Goodrich_Castle_Ross_on_Wye_Herefordshire_UK  (C) Daniel FriedmanHome Inspection Standards - Model
     

  • HOME INSPECTION STANDARDS & ETHICAL CODES - CONTENTS: Home Inspection Standards, Examples of home inspection standards of practice, History of home inspection standards - ASHI Standards for 2002, What house components and systems is a professional or licensed home inspector required to examine and report, What building components are normally excluded from a professional home inspection & report?, Home inspection inspection & reporting requirements and standards
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about home inspection standards of practice
  • REFERENCES

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

This is a public, consumer information document describing typical Standards of Practice for professional home inspectors in the United States and Canada. Home inspection standrads in 2002.

This article series provides a history of the ASHI and other Home Inspection Standards of Practice, and links to other Home Inspection Standards at the end of this document. Also check ashi.com or other home inspection professional associations and the various U.S. states and Canadian Provinces for the version of home inspection standards or code of ethics that is applied in their jurisdiction. Page top photo: Goodrich Castle, Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, UK.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.

Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors 2002

Effective January 1, 2002

Date: 04/25/01

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI(r)) is a not-for-profit professional society established in 1976. Membership in ASHI is voluntary and its members include private, fee-paid home inspectors. ASHI's objectives include promotion of excellence within the profession and continual improvement of its members' inspection services to the public.

2. PURPOSE AND SCOPE

2.1 The purpose of these Standards of Practice is to establish a minimum and uniform standard for private, fee-paid home inspectors who are members of the American Society of Home Inspectors. Home Inspections performed to these Standards of Practice are intended to provide the client with information regarding the condition of the systems and components of the home as inspected at the time of the Home Inspection.

2.2 The inspector shall:

A. inspect installed systems and components that are:

1. designated for inspection in these Standards of Practice and

2. readily accessible and

3. located in or on the home or its garage or carport.

B. report:

1. on those systems and components inspected or designated for inspection in these Standards of Practice that, in the professional opinion of the inspector, are significantly deficient or are near the end of their service lives.

2. a reason why, if not self-evident, the system or component is judged significantly deficient or near the end of its service life.

3. the inspector's recommendations whether for correction, monitoring, or further evaluation of the reported deficiency.

4. on any installed systems and components designated for inspection in these Standards of Practice that were not inspected and the reason they were not inspected.

2.3 These Standards of Practice are not intended to limit the inspector from:

A. including other inspection services, systems, or components in addition to those required by these Standards of Practice.

B. specifying repairs, provided the inspector is appropriately qualified and agrees to do so.

C. excluding systems and components from the inspection if requested by the client.

3. STRUCTURAL SYSTEM

3.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect:

1. the structural components including foundation and framing.

2. by probing a representative number of structural components where deterioration is suspected or where clear indications of possible deterioration exist. Probing is NOT required when probing would damage any finished surface or where no deterioration is visible.

B. describe the:

1. foundation and report the methods used to inspect the under-floor crawl space.

2. floor structure.

3. wall structure.

4. ceiling structure.

5. roof structure and report the methods used to inspect the attic.

3.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. provide any engineering service or architectural service.

B. offer an opinion as to the adequacy of any structural system or component.

4. EXTERIOR

4.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect the:

1. wall coverings, flashings, and trim.

2. doors and windows.

3. attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings.

4. eaves, soffits, and fascias.

5. vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls on the property when any of these are likely to adversely affect the building.

6. walkways, patios, and driveways leading to dwelling, garage, or carport entrances.

B. describe the exterior wall covering.

4.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect the:

1. screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal accessories.

2. fences.

3. geological, geotechnical, or hydrological conditions.

4. recreational facilities.

5. outbuildings.

6. seawalls, break-walls, and docks.

7. erosion control and earth stabilization measures.

5. ROOF SYSTEM

5.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect the:

1. roof covering.

2. roof drainage systems.

3. flashings.

4. skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations.

B. describe the roof covering and report the methods used to inspect the roof.

5.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect the:

1. antennae.

2. other installed accessories.

6. PLUMBING SYSTEM

6.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect the:

1. water supply and distribution systems including all fixtures and faucets.

2. drain, waste, and vent piping systems including ejector pumps and all fixtures.

3. water heating equipment.

4. exterior of vent systems, including flues and chimneys.

5. fuel storage and fuel distribution systems.

6. drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping.

B. describe the:

1. water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials.

2. water heating equipment including the energy source.

3. location of main water and main fuel shut-off valves.

6.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect the:

1. clothes washing machine connections.

2. wells, well pumps, water storage, or related equipment.

3. water conditioning systems.

4. solar water heating systems.

5. fire suppression and irrigation systems.

6. private waste disposal systems.

B. determine:

1. whether the water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private.

2. the quantity or quality of the water supply.

3. the adequacy of the waste disposal.

7. ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

7.1

The inspector shall:

A. inspect the:

1. service drop.

2. service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways.

3. service equipment and main disconnects.

4. service grounding.

5. service panels, sub panels, and their components within.

6. overcurrent protection devices.

7. conductors.

8. installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles by operating a representative number.

9. ground fault circuit interrupters.

B. describe the:

1. amperage and voltage rating of the service.

2. location of main disconnect(s) and sub panels.

3. wiring methods.

C. report the:

1. presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring.

2. absence of smoke detectors.

7.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect the:

1. remote control devices unless the device is the only control device.

2. alarm systems and components.

3. low voltage wiring systems and components.

4. ancillary wiring systems and components not a part of the primary electrical power distribution system.

B. measure amperage, voltage, or impedance.

8. HEATING SYSTEM

8.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect the:

1. installed heating equipment.

2. exterior of vent systems, including flues and chimneys.

B. describe the:

1. energy source.

2. heating method by its distinguishing characteristics.

8.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect the:

1. concealed portions of the heat exchanger.

2. humidifier or dehumidifier.

3. electronic air filter.

4. solar space heating system.

B. determine the heat supply adequacy or distribution balance.

9. AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS

9.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect the installed central and through-wall cooling equipment.

B. describe the:

1. energy source

2. cooling method by its distinguishing characteristics.

9.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect electronic air filters.

B. determine the cooling supply adequacy or distribution balance.

10. INTERIOR

10.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect the:

1. walls, ceilings, and floors.

2. steps, stairways, and railings.

3. countertops and a representative number of installed cabinets.

4. garage doors and garage door operators and a representative number of doors and windows.

10.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect the:

1. paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments.

2. carpeting.

3. window treatments.

4. central vacuum systems.

5. kitchen, laundry, and similar appliances, whether installed or free-standing.

6. recreational facilities.

11. INSULATION AND VENTILATION

11.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect the:

1. insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces.

2. ventilation of attics and foundation areas.

3. mechanical ventilation systems.

B. describe the:

1. insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces.

2. absence of insulation in unfinished spaces at conditioned surfaces.

11.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. disturb insulation or vapor retarders.

B. determine indoor air quality.

12. FIREPLACES AND SOLID FUEL BURNING STOVES AND APPLIANCES

12.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect the:

1. system and its components.

2. exterior of vent systems, including flues and chimneys.

B. describe the:

1. fireplaces, stoves, and appliances.

2. chimneys.

12.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect the:

1. firescreens and doors.

2. seals and gaskets.

3. automatic solid fuel feed devices.

4. mantles and fireplace surrounds.

5. combustion make-up air devices.

6. heat distribution components.

B. ignite or extinguish fires.

C. determine draft characteristics.

D. move fireplace inserts or stoves or firebox contents.

]13. GENERAL LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS

3.1 General limitations:

A. Inspections performed in accordance with these Standards of Practice

1. are not technically exhaustive.

2. will not identify concealed conditions or latent defects.

B. These Standards of Practice are applicable to buildings with four or fewer dwelling units and their garages or carports.

13.2 General exclusions

A. The inspector is not required to perform any action or make any determination unless specifically stated in these Standards of Practice, except as may be required by law.

B. The inspector is NOT required to determine the:

1. condition of or describe systems or components that are not readily accessible including, but not limited to, the interiors of vent systems, flues, or chimneys.

2. remaining life of any system or component.

3. strength, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of any system or component.

4. causes of any condition or deficiency.

5. methods, materials, or costs of corrections.

6. future conditions including, but not limited to, failure of systems and components.

7. suitability of the property for any specialized use.

8. compliance with regulatory requirements (codes, regulations, laws, ordinances, etc.).

9. value or marketability of the property.

10. advisability of the purchase of the property.

11. presence of potentially hazardous plants, animals, or fungi including, but not limited to, molds, mildew, wood destroying organisms, or diseases.

12. presence of any environmental hazards including, but not limited to, toxins, carcinogens, noise, and contaminants in soil, water, and air.

13. effectiveness of any system or method utilized to control or remove suspected hazardous substances.

14. operating costs of systems or components.

15. acoustical properties of any system or component.

C. The inspector is NOT required to offer or provide:

1. any service contrary to law.

2. work in any trade, engineering services, or any professional service other than Home Inspection.

3. warranties or guarantees of any kind.

D. The inspector is NOT required to operate:

1. any system or component that cannot be operated by or does not respond to normal operating controls, is shut down, or is otherwise not functional.

2. safety valves, shut-off valves, drain valves, electrical disconnects, or overcurrent protection devices.

E. The inspector is NOT required to enter:

1. any area that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property or its systems or components.

2. the under-floor crawl spaces or attics that are not readily accessible.

F. The inspector is NOT required to inspect, describe, or report on:

1. any underground components and indications of their presence, including, but not limited to, tanks, chambers, piping, wells, and electrical, whether in use or not in use.

2. systems or components that are not installed.

3. decorative or ornamental items not required for the operation of the essential systems and components of a home.

4. systems or components located in areas that are not entered in accordance with these Standards of Practice.

5. systems or components not located in or on the home, garage, or carport.

6. common elements or common areas in multi-unit housing, such as condominium properties or cooperative housing.

G. The inspector is NOT required to:

1. perform any procedure or operation that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property or it's systems or components.

2. dismantle any system or component other than:

a. readily openable access panels

b. removable flame shields, and electrical panel covers.

GLOSSARY OF ITALICIZED TERMS

Alarm Systems

Warning devices, installed or free-standing, including but not limited to; carbon monoxide detectors, flue gas and other spillage detectors, security equipment, ejector pumps, and smoke alarms

Architectural Service

Any practice involving the art and science of building design for construction of any structure or grouping of structures and the use of space within and surrounding the structures or the design for construction, including but not specifically limited to, schematic design, design development, preparation of construction contract documents, and administration of the construction contract

Component

A part of a system

Describe

To report a system or component by its type or other observed, significant characteristics to distinguish it from other systems or components serving a similar function

Dismantle

To take apart or remove any system or component

Engineering Service

Any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training, and experience, and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences to such professional service or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design, and supervision of construction for the purpose of assuring compliance with the specifications and design, in conjunction with structures, buildings, machines, equipment, works, or processes

Further Evaluation

Examination and analysis by a qualified professional, tradesman, or service technician beyond that provided by the Home Inspection

Home Inspection

A professional service by an impartial inspector who visually examines, operates, and reports in writing on the readily accessible systems and components of a home as designated in these Standards of Practice

Inspect

To examine systems and components of a building in accordance with these Standards of Practice using normal operating controls where available

Inspector

A person hired to examine any system or component of a building in accordance with these Standards of Practice

Installed

Attached such that removal requires tools

Normal Operating Controls

Devices such as thermostats, switches, or valves intended to be operated by the homeowner

Readily Accessible

Available for visual inspection from safe walking or crawling surfaces without dismantling items or moving personal property, equipment, furniture, suspended ceiling tiles, soil, plants, snow, ice, or debris

Readily Openable Access Panel

A panel provided for homeowner inspection and maintenance that is within normal reach, can be removed by one person, and is not sealed in place

Recreational Facilities

Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, exercise, entertainment, athletic, playground, or other similar equipment and associated accessories

Report

To communicate in writing

Representative Number

One component per room for multiple similar interior components such as windows and electric outlets; one component on each side of the building for multiple similar exterior components

Roof Drainage Systems

Components used to carry water off a roof and away from a building

Significantly Deficient

Unsafe or not functioning

Structural Component

A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads)

System

A combination of interacting or interdependent components, assembled to carry out one or more functions

Technically Exhaustive

An investigation that involves dismantling, the extensive use of advanced techniques, measurements, instruments, testing, calculations, or other means

Under-floor Crawl Space

The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the floor

Unsafe

A condition in a readily accessible, installed system or component that is judged to be a significant risk of bodily injury during normal, day-to-day use. The risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation, or a change in accepted residential construction standards

Wiring Methods

Identification of electrical conductors or wires by their general type, such as "non-metallic sheathed cable" ("Romex"), "armored cable" ("BX"), or "knob and tube", etc.

Standards of Practice proposed revision version 2.25 04/02/01 Page 10

Reader Comment: DRAFT of Proposed Florida Standards of Practice for Home Inspections & Wind Damage Mitigation

Attached is the new Standard of Practices for all home inspectors in the State of Florida. I have highlighted sections which may be pertinent to Realtors specifically. These Standards of Practice will take effect approximately 90 days from now 1 January 2012] depending on what items are altered.

This section of the Florida home inspection standards of practice:

(7) The Inspector shall report on those systems and components inspected which, in the professional opinion of the inspector:

(a) are not functioning properly, or

(b) are unsafe, i.e., create a significant risk of personal injury during normal, day-to-day use, or

(c) are significantly deficient, or

(d) are near the end of their service lives.

(8) If not self-evident to the client at the time of inspection, a reason why, in the opinion of the home inspector, the system or component was reported as significantly deficient or near the end of its service life.

will most likely be of importance to Realtors as each inspector will determine "life expectancy". Some may state that anything over 10 years old should be replaced, which could present numerous issues. As many of you are aware, several deals are being lost due to wind mitigation inspections not giving discounts which affects the insurance premiums and subsequently, in some instances, the ability to obtain financing.

Starting February 1, 2012, the newest incarnation of the wind mitigation form (1802) will be implemented.

It would be advisable to all Realtors when taking a listing, to inform your clients that any documentation as far as permits, invoices, or any thing available to prove dates of installation for hurricane shutters or roof replacement, available for the Buyer in order to obtain the greatest discount for insurance.

If anyone has any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. -

Eric Van De Ven Owner/Inspector Magnum Inspections Inc.
Magnum Inspections Website
Phone: (954) 340 6615
email: ev@magnuminspections.com

[Mr. Van De Ven is a contributor to InspectAPedia.com including information about OWL FLEXDUCT - Ed. ]

Reply:

Comment: OPINION - DJF:

Eric:

Kudos to Florida home inspection standards writers for directing inspectors to focus on critical defects at homes. As you'll see from the old quote below, I agree emphatically with the scope and focus I read in the new Florida inspection standard. Quoting from Diagnostic Building Failure & Environmental Inspection & Testing as well as other notes at InspectAPedia,

Setting Building Repair Priorities - Dan's Three "D's" of Building Repair Management

In reviewing the findings of a careful Building inspection and in setting Building repair priorities, I like to pose this question: "Who's in charge of our money - the Building or the client?"

  • If a Building defect is Dangerous putting occupants or visitors at risk
  • If a Building defect is causing rapid costly Damage to the Building
  • If a Building defect is a function or system which is absolutely needed to occupy the Building, but Doesn't work

then the Building is in control of our money in that those repairs needed to be addressed promptly.

By contrast, Improvements such as adding insulation or replacing leaky windows, may be highly desirable, but the client is in charge of when those expenses are incurred. Improvements can generally be deferred. Building operating costs may be higher, but the owner is not losing the Building itself to deterioration or injury.

These distinctions are a useful way to think through the findings and results of a Building inspection, and to avoid being overwhelmed by the number of findings.

Importance of making clear the significance of home inspection findings - aluminum wiring & a house fire

And the requirement imposed by section (8) that the inspector make clear the significance of his/her findings is equally critical. Back in the dark ages of my service as on a home inspection standards committed I fielded a complaint from a homeowner whose house had burned to the ground not long after they had engaged the services of a home inspector to advise them on its condition.

The fire was traced to solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring in the home.

The home inspector had inspected the home for the buyer, had observed aluminum electrical wiring, was fully aware of the hazards (see ALUMINUM WIRING HAZARDS & REPAIRS), but had reported simply:

"The home is served by solid conductor aluminum wiring."

No comment was made about the safety hazards of this material nor the fact that it would be costly (more than $500. by my standard) to repair. The homeowner told me:

"The inspection report had lots of 'inventory' type findings such as:

The roof is asphalt three-tab shingles

The foundation is concrete block

The siding is vinyl

Nobody told us that aluminum wiring could set our house on fire. So I [the new buyer] figured that "aluminum wiring" was just another descriptive term.

As a result of this and similar complaints, ASHI, and then other home inspection associations as well as some state and provincial legislatures agreed that mere reporting of the presence of an unsafe or costly defect would be inadequate performance by the inspector. The inspector shall indicate to his/her client the significance of the finding by explanations such as the presence of unsafe or costly defects.

Blanket Building Component Condemnations are an Inappropriate Shortcut

On the other hand, as your concern about using age alone to condemn components, I agree that home inspectors who, perhaps lacking experience, training or confidence, look to play it "safe" by applying a simple rule of condemning a building component without actually inspecting it are not doing their job.

Surely experts will agree with your remark that "Some may state that anything over 10 years old should be replaced, which could present numerous issues." and I would add that blanket condemnations of building components based on age alone is often patently absurd.

There are numerous components, in fact the majority of them, that comprise a residential structure as well as its appurtenances that have a design life of far more than 10 years, such as foundations, structural members, siding, windows, doors, electrical wiring, heating systems, plumbing systems, sidewalks, most roofs, and many appliances. Any inspector who takes the "CYA" shortcut of simply condemning a component based on age alone should be considered as unprofessional.

On the other hand, "wear age" is an important concept that we hope will leak into the minds of the first group of inspectors. A roof, for example, has both a chronological age and a wear age. The former dates from the installation, while the latter recognizes that even the same shingle material can have very different life expectancy depending on factors such as roof slope, shingle color, nearby trees, shade, sun exposure, geographic location, orientation of the roof with respect to sun, and maintenance.

Kudos to Florida and the Florida home inspection professionals who wrote sections (7) and (8) of the new standard. - Respectfully, DJF

 

Continue reading at HOME INSPECTOR EDUCATION or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Or see HOME INSPECTION ETHICAL CODES

Suggested citation for this web page

HOME INSPECTION STANDARDS & ETHICAL CODES at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

More Reading

Green link shows where you are in this article series.

...




Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References