A Mission to Change the Standards - Let's Debate

I starting this thread over here in this public forum so that everyone may have a voice in the following letter I recieved from Kevin O’Hornet with Prospex. This topic came to light two days ago in this thread: http://www.nachi.org/forum/showthread.php?t=23230

I’m very surprised and shocked on his response! However, Mr. O’Hornett is a very well respected professional in the home inspection community. I respect and admire him a great deal. Please refrain from taking personal jabs and/or attacking him on his opinions. Thank You!!

One problem with the notion of ProSpex, or anyone else re-writing a “standard” of any type is the fact that just because you write it, doesnt mean it will be accepted or adopted.

Two specific examples of this come into play with state licensing and with the insurance industry.

So, for the gentleman at Prospex, let us not forget that in 23 regulated states, thetre are SOPs which are not only accepted, but mandated. Is his standard one of them? Will it be accepted over any other? Have inroads been made or is this just another attempt at re-inventing the wheel?

The second example is far more reaching… into our wallets. For this gentleman to claim that our ambiguous SOPs translate into losses in tortuous actions, my suggestion would be for him, to offer some proof of his claims. The reality os that all the E&O carriers want adherance to a major associations SOP. Period. There is good reason for this. They are used to successfully defend against lawsuits.

Because many states have their own SOP for licensing that are very close to industry standards, changing the inspection industry standard will be difficult at best.

I can’t seem to pull up the standards he touts. I’m getting a 404 not available error. Do you have a copy of them?

I do not, but I have asked Kevin O’Hornett to provide a copy and to join us in this thread.


Kevin, Without actually viewing his set of standards it would be difficult to make any statement regarding their value.

With that being said I would have to agree with most, if not all, of what he has stated. One of his statements that speaks quite well for his standards is:

As stated above though there are many states that have their own standards adopted. Unfortunately for us the Texas standard is one that dictates what is required of the individual instead of Kevin O’Hornet’s approach. Attempts have been made to change the standard but have been, for the most part, killed by those parties wishing to maintain control over what the Inspector is responsible for and not “what the inspection is responsible for”.

I would like to read his standards and learn what efforts, if any, he has undertaken to introduce these to states with a current set of standards? From previous attempts at changing the Texas standards it is obvious that the pressure for change will have to be introduced from outside of the organization (TREC) that controls them.

I just don’t like the way he is going about it all.

The above statement, unless I misunderstand it, means that he is willing to provide consulting services to people who are in litigation against home inspectors. He has made it clear that he will share with his clients the “loopholes” in the SOP, so that they may have an advantage over the inspector involved in litigation.

This is his way of a “wake-up call”

I don’t agree with that method.



An Open Forum on the NACHI BB may not present the proper Forum to be discussing Mr. Hornet’s perceived inadequacies (legal loopholes) of the NACHI, ASHI, NAHI, etc… Standards of Practice.

Mr. Hornett is in the business of looking for and exploiting loopholes that would advantage a plaintiff and disadvantage a home inspector who is simply doing his job in accordance with an agreed upon (between he and his client) standard.

As Mr. Farsetta has stated, in the absence of verifiable raw data provided by Mr. Hornett to the contrary, I would wager that the standards have been upheld more times than Mr. Hornett has been able to successfully exploit them.

There are lawyers who chase ambulances and there are “experts” huffing and puffing right behind them. It’s the nature of the beast. These lawyers seek “experts” who will support their case and this particular “expert” has simply published in advance for lawyers seeking such an “expert” what his testimony will be. I would hope that any good defense attorney would use his website as evidence of his pre-disposition and discredit his entire testimony.

Standards of practice are agreed upon by the client and inspector prior to services being rendered. Inspectors who fail to comply with what it is they say they will do can expect, perhaps deservedly, to be held accountable for that. But to accept the argument that Keith Swift, and now Mr. Hornett, have made ---- “yours is weak and mine is better” ---- as a reason to change standards is foolish and frivolous.


I don’t care to have anyone trying to sue me having inside information and/or abilities that could further what I would consider a frivolous case. But the fact is if he does not do this then someone else will. The advantage we might have is if Kevin O’Hornett chooses his cases carefully to perform services only for valid cases of negligence. I know we can get into a debate of what is valid or not but we are discussing his SOP and business practice policies.

Sometimes a “wake-up call” must come in a format that is not desirable to many. One of the problems with our country as a whole, and specifically our industry and its participants, is a total lack of apathy regarding what is occurring around them. Very few people care until it affects them in some significant way. By then it is generally to late to affect changes that could have prevented that significant, negative event. In this instance a “wake-up call” might be what is needed to grab the industry members attention and motivate them to act for changes that actually benefit them.


I value your opinions and as such hope this is not taken inappropriately. IMO I see nothing wrong with holding a discussion of this type on a fully public forum. If the NACHI SOP is exceptional then it can withstand any constructive, or otherwise, criticism that is brought forth. If it is lacking then it is a healthy thing for the public to view we are debating and changing it to better protect all involved.

For quite a long time now, I would guess since the inception of ASHI and home inspections we have followed standards. ASHI came up with some of the original ones, and others have evolved somewhat from them, but all current standards for associations and states are similar.

The visual home inspection is what the visual home inspection is. As James stated, it is agreed upon between the client and the inspector.

If the purpose of different standards is to perform a different type of inspection, or to raise the standard to a different level is unclear, but I am always wary of someone who made their money in the inspection industry, then wants to change it because after leaving it now it isn’t good enough.

I would see nothing wrong with writing a more technical standard, a more inclusive standard, or a more exhaustive standard, if the intent of that standard was to increase the level of the inspection performed and raise the ability of the inspector to charge a significantly higher fee.

Take a number. I think Swift and Hornett are ahead of you…:wink:

I have requested a copy of the prospex SOP as Kevin has offered for free.

I am looking forward to finding the differences and how he claims to omit “safety items”.

I have to follow NC and SC sop’s which include more than the nachi and ashi sops anyway.

I think its healthy to listen and examine new ideas, change and someone claiming they have a better way. Who knows, maybe they do? If not, then it will only reinforce the old proven way.

Let’s FIRST discuss whether ot not there is NEED for change. Unless and until we, as professional inspectors, can convince the world that we are the MOST important part of the real estate transaction, we will NEVER be able to justify higher prices. Absent of higher prices, what is the INCENTIVE for any of us to take on higher liability?

I could imagine those who will pile on and state that we MUST raise the standard first, in order to justify a higher price. It is my contention that it doesnt matter what standard we follow, as the client is primarily driven by price when choosing a HI.

I also believe, and the actuarials will back me on this one if pushed, that the current standards are fine, and so long as the inspector provides the inspection and conforms to the stated standard, negligence is a hard thing to prove.

If an industry states that one must inspect X, Y, and Z, and one does what he/she states he would do, where’s the negligence?

It seemed like a threat to anyone who does not fall in line to me also. That’s a red flag.

He also stated that he tried to get Ashi to change, but they declined, so now he comes to us. What took him so long, why didn’t he come when Nachi was formed? What is he going to gain by having us adopt his SOP, will he retain ownership? Will we be indebted to him? Does he make his living sueing HI’s? What does he get out of this? Last but not least, if his conscience bothers him when he goes against HI’s he knows, then obvisouly he holds monetary gain closer to his heart? I’m sorry, but I don’t buy his talk of concern for fellow inspectors. This could be just another Trojan horse, be careful.

What we seem to have here is a professional who recognizes that all SOPs are somewhat flawed. Any purist can read anything into an SOP they want to. That, however, does not change the fact that the very SOPs that Mr. O’Hornett are slamming are the standard for the entire industry. Indeed, these same standards, or vedrsions thereof, have been adopted in licensed states. Even states no that they need not re-invent the wheel. So, let’s look at it this way: Associations embrace these standards, insurance carriers embrace these standards, states embrace these standards, inspectors embrace these standards. Have I missed anyone?

In order to win an award from a negligent act, one needs to prove that the defendant acted negligently. Therefore, a benchmark needs to exist for comparative porposes. That benchmark is the SOP. Evan a flawed SOP is still a valid benchmark, as has been detmined time-and-time again through the court systems.

So, what is going on here? Is it an attempt at intimidation? Adopt my SOP or else?

Arbitration and mediation take several things into account. It is far from cut and dry. However, one thing remains constant: the SOP the inspector uses is what the complaint is measured against. Did he or did he not adhere to the standard he said he would follow.

Considering that ADRS is still priced at only $90, as opposed to this guy’s $350+ price, its a cheap date. We regularly assist inspectors and clients with complaints

Hi to all,

Thanks Russell, I agree with you any several others.

Our Profession has changed much since the first standards were written nearly 30 years ago, I for one believe that we are now held to a much higher standard than at any time in the past, insofar as our clients have a much higher level of expectation now than they had 30 years ago, any are much more likely to resort to litigation than they were previously.

Also I have a real problem with our professions SOP’s (Sorry Joe) but they simply do not offer the level of protection against suit that is touted, I am not aware of any case that has benn thrown out of court based on SOP’s, but am aware of many where an action against an inspector was supported despite the SOP that he used.

Bottom line, when an inspector finds himself in court, the SOP that he lives by may be deemed by the court to be unreasonable (reasonable being subjective) Inspectors cannot win on that playing field.

I believe it is way past the time that we need to take a long hard look at our SOP and see if we can come up with a standard that both protects the consumer, and offers a deal of proctection to the inspector against frivolous claims.

BTW, we are far from being the only org looking at this issue right now.



More vague references to “lawsuits” lost due to a weak SOP?

Can you share the facts regarding…mmmmm…let’s say just one of these many suits that are of such deep concern? When and where would be a good start. Then explain how the SOP led to the lost case.

InterNACHI’s SOP has never been ruled unreasonable, unconscionable or thrown out of any court ever. I’d say that is one hell of a nice track record.