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Professional Educational Seminars by Tom Feiza

Professional Engineer, Home Inspector, ASHI Member, NAHI Member, Writer

Tom presents home show seminars for the general public and provides technical workshops at national conventions for home inspectors. He also gives presentations to builders, remodelers, attorneys, and others with home-related interests.

Speaker Biography: Tom Feiza – Mr. Fix-It

Professional Engineer, Home Inspector, ASHI Member, NAHI Member, Writer

Tom presents technical workshops at national and local educational conventions for home inspectors. He also gives presentations to builders, remodelers, attorneys, homeowners and others with home-related interests.

Tom is a “recovering” registered professional engineer (PE, BSME) with more than 40 years of construction and engineering management experience. He’s known as “Mr. Fix-It” to loyal readers and callers to his weekly radio show. His Saturday morning radio call-in show on AM620 WTMJ (Milwaukee WI) draws more than 45,000 listeners each hour. During the week, Tom is a home inspector with more than 20 years and 8,500 inspections under his belt.

Tom has published books on home repair and operation: How To Operate Your Home (a series of four books), Home Systems Illustrated (more than 1,575 illustrations), and five other books. Tom contributes articles to home inspector technical journals and magazines. He also provides newsletters, e-mail marketing materials, and articles for home inspector marketing, with customers in every state and Canada.

Overview of Presentations:

  1. Write It Up – Describe That Defect
  2. Basement Inspections – Proper Reporting and Avoiding Headaches
  3. Water Intrusion Into Buildings – Forensic Investigations
  4. Effective Marketing Using Internet, Print, TV, and Radio
  5. Asphalt Shingle Roofs / Attics – Proper Inspection and Reporting
  6. Heating Systems – Inspecting New (95%) and Old Systems
  7. Understanding and Inspecting Forced Air Heating Systems
  8. Understanding and Inspecting Hydronic (Boiler) Heating Systems
  9. Home Scene Investigations: Mysteries and Answers
  10. The Practical Science Behind Great Home Inspections
  11. Home Inspector Issues with Water, Steam, Vapor and Dew Point
  12. Inspection and Development of Modern Plumbing and Sewage Systems

Write It Up – Describe That Defect

How would an experienced home inspector write up that defect? In this seminar, you will review photographs of home defects and learn how experienced inspectors document them. Tom Feiza and other experienced inspectors (optional) provide the specific write-ups they use within the context of national standards and a typical code of ethics. You will receive wording and disclaimer statements that accurately notify buyers of the defect while protecting the home inspector. We allow time for audience input and discussion.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Provide home inspectors with answers and detailed report documentation on a variety of specific defects.
  • Provide specific wording and disclaimers used by experienced inspectors while utilizing typical standards and code of ethics.
  • Encourage audience participation and share ideas on defects and documentation, because there is never just one correct answer.

1½ to 2 hours, with optional increase to 4 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint, overhead visuals, and handouts


Basement Inspections – Proper Reporting and Avoiding Headaches

Basements present a huge liability for home inspectors because numerous basement problems exist and repairs are very expensive. Learn basement inspection techniques from an inspector who has reported on more than 7,000 basements and routinely works as an expert witness on basement problems. This session covers methods of properly inspecting a basement and documenting conditions. It includes statements that limit your liability. Discover how to document inspection restrictions and make referrals to a specialist. Review actual defects and potential repairs, and learn how they should be documented.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to properly inspect a basement, analyze basic defects, document various conditions, and decide when to make referrals to specialists.
  • Learn about basement construction, causes of defects, and possible repair techniques.
  • Review actual basement defects and home inspector documentation; study how legal cases were resolved.

1½ to 2 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint and handouts


Water Intrusion Into Buildings – Forensic Investigations

How does water flow? Let me count the ways. Home inspectors know that the three major causes of home structural and operational failures are water, water, and water. They often identify these problems during a home inspection. But how does a professional engineer approach water intrusion and analyze the problems? How does water really flow? How do engineers explain these problems to insurance companies, attorneys, and irate homeowners? Who is at fault when water damage occurs? Learn how a professional engineer and home inspector approaches water problems and trace the causes and solutions.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Learn the scientific principles of water movement and how these relate to building systems.
  • Understand construction principles and problem conditions that control or create water intrusion.
  • We don’t build them like we used to! Learn what has changed, making water a more serious problem in newer construction.

1½ to 2 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint and handouts


Effective Marketing Using Internet, Print, TV, and Radio

Any home inspector can use the media for free and effective marketing. But how do you get your big break? Is it all luck? You can jump-start your mass media marketing efforts by following the lead of an experienced media professional. Home inspector and ASHI member Tom Feiza (Mr. Fix-It) has been working in radio, television, and print media for more than 20 years, and he is here to share his secrets. Find out how Tom markets his home inspection business and how he developed successful media ventures. You’ll learn media savvy from an experienced home inspector, not a marketing consultant. You’ll also find out about the latest Internet marketing channels, with special focus on email marketing.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Discover media marketing ideas specifically designed for your home inspection business.
  • Learn how to work with the media, with guidance from an expert who has more than 20 years of home-inspection marketing experience.
  • Investigate Internet marketing channels you can’t afford to ignore.

1½ hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint and handouts


Asphalt Shingle Roofs / Attics – Proper Inspection and Reporting

Home inspectors get sued for leaky basements and leaky roofs. Roofs are expensive to replace, and a water leak can do major damage – including the dreaded M word (mold). Learn to identify roofing materials and proper installation techniques; find out how to recognize a worn or defective roof. Review ventilation requirements for roofs and bathrooms. Analyze inspection and reporting techniques from the perspective of an experienced inspector and legal expert witness. This presentation includes case studies and actual legal outcomes.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to identify pitched roof materials, ventilation methods, damage, and defects.
  • Learn how to report on roof and attic ventilation defects and issues.
  • View common defects and related documentation.

1½ hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint and handouts


Heating Systems – Inspecting New (95%) and Old Systems

Heating systems have changed dramatically over the years. As an inspector, you must be familiar with both old and new systems. This seminar covers the history from old systems to new high-efficiency forced air heating systems. What has changed in the switch from 60% systems to 85% systems to new 95+% systems with ECM motors? Learn about old controls and old systems and changes to static pressure control, and modern systems. Understand potential defects, what you must inspect, and how to properly document heating systems. Photos and illustrations will identify systems and defects.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Learn the scientific principles/design of old and new heating systems.
  • Understand how old and new systems and controls work.
  • Learn how to identify defects and properly report on heating systems.

2 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint and handout


Understanding and Inspecting Forced Air Heating Systems

Inspecting forced air heating systems requires understanding the science of energy and heat transfer. This seminar covers the basics of all systems from older ones to new high-efficiency forced air heating systems. Understand the basic changes from a 60% system to an 85% system to new 95+% systems with ECM motors?   The focus is inspection of current systems. What is static pressure control? How do those new controls work? What potential defects should you look for? How do you properly report on and document heating systems? Photos and illustrations will identify systems and defects.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Learn the scientific principles of energy and heat transfer.
  • Understand how older and new systems and controls work.
  • Learn how to identify defects and properly report on forced air heating systems.

2 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint


Understanding and Inspecting Hydronic (Boiler) Heating Systems

Conducting inspections of hydronic (boiler) heating systems requires an understanding of the science of energy, fluids, and heat transfer. This seminar covers the basics of old gravity/open systems as well as new high-efficiency condensing heating systems. What has changed as standards evolved from gravity systems to pumped systems to the new condensing systems? Learn about venting, new controls, heating domestic hot water, and potential defects. Review what you should check and how to properly report on a hydronic system. Photos and illustrations will identify systems and defects.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Learn the scientific principles/design of heat transfer with water.
  • Understand older and new systems and their controls.
  • Learn how to properly report on hydronic heating systems and identify defects.

2 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint


Home Scene Investigations: Mysteries and Answers

Even experienced home inspectors observe oddities that defy explanation. Review pictures of some of these mysteries, and learn their explanations and how to properly report them. Includes the history and science behind these mysterious observations as well as intriguing bits of information about contractors, home history, and building science. This challenging, informative presentation for beginners and experienced inspectors alike will open your eyes to many mysteries, tell how to explain them to your customers, and give details on how to describe them in your report.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Investigate unusual observations found during a home inspection.
  • Discuss and review pictures of these observations with seasoned inspectors.
  • Identify the answers and learn how to explain and report them.

2 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint


The Practical Science Behind Great Home Inspections

A basic understanding of science and engineering tells inspectors how a home should perform and helps them identify problems. This seminar provides a scientific basis for principles such as dew point, condensation, stress, compression, polarity, ton of cooling, capillary action, and torque. We’ll look at practical explanations of building practices and products, including drip cap, air conditioning, nails vs. screws, moisture damage, leaks, wattage, energy units like BTU and calorie – and the list goes on. You’ll see practical science explained with illustrations and real-life home pictures.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Identify issues seen in home inspections.
  • Understand scientific principles that explain these issues.
  • Review engineering principles related to construction. 

2 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint 


Home Inspector Issues with Water, Steam, Vapor and Dew Point

Many home problems are related to dew point. But exactly what is the dew point? How does it relate to temperature and condensation? Home system designs from high-efficiency heating and air conditioning to attic ventilation revolve around dew point, energy, condensation and change of phase. Related issues affect windows, concrete, and pressure. We will talk through scientific principles that home inspectors must understand about change of phase and how it affects the buildings and systems we inspect. We will analyze specific problems that moisture creates in home systems.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Understand the physics of dew point and water as a solid, liquid, and gas.
  • Understand how building system design influences dew point.
  • Relate the scientific aspects of dew point to actual building defects. 

2 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint and props


Inspection and Development of Modern Plumbing and Sewage Systems

Home inspectors need to understand basic residential construction methods for handling sanitary waste and storm water. Most of us are familiar with drainage, waste, and vent systems. We know about traps, toilets, sinks, and air gaps, PVC, ABS and XYZ. How and why were these structures developed? How did they evolve into today’s modern systems? Throughout history, plumbing setups have dealt with issues of waste, sanitation and odors. We will trace the development of sewage systems from ancient cities to early home systems in the U.S., and then link that information to an overview of current sewage systems.

Primary Learning Objectives

  • Understand how and why sewage systems developed.
  • Review the history of older systems and their relationship to modern methods.
  • Understand how to inspect both older and modern residential sewage systems. 

2 hours
Formal presentation with PowerPoint