Good debate and interesting points so far. It’s obvious this issue will vary according to the laws of each state for home inspection and contracting. The reason home inspection laws are enacted is to protect the consumer and establish criteria for training and scope of the work. If the law states you are required to inspect and report an opinion of particular aspects of the home as a home inspector then you fall within the home inspection licensing requirements. It may no say whether or not you are collecting a fee for that opinion. That to me…is another gray area.
Let’s say a contractor who has a roofing license is asked to inspect a roof for condition…in other words it has no known issues. The contractor agrees to render an opinion with a thermal imaging camera (not required equipment by state law) and he is charging a fee for the opinion. He claims there is a leak and offers to make the repairs also for a fee. As those with IR cameras know you can easily show air infiltration and claim it as moisture. Deception in the home building and remodeling industry has been a problem since the begining of time. That’s why we inspect and do what we do.
Here is the basic description of home inspection licensing in Tennessee:
As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:
**(1) **“Client” means any person who hires or seeks to hire a home inspector to obtain a home inspection or home inspection report;
**(2) **“Commissioner” means the commissioner of commerce and insurance, or the commissioner’s designee;
**(3) (A) **“Home inspection” means a visual analysis for the purpose of providing a professional opinion of the condition of a residential building, ancillary buildings, any reasonably accessible installed components, and the operation of the building’s systems, including any controls normally operated by the owner of the building, for the following components:
**(i) **Heating systems;
**(ii) **Cooling systems;
**(iii) **Electrical systems;
**(iv) **Plumbing systems;
**(v) **Structural components;
**(vii) **Roof coverings;
**(viii) **Exterior and interior components; and
**(ix) **Any other site aspects that affect the residential dwelling.
Notice the use of “visual analysis” in the description. If thermal imaging or another tech device is used…does that open the door for another trade to do “inspections” because the device is beyond visual ? Obviously using the term “inspection or inspecting” in a contractors advertisement is leading the public to believe the contractor is also an inspector.
Technology is a great thing and I love what thermal imaging has done for my business…the problem is when technology benefits many other trades and blurs the lines of individual professions. I’m not against a contractor using thermal imaging for making his job easier…I just don’t want someone offering a service that constitutes a seperate license if they are rendering opinions without proper training , insurance etc. and is flying under the law and requirements I have to abide by in my state.
For states with a home inspector license requirement… clarity in the law may be the only answer. If you have no home inspection law in your state I guess it’s up to you and your organizations standards of practice.