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HOME INSPECTIONS

STANDARDS OF PRACTICE

1. Interior, Exterior, Windows & Doors

DOORS, WINDOWS & INTERIOR

 The inspector shall inspect:

  • a representative number of doors and windows by opening and closing them;

  • floors, walls and ceilings;

  • stairs, steps, landings, stairways and ramps;

  • railings, guards and handrails; and

  • garage vehicle doors and the operation of garage vehicle door openers, using normal operating controls.

The inspector shall describe:

  • a garage vehicle door as manually-operated or installed with a garage door opener.

The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

  • improper spacing between intermediate balusters, spindles and rails for steps, stairways, guards and railings;

  • photo-electric safety sensors that did not operate properly; and

  • any window that was obviously fogged or displayed other evidence of broken seals.

The inspector is not required to:

  • inspect paint, wallpaper, window treatments or finish treatments.

  • inspect floor coverings or carpeting.

  • inspect central vacuum systems.

  • inspect for safety glazing.

  • inspect security systems or components.

  • evaluate the fastening of islands, countertops, cabinets, sink tops or fixtures.

  • move furniture, stored items, or any coverings, such as carpets or rugs, in order to inspect the concealed floor structure.

  • move suspended-ceiling tiles.

  • inspect or move any household appliances.

  • inspect or operate equipment housed in the garage, except as otherwise noted.

  • verify or certify the proper operation of any pressure-activated auto-reverse or related safety feature of a garage door.

  • operate or evaluate any security bar release and opening mechanisms, whether interior or exterior, including their

  • compliance with local, state or federal standards.

  • operate any system, appliance or component that requires the use of special keys, codes, combinations or devices.

  • operate or evaluate self-cleaning oven cycles, tilt guards/latches, or signal lights.

  • inspect microwave ovens or test leakage from microwave ovens.

  • operate or examine any sauna, steam-generating equipment, kiln, toaster, ice maker, coffee maker, can opener, bread warmer,

  • blender, instant hot-water dispenser, or other small, ancillary appliances or devices.

  • inspect elevators.

  • inspect remote controls.

  • inspect appliances.

  • inspect items not permanently installed.

  • discover firewall compromises.

  • inspect pools, spas or fountains.

  • determine the adequacy of whirlpool or spa jets, water force, or bubble effects.

  • determine the structural integrity or leakage of pools or spas.

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EXTERIOR

The inspector shall inspect:

  • the exterior wall-covering materials;

  • the eaves, soffits and fascia;

  • a representative number of windows;

  • all exterior doors;

  • flashing and trim;

  • adjacent walkways and driveways;

  • stairs, steps, stoops, stairways and ramps;

  • porches, patios, decks, balconies and carports;

  • railings, guards and handrails; and

  • vegetation, surface drainage, retaining walls and grading of the property, where they may adversely affect the structure due

  • to moisture intrusion.

The inspector shall describe:

the type of exterior wall-covering materials.

The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

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

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.

  • determine the integrity of multiple-pane window glazing or thermal window seals.

 HVAC

HEATING

The inspector shall inspect:

  • the heating system, using normal operating controls.

The inspector shall describe:

  • the location of the thermostat for the heating system;

  • the energy source; and

  • the heating method.

The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

  • any heating system that did not operate; and

  • if the heating system was deemed inaccessible.

The inspector is not required to:

  • inspect, measure, or evaluate the interior of flues or chimneys, fire chambers, heat exchangers, combustion air

  • systems, fresh-air intakes, makeup air, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, electronic air filters, geothermal systems, or solar heating systems.

  • inspect fuel tanks or underground or concealed fuel supply systems.

  • determine the uniformity, temperature, flow, balance, distribution, size, capacity, BTU, or supply adequacy of the heating system.

  • light or ignite pilot flames.

  • activate heating, heat pump systems, or other heating systems when ambient temperatures or other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or may damage the equipment.

  • override electronic thermostats.

  • evaluate fuel quality.

  • verify thermostat calibration, heat anticipation, or automatic setbacks, timers, programs or clocks.

  • measure or calculate the air for combustion, ventilation, or dilution of flue gases for appliances.

COOLING

The inspector shall inspect:

  • the exterior wall-covering materials;

  • the eaves, soffits and fascia;

  • a representative number of windows;

  • all exterior doors;

  • flashing and trim;

  • adjacent walkways and driveways;

  • stairs, steps, stoops, stairways and ramps;

  • porches, patios, decks, balconies and carports;

  • railings, guards and handrails; and

  • vegetation, surface drainage, retaining walls and grading of the property, where they may adversely affect the structure due

  • to moisture intrusion.

The inspector shall describe:

  • the type of exterior wall-covering materials.

The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

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

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.

  • determine the integrity of multiple-pane window glazing or thermal window seals.

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BASEMENT, FOUNDATION, CRAWLSPACE & STRUCTURE

The inspector shall inspect:

  • the foundation;

  • the basement;

  • the crawlspace; and

  • structural components.

The inspector shall describe:

  • the type of foundation; and

  • the location of the access to the under-floor space.

The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

  • observed indications of wood in contact with or near soil;

  • observed indications of active water penetration;

  • observed indications of possible foundation movement, such as sheet-rock cracks, brick cracks, out-of-square door frames, and un-level floors; and

  • any observed cutting, notching and boring of framing members that may, in the inspector’s opinion, present a structural or safety concern.

The inspector is not required to:

  • enter any crawlspace that is not readily accessible, or where entry could cause damage or pose a hazard to him/herself.

  • move stored items or debris.

  • operate sump pumps with inaccessible floats.

  • identify the size, spacing, span or location or determine the adequacy of foundation bolting, bracing, joists, joist spans or support systems.

  • provide any engineering or architectural service.

  • report on the adequacy of any structural system or component.

Fireplace

  • FIREPLACE

The inspector shall inspect:

  • readily accessible and visible portions of the fireplaces and chimneys;

  • lintels above the fireplace openings;

  • damper doors by opening and closing them, if readily accessible and manually operable; and

  • cleanout doors and frames.

The inspector shall describe:

  • the type of fireplace.

The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

  • evidence of joint separation, damage or deterioration of the hearth, hearth extension or chambers;

  • manually operated dampers that did not open and close;

  • the lack of a smoke detector in the same room as the fireplace;

  • the lack of a carbon-monoxide detector in the same room as the fireplace; and

  • cleanouts not made of metal, pre-cast cement, or other non-combustible material.

The inspector is not required to:

  • inspect the flue or vent system.

  • inspect the interior of chimneys or flues, fire doors or screens, seals or gaskets, or mantels.

  • determine the need for a chimney sweep.

  • operate gas fireplace inserts.

  • light pilot flames.

  • determine the appropriateness of any installation.

  • inspect automatic fuel-fed devices.

  • inspect combustion and/or make-up air devices.

  • inspect heat-distribution assists, whether gravity-controlled or fan-assisted.

  • ignite or extinguish fires.

  • determine the adequacy of drafts or draft characteristics.

  • move fireplace inserts, stoves or firebox contents.

  • perform a smoke test.

  • dismantle or remove any component.

  • perform a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)-style inspection.

  • perform a Phase I home inspection for fireplace and chimney.

 Roof-Attic

  • ROOF

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.

The inspector shall describe:

  • the type of roof-covering materials.

The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

  • observed indications of active roof leaks.

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 inspector’s opinion, to be unsafe.

  • walk on any roof areas if doing so might, in the inspector’s opinion, cause damage.

  • perform a water test.

  • warrant or certify the roof.

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

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