Health & Safety Inspections
The Board of Grand Trustees with assistance from the Risk Management Foundation is encouraging house corporations to have a full inspection of housing facilities. Although there are many types of fraternity houses within Sigma Chi, these inspections are primarily directed toward those chapters living a house owned by the house corporation, regardless of how the land is owned, and leased the chapter or individual members. In those instances, a house corporation has a duty and a desire to provide a safe and adequate housing facility.
There are several levels of inspection that are available:
1. The house corporation can perform a simple walk-through and look for dangerous conditions. See the helpful checklist that follows.
2. The Risk Management Foundation can arrange to have a representative from the current insurance underwriter to visit the property and perform an evaluation. The results of the evaluation will be provided to the house corporation.
3. A private contractor (like a building inspector, engineer or architect) can be retained to examine the housing for any defects or deficiencies.
4. A evaluation can be obtained from the local building department or fire marshal. While these inspections can be very helpful they may trigger required corrections on a time table dictated by the inspector. Tread carefully.
Once an evaluation is performed, the question is what to do with the information. If significant safety problems are detected, the house corporation must be prepared to act. Moreover, once a house corporation is made aware of a dangerous condition, it has a legal duty to act. An approach of “ignorance is bliss” may provide some legal justification, but allowing conditions to exist that endanger undergraduate brothers and guests is unbecoming for a high minded man and gentleman.
If your house corporation could benefit from an evaluation, first determine what level of evaluation you believe is most appropriate. If finances are a problem (almost always the case), you may wish to have a simple walk-through or request a safety inspection through Risk Management Foundation. Once you know the scope of the problems, you can formulate a plan to gather the financial resources you need. Your Grand Trustee can assist in evaluating options.