas due to the slated feature upgrade with the Pocket Report Writer software. This will also allow for you to take advantage of the after Christmas overstock blowouts.

The upgrade info links are being shared again this week.....

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/products/pocketpc/about/2003/upgrade.mspx

Unfortunately all of the manufacturers don't have the ability to upgrade yet. Here is what Microsoft reports at the link above.....


DECK COLLAPSE TESTIMONIAL

I received the following testimonial from a visitor to my website last week. I have been attempting to collect deck collapse stories for the consumers to reference.

My son went to visit new home owner house for a party. The homeowner, also a builder, had just put up a new deck second floor fastened to their garage playroom. They used 4 1/2" inch lag screws only 1/2 inch into the home's siding. The deck fell with just three people on it everyone was hurt, but my son sustained the worst injuries. My son fell closest to the barn connection and was severely hurt. He is now on his second year out of work and has just been told he will need further surgery on his destroyed ankle. His current medical bills total $ 40,000, plus if the operation this time does not work (bone is dying) he will need ankle replacement estimated in the $ 100,000 range. This is, of course, a legal case and as such I'm sure we can't say too much about the collapse. I am a former building contractor and I want to get the word out there that your information seems to be right on target. In the days when decks were on the bottom level it wasn't so important how they were fastened to the home. If they failed, they were close enough to the ground that the injuries were not as serious. People like us need to help set the construction rules and regulations throughout the United States. How you attach the deck to anything is a critical part of the plan! Let me know if I can help. Bob Carlberg

I am once again very sad to have another deck testimonial to share. I wish that the building departments and the code writing authorities would take notice and come up with some sure fire standards for deck construction. My local AHJ's are very lax when it comes to deck construction.

What are you seeing in your inspection areas regarding deck construction and ledger board attachments?

Your Name: City, State: B4P

Please provide your full name or else we will not know who the response is from.


PHOTO CHALLENGE #171

What is your boilerplate for old asbestos shingles?

Your Name: City, State: PCP

Please provide your full name or else we will not know who the response is from.


QUOTABLE QUOTE: "No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect." George Bernard Shaw


HAVE A GREAT WEEK! Michael Leavitt & Co Inspections, Inc.

The Most Qualified Inspector in Northern Utah!

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