You may have noticed - it's winter.
Here in the Philadelphia area that means that we have a layer of perma-snow covering everything. I can't remember what it looked like without it.
It impacts EVERYthing. Fewer parking spaces, horrible street conditions even a week after the snow which alter bus routes and create horrid traffic....
And, snow covered roofs which means limitations on Philadelphia home inspections.
Many times, we do not inspect the roof, simply because we can't see it or it is just plain too dangerous to attempt to.
That said, for flat roofs or roofs where I think I can achieve at least some minimal safe access, I pull out the Little Giant ladder and climb my chilled bones the 25-30 feet up to take a look.
Why? Why do I take any risk at all, regardless of how limited? I can't think of any other Philadelphia home inspector who is climbing roofs. Most (not all) clients seem to inherently understand the problem the snow creates, and do not expect it. The Realtors all go wide-eyed when I tell them I am going to look at the roof, clearly they are not expecting it.
So why do I do it?
Because I can't NOT do it. I don't know how not to try to do everything I possibly can, or tell clients anything that begins with "Our policy is..." To me that's weak - it's BS, and it's doing less (or maybe the minimum) that is expected of me.
I never do the least that is expected of me. I ALWAYS want to exceed expectations. I don't want my clients to be "satisfied," I want them to be flat-out HAPPY!
Yes, it opens me up to added liability when I light an unlit pilot, or test things other inspectors refuse to test, or go on roofs other inspectors wouldn't walk. But if I were the buyer, I would want my inspector to do those things. Sure, I would understand if he didn't for whatever mumbo-jumbo reason he have about insurance, or liability or policy....but inside, I would be quietly disappointed.
So, what is to be gained by going up on that roof? Well, a peaceful view for one....and roof shingles (not visible from the ground) and flashing that need to be replaced.
I understand that everyone has a different comfort zone and it's up to each inspector to make his/her own call on the safety aspect of it. But wherever possible, something in me pushes me those extra 30 feet.
And it is worth it every time.