Keith Swift and I are proposing a new Standards of Practice for the industry.

Here is what we’ve been working on:

We welcome constructive criticism.

It has not been adopted as NACHI’s SOP of course, it just an idea we’ve been playing with.

I find it to be flawed in its language and overly restrictive. It interferes with the inspector’s duty to make certain business decisions that would or could affect his business relationships with his client and fails to take into consideration the variances in particular state laws.

Needs lots and lots of work. I will reserve my comments on the specifics until the ESOP Committee has a chance to meet on and review this. That way, all of the comments can be appropriately catalogued and conveyed on behalf of the entire committee by our chairman.

I like it, but the biggest problem in making any substantial change to NACHI’s SOP (which is the SOP used by more home inspectors than any other) is the E&O insurance underwriters.

The E&O insurance underwriters have given NACHI members exclusive deals and discounts, in part, due to our existing, time-tested SOP.

A new SOP, even if it was improved, would not likely enjoy instant approval.

Nick …what are the main changes you were looking to insert.

I see Keith all over this thing, but where’s Nick? :wink:

Jeff: :wink:

If we’re looking for “constructive criticism,” I’ll start with the first thing that really caught my attention.

I think this would fall under “code compliance?”

What I like the most about it is that each section starts with a consumer notice paragraph.

The other smaller problem (compared to E&O approval) is that NACHI and NACHI members have been beatin’ the hell out of every plaintiff in court, in part again, by pointing to our existing SOP. It might be a case of turbo charging a sports car from 600hp to 635hp.


All bedrooms should have at least one outlet and supply vent. If it didn’t I still wouldn’t call it out as a code issue. I don’t get the code compliance thing to be honest. :alien:

I did not mention returns since of course they can be in the hallway if the bedroom doors are undercut 3/4". :wink:

Jeff, I’ve got a feeling that light and ventilation is what we’d both comment on anyway, but perhaps not refer to its as code-compliance, but as common sense health and safety issues. What we’re trying to do is to get inspectors to look for the same thing so that they can serve thier clients better or more responsibly and not get whacked by two New York attorneys. This is really all about establishing NACHI’s authority in the industry and protecting inspectors. Nick and I have been going over this for months, and he did say when we posted it: “This is going to be fun.”

The product is flawed. The true premise of any SOP is that we observe and report our findings. That is the base premise. Period.

I have not had the opportunity to read this thing. I dont mind that Keith has tried to improve the doc. That’s fine. I do not like the specific verbiage chosen for some of the clauses, and am wrestling with the idea of the need to re-write the doc at all.

If something isnt broken, I dont think we need to try and fix it. Most association SOPs are relatively close. They are that way for a reason. Further, our ability to obtain and maintain E&O insurance is governed by which SOP we use. Would we like it if AIG told its underwriters to dictate to its NACHI E&O customers that NACHI members must now use the ASHI SOP?

More to follow…

I agree with you, but when we are required to “confirm adequacey,” I think of things like this. . .

As for the SOP’s affording anyone a victory in court, winning in court is meaningless. Tell me how much has been won. Would you rather recommend removing a water slide from a pool or be sued by a client who is now a quadripalegic as a consequence of a water-slide accident, as one California inspector was? And I could go on and on, but I for one will never endorse a diving board, a water slide, stacked concrete fountains, bird baths, or statuary. Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, I think I am. I’ve been the hapless victim of an injust lawsuit and it’s not pleasant. I always ask what if? Did anyone see my article on a pool in California that was “built to code?” It was several lawsuits waiting to happen. So bad as to be funny, and I present it at all my seminars, and no one can believe it, but it’s true.

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Thanks. I’d love to see you on the “committee.” You’re consistently rational, fair and balanced, and have a real estate agent for a wife. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

. . .and my father and brother-in-law are Real Estate Attorneys :mrgreen:

I might just consider helping out on this one if you’ll have me.

**The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) **is the largest organization of inspectors in the nation, and is dedicated to advancing the cause of consumers and its membership through education. The purchase of a property is typically the most significant investment that most consumers will ever make, and that investment needs to be protected. As a consequence, thousands of inspections are conducted daily that result in the production of legal documents, such as inspection reports, contracts, and a variety of agreements, and it is essential therefore that consumers understand what a property inspector does, and what is specifically excluded in inspections.

**NACHI property inspectors **are professional individuals who, in consideration of a fee, agree to accept the considerable responsibility of evaluating and reporting on the complicated and interrelated conditions and components that comprise a property. However, the service they perform needs to be clearly understood, for practical, ethical, and legal purposes. ***To borrow an example from medicine, a NACHI property inspector is comparable to a general practitioner, who has learned a lot about the human body and medicine but who has not specialized in any one particular discipline. ***Similarly, NACHI inspectors know a lot about the building trades, such as roofing, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning, and electrical, but they are not licensed as specialists. In fact, like general practitioners, it is their specific responsibility to defer to such specialists. And for this reason, property inspections are limited in their scope.

**NACHI property inspections **are non-invasive and visual and intended to alert consumers to material defects that exist at the time of an inspection, and which could significantly affect the value of a property or pose a threat to health or safety. However, a property inspection is not technically exhaustive, and is not intended to be, and will not reveal every single defect. For this reason, a property inspection and report should never be used as a substitute for the seller’s transfer disclosure, or construed to be an insurance policy, warranty, or guarantee. Some defects may be latent, and/or become apparent at a later time, which is why inspections have been sensibly characterized as “snapshots in time.” And it is essential that consumers understand this and, thereby, have reasonable expectations. However, the terms “non-invasive” and “visual” could be misunderstood and need to be defined more clearly. For example, an inspector may probe a wooden surface in order to better identify termite or dry rot damage, and this could be said to be invasive. Similarly, removing the interior cover from an electrical panel could also be said to be invasive, and inserting an electrical tester into a wall outlet could be construed as being more than a visual examination. Regardless, most inspectors remove cover panels and use a combination of specialized instruments in the service of their clients, such as spirit or laser levels, electrical testers, carbon-monoxide testers, and even infra-red thermometers, to mention the more common ones, but the use of such instruments does not distinguish them as specialists; only a licensing authority can confer that distinction. NACHI inspectors adhere to clearly defined and public standards of practice unless otherwise agreed upon by mutual consent or contractual obligation, ***and to this extent NACHI standards are legally binding. ***

The items highlighted in red are absolutely and totally absurd. The first section actually compares our profession to that of a medical professional. The second highlighted section states that removal of panel covers and the use of specialized equipment (named) are done by “most” inspectors. Expectations are being incorrectly set here. Finally, we are stating that the NACHI standards, and are legally binding. Really? Says who? In licensed states, the State-mandated SOP trumps all. These opening paragraphs have NO business being in any SOP. We are compared to other professions (not necessary at all, so why do it?). Expectations are clearly set as to what inspectors do (like removing dead front covers and using specialized test equipment (named). Finally, at the end, we state that these standards (just established) are legally binding. I will NOT follow ANY of this.

Joe, I’m sure we’re all interested in what you have to say. I certainly am, but try to restrain from meaningless hyperbole like “absolutely and totally absurd.” That’s a little rich, don’t you think? Couldn’t you say something more conducive to a continuing dialogue?


There is already an ethics and standards of practice committee, whose charter is it to review the proposed doc. Jeff belonged to the committee at one time, and we’d love to have him back. I’ll leave it there for now. I find the opening sequences to be absurd. I found the following sections to take verbiage straight out of PV software, which I also have problems with. Not everyone subscribes to the idea that one can simply disclaim everything. You preface each section with boilerplate mumbo jumbo. Leave that stuff for the report, not the SOP.

An SOP should be short and straight to the point. The document you crafted has some serious flaws, both in content and purpose. I could not follow it, at all, and would be forced to adopt the ASHI SOP instead. It is over the top, sets expectations, and I believe puts a noose around the neck of anyone who subscribes to it.

Love to have someone like you on the “committee,” with a level head and a clear mastery of codes, but I’m not even on it.