Q: What causes billions of dollars in damage...?

**Q:**What causes billions of dollars in structural damage in residential homes across the country every year…and…is not discovered by home inspectors, because of the lack of the skills necessary to inspect and report it?

A. Termite infestation
B. Mold
C. Moisture
D. All of the above

Answer is D.
Don’t lack the skills necessary.

IAC2 Mold Training and Certification Package http://www.nachi.org/videomoldcourse.htm

Ben, how familiar are you with the term “standards of practice”, and the one utilized by home inspectors who belong to NACHI?


The wrong choice for president! :neutral:

I know of the term.
I don’t know any inspectors who belong to NACHI. :twisted:

Before your time, perhaps. InterNACHI is still a new term for most of us to get used to.

Anyway, we have this thing called a “standard of practice” and we inspect according to it. It does several things for us.

First, it protects us. When we contract with a person to inspect in accordance with our standard of practice and we comply with it, those items that we disclaim need not be addressed in our reports.

Secondly, it provides our clients with clear guidance as to what they are purchasing when they buy an inspection from us. They fully understand what a home inspection consists of and, most particularly, what it does not. They cannot later claim, unless a modification has been made in writing, that it was their understanding that we would be …oh, let’s say …testing for mold when they have agreed to an inspection that was done in accord with the standard of practice.

Avoiding confusion and avoiding misunderstandings is the first step toward avoiding litigation. The clear, crisp and concise description of the standards of practice is the Alpha and the Omega regarding that effort. Unwisely, some home inspectors will nullify this umbrella of protection and will confuse their customers by advertising meaningless and contradictory claims of “exceeding” the standard. When this happens, they advertise that they are inspecting without a predetermined and predisclosed standard…simply leaving their customers to guess (and for the plaintiffs’ attorneys to decide) what “exceeding” a standard means.

But compliance with a standard of practice will ensure that the client who knows before the inspection what the inspection will include (and what it will not) will have full satisfaction with and confidence in their report.

I think there is a link to our SOP on the left side of this page, toward the top.

I bring all of this up, Ben, because if I were to accept your opening statement as fact (which I don’t) I would have to conclude that the standards of practice of all national home inspection associations and societies are grossly insufficient, when they are not. Now, if I were not in the business of inspecting homes…but WAS in the business of selling videos or tools, I’m sure that I could invent reasons why inspectors who did not buy from me were not doing a good job. That almost goes without saying. But a home inspector for NACHI (aka InterNACHI) operates from an SOP that disclaims mold and insects and that primarily identifies defects that could allow for moisture, whether moisture was present or not.

I wrote the first draft of the NACHI Standards of Practice. I’m well aware of the minimums. Thanks.:wink:

My point in post #1 is very simple. A home inspector should be skilled enough to report major structural damage when it is readily accessible and visible. But you gotta know where to look. And that depends upon knowing the “behavior” of termites, mold, and moisture.

A home inspector would significantly improve his/her service if they knew ahead of time where to look, including those areas of a building that have historical high probabilities of structural damage being caused by “foreign” factors.

Those “foreign” factors I’m referring to are termites, mold, and moisture - the big 3.

I’m not saying home inspectors should test for mold during a home inspection. No.

A home inspector should know how mold can cause major structural damage. And how mold indicates moisture intrusion into the building. And how termites (which thrive on moisture) can cause major structural damage.

They are all related - termites, mold, moisture. You gotta know where to look to find the possible major structural damage that may have been caused by those three.

What was the latest training/education course that you’ve taken, James?

Ben…thanks for the clarification.

But you will certainly acknowledge that mold, moisture and termites are…by far…not the only factors that could affect the structure of the home. Right?

Limiting myself to simply these three areas of reference would have me missing the myriad of other factors contributing to the same thing. Of course, as we inspect the structure in accordance with the SOP, we will be inspecting and reporting upon all of the factors (including these three) that affect the condition of the structure of the home in that part of our report. But reporting upon the damage caused by wood destroying organisms is different than reporting upon which organism it is and how it should be mitigated.

My latest course was conducted in a classroom in a hotel in Springfield, MO and focused on proper attic venting about eight weeks ago. Why do you ask?

I refer you back to post #1.
I can think of no other factor that contributes (documented) billions of dollars of structural damage to residential homes every year than those 3 aforementioned.

Ben, it seams that you have never read the back side of the NPMA-33 form used in most states and for FHA wood destroying insect reporting. When you do, I suggest revising your WDI educational pages.

Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados. Revise your statement.

Don’t forget SINKHOLES :stuck_out_tongue:

No. I will not revise.
Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, meteor impacts, blazing fires, tidal waves, lava, black holes… all these factors that cause major damage to a house are OBVIOUS to anyone WITHOUT training.

Home inspectors should be willing to **learning “what’s not obvious” **but yet very important to understand.

For example, termites can cause major material structural damage. The insect’s location or the area of termite damage is hardly ever obvious. If I don’t know the likely places where infestation would occur in a building (because I haven’t the desire to learn), then I have a high probability of missing possible structural damage during the performance of a regular home inspection.

In other words…you are wanting to teach a “shortcut”.

Thanks, anyway. That is where mistakes are made and important defects are missed.

A complete and thorough home inspection will uncover these things just as they have for the many decades preceding your video. Inspectors who cover ALL of the visible areas will eventually find your “most likely places” as well as finding a few defects in the unlikely places as well.

That is, as long as they are sticking with the SOP.

If someone learns how to do the bare minimum inspection, that is
according to the SoP, then from that point forward, there is no need
for any further education or training, correct?

And… that makes good marketing to the public when you advertise
that “our company does the bare minimum and no more”, yes?

If the SoP is what makes a good inspector, then all home inspectors
are the same, as long as they abide by the SoP. There is no such
thing as a “more qualified” or “better inspection”, as long it meets
the SoP.

We all know that the SoP will cause complaints to go away, because
they protect us. Customers are always reasonable, yes?

The cheapest price is the only thing that makes any inspector different,
as long as they go by the SoP. No wonder the customer looks for
the lowest price, because they know all inspectors do the same level
of inspection (according to the SoP). There is no difference, yes?

We don’t need any more training, education or tools. We have the
SoP and that is all we need, yes?

I’m OK and your OK, yes?

BTW… I know a home inspector that just paid $80,000 for his first
moisture meter. He lost a law suite because he could not “see” the
moisture, decay, mold, and termites inside the walls of a house.
He did his inspection according to the SoP, but the entry point of the
moisture was so hard to see, he missed it. After it was discovered,
it could be seen, but only if you got down in a certain position and
knew where to look very closely. He has been inspecting for 15 years
and is ranking member in another HI association.

After loosing $80,000 he went out and bought a moisture meter
because he realized a tiny little gap can be a major freeway for
water to flow into and may not be easily visible or easily accessible. The
SoP did not protect him, because it requires you to “see” even the tiny,
tiny things that we miss all the time. If you think you never miss these
little gaps… just buy a moisture meter and an IR camera.

James said he is going to buy an IR camera when the price comes
down, but I hope he does not get in trouble for going beyond the SoP.
I have no idea why he wants one.

The more you learn, the more you see with wisdom and the third
eye of your understanding. The demand for quality education and
training is increasing and InterNACHI is leading the way.

Thanks Ben, for all your hard work.


State Departments of Agriculture approve the InterNACHI online WDO course (free to InterNACHI members):
Idaho: http://www.nachi.org/idaho-dept-agriculture-approved-wdo-course-2009.htm
New Mexico: http://www.nachi.org/nm_dept_agriculture_approves_wdo_course.htm
Ohio: http://www.nachi.org/ohio-dept-agriculture-wdo-training.htm
Pennsylvania: http://www.nachi.org/pa-dept-of-ag-approves-internachi-wdo-course.htm

More Dept. of Agriculture approvals to come…including KANSAS State Dept. of Agriculture. :stuck_out_tongue: By the way… It’s WDO - not WDI. The WDO course includes mold, because mold is a wood-destroying organism (just like termites), and a very important factor to those inspectors who are trained in inspecting for structural damage. WDO course

Ben, you need to write a book called,“Home inspectors are vendors too” or maybe “Vendorphobia”

…speaking of inspectors and vendors…
Energy auditors are required to provide their clients a scope of work to improve the energy efficiency and safety of a home, prioritize actions, review better products and appliances, and guide the homeowner to a contractor.

**Inspection Tip: **
When I inspect a property and find a structural repair to a load-bearing component (say, a floor joist), I will include in my report:

  • my findings - visual observations
  • digital pictures of the repair, and
  • I recommend asking the property owner for further information about any prior treatment for subterranean termites.


A treatment may be recommended by a termite inspector for a previously treated structure showing evidence of subterranean termites if there is no documentation of a liquid treatment by a licensed pest control company within the previous five years.

Good. I am glad you read the backside of the NPMA-33 form. Marketing extra products for inspectors to perform inspections over and above the SOP opens up opportunities for attorneys. Tools are only as good as their operators. You can educate a person all you want, but can he really perform in the real inspection world? You cannot beat on the job training. Weather conditions change so much that infra-red, moisture, etc. meters are worthless in the right environment. Teach realities.

In Kansas you go through termite certification every three years. They call it the “Commercial Pesticide Applicator Certification under the Kansas Pesticide Law”. Perhaps you need to learn about applying chemicals, the type/brands used, reading pesticide labels, etc. There is more to inspections that can only be taught with experience.

We do not write up termite damage in the termite reports: only whether or not there is evidence of termites, or any live activity. We cannot determine type/date/evidence of previous treatments without documentation. Sturctural damage is part of the home inspection report. If you note it on the termite report, the home sale transcation will be held until the repairs can be made, or a structural engineers report implemented by the mortgage company needs to be completed. Note the damage on your main home inspection report, and suggest futher investigation. Termite laws vary from state to state. Having a iNACHI **WDI **course is basic, and even if I take it, I still have to attend certification classes performed by the Kansas Department of Agriculture. I guess you can branch out into farming. Since there are no mold standards, I suggest show us how mold can destroy wood, and how much time it takes. I had redwood on a dock in the Lake of the Ozarks that was in contact with the water, and molded, for 25 years before it finally gave out.

Education is good thing. Simple.