State of Illinois proposes rule and SOP changes for home inspectors.

Proposed revisions for Home Inspector Rules and Standards of Practice can be found in:

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/index/register/register_volume33_issue32.pdf

The first 45 day commentary period has begun.
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Here is a draft of a letter regarding the proposed changes, all comments regarding this letter are welocme.

Thank you for your efforts to improve the Illinois Home Inspector License Act. While I applaud many of the changes, there are certain areas that may be confusing and/or contradictory. They are addressed below, in a section – by-section breakdown for clarity.
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Section 1410.10 Definitions
[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]“Field Inspection Events” means an examination and evaluation of the exterior and interior components of an actual residential real property by a licensed home inspector with at least 5 years experience. A maximum of 5 candidates for State licensure will participate for the purpose of learning inspection methodology, techniques, communication and observation skills and describing observed conditions.[/COLOR][/FONT]

Field experience is, of course, paramount for learning our trade. This section specifies that a MAXIMUM of 5 candidates for licensure will participate. Later in the act, there is a requirement that, in order to obtain a license, all must have 5 “Field Inspection events”
Written, as it is, that would allow only 5 individuals to get a license, since this section allows for a maximum of 5 to participate and participation is required for licensure.

The language of this section also calls for simply inspecting the exterior and interior. In order for the field inspection events to be useful, it should also include, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, foundation, etc.

Additionally, there is no caveat for a fee to the “mentors”. While what the fee should be (if any) is debatable, this should be addressed, as you may find “mentors” charging prohibitive fees, which will not allow any new licensures.

I suggest removing the “maximum of 5” language and adding language to the effect of the “mentor” shall charge a fee of no more than $100 (or whatever number the legislature feels is fair). Adding additional systems to be inspected will also clear up some confusion on what is required.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]“Unprofessional Conduct” means to act or behave in a controlled manner
uncharacteristic of the profession of home inspection. A home inspector’s
unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to:
Not adhering to guidelines of the Act and this Part;
Not applying the same rigor and integrity in describing observed
conditions in all home inspection reports;
Not adhering to a request made by contracted parties;
Causing physical damage to property; and
Failing to properly document findings or items left uninspected.
[/COLOR][/FONT]The above has two sections that ought to be re-evaluated.
First -
[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]Not applying the same rigor and integrity in describing observed[/COLOR][/FONT]
[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]conditions in all home inspection reports;
[/COLOR][/FONT]This statement is vague at best. Confusing at worst. I’m guessing that it is meant to require consistency in report writing. If so, it needs to be re-worded.
Second –
[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]Causing physical damage to property; and
[/COLOR][/FONT]As worded, this statement would cause any home inspector who scratches a gutter with his ladder to be deemed “Unprofessional”. Likewise, if any system or component fails under test (casement window handle breaks, GFCI fails to reset) or the inspector simply dirties the carpet upon emerging from a crawlspace, they can be found to be unprofessional.

It would be a disservice to the client if the inspector, not wanting to be disciplined, did not inspect items which may break.

Recommend re wording to “Intentionally causing damage”, or something of the like.

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[/COLOR][/FONT]Section 1410.200 Standards of Practice [ol]
[li][FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff][/li][li]Definitions For the purposes of this Section, the terms listed below shall mean:[/COLOR][/FONT][/li][/ol]There are many definitions that are new and useful in a home inspection, but they do not appear anywhere in this act. While they are terms that are common in the inspection industry, defining things that do not appear in the act is superfluous.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff] 
[/COLOR][/FONT]e) At the conclusion of the home inspection, a home inspector shall submit a written
report[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]…[/COLOR][/FONT] and shall:

  1. Describe the systems and components that were inspected;
  2. Report on those systems and components inspected that, in the opinion of
    the inspector, are significantly deficient [FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]including:; and
    [/COLOR][/FONT]A) A reason why[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff], if not self evident, [/COLOR][/FONT]the system or component is
    significantly deficient.
    B) [FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]The inspector’s recommendations to correct or monitor the
    reported deficiency.
    C) Disclosure of Disclose [/COLOR][/FONT]any systems or components designated for
    inspection[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff], [/COLOR][/FONT]that were present at the time of the home inspection[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff],
    [/COLOR][/FONT]but were not
    It is e-2-B that, in my opinion is out of order. This section would require the inspector to provide a solution to every deficiency noted. While that would be possible in many situations, it would not be practical in all situations.
    For example, if the furnace does not operate, at all, there could be many reasons for it. According to this section the inspector will have to make a recommendation to correct the deficiency.
    Note, recommending further evaluation by an HVAC tech is NOT going to correct the deficiency. It may lead to correction base on the HVAC techs invasive and specialized tests, but the inspector will have failed to meet this part of the SOP by not making a recommendation to correct the deficiency.
    If the language is meant to require more than simply “furnace not functional”, perhaps
    " The inspectors recommendation regarding the reported deficiency" would be more appropriate. That would allow for “further evaluation” to be compliant with the SOP, as well as allowing recommendation for specific correction to be compliant.

Section 1410.300 Grounds for Discipline
c) The licensee discloses any information concerning the results of a home
inspection without the approval of the client[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff], unless conditions that threaten
health, safety or welfare exists that require emergency action. If any dangerous
situations exist, the home inspector is required to report those findings to the
home owner.
[/COLOR][/FONT]The underlined text here would require all inspectors to report everything to the current owner. Think about it. We are required to report items that are unsafe or not functioning. If items were unsafe or not functioning, wouldn’t they also fall into the category of “any dangerous situation”?
Better verbiage would be something like “If an emergency condition exists, the inspector is required to report those to the seller”. Even in that event, whom would you notify on a REO property. Additional language allowing for notification of the seller’s agent may also be in order.

Section 1410.520 Pre-License Course Curriculum
a) Pre-license education course work to obtain a license as a home inspector shall
consist of a minimum of 60 hours of instruction [FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]and a minimum of 5 field
inspection events, of which no less than 40 hours shall be classroom instruction
and no less than 10 hours shall be practical lab instruction[/COLOR][/FONT]. The content for prelicense
instruction courses shall not be repetitive and shall represent a progression
of instruction in that the [FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]student’shome inspector’s [/COLOR][/FONT]knowledge is increased in
[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]topics that include,the following topics, including [/COLOR][/FONT]but [FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]are [/COLOR][/FONT]not limited to:
This is the section I referenced earlier. This section requires 5 field inspection events, for licensure. Earlier text limited the number to a maximum of 5 candidates who would participate in field inspection events. If both of these provisions remain there will be only 5 people able to obtain a home inspection license after this passes.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff] 
[/COLOR][/FONT]Section 1410.550 Curriculum for Continuing Education Courses; Continuing Education
Credit for Participation other than as a Student
a) Continuing education courses for a home inspector shall include course work
[FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]designed tothat shall [/COLOR][/FONT]increase [FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff]the home inspector’shis or her [/COLOR][/FONT]skill, knowledge and

competency in home inspections and shall cover topics such as, but not limited to: [FONT=TimesNewRoman][COLOR=#0000ff][ol]
[li]Mandatory courses, including, but not limited to:[/COLOR][/FONT][/li][/ol]If a course (or slate or courses)is “mandatory” then by definition it is limited. Rephrasing this to “Mandatory courses include:” will provide a clear scope of what is indeed mandatory. Elective courses, can be unlimited, but not mandatory courses.

Thank you again for your work to advance our profession and for considering my suggestions. If I can be of any help, please let me know.

Sincerely,
Rick Maday