SOP...or not SOP

Why? I am too old and know when the cards are stacked against me. It was just a topic of discussion to see the sentiment out there.

See what others think.

Yep, and it’s probably more than one deck.

Russ, what prompted you to move the fridge? Or, is this part of your normal inspection procedure?

In regards to appliances I move on occasion the refrigerator to look at the electrical connection and water line, I may move out somewhat on a vacant dwelling with older floors only. I do not move larger appliance, occupied home with nice floors. (scratches) I scratch I pay.

I check stove for ATIP and connections.

I run dishwasher rinse, check air gap.
(now taking off the front plate I have not been doing and maybe I should)

Washer and dryer I look behind to check the connections, dryer vent.

I am NOT for changing the SOP on moving appliances.

In regards to the attic discussion topic, I had one yesterday that I could not find access, home and 3rd floor had been redone. Knee walls and gable sealed off. Now when I opened the crawlspace access they used it as a garbage can and I advised my client of what my lurk behind the finishing in his prospective attic.

I do not know the complete scenario for the attic that one inspector did not inspect and the other did.

So many here are quick to bring down an inspector and blow there horn on how great thou are!!

Now when it comes to panel covers and bath access, I used to take a knife and clean the screw heads(paint), break the seal and try to remove the 8 - 4 inch screws from a bath access that is 2 feet by 1 foot and ways next to nothing.
I only remove if I have proper access these days.

Just my 2 cents.

We look behind refrigerators when they are easy to move and you can almost see behind them anyways, even without moving them.

We look behind clothes washers, clothes dryers.

In short nothing prompted me, it’s just what we do. We don’t unattached big sub zeros, but if it is not difficult to peek behind it, what stops you?

I guess there is the question, “what stops you”? You all ask me, WHY DO I DO IT? I think the better question is why DON’T you do it?

As small business men in this profession, we can all decide on the routes our companies take. I am willing to take the chance of minor damage (never happened in 12 years) rather than a client unknowingly buy a house like this. What if this went undetected? I could have hid behind the SOP and PIA and told them tough crap. Which I never would have done, but isnt that just sad?

So I guess the question still remains, why don’t people look behind the refrigerator? My guess is, BECASUE THE SOP SAYS I DON’T HAVE TO.

You mean you are able to do visual inspection in accordance with the SOP.?


I don’t see the need for an SOP change to do that. That is more of a Standard of Care issue. I move things ONLY on a case by case basis. I do not own the home and neither does my client (yet). I do not want to be stuck with damage to repair, just to be a hero. I will look if I can and not damage anything. I sometimes look just by sticking my camera in an inaccessible area and reviewing a photo.

If inspectors don’t want to do little things like this they don’t have to. Its their business model.

So what change are you proposing to the SOP on checking the cooling system?

And why make broad brush accusations and try to demean those following the recognized SOP?

Well, I cant beleive i’m about to write this…I may agree with part of Russ’s idea.

Our SOP is, like building code, minimum standard for our profession. You are always allowed to exceed it and provide a better service. But it does protect US too,

like if the client found mold behind a very large refrigerator, you know those big sub zero’s, maybe it was full in an occupied home durring the inspection. Maybe it was also on imported tile floor the inspector was worried about damaging. Certainly not taking a shot cut to leave it in place.

That being said same scenario only empty smaller or regular size fridge on vinyl flooring. Perhaps we should slide that one out if we want to do an exemplary job.

same with walking roofs, they have different angles levels of wear and tear, or areas to get a ladder to it that can varry depending on each house and each inspectors chosen ladder.

I say inspect all you can. Thats why we are there. If you cant inspect it, make sure you actually cant, just dont want to. Thats how I do it. I sleep well doing my job this way. Most inspectors who take the time to read this MB are the guys who go above and beyond so your calling to the carpet so to speak of the lazy ones will likely miss its target.

You can’t write an SOP with all those judgement cals in it, you either do or dont. So it simply has to be how it is.

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All state SOP’s supersede InterNACHI SOP’s anyway. Here in Kansas, ours is worse than InterNACHI’s. That is what the RE agents and their associations wanted, so home inspections would be cheap, and very basic; most reports in Kansas now say nothing and are full of “fluff”.

How about an optional CMI SOP’s that are way above any other? Agents would really enjoy us using them…

Good post Mike! This statement needs repeating…

I walk on 99% of the roofs I inspect. I also do indeed move SOME things. I wouldn’t feel right taking someones money without doing so. I also can’t comprehend how you can do a roof inspection properly from the ground? I always check the ridge vents, vent flashings, chimney crickets, etc. How does one do that?

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The “Bottom Line” is that the bottom line of the SOP’s and State Laws “allow” exceeding standards of practice.

I completely agree with Russell’s assessment of our industry versus the standards we follow, however I do not feel that we should necessarily be legislating inspection requirements when they are like so many people have posted, “I move the appliance when it’s feasible to do so”.

Many times it’s not going to be feasible to move an appliance, walk on a roof or enter the attic or crawlspace. So to put it in the standard of practice that it must be done all of the time would not be prudent.

The fact that this inspector that couldn’t/wouldn’t go into the attic documented in his inspection that he did not do something in the inspection is what is important. We cannot allow the client to “assume” anything, so to document what was done or follow an SOP that describes how it is done is the only concern.

As for the attic thing, I would have at least put a camera up in there and take 360° photographs on a pole if necessary. However, there are even instances when this would not work so we cannot put it in the SOP that if you can’t do one thing, then you should do another. Because you may not be able to do the second option or the third option or the fourth option.

We must move personal property, unless…

I was involved in a lawsuit where the client packed up boxes and furniture against a wall that had obvious observable termite damage. I did not move their furniture. Unbelievably I was not listed in the lawsuit concerning termite damage, the termite company was and I got sucked in with them.

To provide a “screen door” to the home inspector “to hide behind” by not “requiring” moving personal property for inspection is appropriate for cases such as this. However, I move personal property all the time (but I’m not going to remove all of their personal property away from the wall to look at it). If you move appliances and find things behind them you begin to get a reputation of being extremely thorough in your inspection. I for one have a 95% referral base because of such activities. My state law says that I am allowed to do things outside of the state law as long as it’s not illegal.

There is a high probability that our presence on an inspection can cause damage to the property and can put us in a potentially life-threatening or personal-injury situation. The SOP and the state law leaves this to the discretion of the inspector. The only requirement (in the state law) is that it be documented in the inspection report as to why.

There are inspectors here that charge for doing crawlspaces. What are they doing if the client does not pay for this service?! There is nothing in the state law or SOP that says you do not have to inspect the crawlspace if the client doesn’t pay for it. You “will” inspect it, unless there is a reason why you cannot (in which case you will document in the inspection report the circumstances).

If we simply enforce what’s on the books and require inspectors to document when and why they don’t do things. This normally takes longer than actually doing the inspection, so they may as well just do it.

When you put in your report that you didn’t inspect the attic because you can’t get in the hole, and you didn’t do the crawlspace because you saw a spider, and you don’t open the electric service panel because someone left a mop leaning against the dead front cover, didn’t run the heat because it was above 72°F, only opened one window in the house because you interpret that as a random sample, no kitchen appliances were operated because is not required in the SOP, your client is going to start to look at your inspection as a piece of “crap”!

Though we have to listen to the horror stories and can’t believe our ears, there should be comfort in knowing that these inspectors will not be around very long (unless all inspectors start doing the same half assed job).

I would guess this is why Russell is losing his cool. He’s coming across too many crappy inspections/inspectors. I get pretty fed up with inspectors that can’t even follow the simple SOP (nevermind make it more complicated)!

Watch out Russell, you’ll end up being labeled an *** hole like me! :slight_smile:

Wow, what drama queens.

Come on guys.

The SOP is fine the way it is.

I suspect most of us are not looking for excuses not to inspect something.

Those that are hopefully will not be in business very long as they are doing their clients and the industry a disservice.

And coming soon to a theater near you, FLORIDA SOP

Commercial Properties? Why would I use that? Doesn’t Dale Duffy have all the professional commericial guys in his group? Think I am wrong? Isn’t the NACBI filled with a ton of pro’s? Weren’t most of them here at one time answering your questions and then all faded away from the message board and your organization?

Don’t you ever ask yourself why? Or do you not care? Or is it better to leave the experieced guys away from this board because they question you too much and its much easier for you to control the newbies into thinking your the Messiah of Inspections?

In just a single question. Name your members of the years and how many really even come in here to help? Why is that?

So just because you wrote an SOP (who really knows if YOU wrote it), doesn’t make you an authority on anything except, in your own mind.

I just hope that every single inspector in my area uses your SOP and never goes outside of it. More work for me.

I really do like ya Nick and think your a great guy. But, sometimes I get dispointed that you set the bar so low and then claim it really is a bar at all, to most its like a speed bump.

Just nice to know now that in 10 years you will have the same SOP. Even building codes change with the times.

Wow this was some good reading and nice to see different points of view. I fall on the side of the fence that goes WAY beyond the minimal guidelines set in any SOP. To me they are a good starting point, but in no way make for a true and complete detailed and thorough home inspection. To be honest I get most of my jobs and referrals for the fact that I do exceed the minimal SOP requirements and I personally know of many other NACHI inspectors that do the same. Hey there are many used house sales people that don’t like me for that, but it’s all good because I don’t like them cheating their clients out of a Quality Inspection either.:shock:


I posted some stuff about changing the SOP many years ago but realize now that changes would make very little difference to the overall performance level of many inspectors. This profession has a wide range of participants that are impossible to monitor or force changes onto.

This profession provides a service that has to be done in a wide range of environmental conditions, with varying degrees of interruptions onsite, with defect recognition skills that vary greatly depending on personality, education, willingness to double check items, angle of viewing based on height and effort exerted to obtain other views, with some house features that present a huge challenge to access and inspect properly, with age and physical differences, with self imposed time limitations (over scheduling) and the all too common subconscious desire of many inspectors to have a house with few issues so the “agent will not get upset”. Do these guy’s omit issues on purpose? Maybe not, it could be a deeper problem that they have not become aware of yet. Are they rushing through hoping not to find anything?

Then there is the task of getting the issues found put into a report in a manner that is understandable and concise. This is probably the number one problem in the industry since most inspectors are not writers and rely too much on canned comments that are often incorrect and vague for the actual issue at hand. For many, the report writing process is done at home with other interuptions and pressures that affect the quality of their work.

So basically, the job is very hard to perform at the highest level possible for many reasons. How much true effort and ample time do you put into your inspections?
Would a new SOP really change it?