Our office will be closed on Thursday, November 24 in observance of Thanksgiving. We will resume normal business hours on Friday, November 25. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Robin Jade Conde

PODCAST: Accepting new ideas

The three-legged stool talks about new ideas from podcast feedback and projects and opposing perspectives.

They talk about a listener’s feedback about the science of EMF. Bill gives an analogy about accepting new ideas and how Nate Johnson is ahead of his time. Reuben opens the discussion with an e-mail he received about water problems and saturated soil that affects the foundation.

Tessa discusses beta-testing Healthy Homes Assessment, their services, processes, and reports. She shares their case study and finds out how it’s far removed from home inspections. Reuben highlights that this service is focused on the homeowner’s health rather than the building.

Reuben also talks about the market update, how home inspections are lesser this year, and walk-and-talk inspections.

Reuben shares how his Whoop strap has helped monitor his physical activities, sleep, and stress levels. Bill shares about leaving Structure Talk.

Keep sending your feedback and show topics to podcast@structuretech.com.

TRANSCRIPTION

The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

Bill Oelrich: Welcome everyone. You’re listening to Structure Talkies, Structure Tech Presentation. My name is Bill Oelrich alongside Tessa Murry and Reuben Saltzman. As always, your three-legged stool coming to you from the Northland, talking all things houses, home inspections and anything else that’s rattling around in our brain. Well, welcome to today’s episode. We don’t have any special guests today and we don’t really have a specific topic we’re gonna delve into. We’re gonna call this our catch-up episode. And Reuben, I know there’s a lot going on in terms of things you’d like to share and some blog topics that kinda raised your eyebrow recently. And Tessa, you’ve had some experiences with the product you’re trying out, Healthy Homes, and we’re gonna touch on that a little bit. But before we get to any of this stuff, how y’all doing?

Tessa Murry: Good. Thanks.

BO: Reuben gave a thumbs up. That’s a great sign.

[chuckle]

Reuben Saltzman: Doing well. Doing well. I am well rested, and I have the data to prove it. I started using one of those fitness tracker things. This one is called the WHOOP Strap. It’s spelled W-H-O-O-P. And every morning when you wake up, it kinda gives you a report on your sleep, and throughout the day, it gives you reports on what your strain level for the day is and how much rest you should get tonight, and it says, “Alright, you usually get up at this time, so you should be going to sleep at this time so that you can be this much rested,” and then the beginning of the day, it gives you a score on what your recovery has been and what you should be prepared to do. It’s kind of cool. And I tried some sleep tracker a while ago, it was this ring, I won’t say which one, but every day, it would tell me how horribly I slept. [chuckle] And I would wake up every morning going, “Oh, this is awful,” and I’d feel like I just… I’m not ready to face the day. It clearly tells me that I’m not ready to face the day. [laughter] It would almost be like a self-fulfilling prophecy. But this one, this one is giving me much more positive numbers, so… [laughter] And I don’t know if it’s working accurate, but I like those numbers, and I feel better about the day. So I’m feeling good.

TM: So it’s worth every penny. [laughter]

RS: It’s worth every penny. Tells me I’m doing great.

TM: How does it tell you what your stress levels are throughout the day? Is it tracking your heart rate or what…

RS: Well, not stress, but strain, they call it.

TM: Okay.

RS: And it, yeah, it tracks your heart rate level.

BO: What’s the difference?

RS: I don’t know how you’d measure stress. I suppose it would be how much cortisol you have in your blood. That would surely measure stress. This more just measures heartbeat. So you program, and you say, “Start tracking the workout,” it measures your heartbeat throughout the entire time, and then you say you’re done, it’s like, “Alright, during this workout, you were at 80% to 90% of your peak heart rate for 10 minutes. That’s a lot. Blah, blah, blah.”

TM: Wow.

RS: And I went to a driving range the other day. I was hitting a bunch of golf balls. I didn’t program that in as a physical activity, I don’t think of that as exercise really, but by the time I was done, it said, “It looks like you were golfing.”

TM: What? [laughter]

RS: “Do you wanna record this as an activity?” I was like, “Yeah, sure.” I do CrossFit, I do that CrossFit workout, and it gave me a higher score than what I got on my CrossFit workout, and I was a little suspicious about that. I was like, “How could this possibly be?” But looking at my heart rate, you get your heart rate up a lot hitting balls. I hit like bucket and a half of balls with a buddy, and I guess it really does get your heart rate up. I was pretty surprised.

BO: So two people hitting a bucket and a half?

RS: No, no, no, no, we did three buckets.

BO: Okay. How long did it take you to pound through a bucket and a half?

RS: I don’t know, 45 minutes.

BO: Okay.

RS: Something like that.

BO: So you’re not just teeing it up and ripping it?

RS: I felt like I was taking my time.

BO: Okay.

TM: Just curious, how much sleep does it tell you that you need every night? Does that vary based on the person and how you… What your heart does during the day and everything like that or is it… It’s based off your age and…

RS: I think it bases on what your strain was for that day, and then at the end of the day, it says, “Well, you’re gonna need this much sleep.” I mean, right now it’s saying I ought to get about eight and a half hours of sleep. And then last night, and I got six hours of sleep total, and then it says, “Well, you’re at 72% of what your total should be.”

TM: Huh, that is fascinating. I wonder how you’d feel if you actually got the amount of sleep that it recommends every night.

RS: Has never happened. I’m sure I could do magical.

[laughter]

TM: It’d be a fun experiment to try.

RS: It would be. I don’t think I possibly could though. It’s like once I wake up in the morning, I’m up and there’s no going back to sleep. I’m not a good sleeper.

BO: Oh, the second sleep is always the best sleep.

RS: Oh, man. That sounds magical, Bill. You’re a good sleeper?

BO: I think I probably sleep horribly. I grind my teeth in and out. I don’t know. I’ve never measured it, ’cause I don’t want to know. I’m just blissfully ignorant about my sleep patterns. But I often feel in the morning, I’m not well-rested, but you know, I’m not gonna measure it.

RS: Man, I feel like we could do a whole podcast about this because I’ve been such a horrible sleeper for so long and I’ve read so many books on sleep and breathing and how that affects your sleep. I feel like we could do a whole series on this, but that’s not exactly what our show is about, is it? Speaking of sleep, half our audience are sleep.

TM: Probably not.

BO: Not particularly.

[laughter]

BO: Well, it’s kinda like the Internet… You know, there’s Internet of things, right? Like the interconnectivity of your house with all this data collection. Maybe this is the Internet of the body, where you’re sending all this data out to the, God knows who.

RS: Via radio waves?

BO: Yeah, exactly.

[laughter]

RS: And EMFs?

BO: Presumably. Let’s not get started with that. That might spiral downward.

RS: Well, you know what, let’s touch on it, Bill, because we did a couple of podcasts and they got destroyed and you had to redo them yourself. Well, we did one podcast, and then you re-did it yourself and did a couple of them on EMF. We had a great guest on to talk about it. And we did get a little bit of hate mail. I shouldn’t say hate. Nobody was angry.

BO: No, it was just conversational. Yeah, no.

RS: Yeah, it was conversational. It was very…

BO: It’s a good feedback.

RS: Constructive feedback, constructive criticism, perhaps. And the concern was, “Hey, where’s the real science on EMF? Is this really a problem?” And I’d like to say that we’re not taking a stance on this. We’re just asking questions. We know that there’s information out there, there’s people who address this, and we’re just talking to people who are in this field. We wanna know what they have to say. And, Bill, you had a great analogy about this. I’d love for you to share what you had said.

BO: Well, about 20 years ago, I had some young man come up to my door with a clipboard, and he was trying to raise money for a cause, and he came to me and wanted to have a conversation about global warming. And I was like, ah, yeah, let’s… I’m not giving you any money. You whippersnapper. You get out of here. I don’t want… Blah, blah, blah. I basically laughed him off my front step. And like all good things, time does reveal what is really going on. And this dude was way ahead of the curve. And I know 20 years ago, there were a lot of people talking about global warming. It just didn’t particularly resonate with me, and I was in a surly mood that day for no particular reason other than I thought I knew more. Well, he was right, I was wrong. I just feel like at some level, Nate’s probably ahead of the curve. If he’s wrong, he’s a stand-up enough guy, he’d probably tell you, yeah, I was wrong about that. But he’s working with something that he believes a lot in. And the person who wrote in wanted to see more science, more data. And I was like, “Hey, that’s not what we’re here. This is our podcast. We can do what we want. We don’t have any obligation to these people. And make sure that what they’re seeing is right.” You can do the vetting yourself. And our job, my job is to maybe create some curiosity where somebody will go do some more research about it and kind of figure it out for themselves.

BO: Now, I’m sure we cannot, in 50 episodes, break down EMFs. If this is all we did, you could probably have a podcast just about EMFs, and to prove it out, and this, that, and the other. But my comment to the gentleman who… He’s been very cordial, and we’ve had several really good back and forths. And I think we’re of like mind, and I get his point. I’m not here to rip on him. I have no axe to grind. But I think sometimes I’ve seen this in the past with other people in my life is, the new people always have to prove why their new stuff is valid, and the old folks never have to… They never have to come in with curiosity and be willing to hear what other people is, it’s like, No, prove it to me first, and then I’ll jump on your thing. And I just kind of think that’s… I don’t wanna say it’s BS. I just wanna say I think we’d have better conversations if everybody had more of an open mind when you’re having a conversation.

RS: Yeah, that’s… I suppose it’s human nature. I think everybody does that to some degree. I’m sure I’m guilty of that too, where I see the world the way I see it, everything fits my, I don’t know, my idea of how things work. And when you come and you say, “No, you’re wrong, that’s not how it works,” you wanna defend the position that you know. I think it’s natural to do that. I’m not saying it’s right.

BO: Yeah. Fair enough. I remember when we had that… When we broke that… You and I and Eric, and I think it was maybe even Neil, sitting around a table, and we started talking about boilers and how boilers don’t short-cycle. And you were like, “Yeah, they do.” And you’re like, “No, they don’t.” And we had this great conversation, and I think maybe you changed your mind about something, or maybe not. I’m not sure, so… But sometimes… And you were a 18, 20-year vet at that point in time. And it just… The way I understood it and the way you understood it were similar, but just slightly different. And then through conversation, I think we got sorted out by a HVAC contractor who’s a boiler expert, and they said, “You’re sort of both right.” [chuckle]

RS: Yeah, yeah. I remember that. Good conversation.

BO: Yeah. But the point being, I enjoy the feedback, number one, and everything that this gentleman said to me was completely valid from one perspective. It was a 100% valid. It’s just I don’t feel any compulsion to have to be an authority on all of these stuff. I just… I think the more we share about oddball things, the more we can learn about it. And I’m just happy with that.

RS: Agreed. You talk about oddball things, I’m gonna change the channel again here. I gotta share this question that somebody emailed me. They had shared a post that somebody had on Nextdoor. And it was basically a PSA, one neighbor to all of the other neighbors, saying, “Hey, we’ve… We’re in a drought. We haven’t had any rain for a long time. So before winter, be sure that you water your foundation. Put sprinklers out and soak the soils around your foundation because as the soils dry out, they leave spaces, especially if it’s really clayey soil.” And, yes, clayey is a word. If your soil has high clay content, it can really dry out and it can settle, and then your foundation can settle and you can end up with foundation cracks and foundation problems in your house. So you wanna maintain a relatively constant level of moisture in the soils around your house, and if you don’t, you can have these foundation problems. So now is a good time to water your foundation.

RS: And I’ve never heard of anything like this, but the email that came to me was, “Is there any validity in this?” And that’s one of those things where my knee-jerk reaction is, “Don’t forget your tin foil hat. You’re crazy. There’s no such thing as this.” But he sent me a bunch of, a bunch of links, and there’s a fair number of articles out there from what looked to be credible sources saying, this really can happen. So I guess my answer is, I don’t know. I would need a lot more evidence before I ever started watering my foundation. I would never consider doing this. I know about all the problems that water will cause at a foundation, both with water getting into the basement and with soil pressures exerting against the foundation and causing cracking, especially with that freeze… When the ground freezes and everything expands. I don’t want saturated soils around my house. I know that that causes problems, so I’m not gonna be putting a sprinkler around my house any time soon. But, Tessa, Bill, what do you guys think about this?

BO: Okay. So my first reaction is, who and what would be affected by this. So then I start looking for reasons to say, “Okay, maybe there’s something valid about this.” So if you live in a house that’s got… Let’s say it was an older home, but it’s got concrete blocks for the foundation and it doesn’t have waterproofing at the exterior, and if there’s poor drainage and grading, and if you’re in very heavy soils, I can imagine that maybe there’s some level of validity to what they’re saying because, okay, I heard last night watching the weather, it has not rained in Minneapolis for five weeks, okay? So we’re in extended period of dry time. Now, the soil around my house is very heavy, and after five weeks of it not being wet, chances are it’s contracting a little bit. Steady state would probably be better than any extremes going from super wet to super dry. I think just a steady state would be the best thing. So point being, you go into fall, it’s super dry, everything kinda dries out, maybe it pulls away from a foundation. Now, if you have terrible drainage and grading and the ground freezes and it rains in March, you might have a pathway along your block for bulk water to flow more quickly into your foundation than it would have otherwise.

RS: Agreed.

BO: That would be the one reason that might make sense, but the whole point would be to stop the expansion and the contraction. So like all good questions, it depends, and you’d wanna just kinda keep it at a steady state versus not too wet or to dry.

TM: It seems counterintuitive, like you said. I mean, to water a foundation, just off the bat, does not sound like a good idea because of the obvious reasons, putting moisture into your foundation and where is that moisture gonna go. It’s gonna probably migrate into your house somewhere and then create problems. But I understand the whole, you don’t want your foundation to expand or contract with these big changes in moisture content in the soil around it and the cracking can cause issues, but if a foundation has a little bit of expansion, contraction and there’s some cracks that are created, I would think that they would probably already be there from decades of your foundation going through these wetting and drying phases and that’s just part of life. And if there are some minor cracks, you patch them up, and I wouldn’t think that this year would create any massive cracking that would create any major issues. I don’t know.

BO: Yeah. Reuben, we need more information, you know, what…

RS: This was on Nextdoor.

BO: Okay, but is this an area where there’s a bunch of new houses or is this an area where there’s old houses? What are we looking at?

RS: I don’t remember. I don’t have it at my fingertips now. You know what we need? We need MythBusters to come back.

TM: Oh, yeah. [chuckle]

RS: I need an episode on this. I need some detailed testing where we do some controlled tests and we dry the heck out of soils and we go to some crazy extremes and see if there’s a way that they could get a foundation to crack because of it.

TM: I can just imagine, like, if you take a house that’s been a clay type soil and it’s been really dry for the last few months and that soil is pretty dry, and then all of a sudden, you dump a bunch of water around the foundation in the clay and then we hit freezing temperatures, which is what’s supposed to happen like in the next week or so, it’s gonna get pretty cold here, that soil will just expand so much, the clay holding the moisture. Don’t you think that would create more cracking and issues and if you just put it to dry?

RS: Yeah, I would. And this post did say, “Don’t go nuts. Don’t soak your soils, and don’t put it right against the foundation. Maybe do it about 3 feet out and then it’ll come down, and maybe use a soccer hose to do it.” [chuckle] Tessa is shaking her head vigorously.

TM: Gosh.

[laughter]

RS: I don’t know. I don’t know.

TM: Gosh, you will not find me out watering my yard in a certain area around my foundation. I just… Well, think about water conservation too, in lots of areas of this country where people don’t have enough water, and to go out there just to water around your foundation just seems like such a waste.

RS: Yeah, but…

BO: We’d have to talk to somebody who knows ground water. I can imagine that if you get two and half, three feet down, that soil is basically wet in our area all the time, right? How much is actually drying in our climate and in…

RS: Yes, and I consulted with our engineer friend, Paul Schimnowski. We traded emails about this. And he said about the same thing. He said, “If you could see the soils drying out a few feet down, that’s it. You go much farther than that, and you’re gonna have a pretty steady moisture content. It’s dry climates are not gonna affect it that much.” That was his thought.

BO: Well, that’s where I was going with… Last week, we touched on it very briefly, about keeping your humidity levels in the basement below 50, and I feel like it’s damn near impossible, because a lot of that Earth that’s up against your house is way, way wetter than 50 degrees relative humidity, or however it’s measured. I don’t even… I’m probably butchering how they keep track of it, but anyway.

RS: Well, hey, we’ve come full circle here. [chuckle] We are right back to having a new idea presented to us [laughter] that doesn’t fit our narrative of how the world works.

TM: Exactly.

RS: And I am rejecting it outright, [laughter] but… No, no, I’m not rejecting outright. I don’t understand how it works. I need to hear more.

TM: Yeah.

RS: I would need to hear more.

BO: It’s a very special… It’s a very narrow lane of expertise, I guess, but I’m sure there’s somebody out there who can answer these questions.

RS: Yeah, yeah. If we got an expert who could write into the show, please email us, podcast@structuretech.com.

BO: Alright, Tessa, I wanna hear about your latest experience. I know you’re trying to roll out the red carpet on possibly a new service, and everything needs to be beta-tested, and you beta-tested something, and I wanted to just… I wanted to hear how it went and what your thoughts are, and if this is something that would be viable moving into the future.

TM: Well, so I think what you’re referring to is the Healthy Homes Assessment, right? And we’ve talked about it briefly on some other podcasts, and for anyone that’s just tuning into this one that hasn’t heard those podcasts, I’ll give you a little background. So I think that there’s a need for people who can go into a house and potentially assess maybe some complex things that are happening and creating pain for homeowners or buyers, but we get calls in the Structure Tech every once in a while from people who are experiencing problems or a problem, and they’re not sure what’s causing it and what to do about it, and usually at that point, they’ve already talked to several different trades people who have all told them different things and they just don’t know what to do.

TM: And so hence the idea of this Healthy Homes Assessment, where we go out and we look at the house and assess what’s going on there and try to potentially help these people that are suffering, and this could be anything from getting phone calls from people who are having issues with health problems to thinking that their house is making them sick somehow, to problems with comfort in certain rooms or certain areas to even having strange water leak phenomena happening and they’re not sure where it’s coming from. And sometimes we can do a single item kind of inspection assessment and figure some things out but sometimes it’s more complex than that.

TM: So anyways, that’s just a little bit of background, but we had a person come to us recently, and this person had some health concerns and didn’t know what to do, and they had had a basement waterproofing company come out and give them some suggestions. They had had several mold testing companies come out, they’d actually already been through a round of mold remediation in their house. They had another air quality expert. They talked to a commercial building science consultant on some things, and then they had various contractors come out and look at their house too, and some who specialized in high-end ventilation strategies give them recommendations too. And so she just did not know what to do, and it was a very, I think, interesting case study to see how this program might work if we were gonna do it. And what I realized is that it is so far removed from what we do as home inspectors. We have a black and white process that we follow. The ASHI Standards of Practice outline what we inspect, what we don’t inspect, and then we internally have our own areas that we go above and beyond, and things that we look at, things that we don’t.

TM: It’s a very clearly defined process. And every single house we follow the same process for, and we write a report and all of our reports are just stating the facts, what the problem is, why it’s a problem, what to do about it. And it really doesn’t involve any gray area. We’ve defined this process so that we don’t go into the gray area, it reduces our liability, it provides consistency, makes expectations easy, and it makes this process repeatable, right? So we can hire more people, train them to follow this process and then do it repeatably. So what I’ve found is that this Healthy Homes thing does not fit into an easy box. It’s not a black and white process, and it gets really messy, and usually the path forward is a lot more… It’s a gray area of trying to help these people figure out based on what’s going on in their house, what their budget is, what their level of expectation is gonna be, of what that process moving forward looks like. And so I think my key takeaway from this is that, I don’t know how you would make this a service that you make easily repeatable or a black and white process, it feels like it needs to be a lot more organic to me, and it really feels like it’s more kind of consulting than it is like a defined inspection process.

BO: Okay, so this is a pathway that you’re not looking to explore at this point within Structure Tech?

TM: Well, you know, we’ve talked about it with the leadership team, and we talked about it, Reuben and I too, and the reports that we would need to write are stating not only what the problems are that can be seen, but a lot of it is, “What are potential problems that we just can’t see, that are probably happening too?” And “What are some varied approaches to addressing those potential concerns?” And that is nothing like the reports that we are currently writing. Or comfortable writing as a company today, and so I just don’t think we’re in a space, and Reuben, you can add to this too, where we’d wanna venture into that additional potential liability.

RS: Yeah, it’s a new business, for sure. It’s very far remote… We thought it was a lot closer to what we already do on a day-to-day basis and just helping more people out, but it’s quite different. It gets way too much into health and away from the building itself. It gets way more in how the building is affecting people’s health and it’s a bridge too far, I think.

TM: Yeah.

BO: Do you have any guesses of a minimum investment of time to really… For the most basic case is that a 10-hour commitment? Is it… Could it be upwards of 80, 100, 200?

TM: Yeah.

BO: Just depending on what it takes, I guess.

TM: Yeah, I think it…

BO: Each one is gonna lead to its own timeline.

TM: Yeah. Yeah if… The first stages is getting to know the person and what their concerns are, problems are, and then also learn their journey, like where they’ve been, who they’ve talked to, what they’ve found out, what they’ve done. And that process could take as little as 45 minutes to maybe, to several hours of getting to know the situation and the person and the house. And then the site visit itself could take several hours too of, again, talking to the person, investigating, looking at the house and then the report process could take several more hours of custom writing reports, and then, I think ultimately it could turn into a process where you’re helping that person navigate what to do next. It could be project management, it could be quality control, it could be a wide variety of things and that could… Who knows? That could extend on for months.

BO: Well, it seems like a puzzle or like an escape room of sorts. You have to figure out… You’re going in blind, your just gonna… You gotta take however long it takes to get there, and unfortunately, I’m not sure everybody’s got that amount of money set aside just to solve these sorts of problems, right? They’re hoping it’s gonna be the least expensive option, but it probably turns out that’s not the case.

TM: Yeah, as home inspectors too, we come in the equation to assess the house and then we just… We have a brief interaction with the client, usually on-site and tell them what we’ve found and give them the report and typically that’s it. Sometimes we’ll have follow-up phone calls or emails with someone with a few questions, but really this is a lot of face-to-face time with people that are, I would say, pretty stressed out or they’re at the end of their rope and they need someone to really listen to them and give them some guidance in some really tricky areas. It’s really different from an inspection.

BO: Well, hats off for a giving it a whirl, and I’m sure there’s thousands of people out there who could use a service like this, it’s just dialing the whole thing in seems like it’d be a little bit of a, of an issue, but, yeah. Sounds cool.

BO: All right, well let’s turn the page. Reuben, I just wanted to get like a market update. This typically is the time of the year when we begin to see the home inspection world ebb a little bit in our area. So what’s it like at Structure Tech at this point? What are you seeing?

RS: Yeah. It’s slower. It’s definitely slower as interest rates have skyrocketed, it has definitely affected the housing market. We’re not seeing nearly as many homes. I mean, Mindy shares these weekly reports with us, everybody at Structure Tech talking about housing sales and comparing this week to the same week last year. And man, those numbers are down. It’s double digit decrease as we’re talking like 20%, 30% drops compared to what we were seeing last year and we’re feeling it.

BO: Week over week?

RS: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So it’s a big difference from last year. And we’re not nearly as busy as we used to be. So we got home inspectors on our team who are doing other stuff, finding handyman work to do or part-time jobs here and there. We’re not able to fill everybody’s calendar right now. It’s frustrating, but I don’t know what else we can do. And I talk to home inspectors all over the country. I’m a member of IEB. We talked to big home inspection companies all over. I talked to individual home inspection companies. A lot of one man, one woman shops all over the country. And it’s not limited to Minnesota. This is going on all over the country right now. So it’s kind of a frustrating time to be in this profession right now. But it is what it is. You gotta take the good with the bad. When times are good, be happy.

[chuckle]

RS: But when times are bad…

[laughter]

TM: Do you know, Reuben, do you know if the percentage of people getting a home inspection now is increasing since the amount of inventory on the market seems to be… It’s sitting a little bit longer, interest rates have gone up and there’s fewer buyers. Is the percentage of inspections per sale going up?

RS: Well, anecdotally, yes. Absolutely. People don’t… People aren’t stuck in all of these multiple offer deals like they were earlier on this year. So I think a much higher percentage of these homes are ending up with home inspections. The biggest way that we can gauge that is we were offering these walk and talk inspections for people who just knew they wouldn’t be able to get an inspection. And those have pretty much gone away, which is perfectly fine with me. That was a complete stop gap. It was never something we really wanted to do. It was just something to help people who wouldn’t get anything at all. So they’re not being forced to do that anymore. And that’s wonderful.

TM: Those walkthrough consultations were highly controversial in our industry this year.

RS: They were controversial. A lot of people were adamantly opposed to it saying, “You have no business doing this.”

BO: And so is that industry folks?

RS: Oh, yeah. It’s home inspectors.

BO: And they didn’t wanna adapt because they felt like it was somehow… Isn’t something better than nothing?

RS: That’s my argument.

TM: That’s why we offered them.

RS: Absolutely.

BO: Right. Huh. 2022 has been, it’s just that oddball year where you had all of that craziness early in the year, which led to reduced home inspections, and now you just have a lack of activity going on which is resulting in these home inspections.

RS: And that has led to reduced home inspections. Yes.

TM: Yeah.

BO: And was there like four or five days when things were somewhat normalized?

[laughter]

RS: There was.

BO: Otherwise…

RS: There was Bill, there was like a couple of weeks this year where things kind of normalized and all of a sudden we went, holy cow. Our calendar completely filled up for a couple of weeks and we thought, we need to think about hiring. And we said, “No, no, no, no. Hold on, hold on, hold on. This might be temporary”. And it sure was.

BO: Yeah. Well, I remember some of the folks talking early in the COVID pandemic. It might take a while for everything to catch up. Right? And it seems like maybe those predictions two years ago were… They seem to be somewhat true. I’m not sure the predictions people were making and why they were making them or why? What we’re seeing today is what they were suggesting. But it, there is a, there is obviously the slowdown after struggling through two years of a pandemic too. And, and I’m not smart enough to understand all the components that are causing the slowdown, but…

RS: That makes two of us.

[laughter]

RS: Yep. Yep. Exactly.

BO: What are your fingers in the wind telling you about 2023?

RS: No idea. I’ve heard that it’s gonna be a lot. It’s gonna be a really long winter, but that’s all I know.

BO: My dad said the caterpillars got an extra wide stripe on it, which he says every year. And then he gives me some nonsensical argument that the caterpillars know how long winter’s going to be. And also the pigs spleen, domestic pigs that get fed every day by humans. He says, “When you look at a pig’s spleen, you can tell what your winter’s gonna be like”. And I was just like, “Yeah.”

RS: Amazing.

TM: Has he looked at a pig’s spleen for this winter yet? I’m curious.

BO: Listen, Tessa, just half of it is made up as you go. The other half is, I have no idea. I just… It makes no sense. I’ve talked to dad, I’m like, “Dad, don’t animals just eat like… A wild animal’s gonna eat as much as they can because they have no idea what is in store for them. So they need to be able to weather any storm that’s coming their way.” And he doesn’t believe what I have to say. So we will agree to disagree.

RS: You did not try to get into a debate about this, Bill.

BO: Oh, we’ve had several over the years. It’s just…

RS: Oh my goodness.

BO: I can’t move them.

TM: Yeah, [0:31:37.2] ____ to all of these topics we’re discussing today is opposing perspectives on things.

RS: Yeah.

BO: Yeah. I suppose. I never really thought about that, but that’s true.

RS: It’s a good theme. It’s a good theme.

BO: I guess that brings me to somewhat of an announcement that I was talking with Reuben about, and now I’m gonna tell everybody else who doesn’t work for Structure Tech, but I’m beginning to wind down my time here on the podcast as I have set a sunset date for my voice to no longer be a part of this production. But the three legged stool is going to become two until you guys find another leg.

RS: There’s no such thing. There’s no such thing, Bill. It’s called a ladder.

BO: Well, but…

[laughter]

BO: Those work too. So…

RS: We’re gonna be called the two-legged ladder.

BO: Yeah, well, yeah. So at any rate, when you hear this episode, it will probably be what? Early November type of thing, first or second week of November.

RS: Yeah.

BO: So I’m officially going to be done at the end of the year. I’ve got another gig that I’ve been doing on the side for some time and things at my other gig are getting busier, and everybody knows that I’m an empty nester now and I’m just gonna spend more time away from home and nomadically wandering between up north, down here, and some other places we wanna visit, so it’s just… Like today, no offense to anybody in here, but I started my day six hours north, I had some stuff to do and I got… I had… I came rushing home so I could get to a good connection to do the podcast, and I was thinking, “Man, I’m not gonna have to rush anymore.” And listen, I pulled off on the side of the highway and recorded podcasts when I had a good connection over my phone. It’s…

RS: We’ve done several of those.

BO: Yeah.

RS: Yes.

BO: Yeah, and so it is possible, but I’m feeling more of a burden and less of a contributor, so that was my reason to move on, and it’s been fun, so as long as it’s been, we’ve been doing this almost when, three plus years, so we’re four in a third or something like that by the time I’m all done, but I appreciate having this time together and us doing this. So…

RS: Yeah.

TM: We appreciate you too, Bill.

BO: Okay, great.

RS: Yeah, I don’t know what that’s gonna mean for the future of our podcast, it’s definitely not gonna be what it was. I mean, your inquisitive voice, your constant curiosity, Bill. We’re gonna miss that a ton.

BO: I’m the kid who keeps asking why, I guess.

RS: Yeah, yeah, so it definitely will not be the same, and we talked about it a lot, and the podcast is not gonna be going away, but it is going to change, it definitely will change. Instead of, instead of hustling to make sure that we’ve got guests booked every week, or show topics and all that, it’s probably gonna go down to maybe more of a once a month type of thing, and it’ll be me, Tessa, and probably somebody else on the Structure Tech team or we’ll pull different inspectors to come in and be a guest host for the show. We will have outside guests still come on. When there’s somebody we really wanna get on, we’ll bring them on, but I think the show frequency, instead of being every Monday, like set your clock to, it’s gonna be more like once a month, I would guess, something like that.

BO: Yeah, I’m sure whatever you guys do, it’ll turn out fine…

RS: I hope so.

BO: Be interesting and lots of depends on the answers to why questions.

[laughter]

RS: You can expect a lot more of those, but for the next month and a half or so, we’ll still have you around, and I’m looking forward to getting some good shows recorded.

BO: Yeah, well, that’s the thing, we’ve got some good irons in the fire, so I’m excited to sprint to the finish, but yeah, every season comes to an end, so there it is.

TM: Mm-hmm.

RS: Cool.

BO: Well, with that, I think that’s gonna bring our episode for today to a close. Thank you very much for listening. If you have any questions, if you have any concerns, Reuben, where should they send them to?

RS: Podcast@structuretech.com.

BO: Perfect.

RS: Nailed.

BO: You’ve been listening to Structure Talk, a Structure Tech presentation. My name is Bill Oelrich, alongside Tessa Murry and Reuben Saltzman. Thanks for listening, we’ll catch you next time. Hi everybody, Bill here again with Structure Talk. We really wanna thank you for listening to this podcast. It’s been a ton of fun for us to put this presentation together, and if you could, we would love it if you would go to any of the podcast platforms where you find Structure Talk and leave us a rating and subscribe to the show. You can also subscribe to our blog at structuretech.com. And of course, you can listen to the show on the Internet at structuretalk.com. Thanks again for listening. We appreciate the support. And if you have any suggestions for show topics, please email them to podcast@structuretech.com. Thanks for listening.