How well do you know current building codes? If you’re a home inspector, you should be well versed so that you can provide your customers with a more comprehensive inspection report. Code changes often, sometimes just a bit and sometimes significantly. It can also vary somewhat from town to town. The more you know, the more information you can provide to customers so that, in turn, they can make the best decisions for their homes.
Here’s why you should learn everything that you can and stay on top of every new version that’s published:
#1: Code Sometimes Varies by Location
Some things are essentially the same, no matter where you live and work. For example, It’s unlikely that any town, no matter how small, permits electrical outlets in a shower. That’s a ridiculous example, but it illustrates the point. But towns also have some discretion, so what’s code in one area might not be in another.
Most areas have adopted the International Building Code, but towns also have some discretion. For example, some local electrical inspectors will allow pigtailed ground wires at an outlet twisted together without a wire nut. But many will fail an electrical inspection without wire nuts. Knowing code differences for the areas where you work help make your reports more specific to the location.
#2: Knowing What’s Code Helps You Spot More Defects
Knowing what’s code lets you identify more defects. While many home inspectors have a background in construction, electrical work, plumbing and so on, many more do not. If you already know what’s legal for a particular home system, spotting defects is simple. If you don’t, it requires additional study.
International Building Code exists for consistency and safety in construction practices. A home inspection exists for similar reasons. When you have a broader understanding of what constitutes a defect and why, you’ll be a more thorough inspector who can spot what other inspectors might overlook.
#3: Comprehensive Inspection Reports Tell Your Customer More
Your customers probably have very little information about how you do your job. For them, it’s all about the report and what it contains. Any inspector can note defects and take excellent photos. But with a good grasp of code, Structure Tech says you can fill in what’s sometimes a more important bit of information: Why a defect is a problem in the first place.
Reports allow your customers to make a decision. Often, it’s whether or not to buy a home. Sometimes a homeowner hires an inspector to find out about problems so that they can make the necessary repairs. Either way, a report that only states defects leaves a lot of information missing. If you know code, you can explain what makes a defect a defect, and also explain what is likely to happen if it’s not corrected.
Home inspectors aren’t required to know the International Building Code and all of the local variations thereof inside and out, but this familiarity is one more way for you to build your business. A knowledgeable inspector gains the trust of customers, and that leads to more referrals. But there’s more to it than that. Customers hire you for information that they aren’t qualified to find on their own. When you can offer it, that’s just good customer service.
ICA School has instructed many students in the home inspection trade, and more make the decision to enroll every day. The reason why is because we offer a comprehensive program that goes beyond the minimum to really prepare you for a career in the industry. Ready to find out more? Get a free demo today and see what makes our school so different.