A Mission to Change the Standards - Let's Debate

James, give me one where it was upheld, I’ll give you 10 where it wasn’t :wink:



And you would be right.

It takes a lot of hype and BS to sell people on new SOPs. There are plenty of folks out there writing them but not a single one that is being published has been tested.

Nick, thats just not reality, and you know it, most cases don’t get before a court, the insurance companies cut their losses and settle (it’s cheaper) you know it I know it and the world knows it. Reality is that a more restrictive SOP would be agood thing for those who are able to abide by it.



An SOP can’t be “upheld” Gerry. Only a ruling from a lower court can. I think what you mean to say is “give me one case where an SOP wasn’t thrown out” I’ll give you all of them. There is not a single instance, ever, since the original big bang that formed the universe 6,000 years ago (trying to please everyone with that last comment :roll: ) where InterNACHI’s SOP has ever been ruled unreasonable, unconscionable or thrown out. Never, not once ever.

That is how perfect it is.

Bring it on



You are on the record, now, Jerry. You have 10 instances in which lawsuits were lost because of the home inspector’s SOP.

Here is my one.

OK James, I’ll play,

I’m busy until the weekend, but I’ll play.



BTW, there are at least 2 cases in NH that I know of where the SOP was found to be lacking, the issue was in the area of representative sampling.



Gerry writes

I’ll pay $500 cash to the first person who posts a copy of that ruling.

Waiting for 10, Jerry.

I’ll conceded if there exists even one court finding that found InterNACHI’s SOP was lacking due to use of representative sampling.

Plus I’ll pay $500 cash to the first person who posts the finding.

Even the rumors I heard…regarding representative sampling…support and do not attack the SOP.

I have no case law to support this, but the conversations centered on those advertising how they “exceed” the SOP. It was alleged that a ruling was made against an inspector making such a claim for failing to test ALL electrical outlets (one of them later caused a fire). When he argued that he tested a represenative sample as required by his SOP, it was pointed out by the Plaintiff’s attorney that the inspector was hired specifically for his advertisement of “exceeding” the SOP. In failing to do so, he lost his case.

This is, however, the exact opposite of representative sampling weakening an SOP. I can’t wait to read Jerry’s cases.

Where is the SOP part in this case?


With all due respect, you are dead wrong on this one.

Ask any underwriter or adjuster at AIG how important the SOP is. They will NOT support your contention that a strictor SOP helps the inspector. As far as expectations as to what an inspector does on an inspector being to some higher standard, that is total BS. Show me one realtor that wants a more comprehensive SOP, and more time spent on an inspection. With a powerful NAR lobby, and state-wide realtor associations, the fact is simply that their money and power dwarfs that of any HI association.

We do fight back, but in cases where licensing was enacted (23 states and counting), inductry standard SOPs were adopted by those states. In those instances, the court simply cannot find an SOP to be “lacking”. The whole argument is disingenuous. We all know it.

Even in your own state, Florida will not re-invent the wheel. Which SOP will they adopt, and will it look like all the rest? My money says “yes”.

Perhaps someone at HQ could contact ISO here in NY. They perform the analysis (actuarials) for all the insurance companies. Lets get some data from them as to which way the SOP wind blows.

Also, and this is absolute case law here in NY, one inspector called out “code violations”, as described in ICC, which were not in fact code violations as per the AHJ. His report cost a seller the sale. He was sued, and the AHJ was the expert witness. The inspector lost, as he voluntarily exceed the stated SOP by calling out a supposed code violation. Although he was ICC certified, he was not NY State certified. He also had no legal authority to render an opinion. He lost.

A second case was decided this past summer. Here, an inspector advertised that he was ICC certified and that he looked for “code violations” on every inspection. Unfortunately, he missed 3 violations (discovered when the building department was called 8 months after closing as the new owners added a bathroom to the home). Yup… 3 serious violations were flagged by the AHJ, that this guy missed. A jury decided that this person intilated that he would exceed his SOP, by advertising code inspections and advertising his ICC certification. He lost, to the tune of $38,000.

Special knowledge and SOPs play a critical role in tortuous actions against the HI. This is why the subject is so controversial.

And… as I stated before, at the end of the day the client’s expectations must be correctly set. Their risk tolerance is directly tied to their pocketbook. Driven by the need to get an inspection done quickly, the realtor pushes the process along. It is almost always driven by pricing and availability, not by association or SOP.

I am still searching my hard drive for the article that introduced this court document and when I find it, I’ll post it.

In the article, it described the chronology of events as to…in the investigation that followed the deaths (you know that the surviving people were suing) the real estate agent and the home inspector were the first to come under suspicion. The agent was able to prove that the problem was never disclosed to her and the inspector showed how his SOP and his report disclaimed this type of equipment.

Digging deeper for the facts is how it was discovered that attempts to repair the device and prior illnesses resulting from the device were a matter for record and could prove that the owner intentionally concealed it.

But, according to the article, the agent and inspector were the first to be targetted.

Kevin O’Hornett has refused to come hear and state his case for change. In addition, he provided me with a “partial” version of his Prospex SOP, but instructed me not to share the document. It’s still under construction and awaiting copyright approval.

Read some of his comments below on the NACHI SOP. He makes some very VALID points about the NACHI SOP.

Here is his email to me:

Good points, simple changes needed to the SOP for clarification.
Without clarification, attorneys will clarify it as they wish.

Someone mentioned that most state SOP’s are very similar to industry SOP’s.
This is not true in NC and SC, NC originally followed ashi but many changes have occurred.

Any SOP not open to changes is a bad SOP. This industry changes and learns everyday.

These words of Mr. Hornett are very, very accurate.

Where he strays from reality is when he thinks that rewording an SOP is going to act as “green kryptonite” to Superman HI.

Superman is going advertise that he exceeds even Hornett’s SOP and does things no other home inspector does…oddly, without realizing it, removing the word “standard” from his operating procedure. Superman HI is going to continue to believe his own advertising hype and “exceed” (aka “non comply”) any set of standards set before him.

Hornett has good intentions (with his SOP, anyway)…but the wrong solution.

My never to be humble opinion is that our SOP is just fine for a basic, standard, normal, non-invasive visual examination. The SOP is consistent within the industry for this type of inspection, and of course insurance companies and lawyers like them because it gives all parties room for interpretation.

What we as inspectors need to contemplate, and perhaps evolve with including our SOP, is if they cover the way inspections are actually performed today. 30 years ago, when SOP’s were written the inspector carried a flashlight, screwdriver and an electric tester (maybe). The reports were written many times on a legal pad, and the better inspectors had 3 part NCR checklists.

Inspections have evolved over the years, and our industry standards do not encompass new technology that is consistently used during a home inspection by many inspectors.

Our current SOP has some vague areas, or at least areas that are basic to the minimum. Would we not be prudent to develop at least a next level of standard that encompasses more of how inspections are performed in todays real world? Even if these standards were submitted as a “limited technical inspection” or something, it might be more in line with todays inspector.

Tell me how you would inspect a home built in 1961, today, as opposed to how you would have inspected it in 1980 (aside from the “today” use of your Little Giant, etc…)

If what you are saying is true…experience means less than many think it does.