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Here is the current SOP
Rules and Regulations
6.00: Standards of Practice
- 6.01: Access, Purpose and Scope
- 6.02: System: Roofing
- 6.03: System: Exterior
- 6.04: Structural Components
- 6.05: System: Electrical
- 6.06: System: Plumbing
- 6.07: System: Heating
- 6.08: Central Air Conditioning
- 6.09: General Interior Conditions
- 6.10: Insulation and Ventilation
- 6.11: General Limitations and Exclusion
STANDARDS OF PRACTICE
A registered professional home inspector practicing in the commonwealth of Massachusetts shall carry out his inspection and issue his report in accordance with 266 CMR 1.00-11.00
6.01: Access, Purpose,and Scope
(1) Access. The client shall provide safe access and sufficient lighting to the area(s) to be inspected.
(2) Purpose of the home inspection performed to the standards of 266 CMR 1.00 – 11.00 shall: Provide the client with a better understanding of the property conditions, as observed at the time of the inspection. However, it shall be understood that and inspection carried out under the standards of 266 CMR 1.00-11.00 is not and shall not be construed to be a comprehensive Architectural and or an Engineering study of the dwelling in question.
(3) Inspectors shall:INDENT Use a written contract and provide only the client with an original copy of the contract.
(b) Observe readily accessible Installed systems and components listed in 266 CMR 1.00-11.00.
© Submit a confidential written report only to the client which shall:
[INDENT]1. Describe those components specified to be described in 266 CMR 1.00-11.00. Standards
2. Indicate which systems and components designated for inspection in 266 CMR 1.00-11.00 have been inspected;
3. Indicate any systems and components so inspected, which were found to be in need of repair
/INDENT (a) The inspector shall notify his/her client that answers to the following questions should be ascertained from the seller and are relevant to the purchase of a house and may not be readily observable through inspection:(1) History of water penetration in basement and/or crawl space.
(2) If the dwelling is on a public or private sewage system.
(3) If the dwelling has been tested for radon gas.
(4) If the dwelling has been inspected for insect infestation.
(5) (a) If the dwelling has been previously inspected by a home inspector and
(b) if the seller is willing to disclose such report.
(6) If there is an underground storage tank on the property.
(a) The home inspector shall not represent to the seller or buyer that there is any legal obligation, duty or requirement on behalf of the seller or to answer the questions set forth in 266 CMR 6.01 (4) unless otherwise required by law.
(b) A home inspector shall not be held responsible for the accuracy of third party information.
(5) Standards set forth 266 CMR 1.00-11.00 are not intended to limit Home Inspectors from:
- Reporting observations and conditions in addition to those required by 266 CMR 6.00
- Excluding systems and components from the inspection if requested by the client.
- Regardless of any additional professional registration or license held by the home inspector, unless otherwise contractually agreed to with the client, the home inspection shall be conducted to the professional licensure standards of 266 CMR only:
6.02: System: Roofing
(1) The inspector shall observe the readily accessible:
- Roof coverings.
- Exposed roof drainage systems.
- Skylights, chimneys and roof penetrations.
- Signs of leaks on building components.
/LIST The Inspector shall:
(a) Report the methods used to observe the roofing.
(b) Describe the type of roof covering materials (Asphalt, , slate, metal and or tile shingles; built-up type (Bald asphalt, tar and gravel, mineral covered rolled roofing, ballasted rubber membrane, adhered membrane, other)
© Report on the condition of the roof, exposed roof drainage systems, exposed flashings, skylights, exterior of chimneys, roof penetrations and any signs of previous leaks.
(3) The Inspector is not required to:
(a) Walk on the roofing unless the client provides safe access and the seller and or the seller’s representative provide authorization that relives the Inspector of all responsibility of possible damage to the roof.
(b) Observe attached accessories including but not limited to solar systems, antennae, and lightning arrestors.
© Inspect the interior of chimney flues.
6.03 System: Exterior
(1) The Inspector shall observe the readily accessible:(a) Wall cladding, flashings and trim.
(b) Entryway doors and windows.
© Garage door operators.
(d) Decks, balconies, stoops, steps, areaways, and porches including railings.
(e) Eaves, soffits, fascias and corner boards.
(f) Vegetation, grading, drainage, driveways, walkways and retaining walls with respect to their effect on the condition of the building.
(2) The Inspector shall:(a) Describe wall-cladding materials ( cementous siding, asphalt, wood shingles, Aluminum and or vinyl siding, wood clapboards, other) and report on the condition of the exposed wall cladding.
(b) Report the condition of decks, balconies, stoops, steps, areaways, and porches including railings.
© Report the condition of eaves, soffits, fascias and corner boards.
(d) Operate all entryway doors and representative number of windows including garage doors, manually or by using permanently installed controls of any garage door operator.
(e) Report whether or not any garage door operator will automatically reverse or stop when meeting reasonable resistance during closing.
(f) Report on slope of earth as it impacts the structure.
(3) The Inspector is not required to observe:(a) Storm windows, storm doors, screening, shutters, awnings and similar seasonal accessories
(b) Fences, landscaping, trees, swimming pools, patios, sprinkler systems.
© Safety glazing.
(d) Garage door operator remote control transmitters.
(e) Geological conditions (Engineering services).
(f) Soil conditions (Engineering services).
(g) Recreational facilities.
(h) Outbuildings and detached garages.
(i) Undergound utilities, pipes, buried wires, or conduit.
6.04 System: Structural Components:
(1)The inspector shall observe the following exposed readily accessiblestructural components including:INDENT The exposed portions of the foundation.
(b) The exposed portions of the basement floor.
© The exposed portions of the superstructure floor system (girders, sills, floor joists, headers and bridging)
(d) The exposed portions of the columns.
(e) The exposed portions of the roof framing (rafters, collar ties, trusses, beams and sheathing materials).
(2) The inspector shall report on the following exposed readily accessiblestructural components including:(a) The type of foundation materials and the condition of the exposed components (brick, concrete block, concrete, stone, wood, other).
(b) The type of basement floor system and the condition of the exposed components (concrete, earth, wood, other).
© The type of superstructure floor system and the condition of the exposed components (girders, sills, floor joists and bridging)
(d) The type of columns and condition (brick, concrete block, concrete, steel, wood)
(e) Roof structure (rafters, collar ties, trusses, beams) roof sheathing (boards, plywood, oriented strand board, other).
(3) Theinspector shall:(a) Probe exposed readily accessiblestructural components where deterioration is suspected. However, probing isNOT required when probing would damage any finished surface.
(b) Enter readily accessible under floor crawl spaces and attic spaces only after safe access is provided by the owner and or client except when access is obstructed, when entry could damage the property, or whendangerous or adverse situations are suspected by the inspector.
© Report the methods used to observe under floor crawl spaces and attics.
(d) Report signs of previous water penetration into the building.
(4) TheInspector shall not be required to:(a) Collect engineering data on the size, span, spacing, species, section modulus, slenderness ratio and or modulus of elasticity of the structural members.
(b) Inspect for insect infestation.
© Remove covering and or finish materials to gain access to the items being inspected.
6.05 System: Electrical:
(1) The Inspector shall observe:(a) The exterior of the exposed service entrance conductors.
(b) Readily accessible Service equipment, grounding equipment, main over current device, main and distribution panels.
© Amperage and voltage ratings of the service.
(d) The exterior of the readily accessible exposed branch circuit conductors, their over current devices, and the compatibility of their ampacities and voltages.
(e) The operation of a representative number of permanently installed lighting fixtures, switches and receptacles located inside the house, garage, and on its exterior walls.
(f) The polarity and grounding of all three-prong receptacles within six feet of interior plumbing fixtures and all readily accessible non-dedicated receptacles in the garage and on the exterior of inspected structures.
(g) The operation of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters.
(2) The Inspector shall report on the following:(a) The size and the voltage of the main service disconnect (30, 60, 100, 125, 150 and or 200 amp, other service, 120, 120/240, 120/208-volt system).
(b) Service entry conductor materials (copper and or aluminum, if aluminum are the tips coated with a corrosion inhibitor and is the over load device rated for the use of aluminum wire).
© Service type as being overhead or underground.
(d) The number of branch circuits in the panels.
(e) The type of branch circuit conductor materials (copper and or aluminum, if aluminum are the tips coated with a corrosion inhibitor and is the over load device rated for the use of aluminum wire).
(f) The compatibility of the overload protective devices and the size of the protected conductor.
(g) The type of branch circuit wiring (BX, conduit, Romex, knob and tube, wire mold, other).
(h) If there is ground fault protection provided.
(i) If the system is grounded.
/INDENT The Inspector is not required to:
(a) Collect engineering data on the compatibility of the disconnects and individual circuit breakers with the panel and or determine the short circuit interrupting current capacity. (Engineering services).
(b) Determine and or report on the adequacy of the in place systems to provide sufficient power to the dwelling, or reflect on the sufficiency of the electric distribution system in the dwelling (Engineering services).
© Insert any tool, probe, or testing device inside the panels.
(d) Test or operate any over current device except Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters.
(e) Dismantle any electrical device or control other than to remove the covers of the main and sub-distribution panels, if readily accessible and not painted in place.
(f) Observe and or report on:
- The quality of the conductor insulation. (Electrical Services).
- Test for Electro-Magnetic fields. (Electrical Services).
- Low voltage systems, door bells.
- Smoke detectors (Seller’s responsibility).
- Telephone, security alarms, cable TV, intercoms, or other ancillary wiring that is not a part of the primary electrical distribution system.
6.06 System: Plumbing
(1) The inspector shall observe:(a) The exposed readily accessible interior water supply and distribution system including:
- Piping materials, including supports and insulation.
- Fixtures and faucets.
- Functional Flow.
- Cross Connections.
(b) The exposed readily accessible interior drain, waste and vent system, including:
- Traps; drain, waste, and vent piping; piping supports and pipe insulation.
- Functional Drainage.
© Hot water systems including:
- Water heating equipment.
- Normal Operating Controls.
- Automatic Safety Controls.
- The exterior of the chimneys and vents.
(d) Sump pump.
(2) The inspector shall:(a) Report on:
- The type of water supply and distribution piping materials (brass, copper, steel, lead, plastic, other).
- The types of drain, waste, and vent piping materials (brass, copper, cast iron, lead, plastic, steel, other)
- The type of water heating equipment, flue pipe and capacity (gas, electric, oil, tankless, solar, other).
(b) Operate all plumbing fixtures, including their faucets and all exterior faucets attached to the house if readily accessible.
(3) The inspector is not required to:(a) Collect engineering data on the size of the plumbing equipment, the size or length of water and or waste systems and or remove covering materials (engineering services).
(b) Report on the adequacy and or the efficiency of the in place systems to provide sufficient hot water to the dwelling, sufficient water supply or drainage for the dwelling (engineering services).
© State the effectiveness of anti-siphon devices (Engineering services).
(d) Determine whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private (owner’s responsibility).
(e) Operate automatic safety controls.
(f) Operate any valve except readily accessible water closet flush valves, fixture faucets, and hose faucets.
(g) Observe or report on:
- Water conditioning systems.
- Fire and lawn sprinkler systems.
- On-site or public water supply quantity and quality.
- On-site or public waste disposal systems (Title V Inspection).
- Foundation sub drainage systems.
- Spas, except as to functional flow and functional drainage.
- The interior of flue linings.
6.07 System: Heating
(1) The inspector shall observe permanently installed exposed readily accessible heating systems including:(a) Heating equipment.
(b) Normal operating controls.
© Automatic safety controls.
(d) The exterior of the chimneys and vents.
(e) Solid fuel heating devices.
(f) Heating distribution systems including fans, pumps, ducts and piping, with supports, dampers, insulation, air filters, registers, radiators, fan coil units, convectors.
(g) The presence of an installed heat source in each room.
(2) The inspector shall:(a) Report on:
- The type of energy source (coal, electric, gas, and oil, wood, other).
- The type of heating equipment (electric, hot air, hot water, steam, other).
- The type of distribution system (piping: black iron, copper, and other. Duct work aluminum, fiberglass, steel, other).
/LIST If possible, have the owner and or the owner’s representative operate tthe system using normal operating controls. If not possible for owner or owner’s representative to operate system, home inspector shall operate system using normal operating controls and report on conditions.
© Open readily accessible and operable access panels provided by the manufacturer or installer for routine homeowner maintenance.
(3) The inspector is not required to:(a) Test and or inspect the heat exchanger (requires the equipment to be dismantled).
(b) Collect engineering data on the size of the heating equipment, the size or length of the distribution systems. (engineering services)
© Report on the adequacy of the in place system(s) to heat the dwelling (engineering services)
(d) Operate heating systems when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage.
(e) Operate automatic safety controls.
(f) Ignite or extinguish solid fuel and or gas fires.
- The interior of flues.
- Fireplace insert flue connections.
- Electronic air filters.
- The uniformity or adequacies of heat supply to the various rooms.
- The heat exchanger (Requires dismantling of the furnace cover and possible removal of controls) HVAC technician work.
6.08 **System: Central Air Conditioning **
(1) The Inspector shall observe:(a) Exposed readily accessible central air conditioning including:
[INDENT]1. Cooling and air handling equipment.
2. Normal operating controls.
/INDENT Exposed readily accessible distribution systems including:
- Fans, pumps, ducts and piping, with supports, dampers, insulation, air filters, registers, fan-coil units, condensers.
- The presence of an installed -cooling source in each room.
(2) The Inspector shall:(a) If possible, have the owner and or the owner’s representative operate the systems using normal operating controls and report on conditions. If not possible for owner or owner’s rep to operate system, home inspector shall operate system using normal operating controls and report on conditions.
(b) Open readily accessible operable access panels provided by the manufacturer or installer for routine homeowner maintenance and report on conditions.
(3) The Inspector is not required to:(a) Collect engineering data on the size of the cooling equipment, the size or length of the distribution systems.
(b) Report on the adequacy of the in place system(s) to cool the dwelling (engineering services).
© Have the owner’s representative operate the cooling systems when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage.
(d) Observe evaporator coils (Requires dismantling of the plenum cover and possible removal of controls) HVAC technician work.
(e) Observe non-central air conditioners.
(f) Observe the uniformity or adequacy of cool-air supply to the various rooms.
6.09 System: General Interior Conditions
(1) The Inspector shall observe:(a) Walls, ceiling, and floors.
(b) Steps, stairways, balconies, and railings.
© Counters and a representative number of cabinets.
(d) A representative number of doors and windows.
(e) Separation walls, ceilings, and doors between a dwelling unit and an attached garage or another dwelling unit.
(2) The Inspector shall:(a) Operate a representative number of primary windows and interior doors.
(b) Report signs of water penetration.
(3) The inspector shall report on:(a) The type of exposed floor material(brick, carpet, ceramic tile, linoleum, slate, vinyl tile,wood, other).
(b) The type of exposed wall material (brick, ceramic tile, fiberglass, laminates, paneled, plaster, gypsum wall board, plastic tile, other).
© The type of exposed ceiling material (acoustical tile, gypsum wall board, plaster, wood, other).
(4) The inspector is not required to observe and or report on the cosmetic condition of:(a) Paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments on the interior walls, ceilings, and floors.
(b) Draperies, blinds, or other window treatments.
© Household appliances.
(d) Recreational facilities or another dwelling units.
6.10 System: Insulation and Ventilation
(1) The inspector shall observe:(a) Exposed insulation in unfinished spaces.
(b)Ventilation of attics and foundation areas.
© Kitchen and bathroom venting systems.
(2) The inspector shall report:(a) The existence of insulation in unfinished spaces.
(b) Absence of it in unfinished space at conditioned surfaces.
© The type of ventilation in attic (gable, ridge, soffit, roof surface, other).
(d) Presence or absence of ventilation in kitchen and bathroom.
(3) The inspector is not required to report on:(a) The type of insulation
(b) Concealed insulation and vapor retarders.
© Venting equipment which is integral with household appliances.
6.11 General Limitations and Exclusions:
(1) General limitations.(a) Inspections done in accordance with the standards set forth in 266 CMR 6.00 are visual and are not technically exhaustive.
(b) The standards set forth in 266 CMR 6.00 are applicable to buildings with four or less dwelling units and their attached garages.
(2) General exclusions.
(a) Inspectors shall not be required to report on:
Life expectancy of any component or system.
The causes of the need for a repair.
The methods, materials and costs of corrections.
The suitability of the property for any use.
Compliance or non-compliance with applicable regulatory requirements.
Any component or system, which was not observed.
The presence or absence of pests such as wood damaging organisms, rodents, or insects.
Cosmetic items, underground items, or items not permanently installed.
Items specifically excluded by client.
(b) Inspectors shall not be required to:
Offer or perform any act or service contrary to law.
Offer warranties or guarantees of any kind.
© Inspectors are prohibited from reporting on:
Market value of property or its marketability.
The advisability or inadvisability of te prurchase of the property.
Offer or perform engineering, architectural, surveying, plumbing, electrical, heating services, pest control, urea formaldehyde and lead paint inspection(s) or any other job function requiring an occupational license and or registration in the jurisdiction where the inspection is taking place, unless the inspector holds a valid registration and or occupational license, in which case he/she may inform the client that he/she is so registered/licensed, and is therefore qualified to go beyond the 266 CMR 1.00-11.00. Should the inspector offer any service requiring a registration and or occupational licenses he/she shall be required to specify and list additional services not required under these standards of basic home inspection. In addition the inspector shall not offer to make and or perform any repairs and or treatment to the property he and or his firm has inspected.
To collect any engineering data (the size of structural members and or the output of mechanical and or electrical equipment).
Determine the cost of repairs.
Determine Building Code and or Zoning violations.
Verify property lines.
Inspect concealed spaces.
Inspection of surface and subsurface soil conditions.
Calculate the strength, adequacy, or efficiency of any system or component.
Enter any area or perform any procedure, which may damage the property or its components, or be dangerous to the inspector or other persons.
Operate any system or component that is shut down or otherwise inoperable.
Operate any system or component, which does not respond to normal operating controls.
Disturb insulation, move personal items, furniture, equipment, plant life, soil, snow, ice, or debris that obstructs access or visibility.
Determine the presence or absence of any suspected hazardous substance including but not limited to latent surface and or subsurface Volatile Organic Compounds, PCB’s, asbestos, UFFI, toxins, carcinogens, lead paint, radon gas, noise, and contaminants in soil, water, air quality, wet lands and or any other environmental hazard.
Determine the effectiveness of any system installed to control or remove suspected hazardous substances.
Predict future conditions, including but not limited to failure of components.
Project operating costs of components.
Evaluate acoustical characteristics of any system or component.
Determined location of property lines.
Determine extent or magnitude of damage or failures noted.
M.G.L. c. 13, § 96, c.112, §§ 221 through 226.