Attic not accessible but visible with camera-still inspect it?

I have a general question for a more experienced inspector. From time to time I come across attic scuttle holes that are difficult to enter or impossible. I am able to grab a few photos with my camera while sticking my arm through the hole but should I be reporting like this or do I open myself up to more problems by not being able to fully inspect all the systems within the attic such as ventilation, insulation, framing, etc?

I guess one thought that arises is, when I try to enter but then realize it can’t safely be done and see a defect from the bottom of the opening while standing on my ladder looking up, what should be done then?

If I call out one defect there are probably more I’m sure that was simply not visible. Would like to hear others and there thought on this situation.

I always make every attempt to report what I can, by any method available at the time, being sure to state my limitations and attempt to gain info.
I inspect century homes all the time, and am lucky to get one arm and half a shoulder into the scuttle.
I take multiple pics of every direction. I disclaim the attic as inaccessible, but also state that I took whatever means I could, to gain as much info as possible, (honest attempt to gain information). I include ALL the viewable photos in my report… even the iffy ones. NOBODY can ever say I didn’t make every attempt to access or view the attic!!

They want more… make me a damned hole big enough for a human being!!


Sample: 1992 Home with 12" x 16" access
There were about 10 more pics that were useless!!

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@jjonas pretty much covered it. If I even got one small peek, I mark it as inspected.

The first thing I state in the narrative under that section of the report is the access defect.
Attic access scuttle hole too small and prohibited safe entry. Recommend improving access for inspection, maintenance and pest control purposes. Per modern building standards the access should be blah blah blah

Then I note any defect I observed:
Front left broken rafter blah blah

Then I make a note about my limitations and my methodology.
Unable to enter attic space because the scuttle hole was too small. I was able to raise may camera thru the hole and take some general photos, however my views were extremely limited. Due to these limitations, many areas were not viewed or inspected.


@jjonas and @bcawhern1 have it covered. I had one this morning that was plenty big, but had 11
drywall screws holding the cover in place, oh and a whole house fan above that. No access at all. Tried using my small endoscope through a “whirly bird” vent on the roof but the pics didn’t turn out. Had to disclaim the whole thing…

Sometimes one can only do what one CAN… just be sure to note everything possible, especially limitations…


I have ran across this sort of thing (Limitation on Accessing The Attic) almost enough times to make up a canned statement, addressing this particular issue…(this from back in 2009)…

Yes, I’m in Utah… :grinning: .