Photograph of  cutaway house with some home inspection topics shown .Scope of a Home Inspection:
What building components and systems are examined in a professional Home Inspection?

Scope of a home inspection:

What major building comonents, structures, & mechanical systems must be included in a professional home inspection?

This article lists the "significant building components and systemns" included in a professional home inspection and referred to by professional standards.

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Major Components & Systems Included in a Professional Home Inspection

The American Society of Home Inspectors - ASHI is the national testing, certification, and ethical standard professional association for home inspectors. The ASHI Standards of Practice define the minimum acceptable scope of a professional home inspection.

The intent of the inspection is that all substantive systems and components that make up the building shall be examined by the home inspector, and that significant defects and dangerous conditions shall be reported to the client orally and in writing. Some items which are numerous but of minor individual cost such as electrical outlets may be sampled using a strategy based on observation and experience.

Other numerous items, such as plumbing fixtures, must all be examined for proper operation and evidence of damage to the building. The ASHI Standard of Practice protects consumers from engaging an inspector who is unprofessional - someone who might be great at roofing but who makes no inspection of plumbing components, for example.

HOME INSPECTION STANDARDS (ASHI) and similar standards of home inspection practice published by other home inspector associations or certifying agencies typically list these major systems:

  • Structural System such as foundations, wall and roof framing
  • Exterior building surfaces and components other than temporary or portable items
  • Roof System
  • Plumbing System
  • Electrical System
  • Heating System
  • Air Conditioning System
  • Interior building surfaces and components other than temporary or portable items
  • Insulation and Ventilation
  • Fireplaces and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances as well as chimneys and vents for these devices.

The intention is that all of the substantive physical components and systems that make up the structure, and certain other conditions (such as site drainage) which affect the structure, shall be examined.

Watch out: The list above is intended to give the broad scope of a professional home inspection and does not include detailed components or topics. But we do provide that detail. For extensive inspection, diagnostic, and repair advice on virtually all building components and systems, readers should note the list of building topics across the top of each page at and also be sure to review the much more detailed building inspection topic & defect lists described at

Home buyers and home inspectors who need to know the detailed standards to which a home inspection should be conducted should examine the ASHI Standard of Practice as well as their local or State versions of similar home inspection laws and guidelines if such are provided in their state.

Normally excluded from a pre purchase home inspection are environmental concerns such as mold, radon, lead, and also excluded are calculations or estimations of system capacities or adequacies, such as cooling or heating capacity.

However home inspectors are not prohibited from offering additional inspection and testing services, including but not limited to such items as mold testing, radon testing, water and septic testing, termite or wood destroying insect infestation inspections, energy audits, heating and air conditioning system inspections, other environmental tests, provided the home inspector is qualified and meets any state or local licensing requirements for those activities.

Home inspectors are (or should be) prohibited from offering to perform repair work on properties that they inspect as well as a general prohibition against any conflicts of interest among their client and other parties involved in owning, selling, or providing services to the property they inspect.

Appliances such as dishwashers, ranges, ovens, and clothes washers as well as portable or window air conditioners or air cleaners are not required to be inspected by most inspection standards, but these may be included in the practice of some home inspectors.


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INSPECTION COMPONENTS MASTER LIST at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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