Seacliff Home Inspections

Phone: 519-982-4175
8 AM - 10 PM

Standards Of Practice

The Standards of Practice, created by ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) and updated March 2014, guide home inspectors in the performance of their inspections. Subject to regular review, the Standards of Practice reflect information gained through surveys of conditions in the field and of the consumers' interests and concerns. Vigilance has elevated ASHI's Standards of Practice so that today they are the most widely-accepted home inspection guidelines in use and are recognized by many government and professional groups as the definitive standard for professional performance.

You can download a copy of these Standards here.

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose & Scope
  3. Structural System
  4. Exterior
  5. Roof System
  6. Plumbing System
  7. Electrical System
  8. Heating System
  9. Air Conditioning Systems
  10. Interior
  11. Insulation and Ventilation
  12. Fireplaces and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances
  13. General Limitations and Exclusions
  14. Glossary Of Terms

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 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.

2.0 PURPOSE AND SCOPE

2.1 The purpose of these 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 The inspector shall :

  1. inspect readily accessible, visually observable, installed systems and components listed in these Standards of Practice.
  2. provide the client with a written report, using a format and medium selected by the inspector, that states:
    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.B.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.B.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.
  3. adhere to the Code of Ethics of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

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

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

3.0 STRUCTURAL SYSTEM

3.1 The inspector shall

  1. inspect :
    1. the 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.
  2. describe :
    1. the methods used to inspect under-floor crawl space ands 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 :

  1. provide any engineering or architectural service or analysis.
  2. offer an opinion as to the adequacy of any structural system or component.
  3. enter under-floor crawlspace areas that have less than 24 inches of vertical clearance between components and the ground or that have an access opening smaller than 16 inches by 24 inches.
  4. traverse attic load-bearing components that are concealed by insulation or by other materials.

4.0 EXTERIOR

4.1 The inspector shall :

  1. inspect :
    1. wall coverings, flashing and trim.
    2. 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.
  2. describe :
    1. describe wall coverings.

4.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect :

  1. screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal accessories.
  2. fences, boundary walls, and similar structures.
  3. geological and/or soil conditions.
  4. recreational facilities.
  5. outbuildings other than garages and carports.
  6. seawalls, break-walls, and docks.
  7. erosion control and earth stabilization measures.

5.0 ROOF SYSTEM

5.1 The inspector shall :

  1. inspect :
    1. roofing materials.
    2. roof drainage systems.
    3. flashing.
    4. skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations.
  2. describe :
    1. roofing materials.
    2. methods used to inspect the roofing.

5.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect :

  1. antennas.
  2. interiors of vent systems, flues, and chimneys that are not readily accessible.
  3. other installed accessories.

6.0 PLUMBING SYSTEM

6.1 The inspector shall :

  1. inspect :
    1. interior water supply and distribution systems including fixtures and faucets.
    2. interior drain, waste and vent systems including fixtures.
    3. water heating equipment and hot water supply system.
    4. vent systems, flues, and chimneys.
    5. fuel storage and fuel distribution systems.
    6. sewage ejectors, sump pumps, and related piping.
  2. describe :
    1. interior water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials.
    2. water heating equipment including energy source(s).
    3. location of main water and main fuel shut-off valves.

6.2 The inspector is NOT required to :

  1. inspect :
    1. clothes washing machine connections.
    2. interiors of vent systems, flues, and chimneys that are not readily accessible.
    3. wells, well pumps, or water storage related equipment.
    4. water conditioning systems.
    5. solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy water heating systems.
    6. manual and automatic fire extinguishing and sprinkler systems and landscape irrigation systems.
    7. septic and other private waste disposal systems.
  2. determine :
    1. whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private.
    2. water quality.
    3. the adequacy of combustion air components.
  3. measure water supply flow and pressure, and well water quantity.
  4. fill shower pans and fixtures to test for leaks.
  5. operate automatic safety controls or manual stop valves.

7.0 ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

7.1 The inspector shall :

  1. 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 and arc fault circuit interrupters.
  2. describe :
    1. amperage rating of the service.
    2. location of main disconnect(s) and sub panels.
    3. presence or absence of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
    4. the predominant branch circuit wiring method.

7.2 The inspector is NOT required to :

  1. inspect :
    1. remote control devices.
    2. or test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, security systems, and other signaling and warning devices.
    3. low voltage wiring systems and components.
    4. ancillary wiring systems and components not a part of the primary electrical power distribution system.
    5. solar, geothermal, wind, and other renewable energy systems.
  2. measure amperage, voltage, and impedance.
  3. determine the age and type of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

8.0 HEATING SYSTEM

8.1 The inspector shall :

  1. open readily openable access panels.
  2. inspect :
    1. installed heating equipment.
    2. vent systems, flues, and chimneys.
    3. distribution systems
  3. describe :
    1. energy source(s).
    2. heating systems.

8.2 The inspector is NOT required to :

  1. inspect :
    1. interiors of vent systems, flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible.
    2. heat exchangers.
    3. humidifiers or dehumidifiers.
    4. electric air cleaning and sanitizing devices.
    5. heating systems using ground-source, water-source, solar, and renewable energy technologies.
    6. heat-recovery and similar whole-house mechanical ventilation systems.
  2. determine :
    1. heat supply adequacy or distribution balance.
    2. the adequacy of combustion air components.

9.0 AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM

9.1 The inspector shall :

  1. open readily openable access panels.
  2. inspect :
    1. central and permanently installed cooling equipment.
    2. distribution systems.
  3. describe :
    1. energy source(s).
    2. cooling systems.

9.2 The inspector is NOT required to :

  1. inspect electric air cleaning and sanitizing devices.
  2. determine cooling supply adequacy or distribution balance.
  3. inspect cooling units that are not permanently installed or that are installed in windows.
  4. inspect cooling systems using ground-source, water-source, solar, and renewable energy technologies.

10.0 INTERIOR

10.1 The inspector shall inspect :

  1. walls, ceilings, and floors.
  2. steps, stairways, and railings.
  3. countertops and a representative number of installed cabinets.
  4. a representative number of doors and windows.
  5. garage vehicle doors and garage vehicle door operators.
  6. installed ovens, ranges, surface cooking appliances, microwave ovens, dishwashing machines, and food waste grinders by using normal operating controls to activate the primary function.

10.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect :

  1. paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments.
  2. floor coverings.
  3. window treatments.
  4. coatings on and the hermetic seals between panes of window glass.
  5. central vacuum systems.
  6. recreational facilities.
  7. installed and free-standing kitchen and laundry appliances not listed in Section 10.1.F.
  8. appliance thermostats including their calibration, adequacy of heating elements, self cleaning oven cycles, indicator lights, door seals, timers, clocks, timed features, and other specialized features of the appliance.
  9. operate, or confirm the operation of every control and feature of an inspected appliance.

11.0 INSULATION AND VENTILATION

11.1 The inspector shall :

  1. inspect :
    1. insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces.
    2. ventilation of attics and foundation areas.
    3. kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and similar exhaust systems.
    4. kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and similar exhaust systems.
    5. clothes dryer exhaust systems.
  2. 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.

12.0 FIREPLACE AND SOLID FUIL BURNING APPLIANCES

12.1 The inspector shall :

  1. inspect :
    1. fuel-burning fireplaces, stoves, and fireplace inserts.
    2. fuel-burning accessories installed in fireplaces.
    3. chimney and vents.
  2. describe systems and components listed in 12.1.A.1 and .2.

12.2 The inspector is NOT required to :

  1. inspect :
    1. interiors of vent systems, flues, and chimneys that are not readily accessible.
    2. fire screens and doors.
    3. seals and gaskets.
    4. automatic fuel feed devices.
    5. mantles and fireplace surrounds.
    6. combustion air components and to determine their adequacy.
    7. heat distribution assists (gravity fed and fan assisted).
    8. fuel-burning fireplaces and appliances located outside the inspected structures.
  2. ignite or extinguish fires.
  3. determine draft characteristics.
  4. move fireplace inserts and stoves or firebox contents.

13.0 GENERAL LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS

13.1 General limitations :

  1. The inspector is NOT required to perform actions, or to make determinations, or to make recommendations not specifically stated in this Standard.
  2. Inspections performed using this Standard:
    1. are not technically exhaustive.
    2. are not required to identify and to report:
      1. concealed conditions, latent defects, consequential damages, and
      2. cosmetic imperfections that do not significantly affect a component's performance of its intended function.
  3. These Standards of Practice are applicable to buildings with four or fewer dwelling units and their attached and detached garages and carports.
  4. This Standard shall not limit or prevent the inspector from meeting state statutes which license professional home inspection and home inspectors.
  5. Redundancy in the description of the requirements, limitations, and exclusions regarding the scope of the homeinspection is provided for emphasis only.

13.2 General exclusions :

  1. 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. the strength, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of systems or components.
    4. the causes of conditions or deficiencies.
    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 uses.
    8. compliance of systems and components with past or present regulatory requirements and guidelines (codes, regulations, laws, ordinances, specifications, installation and maintenance instructions, use and care guides, etc.).
    9. market value of the property or its marketability.
    10. the advisability of purchasing the property.
    11. the presence of plants, animals, and other life forms and substances that may be hazardous or harmful to humans including, but not limited to, wood destroying organisms, molds and mold-like substances.
    12. the presence of environmental hazards including, but not limited to, allergens, toxins, carcinogens, electromagnetic radiation, noise, radioactive substances, and contaminants in building materials, soil, water, and air.
    13. the effectiveness of systems installed and methods used to control or remove suspected hazardous plants, animals, and environmental hazards.
    14. operating costs of systems or components.
    15. acoustical properties of systems or components.
    16. soil conditions relating to geotechnical or hydrologic specialties.
    17. whether items, materials, conditions and components are subject to recall, controversy, litigation, product liability, and other adverse claims and conditions.
  2. Inspectors are NOT required to offer :
    1. or perform any act or service contrary to law or to government regulations.
    2. or to perform architectural, engineering, contracting, or surveying services or to confirm or to evaluate such services performed by others.
    3. or to perform trades or professional services other than home inspection.
    4. warranties or guarantees.
  3. Inspectors are NOT required to operate :
    1. systems or components that is shut down or otherwise inoperable.
    2. systems or components that does not respond to normal operating controls.
    3. shut-off valves or manual stop valves.
    4. automatic safety controls.
  4. Inspectors are NOT required to enter :
    1. areas that will, in the professional judgment of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or to other persons, or to damage the property or its systems and components.
    2. under-floor crawlspaces or attics that are not readily accessible.
  5. 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.
    7. every occurrence of multiple similar components.
    8. outdoor cooking appliances.
  6. Inspectors are NOT required to :
    1. perform procedures or operations that will, in the professional judgment of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or to other persons, or to damage the property or its systems or components.
    2. describe or report on systems and components that are not included in this Standard and that were 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 this Standard.
    5. reset, reprogram, or otherwise adjust devices, systems, and components affected by inspection required by this Standard.
    6. ignite or extinguish fires, pilot lights, burners, and other open flames that require manual ignition.
    7. probe surfaces that would be damaged or where no deterioration is visible or presumed to exist.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Alarm Systems

Warning devices installed or free-standing including but not limited to smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, flue gas, and other spillage detectors, and security equipment

Automatic Safety Controls
Devices designed and installed to protect systems and components from unsafe conditions

Component
A part of a system

Decorative
Ornamental; not required for the proper operation of the essential systems and components of a home

Describe
To identify (in writing) a system or component by its type or other distinguishing characteristics

Dismantle
To take apart or remove any component, device, or piece of equipment that would not be taken apart or removed by a homeowner in the course of normal maintenance

Engineering
The application of scientific knowledge for the design, control, or use of building structures, equipment, or apparatus

Further Evaluation
Examination and analysis by a qualified professional, tradesman, or service technician beyond that provided by the home inspection

Home Inspection
The process by which an inspector visually examines the readily accessible systems and components of a home and which describes those systems and components in accordance with these Standards of Practice

Household Appliances
Kitchen, laundry, and similar appliances, whether installed or free-standing

Inspect
To examine any system or component of a building in accordance with these Standards of Practice, using normal operating controls and opening readily openable access panels

Inspector
A person hired to examine any system or component of a building in accordance with these Standards of Practice

Installed
Attached such that removal requires tools

Normal Operating Controls
Devices such as thermostats, switches, or valves intended to be operated by the homeowner

Readily Accessible
Available for visual inspection without requiring moving of personal property, dismantling, destructive measures, or any action that will likely involve risk to persons or property

Readily Openable Access Panel
A panel provided for homeowner inspection and maintenance that is readily accessible, within normal reach, can be removed by one person, and is not sealed in place

Recreational Facilities
Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, exercise, entertainment, athletic, playground or other similar equipment, and associated accessories

Report
Communicate in writing

Representative Number
One component per room for multiple similar interior components such as windows, and electric receptacles; one component on each side of the building for multiple similar exterior components

Roof Drainage Systems
Components used to carry water off a roof and away from a building

Shut Down
A state in which a system or component cannot be operated by normal operating controls

Siding
Exterior wall covering and cladding; such as: aluminum, asphalt, brick, cement/asbestos, EIFS, stone, stucco, veneer, vinyl, wood, etc.

Solid Fuel Burning Appliances
A hearth and fire chamber or similar prepared place in which a fire may be built and that is built in conjunction with a chimney; or a listed assembly of a fire chamber, its chimney, and related factory-made parts designed for unit assembly without requiring field construction

Structural Component
A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads)

System
A combination of interacting or interdependent components, assembled to carry out one or more functions.

Technically Exhaustive
An investigation that involves dismantling, the extensive use of advanced techniques, measurements, instruments, testing, calculations, or other means

Under-floor Crawl Space
The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the floor

Unsafe
A condition in a readily accessible, installed system or component that is judged to be a significant risk of bodily injury during normal, day-to-day use; the risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation, or a change in accepted residential construction standards

Wiring Methods
Identification of electrical conductors or wires by their general type, such as non-metallic sheathed cable, armored cable,or knob and tube, etc.