Florida attic inspections

Can anyone provide better guidance for what’s “inaccessible” in attic inspections in Florida’s hellish attics than that vague, subjective wording in 61-30.802 of the home inspection Standards of Practice, Structures.

I see that with regard to the WDO inspection the Dept of Agriculture’s “Baseline practices for performing 13645 WDO inspections” provides minimum dimensions for maneuvering between truss members, basically 22 in by 48 in, provided also that the “joists” aren’t covered with loose insulation concealing cables and that ducts aren’t in the way. Are home inspectors anywhere protected with such specific language about the size of the openings they might reasonably be expected to maneuver through?

My WDO reports usually state:
limited partial attic
insulation, ductwork, low construction design, peripheral areas too low
limited partial attic - viewed from access only
reason could be different scenes like the closet safe access was blocked by shelving they built in (in that case you say attic not inspected), low construction design prevents safe/proper access. :cowboy_hat_face:

Daniel, there isn’t guidance for us as specific as the Dept. of Agriculture provides to WDO inspections. Our SOP’s basically say “in the opinion of the inspector” in regards to safety, so you get to use your own judgement on this one. Some people take it to extremes, no doubt, but I think if you make a bona fide effort, without taking unnecessary risk, you’ll probably be ok. I know it’s not always that simple, but as something to guide us, at least.

I had one the other day where seller had a BUNCH of stuff in the attic over the garage, and it was over 140°F in the attic, with only a very, very small and obstructed passage to the main attic. Normally, I would have just said “uh no…inaccessible,” and think most people would’ve agreed, but with the seller and buyer’s agent standing there watching me, I felt I should show some meddle in the name of good reputation. At the end of the day, I think you would be ok to follow the Dept. of Ag’s guideline, as well. Not a bad idea, and I may implement that in directing my own decision making. I’m no lawyer, but if things ever went to court, at least you could argue “inaccessible” and show that the state defines it for WDO’s and that’s what you apply to your work, it may help your argument.

FBC 807.1 says access should be 22" x 30" with a 30" head space.

That poorly thought out language, I’d guess, could put a Florida home inspector in the poor house for not maneuvering along, for example, a run of V-shaped openings in the trussworks that nonetheless provided the stipulated 30” of headroom. At least the Dept of Agriculture provides a reasonable and defensible passageway standard for what one of their inspectors might reasonably be expected to get through, and only then if there is sure footing and he doesn’t have to climb over and unavoidably squash flex duct running every which way. Waving this concern away isn’t the solution.

Despite the FBC’s elaborate pretense of good construction practices, this mess the code-writing authorities have allowed in Florida attics makes it next to impossible for anyone, even experienced termite and home inspectors, let alone the homeowner, to inspect this critical area of the house. As Joe Lustribuk writes, in Florida it’s not a question of what defects you’ll find in residential construction, but which ones you won’t. Not being able to inspect an attic to any reasonable standard of thoroughness takes the cake.

Here’s one I had Saturday I did not go in! :astonished:

It literally beggars belief that residential construction in Florida still sanctions this degree of industry-wide, code-approved, in-and-out-profit-motivated negligence—let the citizens of Florida be damned while the inspector ends up blamed for the Florida homebuilding industry’s self-evident malfeasance given the inaccessibility of almost every attic in the state. Even worse, termites and rats use that foam for concealment.

OMG! That is terrible. A home of pests.

Termites may be concealed (but not intentional), but trust me on this one - they have no clue where they are :cowboy_hat_face:

Then why are they there?

Who knows how the infestation began, but workers & soldiers are basically blind, swarmers are attracted to light, BUT they do not shop around & say … hmmmm… this looks like a nice place to live & I can safely hide beneath the foam so no one can detect me.