International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection

I haven't posted the standards by which home inspectors operate their businesses. This is a very useful bit of information when understanding what is involved in a home inspection.

As always, feel free to send me questions.

International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection

Table of Contents

1. Definitions and Scope

2. Limitations, Exceptions & Exclusions

3. Standards of Practice

3.1. Roof 3.2. Exterior 3.3. Basement, Foundation, Crawlspace & Structure 3.4. Heating 3.5. Cooling 3.6. Plumbing 3.7. Electrical 3.8. Fireplace 3.9. Attic, Insulation & Ventilation 3.10. Doors, Windows & Interior

4. Glossary of Terms

1. Definitions and Scope

1.1. A general home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property (as delineated below), performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.

· The general home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions.

· The general home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.

1.2. A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.

1.3. A general home inspection report shall identify, in written format, defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. Inspection reports may include additional comments and recommendations.

2. Limitations, Exceptions & Exclusions

2.1. Limitations:

· An inspection is not technically exhaustive.

· An inspection will not identify concealed or latent defects.

· An inspection will not deal with aesthetic concerns or what could be deemed matters of taste, cosmetic defects, etc.

· An inspection will not determine the suitability of the property for any use.

· An inspection does not determine the market value of the property or its marketability.

· An inspection does not determine the insurability of the property.

· An inspection does not determine the advisability or inadvisability of the purchase of the inspected property.

· An inspection does not determine the life expectancy of the property or any components or systems therein.

· An inspection does not include items not permanently installed.

· These Standards of Practice apply only to properties with four or fewer residential units.

2.2. Exclusions:

I. The inspector is not required to determine:

· property boundary lines or encroachments.

· the condition of any component or system that is not readily accessible.

· the service life expectancy of any component or system.

· the size, capacity, BTU, performance or efficiency of any component or system.

· the cause or reason of any condition.

· the cause for the need of correction, repair or replacement of any system or component.

· future conditions.

· compliance with codes or regulations.

· the presence of evidence of rodents, birds, animals, insects, or other pests.

· the presence of mold, mildew or fungus.

· the presence of airborne hazards, including radon.

· the air quality.

· the existence of environmental hazards, including lead paint, asbestos or toxic drywall.

· the existence of electromagnetic fields.

· any hazardous waste conditions.

· any manufacturers' recalls or conformance with manufacturer installation, or any information included for consumer protection purposes.

· acoustical properties.

· correction, replacement or repair cost estimates.

· estimates of the cost to operate any given system.

II. The inspector is not required to operate:

· any system that is shut down.

· any system that does not function properly.

· or evaluate low-voltage electrical systems such as, but not limited to: 1. phone lines; 2. cable lines; 3. satellite dishes; 4. antennae; 5. lights; or 6. remote controls.

· any system that does not turn on with the use of normal operating controls.

· any shut-off valves or manual stop valves.

· any electrical disconnect or over-current protection devices.

· any alarm systems.

· moisture meters, gas detectors or similar equipment.

III. The inspector is not required to:

· move any personal items or other obstructions, such as, but not limited to: throw rugs, carpeting, wall coverings, furniture, ceiling tiles, window coverings, equipment, plants, ice, debris, snow, water, dirt, pets, or anything else that might restrict the visual inspection.

· dismantle, open or uncover any system or component.

· enter or access any area that may, in the opinion of the inspector, be unsafe.

· enter crawlspaces or other areas that may be unsafe or not readily accessible.

· inspect underground items, such as, but not limited to: lawn-irrigation systems, or underground storage tanks (or indications of their presence), whether abandoned or actively used.

· do anything which may, in the inspector's opinion, be unsafe or dangerous to the inspector or others, or damage property, such as, but not limited to: walking on roof surfaces, climbing ladders, entering attic spaces, or negotiating with pets.

· inspect decorative items.

· inspect common elements or areas in multi-unit housing.

· inspect intercoms, speaker systems or security systems.

· offer guarantees or warranties.

· offer or perform any engineering services.

· offer or perform any trade or professional service other than general home inspection.

· research the history of the property, or report on its potential for alteration, modification, extendibility or suitability for a specific or proposed use for occupancy.

· determine the age of construction or installation of any system, structure or component of a building, or differentiate between original construction and subsequent additions, improvements, renovations or replacements.

· determine the insurability of a property.

· perform or offer Phase 1 or environmental audits.

· inspect any system or component that is not included in these Standards.

3. Standards of Practice

3.1. Roof

I. The inspector shall inspect from ground level or the eaves:

· the roof-covering materials;

· the gutters;

· the downspouts;

· the vents, flashing, skylights, chimney, and other roof penetrations; and

· the general structure of the roof from the readily accessible panels, doors or stairs.

II. The inspector shall describe:

· the type of roof-covering materials.

III. The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

· observed indications of active roof leaks.

IV. The inspector is not required to:

· walk on any roof surface.

· predict the service life expectancy.

· inspect underground downspout diverter drainage pipes.

· remove snow, ice, debris or other conditions that prohibit the observation of the roof surfaces.

· move insulation.

· inspect antennae, satellite dishes, lightning arresters, de-icing equipment, or similar attachments.

· walk on any roof areas that appear, in the opinion of the inspector, to be unsafe.

· walk on any roof areas if it might, in the opinion of the inspector, cause damage.

· perform a water test.

· warrant or certify the roof.

· confirm proper fastening or installation of any roof-covering material.

3.2. Exterior

I. The inspector shall inspect:

· the exterior wall-covering materials, flashing and trim;

· all exterior doors;

· adjacent walkways and driveways;

· stairs, steps, stoops, stairways and ramps;

· porches, patios, decks, balconies and carports;

· railings, guards and handrails;

· the eaves, soffits and fascia;

· a representative number of windows; and

· vegetation, surface drainage, retaining walls and grading of the property, where they may adversely affect the structure due to moisture intrusion.

II. The inspector shall describe:

· the type of exterior wall-covering materials.

III. The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

· any improper spacing between intermediate balusters, spindles and rails.

IV. The inspector is not required to:

· inspect or operate screens, storm windows, shutters, awnings, fences, outbuildings, or exterior accent lighting.

· inspect items that are not visible or readily accessible from the ground, including window and door flashing.

· inspect or identify geological, geotechnical, hydrological or soil conditions.

· inspect recreational facilities or playground equipment.

· inspect seawalls, breakwalls or docks.

· inspect erosion-control or earth-stabilization measures.

· inspect for safety-type glass.

· inspect underground utilities.

· inspect underground items.

· inspect wells or springs.

· inspect solar, wind or geothermal systems.

· inspect swimming pools or spas.

· inspect wastewater treatment systems, septic systems or cesspools.

· inspect irrigation or sprinkler systems.

· inspect drainfields or dry wells.