Wow, great comments, thanks so much. And such diversity in how we do our work, yet each of us is likely providing a highly accurate service. Now to try to wrap my head around a good take away from all this that I feel comfortable with.
I start off the inspection with my driveway presentation saying I will identify abnormalities, things that are bad, unsafe, wrong, or that are in a condition other than you would expect. When I “write something up” I want to be able to say WHY I’m writing it up or why it is bad or wrong, and what should be done about it (not how to fix it.) But I don’t want to just say, “because that is what we were taught in on-line school or what was on our national test standard”. And I can’t say “it doesn’t meet code” because I don’t really know the code and don’t have time to look up the current code for every defect, and mostly because we aren’t code inspectors. So I’m feeling like using “currently accepted safety standards” is as close as I’m going to get.
Quick examples, railings not at 36" high, or balusters around stairs/decks at more than 4" apart, or presence of 2-prong outlets, or even lack of GFCIs in kitchens, baths, garages, exteriors. So my write up would read, “This item does not meet currently accepted safety standards of (xxx) and I therefore recommend an upgrade to (xxx).” And then advise my client that it is up to them to work with their agent (if they have one) to determine what to do about each item. I can only identify an “abnormality”, and help them understand why it is abnormal. They then have to decide what to do about it, i.e. accept it and live with it or fix it after you own the house, ask seller to fix, or decide to not buy the house. An abnormality isn’t necessarily unsafe, but there is an opportunity for it to be upgraded to more current standards that provide enhanced safety and convenience. I mean, if you think about it, any house more than about 20 years old will have many items that could be upgraded to current accepted standards providing enhanced safety…GFCIs, AFCIs, connected smoke/CO detectors, insulated windows, safety glass in single pane windows (garages, sheds, basements), high efficiency furnaces, better insulation, better framing, door handles versus door knobs, etc, yet we don’t write all those items up as defects. Rather, we pick and choose what we feel is most important.
Thanks all for your input. I feel better now with how I’m going to proceed.