What is inspected and what is not inspected during a quality home inspection


 

ASHI Standards of Practice



1. INTRODUCTION
The American Society of Home Inspectors®, Inc. (ASHI®) is a not-for-profit professional society established in 1976. Membership in ASHI is voluntary and its members are private 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 the Standards of Practice is to establish a minimum and uniform standard for home inspectors who subscribe to these Standards of Practice. Home inspections performed to these Standards of Practice are intended to provide the client with objective information regarding the condition of the systems and components of the home as inspected at the time of the home inspection. Redundancy in the description of the requirements, limitations, and exclusions regarding the scope of the home inspection is provided for emphasis only.

2.2 Inspectors shall:

A. adhere to the Code of Ethics of the American
Society of Home Inspectors.

B. inspect readily accessible, visually observable,
installed systems and components listed in these
Standards of Practice.

C. Report:

1. Those systems and components inspected that, in the professional judgment of the inspector, are not functioning properly,significantly deficient, unsafe, or are near the end of their service lives.

2. Recommendations to correct, or monitor for future correction, the deficiencies reported in 2.2.C.1, or items needing further evaluation. (Per Exclusion 13.2.A.5 inspectors are NOT required to determine methods, materials, or costs of corrections.)

3. Reasoning or explanation as to the nature of the deficiencies reported in 2.2.C.1, that are not self-evident.

4. Systems and components designated for inspection in these Standards of Practice that were present at the time of the home inspection but were not inspected and the reason(s) they were not inspected.

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

A. including other inspection services or systems and components in addition to those required in Section 2.2.B.
B. designing or specifying repairs, provided the inspector is appropriately qualified and willing to do so.
C. excluding systems and components from the inspection if requested by the client.

3. STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS
3.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect:
1. structural components including the 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 or presumed to exist.

B. describe:
1. the methods used to inspect under-floor crawl spaces and attics.
2. the foundation.
3. the floor structure.
4. the wall structure.
5. the ceiling structure.
6. the roof structure.

3.2 The inspector is NOT required to:
A. provide any engineering or architectural services or analysis.
B. offer an opinion as to the adequacy of any structural system or component.

4. EXTERIOR
4.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect:
1. siding, flashing and trim.
2. all exterior doors.
3. attached or adjacent decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings.
4. eaves, soffits, and fascias where accessible from the ground level.
5. vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls that are likely to adversely affect the building.
6. adjacent or entryway walkways, patios, and driveways.

B. describe:
1. siding.

4.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect:

A. screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal accessories.
B. fences.
C. geological and/or soil conditions.
D. recreational facilities.
E. outbuildings other than garages and carports.
F. seawalls, break-walls, and docks.
G. erosion control and earth stabilization measures.

5. ROOFING
5.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect:
1. roofing materials.
2. roof drainage systems.
3. flashing.
4. skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations.

B. describe:
1. roofing materials.
2. methods used to inspect the roofing.

5.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect:
A. antennae.
B. interiors of flues or chimneys that are not
readily accessible.
C. other installed accessories.

6. PLUMBING

6.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect:
1. interior water supply and distribution systems including all fixtures and faucets.
2. drain, waste, and vent systems including all fixtures.
3. water heating equipment and hot water supply system.
4. vent systems, flues, and chimneys.
5. fuel storage and fuel distribution systems.
6. drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping.

B. describe:
1. water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials.
2. water heating equipment including energy source(s).
3. location of main water and fuel shut-off valves.

6.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect:
1. clothes washing machine connections.
2. interiors of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible.
3. wells, well pumps, or water storage related equipment.
4. water conditioning systems.
5. solar water heating systems.
6. fire and lawn sprinkler systems.
7. private waste disposal systems.

B. determine:
1. whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private.
2. water supply quantity or quality.
C. operate automatic safety controls or manual stop valves.

7. ELECTRICAL
7.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect:
1. service drop.
2. service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways.
3. service equipment and main disconnects.
4. service grounding.
5. interior components of service panels and sub panels.
6. conductors.
7. overcurrent protection devices.
8. a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles.
9. ground fault circuit interrupters.

B. describe:
1. amperage and voltage rating of the service.
2. location of main disconnect(s) and sub panels.
3. presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring.
4. presence or absence of smoke detectors.
5. wiring methods.

7.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect:
1. remote control devices.
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
8.1 The inspector shall:

A. open readily openable access panels.

B. inspect:
1. installed heating equipment.
2. vent systems, flues, and chimneys.

C. describe:
1. energy source(s).
2. heating systems.

8.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect:
1. interiors of flues or chimneys that are not
readily accessible.
2. heat exchangers.
3. humidifiers or dehumidifiers.
4. electronic air filters.
5. solar space heating systems.
B. determine heat supply adequacy or
distribution balance.

9. AIR CONDITIONING

9.1 The inspector shall:
A. open readily openable access panels.

B. inspect:
1. central and through-wall equipment.
2. distribution systems.
C. describe:
1. energy source(s).
2. cooling systems.

9.2 The inspector is NOT required to:
A. inspect electronic air filters.
B. determine cooling supply adequacy or
distribution balance.
C. inspect window air conditioning units.

10. INTERIORS

10.1 The inspector shall inspect:
A. walls, ceilings, and floors.
B. steps, stairways, and railings.
C. countertops and a representative number of
installed cabinets.
D. a representative number of doors and windows.
E. garage doors and garage door operators.

10.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect:
A. paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments.
B. carpeting.
C. window treatments.
D. central vacuum systems.
E. household appliances.
F. recreational facilities.

11. INSULATION & VENTILATION

11.1 The inspector shall:
A. inspect:
1. insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces.
2. ventilation of attics and foundation areas.
3. mechanical ventilation systems.

B. describe:
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 disturb insulation.
See 13.2.A.11 and 13.2.A.12.

12. FIREPLACES AND SOLID FUEL BURNING APPLIANCES
12.1 The inspector shall:

A. inspect:
1. system components.
2. chimney and vents.

B. describe:
1. fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances.
2. chimneys.

12.2 The inspector is NOT required to:

A. inspect:
1. interiors of flues or chimneys.
2. firescreens and doors.
3. seals and gaskets.
4. automatic fuel feed devices.
5. mantles and fireplace surrounds.
6. combustion make-up air devices.
7. heat distribution assists (gravity fed and fan
assisted).

B. ignite or extinguish fires.

C. determine draft characteristics.

D. move fireplace inserts and stoves or firebox
contents.

13. GENERAL LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS
13.1 General limitations:

A. The inspector is NOT required to perform any action or make any determination not specifically stated in these Standards of Practice.

B. Inspections performed in accordance with these Standards of Practice:
1. are not technically exhaustive.
2. are not required to identify concealed. conditions, latent defects, or consequential damage(s).

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

13.2 General exclusions:

A. Inspectors are NOT required to determine:
1. conditions of systems or components that are not readily accessible.
2. remaining life expectancy of any system or component.
3. strength, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of any system or component.
4. the 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. the suitability of the property for any specialized use.
8. compliance with regulatory requirements (codes, regulations, laws, ordinances, etc.).
9. market value of the property or its marketability.
10. the advisability of purchase of the property.
11. the presence of potentially hazardous plants or animals including, but not limited to, wood destroying organisms or diseases harmful to humans including molds or mold-like substances.
12. the presence of any environmental hazards including, but not limited to, toxins, carcinogens, noise, and contaminants in soil, water, and air.
13. the effectiveness of any system installed 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.
16. soil conditions relating to geotechnical or hydrologic specialties.

B. Inspectors are NOT required to offer:
1. or perform any act or service contrary to law.
2. or perform engineering services.
3. or perform any trade or any professional. service other than home inspection.
4. warranties or guarantees of any kind.

C. Inspectors are NOT required to operate:
1. any system or component that is shut down or otherwise inoperable.
2. any system or component that does not respond to normal operating controls.
3. shut-off valves or manual stop valves.

D. Inspectors are 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. under-floor crawl spaces or attics that are not readily accessible.

E. Inspectors are NOT required to inspect:
1. underground items including but not limited to underground storage tanks or other underground indications of their presence, whether abandoned or active.
2. items that are not installed.
3. installed decorative items.
4. items in areas that are not entered in accordance with 13.2.D.
5. detached structures other than garages and carports.
6. common elements or common areas in multi-unit housing, such as condominium properties or cooperative housing.

F. Inspectors are 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 its systems or components.
2. describe or report on any system or component that is not included in these Standards and was not inspected.
3. move personal property, furniture, equipment, plants, soil, snow, ice, or debris.
4. dismantle any system or component, except as explicitly required by these Standards of Practice.


 

Code of Ethics


ASHI’s Code of Ethics stresses the home inspector’s responsibility to report the results of the inspection in a strictly fair, impartial, and professional manner, avoiding conflicts of interest. ASHI Membership Selecting the right home inspector can be as important as finding the right home. ASHI Members have performed no fewer than 250 fee-paid inspections in accordance with the ASHI Standards of Practice. They have passed written examinations testing their
knowledge of residential construction, defect recognition, inspection techniques, and report-writing, as well as ASHI’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors is well-earned and maintained only through meeting requirements for continuing education.
Find local ASHI Members by calling 1-800-743-2744 or visiting the ASHI Web site at www.ashi.org.

Copyright 2006 American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc.® All rights reserved
 

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AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HOME INSPECTORS AUXILIARY STANDARD OF PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE FOR INSPECTING RADON MITIGATION SYSTEMS

 

1.  PURPOSE OF THIS STANDARD 

 

1.1 The purpose of this Standard of Professional Practice for Inspecting Radon Mitigation Systems (Radon Standard) is to establish a voluntary standard for inspectors who inspect radon mitigation systems. This Radon Standard does not apply to a home inspection using The ASHI Standard of Practice for Home Inspections (ASHI SoP) unless the inspector and the client specifically agree in writing to include this additional inspection. 

 

1.2 This Radon Standard does not limit inspectors from: 

 

A. including other services or components in addition to those required by this Radon Standard; 

 

B. complying with government laws and regulations that affect the inspector; and 

 

C. excluding radon mitigation system components, if agreed to in writing by the client. 

 

1.3 An inspector who inspects a radon mitigation system using this Radon Standard shall adhere to the 

 

ASHI® Code of Ethics for the Home Inspection Profession. 

 

2.  RADON MITIGATION SYSTEM INSPECTION OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE 

 

2.1 The objective of a radon mitigation system inspection is to use this Radon Standard to determine the condition of the radon mitigation system at the time of the inspection. 

 

2.2 An inspection of a radon mitigation system using this Radon Standard: 

 

A. is visual, and is not technically exhaustive;

 

 B. is general, and does not include: 

 

1. government laws and regulations that affect the radon mitigation system, 

 

2. other industry standards and guidelines, 

 

3. manufacturer’s installation instructions; 

 

C. does not evaluate or determine the functionality, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of the inspected radon mitigation System.

 

D. does not evaluate, determine, or speculate about the present and future health effects of exposure to radon including, but not limited to, radon that may be emitted from the radon mitigation system; and 

 

E. does not include measurement of radon levels, unless the inspector and client specifically agree in 

 

writing to include this additional service. 

 

Copyright © 2017 American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc.                                                                 3/15/18 Page 2 of 5 

 

3.  INSPECTION AND REPORT 

 

3.1 The inspector shall inspect the readily accessible, visually observable, installed radon mitigation 

 

system, as specified in Section 4 of this Radon Standard. 

 

3.2 The inspector shall issue a written report, using a medium and a format selected by the inspector, that: 

 

A. identifies components that are significantly deficient, in the professional judgment of the inspector; 

 

B. reports the absence of an available radon test result completed during the two years before the inspection; 

 

C. reports significant differences between the radon mitigation system documentation and the inspected radon mitigation system, if such documentation is available; 

 

D. provides the reasoning or explanation as to the nature of the deficiencies reported in 

 

3.2.A and 3.2.C that are not self‐evident; 

 

E. recommends correction, further evaluation, or monitoring of components identified in 3.2.A and 3.2.C and F. identifies components specified for inspection in this Radon Standard that were present during 

 

the inspection, but were not inspected, and a reason why they were not inspected. 

 

4.  RADON MITIGATION SYSTEM INSPECTION 

 

A. The inspector shall observe results of radon level measurement,

 

 if available. 

 

B. The inspector shall observe radon mitigation system documentation, if available. 

 

C. The inspector shall observe written documentation of radon mitigation system maintenance, if available. 

 

D. The inspector shall inspect: 

 

1. Sealing of openings between soil and areas 

 

that may exchange air with conditioned space:    

 

a. slabs, crawlspaces, basements, and   

 

 b. drainage sump pits. 

 

  2. Installation of fans:    

 

a. suitability of fan location, b. suitability of fan for installed location,    

 

c. electrical connections and disconnecting means, and 

 

d. presence of a system fan monitor and whether the monitor appears to be functioning.   

 

3. Installation of exhaust pipes:    

 

a. suitability of material for installed location,   

 

b. sealing of joints,    

 

c. compromise of structural members and fireblocking,    

 

d. suitability of termination orientation and location, and    

 

e. notices and labeling 

 

5.  GENERAL LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS 

 

A. The inspector is not required to perform actions, make determinations, or make recommendations unless specifically required by this Radon Standard. 

 

B. An inspection of a radon mitigation system using this Radon Standard is not  required to identify or to report: 

 

1. latent defects, consequential damages, and cosmetic issues, 

 

 2. components that are concealed or otherwise not visible, or that are not readily accessible,  

 

 3. the condition of components that are not part of the radon mitigation system, 

 

4. radon mitigation system documentation that is not available, and 

 

5. components that were not inspected by reason of 5.D.4. 

 

C. The inspector is NOT required to determine: 

 

1.  methods, materials, and costs of corrections, 2.  future conditions including, but not limited to component failure and the remaining life expectancy of components,

 

3. presence of environmental hazards including, but not limited to, allergens, toxins, carcinogens, electromagnetic radiation, noise, radioactive substances including radon, and contaminants in building materials, soil, water, and air, 

 

4. whether any item, material, condition, or component is subject to recall, controversy, litigation, product liability or other adverse claim or condition, and 

 

5. compliance of radon mitigation system with past and present requirements and guidelines (codes, regulations, laws, ordinances, specifications, installation and maintenance instructions, use and care guides, etc.). 

 

D. The inspector is NOT required to: 

 

1.  perform any act or service contrary to law or regulation; 

 

2.  perform any trade or any professional service other than as required in this Radon Standard; 

 

3.  provide warranties or guarantees of any kind; 

 

 4.  perform any procedure or operation or to enter any area that may, in the  opinion of the inspector, be dangerous to the inspector, to other persons, or  that may cause damage to the property or to components; 

 

 5.  move personal property, plants, soil, snow, ice, or debris; 

 

6.  dismantle any radon mitigation system component; and 

 

7.  determine causes of or reasons for the condition of radon mitigation system components. 

 

 5.  DEFINITIONS OF ITALICIZED TERMS 

 

Available   present, provided to the inspector, and ready for use at the beginning of the inspection. 

 

Client   A person who hires an inspector to inspect radon mitigation system components using this 

 

Radon 

 

Standard.  Component   A primary part of a functionally related group that works together as a system;

 

 but not including ancillary parts that do not contribute to the intended function of the system. 

 

Cosmetic issues   Defects that are superficial, and that do not affect a component’s ability to function properly.  Documentation   

 

(1)  Written  installation  and  operating  instructions  provided  by  the  radon  mitigation system installation contractor. (2) Written description of work performed by a radon 

 

mitigation system contractor to maintain the radon mitigation system.  Further evaluation   Additional 

 

examination and analysis by a qualified professional.  Home inspection   an inspection performed using 

 

The ASHI Standard of Practice for  Home  Inspections.  Inspect   The process of visually examining a readily accessible radon mitigation system using this Radon Standard.  Inspector   A person who is qualified to inspect a radon mitigation system using this Radon Standard.  Installed   A component that is connected or set in position and prepared for use. 

 

Readily accessible   A component that is located in an area where access will not involve risk to persons or property, and that is visible without: (1) moving matter or material of any kind, and (2)  using tools, and (3) using a ladder taller than twelve feet.  Radon mitigation system   A collection of components that are intended to reduce radon below an agreed upon level in a residential building.  Technically Exhaustive An investigation that  involves  the  use  of advanced  techniques,  instruments, testing, calculations, engineering, or other means. 

 

APPENDIX A IMPORTANT NOTICE 

 

  The American Society of  Home  Inspectors,  Inc.  (ASHI) does not verify  the  qualifications  of  inspectors who use this Radon Standard, and has no authority or control over the inspections  undertaken or performed using this Radon Standard. This Radon Standard is not intended to discourage or limit additional or more detailed inspections. ASHI disclaims all liability for any and all  personal  and  bodily  injuries  and  damages,  including  but  not  limited  to  incidental  and  consequential damages, which may occur as a result of inspections performed using this Radon  Standard. No warranty, expressed or implied, is intended or offered by ASHI in the use of this Radon Standard.ASHI, its officers, directors, employees, and agents assume no risk, and make and imply no 

 

representations of any kind, to inspectors, consumers, third parties, and others