Hi everyone, this is my first post here and have a question about report writing.

I always report that I did not have access to a given area for inspection and state a reason why. I only do this for area’s that are sometimes accessible like the floor structure may or may not be visible due to a finished basement ceiling, or a finished basement with no access to the foundation walls. Here is my question, what about area’s like walls or ceiling structures that are NEVER accessible? On my Home Gauge software I have to check either inspected or not inspected, I always check inspected on wall and ceiling even though I don’t have access to them. I know I’m over thinking this and I know that we only do a visual inspection of accessible area’s so why would I comment on a finished basement ceiling but not a finished wall unless its a basement foundation wall?

Again, I know I’m over thinking this, just want to hear your thoughts.

Welcome, Pete.

I think you are looking at the walls and ceiling but not the wall framing nor ceiling framing. The walls and ceiling can give you clues as to what might be happening behind the covering to the framing pieces. JMO

You will do well to report anything that you cannot inspect and whyit was inaccessible, however.

I hope that was helpful. :slight_smile:

I report on things that are only partially inspected like beams joists by saying it was a limited visual inspection of --------- because it is covered by finishings

I always report in writing what areas could not be fully inspected due to storage, obstructions and finished coverings. I also use sketches to depict inaccessible areas that I could not get in due to low clearances, water, wires etc. Homegauge has a handy sketch feature I use all the time. Remember, documentation creates a reality when it comes time to stand before the man.


Ok, but floor joist are sometimes visible and sometimes not so were all in agreement that we should report as such but what about second floor floor joists which are never visible? I’m sure nobody reports there was no access to this area because there never is, or do you?

This is a general statement in my structural section header and in my pre-inspection agreement.

“The Home Inspector shall observe structural components including foundations, floors, walls, columns or piers, ceilings and roof when accessible. The home inspector shall describe the type of Foundation, floor structure, wall structure, columns or piers, ceiling structure, roof structure. The home inspector shall: Probe structural components where deterioration is suspected; Enter (at the inspectors discretion) under floor crawl spaces, basements, and attic spaces except when access is obstructed, when entry could damage the property, or when dangerous or adverse situations are suspected; Report the methods used to observe under floor crawl spaces and attics; and Report signs of abnormal or harmful water penetration into the building or signs of abnormal or harmful condensation on building components. The home inspector is not required to: Enter any area or perform any procedure that may damage the property or its components or be dangerous to or adversely effect the health of the home inspector or other persons. Only visible components and system can inspected and no inspection was possible to areas concealed by furniture, carpeting, storage, insulation, drop ceiling tiles, drapes, bathroom floor/ wall tiles, wall, floor and ceiling coverings. Damaging or Destructive testing was not used to inspect this home and the insides off walls, ceilings and floors were not visible and not inspected.”

What does your client expect?

Do you think it’s really necessary to tell them that you can’t see past the ceiling to the second-floor?

Do you want your inspection report so big that they have to wade through all this unnecessary obvious stuff to try to figure out what’s really important?

Can’t tell where you’re from, but if you have a state law that says that you will inspect and report on a particular subject, if you cannot then you write it in the report as to why you could not.

Does everyone in the real estate transaction really want to know what you didn’t inspect if it’s not something that is normally inspected?

Must you say again what is already in the inspection agreement and inspection standard when it’s pretty obvious. How many times do we have to discuss the fact that we do not test for nuclear waste?

Have you read your inspection standards? Generally says what you are responsible for and what are not responsible for. It also says that if you are responsible to report something and you can’t for some reason that you report it as such.

You want to cover yourself by listing things that you didn’t do so you aren’t expected to have done it. But when your report is 300 pages long of things that you did not inspect, they don’t read any of that anyway. They just go to your summary page. Then you get a call from them asking “did you inspect the…”?

Meet your state requirements and then meet your clients expectations.

I was at a recent seminar where a home inspection attorney pointed out that the number one claim against home inspectors are generally structural and often hidden from view. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t care how many photos or how long my report is as long as it creates a reality of what I did and didn’t do. My average report with over 125 to 150 photos including a summary is usually 30-35 pages. I think that’s pretty digestible by any standard.

Sometimes when we spend less time worrying about lawyers opinions and worry about our clients expectations there is less chance of what you are so afraid of from occurring!

If you can “communicate” with your client and set their expectations so they understand what you’re there to do and do the best you can to address the issues of their concerns they would be no need for them to complain that you didn’t do a Mike Holmes Inspection.