Home inspectors rely on our standards to protect them. When they are referred to in the scope of the inspection, they become a legal document.
So, I’m curious. Is there a potential problem with the definition of the term “material defect” in the NACHI Standards regarding “… adverse impact on the value of the property?” Home inspectors are not appraisers and should not be held to issues of property value. The term "material defect and its definition in the California Business and Professions Code (to which California home inspectors are required to adhere) remains a potential issue - not for simply including value in its definition, but also for including “desirability, habitability, or safety of the dwelling.” Desirability is purely subjective and habitability issues are the domain of the AHJ.
In addition, in the NACHI Standards the term “unreasonable risk” is not defined in the definition of “material defect.” Unreasonable to whom? If someone is injured as a result of a condition which was not identified and documented in an inspection report, he or she (or their attorney) will very likely take exception to the decision by the inspector to excluding and not identifying and documenting the condition which precipitated the injury. They will claim that the occurrence of the injury itself demonstrates that the risk was, in fact, “reasonable” and, therefore, should have been identified and documented.
One way to reduce the potential for liability is to own the terms which apply to inspections by defining them in a manner which will reduce the potential for misinterpretation.
It’s food for thought and discussion.