NACHI SOP and Real World Inspections

No: 209 HI Techniques, over 70 people attending including “Joe Tedesco, Go Figure!”

T. Lauhon said that:

**“if all you do is follow the bare minimum SOP you’ll be out of business in a year! Follow the standards!” :shock: :roll: **

Do you feel the same way?

Joe most of us exceed the Standards. But we sure aren’t going to put that in our inspection agreement.

Standards are exceeded, but the agreement is not, what happens when you are sued and the defense Attorney finds out you exceeded the Protocol of the SOP? What are the ramifications to exceeding the SOP?

If the SOP was written to give a general idea to the public as to what constitutes the degree of inspections required by a Home Inspector, is it likely then, that it is time to change the criteria and descriptive meaning of the SOP, if we all wish to exceed it?

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I always go above and beyond the SOP.

I would have to say that I concur with Mr. Lauhon.

Tom put on a fantastic A/C seminar at last years Convention. Very educational.

Maybe I am painting the wrong picture.

I have no problem in exceeding the SOP, because I have 40 years of Commercial and Residential Experience to back it up.

My question is, does everyone else? Shouldn’t all new prospects into the new field of joining NACHI have some guideline as to where they should stick to.?
Loggically, I would have thought that it would have been designed on this pretense. Maybe I am wrong, but where do the guidelines start and stop for new members of the field?

Was not the syetem originnally designed for this purpose? If not, then maybe it is time for a new design criteria for new members.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

What was meant by that statement is if all you follow are the bare minimum standards, then you will soon be headed towards a court room. Not just NACHI standards, but ANY associations ***bare minimum standards ***(which is what they are). This may also be translated into report systems, which the standard has been (but is rapidly changing) simple hand written, checklist reports. All they state is 1. What is it you are reporting on (furnace, roof, etc.), and 2. What’s it’s condition. There is no oportunity (or very limited) to state recommendations (repair it, monitor it, maintain it, etc) which computerized reports do.

This was what the whole class was about, and Tom’s statement is taken slightly out of context.

His statement means to me that if my competition only and firmly follows a set SOP, and I go beyond SOP, I will gain market share of my area since I do a better job for my clients and have a better reporting system. As well as stay out of court by not missing something that a bare minimum SOP may force me to miss.

One of the first questions asked in any court action is what SOP was the inspection conducted under. For those with E&O insurance, the SOP is important, as your carrier will likely ask which SOP you follow.

As to the notion that SOPs are really exceeded, this is open to interpretation, really. These are non-invasive inspections. The real purpose of the SOP is to inform the client, and to set expectations. It is also designed to guarantee a certain level of due-dilligence on an inspection.

I would advise all to be careful when they state that they exceed SOPs. Remember, building codes are also bare minimum standards of safety, however most folks regard them as gospel. Even then, they are open to interpretation. So, try not muddy the water too much with regard to what you do, and how you do it.

The SOP is there for a reason. The other danger is regularly exceeding the SOP, and having a claim brought against you. Your carrier may not like it when you roll your own, and I’d hate to envision anyone in a pissing contest with their E&O provider, when the provider discovers that the inspector is inspecting to a different SOP than the rest of the industry, and more importantly, different than the one you told them you inspect to.

True statement

Thank you Joe F.

Could not have said it any better in English. ha. ha.



Actually, my insurance is lower than most people I talk too, including the deductible because I do exceed the standards of practice, which may keep you out of court in the first place.

Insurance companies all want sample reports from their clients, continually producing quality reports is all they ask for, besides your premium.

Therefore, I would encourage everyone to exceed the standards in a narrative type format, with a wealth of information in it.

A wealth of information regarding what is in the building they have considered buying or leasing.

Hi. all;

There seems to be a variety of views on this subject, but that is alright, we all have opinions.

This scenario reminds me of the previous employees that I have shared with in the past that decided they could do better on their own and reap all the profits and glory. I doubt if glory ever came about and doubt that they prospered with what they knew at the time they were under my employment as Carpenters. This scenario is also true of Electricians and Plumbers.

Guess what? The system finnally realized that this was happening and voila,

The International Codes and Residential Codes came about to provide the minimum Standard that would protect the Consumer.

The same is true of the SOP, it is set to protect the Consumer as to what should be provided. I agree with that statement. (minimum)

The ones that chose to exeed these requirements have better know what they are talking about and assume it is the more experience people in this trade.
There is nothing wrong with exeeding the minimum standard, cause it is no different than exeeding the standard in the Building Industry. Rules and Standards are set to minimize the unacceptable standards that exist in this arena. That goes true for the Home Inspection Bussiness.

Let us not direct new applicants in the Inspection Bussiness that exeeding the SOP is the right thing to do, this will come automattically with time.

Young Inspectors that are just learning or deciding to enter this trade or profession, should realize that the SOP is set forth as a minimum guideline and go from there as they acquire experience.

Definition of Experience= a whole bunch of mistakes.

We are all here to communicate and share with members and visitors this knowledge so they do not have to learn by this method. I would agree that learning by your mistakes help in retaining those precious acts forever.

Let us do all our best to provide the Service that NACHI is about. EDUCATION.

No man is ever to old to learn and the vast knowledge that people have and shared to the clients of this Industry is priceless.

Thank you.


I agree that we should exceed the minimum standards. But I also think we need to be careful about how we do it. If you use a TIFF combustible gas detector to check the gas line behind a range and one month later there is a gas leak found somewhere else in the home, my take on this is that the inspector would be held liable because the entire house was not tested for gas leaks - only the range. Doesn’t matter if it’s excluded in your agreement.

Testing a representative number of outlets and windows as described in the SOP. I test all of them. Does that mean if a window won’t open a month later am I now liable because I chose to test all of them? Would I have been better off testing a representative number instead?

Erol Kartal

You chose to check gas leaks with a TIFF, you have now catorgaized yourself as a specialist and should have checked all gas leaks.

You chose to check all the windows, make sure they are all operational.
The minute you chose to specialize in Inspection, you have become a Specialist in the Courts eyes. So be carefull as to how far you push the SOP.

We are suppose to be Generalistict Inspectors, but the Justice System seems to think otherwise from what I here.


This is where you EDUCATE your clients as to what exactly you did and did not do in the respective areas of your report:

“I tested for gas leaks at valves and joints in the immediate area around fuel burning water heater. No leaks were apparent at this time. Many of this homes fuel supply lines are beyond reasonable access for evaluation during a typical home inspection. Natural gas is combined with a unique odorant that aids in the detection of a leak. Leaks in the fuel supply lines can occur at any time as joints and valves do fail. If at any time a natural gas odor is smelled in your home, immeadiately evacuate the premises and call proper authorities from a neighbors phone.”

Not saying this is exactly how it should be worded, as I’m sure there are better ways. But the point is, you exceeded the SOP to a certain extent, told them what you did not examine, and told them what to do WHEN a leak occurs.

You didn’t just follow the SOP and say I don’t have to test for gas leaks because my SOP doesn’t say I have to. This is where you will be eaten alive both from a business standpoint and a courtroom standpoint.

My two more bits…

Talking about exceeding SOP, I agree with Joe F. Be Careful. When you open the box to climb out it to be better than anyone else. You have to climb on a higher pedistal. While you are up there someone else will knock you off.

Here in our town, we had a house blown apart from who knows what? Some say Natural Gas Leak. There was 4 people in the house asleep at 5 am. It blew the house totally apart. Guess what? I would not want to be an inspector on this one, nor a contractor in the area either. I especially don’t want to be a Home Inspector checking for a gas leak on a supply line. HMMM??? I don’t care what anyone says, you miss one of those joints and certify> No Leaks! It does not matter what comes after that you will be held responsible. Not sure of the answer on that one. But I know I would not want to be in the Frying Pan for the House that Blows apart.


What if you did inspect that house, and never sniffed the first joint? I personally would be devestated thinking I might possibly have prevented this explosion, but chose to follow SOP.

Do you believe an SOP will protect you? I don’t. An SOP again is a bare minimum guide to protect the consumer first and foremost. Us as home inspectors as a side note.

Yes there are arguements on both sides of the fence. Ultimately it is up to the individual inspector and their attorney.

I’m no expert, just my opinion… and everybody has one!

Higher Pedistals Pay Much More. If you do not think and/or act in a different fashion then others, you may not be climbing anywhere. Higher pedistals work well for me anyway.

I enjoy doing Technical Inspections, and get compensated well for them. I would also recommend other experienced individuals try to think outside the box.

This is probably naive and silly of me to say, BUT in 26-28 years I’ve never seen, heard or done expert witness against ANYONE being sued for going beyond the SOP - ONLY those falling well short of the SOP.

Just my own observations. I’m sure youse guys got a better handle on this than me.

In all your endeavors, did you bother to check the gas regulater and make sure that it was low pressure.?
Five lb.'s or more is considered high pressure and constitutes differrent ruleings.

Take care in checking components in an area that is open to common standard of practice in a trade that you might not be fully educated in for comments of the nature. It might get you in trouble.