Removing Smoke Alarms

I guess I’ll be in front of the board because I’m not dismantling any smoke alarms.

Smoke Alarms


This is stupid. What happens when we break one removing or reinstalling it.


Yes. That’s not our job. The state fire Marshall got this added.

I couldn’t make the last board meeting or I would have fought against this.

ASHI controls the board and they are pushing their agenda.

What is stupid is not doing your job! I’ve taken down thousands of smoke alarms for Home Inspections, and Rental Licensing Inspections in Baltimore City and County. Never broken one. If your such a clutz that you can’t remove a smoke alarm without breaking it maybe you should find a new line of work. I now carry a Sharpie so I can put the date on the side so the next guy won’t have to dismount it.

That’s not my job. Never has been never will be.

Stupid is not performing inspections using your experience rather than using a checklist.

Every home and every client is different. This cookie cutter SOP distracts me doing my job.

I don’t want my doctor using a checklist I want his experience.

The Inter-Nachi SOP excludes this type of activity

III. The inspector is not required to:

  1. move any personal items or other obstructions, such as, but not limited to: throw rugs, carpeting, wall coverings, furniture, ceiling tiles, window coverings, equipment, plants, ice, debris, snow, water, dirt, pets, or anything else that might restrict the visual inspection.

2. dismantle, open or uncover any system or component.

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No one knows what your job is! Including YOU.

Tell that to the licensing board when its time to renew. See how far that gets you. If your state has licensing you are legally bound to inspect to their standards. InterNACHI SOP doesn’t supersede state law. It can compliment it, but it can’t overrule it.

So you don’t remove the dead front on a panel board? You must be related to Parks.

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I don’t know Mr. Parks but am in agreement with him that I will not remove a smoke detector in a house that I do not own.

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I don’t have that requirement where I am or where I’ve previously inspected. However, if its state SOP then it’s a required inspection component. You can disclaim and if the client agrees then it’s over but you run the risk of being called on the carpet. I’d add a note to the pre inspection agreement that it’s a mandated state requirement and I will not be responsible for damage if a detector is broken. In practical terms, I’d carry some new detectors with me just in case. My 2 cents

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Even if it violates the statue?

(G)“Readily accessible” means available for visual inspection without requiring a person to move or dismantle personal property,take destructive measures, or take any other action that will involve risk to a person or to the property.

I am not licensed nor am I insured to perform electrical work. So they can’t make me violate the law.
Can’t make me ‘work’ on live equipment.

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I do not have a problem checking the date on a smoke alarm if the Ohio SOP requires it. IMO, not a big deal. I would however, disclaim any that are hard wired into a home alarm system (ADT etc). Many of those systems require the alarm code to deactivate the smoke alarm before you remove the cover.

“(4) The reason a system or component listed under division (D)(3) of this section was not inspected”

I don’t take things apart.

IMO there’s a simple way to address this issue, if the house is older than 3 years old I always recommend additional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors be installed in appropriate places.

Checking the date is one thing, but checking to see if they have photoelectric or ionization sensors is another.

All homes built in Ohio within the last 3 years require both sensors and carbon monoxide detectors. Anything else is a guess.

Obviously nobody can make you do anything you don’t want to do. You just have to reconcile how to get your inspections done in the best way to protect your client and yourself.

Actually, the more I think about it, I may add it to “The things I inspect”. Another “extra” that would take minimal time. :heavy_dollar_sign: :heavy_dollar_sign: :heavy_dollar_sign:

That’s a good way to handle it.

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