Is it Time for a Standards of Practice Refresher?

Home inspection

If you belong to a certified home inspector association, you work by their Standards of Practice. Standards provide the framework for a thorough home inspection. They support a unified industry where customers get what they pay for and know what to expect.

So when was the last time you read them?

You might remember most of what they cover, but you might also learn something new. Here’s what the ASHI Standards offer as guidance.

Standards Provide Minimum Requirements

Standards aren’t intended to serve as maximum boundaries. They’re the minimum that a home inspector can do to provide a good service. ASHI’s Purpose and Scope section 2.3 states that no standard is intended to limit what you can inspect, offering advice or even omitting certain items from the inspection as long as you and the customer agree to the omission in advance.

“Visible and Accessible” Doesn’t Equal “Look, but Don’t Touch”

In some instances, a visual inspection is all you need. That’s one reason why drones are becoming so popular for roof inspections. Although ASHI’s Standards explain that you should inspect what’s “readily accessible” and “visually observable,” that doesn’t mean a hands-on approach is restricted. It would be difficult to find defects with a kitchen range unless you turn the knobs and open the oven door.

Home inspection

Ethics make Standards of Practice work better.

Standards and Ethics Go Hand in Hand

ASHI’s Standards and Code of Ethics complement each other. If you follow the Ethics code, you’ll tend to apply the Standards in an ethical way that puts the best interest of your customer first.

You’re Never Expected to Put Your Safety at Risk

The whole purpose of a home inspection is to inform the customer about issues that could lead to financial loss, accidents, injuries, and general health concerns. However, you shouldn’t put your own safety at risk to do the job. ASHI’s General Limitations say you’re not required to enter dangerous areas, inspect dangerous systems, attempt dangerous feats (such as scaling an icy roof or moving furniture), or come in contact with hazardous materials.

Recommendations are Part of the Job

If you’ve heard that inspectors should steer clear of advising customers, you should look again at what the Standards say. Back in the Purpose and Scope section, ASHI clarifies what to do. Inspectors “shall” include in the written report any recommendations for correcting a defect, monitoring the defect in case future repair is needed or contacting an expert on that system for a deeper evaluation.

Standards exist to give a framework to the home inspection industry. They’re not intended to limit your work when your best judgment tells you to do more. And they’re not intended to put your safety at risk.

If it’s been a while since you’ve read the Standards, there’s no better time than now. Whether you belong to ASHI or any other home inspector association, the more you understand the Standards the better job you’ll do for customers, your business, and the industry.

If you’re still just figuring out how to become a certified home inspector, ICA School can help. Get a free course demo and see how our instructor-led video education model can work for you.

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