Going beyond the SOP

If you were to generally describe your inspection service, would you say that you go beyond the Standards of Practice?

I would not say I do ,but would just do it.

Yes (a thinker)

Yes… beyond the SoP.

I typically excede the SOP’s on my inspections, however I classify things that are over and above the SOP as ancillary services and charge accordingly. Some things even have their own seperate contract or modification to my standard inspection agreement.

The SOP is a process. You do not “exceed” it. You comply with it…or you comply with a different process…or you have no process.

Many inspectors are of the misconception that where it says “A home inspector is not required to…” and they do it, they are somehow “exceeding” something. This is not true for the SOP, while not requiring it, provides for it.

The market demands it.

The SOP is a standard. Hence the name. It is what you are supposed to do. A process is how you do it. Specifically, a *process *is defined as “a series of actions conducing to an end.”

According to Mr. Webster, a standard is “something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example.” The word “process” does not appear in the definition of “standard” in 2 dictionaries I looked in.

Logic dictates that you can certainly exceed any standard. SC’s SOP, for example, specifically states " If the Inspector wishes to provide additional inspection services not covered in the Standards that is up to each inspector." “Additional” = “exceed”.

You completely lost me in your last paragraph.

If you are consistently performing something in your inspections that is not provided for in the NACHI SOP…you are simply performing a different process. A different SOP.

But Jim, the word “meet” is most often used with SOP (implying SOP is a level to be “met”), not “match.” No?

**This is what we do: **

A Home Inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of a residential dwelling, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify observed material defects within specific components of said dwelling. Components may include any combination of mechanical, structural, electrical, plumbing, or other essential systems or portions of the home, as identified and agreed to by the Client and Inspector, prior to the inspection process. I. A home inspection is intended to assist in evaluation of the overall condition of the dwelling. The inspection is based on observation of the visible and apparent condition of the structure and its components on the date of the inspection, and not the prediction of future conditions.
II. A home inspection will not reveal every concern that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the day of the inspection.

*III. A home inspection can include a survey and/or analysis of energy flows and usage in a residential property if the client requests it.

***The SOP is the process we use to do it. You don’t “exceed” a process. You do it as it is prescribed, you do a different process, or you don’t have a process.

Makes sense, to a degree.

The SOP allows us to check a “representative number” of windows.

I say that I “exceed” the SOP because I check every window.

Well, if I say that I do…then I do, and I do it at every inspection.

Am I “exceeding” anything…or is my process to check every window while your process may be to check a “representative number”?

For litigation purposes, it is important that my process is consistent…I do the same thing for each inspection. My process may include that “on occasions where I find water stains in the attic, I will test them with my moisture meter”. Again, I do this consistently and it has become my process. When such is my process, I am bound to perform moisture meter examinations on all water stains and if I miss a wet one…I can be held accountable for it is a part of my process even though not included in the SOP.

I do exceed the SOP. But by written agreement (Mold, Radon, Infrared, Water, Energy, Urgency rating) that define the limitations of the added services. I also get paid for them.

I know the Illinois State SOP (which is, pretty much, the ASHI SOP) and the NACHI SOP (which exceeds what my state law requires).

SOP means “Standards of Practice”. If I do the Illinois State SOP, I am meeting the standard for my state. If I meet the NACHI SOP, I am compliying with the rules of my NACHI membership.

Nuff Said.

But, If I do more that is required by these SOPs, I better serve my client. Nothing wrong with that. Give better service, serve a better duty of service, and I am more valuable to my clients, and I can (AND DO) sharge more.

Think about E&O insurance. Not “required” by law, in Illinois.

But, think about E & O. Think about how you approach your job.

Are you a mere “contractor” (i.e., your duty is contractural) or are you a professional (with a professional duty of service)?

If you have E & O, ask yourself this question.

  1. I have E & O insurace to protect MY liability, to cover my butt and get out of a jam because I screwed up.

  2. I have E & O insurace because I care about my client and want to provide them with a protection, from me, if I screw up. First, and foremost, I want to protect my client.

If the first, you are a mere contractural tradesman.

If the second, you are a professional.

Hope this helps;

I perform my inspections to my clients satisfaction most of the time, and use the NACHI SOP as a guideline, safety net, for explanation of actions to the client, and to guard against irrational requests. If a client is seriously interested in one feature of the home, I will pay much closer attention to that area, even if it means going beyond the SOP to satisfy the client.
( staying within the non destructive and safety rules of course )

I don’t want to get too far off the survey question, but…

Do you have any pictures that clearly demonstrate two things:

  1. You went Beyond the Standards of Practice
  2. Your client benefited from it

I believe my picture demonstrates those two things.

…meets and/or exceeds…

I have one example. One of the most important things any inspector can do at a home inspection is to check the water pressure. Cities here around KC have pressures anywhere from 50# up to a recent high of 145#. High pressure can affect many things, and always should be checked here in my area, especially with PB water lines in play. I also try to check as many outlets, switches, and windows as possible. SOP
's are minimums, and all should be followed. If you exceed them, state the area in your agreement, or in your copy of the SOP’s. NACHI does a great service by letting us download their version, and then letting us adjust it. However, I would not change the SOP’s, but add a paragraph about your particular variance at the end, before the definitions.

This was an improperly flashed bay window, by removing a few screws, I was able to better show the defect.


I wasn’t there but unless I am missing something it looks improperly flashed without removing a thing.

That’s fine if you want to go that far, however, I would not show any tools or admit taking it apart in the report. It could come back to bite you. JMO