TREC requires code inspection

TREC issued a $2,000 fine for failing to inspect to code. The TREC Standards are packed with subliminal code inspection requirements that most inspectors are not aware of. Some might argue that TREC does not require inspection to code but the fine is the proof.

The penalty wording stated " . . . Penalty of $2,000.00. Report failed to report as deficient the inadequate access and clearance of the heating and cooling equipment as required in the Standards of Practice. . . ."

The TREC Standards state “report as deficient: inappropriate location; inadequate access and clearances."

The TREC standard form states “ . . . this is NOT a code compliance inspection and does NOT verify compliance with manufacturer’s installation instructions.” The CAP emphasis of NOT is promulgated by the State.

TREC form OP-I states “ . . .TREC Standards of Practice do not require inspectors to perform a code compliance inspection . . .”

The only resource for “inadequate access and clearance” is code and manufacturer specifications. The TREC standards are a hypocrisy.

Furthermore, when a senior inspector advisory committee members was asked “what is inadequate access and clearance” he responded with a huff “go back to your educational provider”.

In the preceding post by Nick there is a TPREIA newsletter attached. It mentions discussion of upcoming TREC changes. This deserves a separate post but the cause of TREC change is Realtors want 50 page inspection reports to be reduced. It is an official Strategic Planning goal of TREC. Force inspectors into a box. They seem to have no clue that subversive code inspection requirements and $2,000 fines contribute to the length of reports.

Could you imagine the whine if TREC fined a Realtor 8 times their commission check for a minor and impractical Rule violation? A $30,000 Realtor fine would result in TREC being swamped by Realtor lawyers.

John, no argument from me on your points. But, this is nothing new, it’s been a major issue since day one hasn’t it? Here’s another example of the hypocrisy you mentioned. Look at a sample inspection report from that same “senior inspector advisory committee member” and you will see the word “code” used 53 times, 14 times in sentences excluding code from the report and then 39 times citing code (some very specific) when noting a deficient item.

I am almost certain to find few, if any, allies regarding this statement, but I think a code inspection is all that one should be doing. The building code represents but the minimal requirements to protect life, limb, and property. Isn’t that what an inspection is all about?

Regardless what they happen to be smoking this week, The TRECIAC is not capable of adequately reinventing that wheel. Even if they possessed the talent, they would still be encumbered by the broker-friendly influences of the TREC.

While you may not agree with using code citations in reports, I find that they serve to stop the near endless flow of inane phone calls from know-it-all agents, tradesmen, sellers, buyers, attorneys, et al.

As for the duplicity of any particular IAC member, consider the source.

My thing is if your going to say something is not to code, you better be sure! We had an inspector tell us a Cpvc TPR line was not to code! What a dork, if your going to state crap that’s not true, don’t do it to an Architect / home inspector! Sad part is he still argued and almost killed our deal over it… I had to trump him with the code! I actually look at it everyday in Architecture!

I use a PDF form that mimics the verbiage in the LAW so I can catch the issues easier with a constant reminder of what the law is.

It might not have been, depending on the size of the piping. Even if it was sized properly, if it contained more than 4 bends prior to its terminus it was not compliant. There are different scenarios where CPVC would not be code compliant.

There are several other materials being used for TPR valve drain piping in your service area that are not approved by the IRC. I doubt that your AIA designation informed you of these. The IRC does. Code certification trumps AIA, PE, et al. any day when it comes to residential inspections. Period.

If one cites the building code, one should be certified in it. For that matter, what happens when the AJH disagrees with the inspectors application or interpretation of the code?

Enforcement of code related items, including interpretation, application, and recommendations, is typically the job of the municipal inspector. A Home Inspection is NOT a code inspection; never was and never should be.

I have been certified by ICC as an R-5 Combination Inspector for 10 years. I am not concerned with what the AHJ agrees with. I am only concerned with juxtaposing what is written in the AHJ’s adopted version of the code and what I see on site. They had better match.

No one here has suggested that HIs are code enforcers.

Unlike where you reside, in Texas HIs are licensed to inspect new construction, as long as they are qualified. Additionally, they are designated as one of those qualified to inspect new construction in unincorporated areas where, in fact, they become the AHJ.

Your contention that home inspections are not based in code is off base. The building code is merely the minimal standards set forth to protect life, limb, and property. What kind of inspections are you doing?

The older inspectors remember when the TREC SoP was originally based on the CABO as the CABO - One and Two-family is what was used by HUD, etc. at that time. Residential construction was based on CABO (see the Appendix of any SBCCI issue and others). Every standard has to be based on something. It can’t be based on non-founded opinions of those issued a business license by a state who may have been flipping hamburgers 180-days ago.

Fast forward -

**Texas Real Estate Commission Chapter 535, General Provisions
Rules Adopted at the October 27, 2008 Meeting

Subchapter R. Real Estate Inspectors 22 TAC 535.227 - 535.233**

Second column third paragraph … and I quote

“The reasoned justifications or the new sections is increased clarity for inspectors and consumers alike regarding what a home inspector is and is not required to inspect, as well as standards that more accurately reflect current technology, codes, and practices that form the basis of many of the standards.”

I think a 5 year old would understand that.

Mr. Miller’s post (above) appears to be correct in many ways to which I’m in agreement with. Those that are code certified are fairly versed in the scope, purpose and reasons for codes and standards and are more readily able to detect deficiencies. A code is a minimum safety standard so a violation of the code may violate safety in many way. Just because you wrote it in an inspection really doesn’t mean anything unless you can supply documentation supporting your opinion.

If one were to look at the definition of codes and standards and then the law
they are one in the same. TREC deserves some credit here and not a bashing.

Codes, standards and laws are based on something. The TREC SoP is a law, standard and a code at the same time as there is not much difference in the fact that when an authority having jurisdiction adopts a standard or a code it becomes law. .

TREC is not the evil empire here. The Inspection SoP was written many years ago with input from inspectors, industry and the public. Along the way each of us has had the opportunity to make suggestions or changes before the Commission. If one doesn’t like the SoP then go back to flipping burgers because you might not be serving the public as your TREC business license requires you to do. It’s much easier to sit back and complain than to contribute. The Inspection SoP is nothing new. Be glad we have a state standard which establishes a minimum and thank all the people that made it happen. Without a standard inspectors would be mired in lawsuits with baseless, unfounded opinions.

Home inspectors generally can’t agree on anything and that is why they will always have a mother ship, such as TREC, to look over them.

The licensee from Spring was not fined $2,000.00 for failing to report unsafe access which is a standards of practice violation (and yes, a code violation). Importantly, he was using a inspection business name not registered with TREC. Try that with the IRS and see what happens.*

If someone has not been following the TREC SoP don’t blast the system if one gets caught. Man up to it and accept responsibility. It’s never too late to follow the TREC SoP no matter what business model one follows.Ignorance of the SoP is no excuse. Failing to follow the SoP is intentional and negligent.

If you take the TPREIA class (Attic Inspection) you will learn what safe attic access is among other things along with a short history of the codes to avoid some of those penalties.

Further, taking from the TREC Advisor Vol. 5, No.1, 1994 - “It should be understood that the state standards of practice establishes at a minimum what an inspector shall inspect and report, but does not limit what the inspector can inspect for.

Although some requirements have changed from time to time and may vary from community to community, the standards of practice are not intended to direct local code jurisdictions as to what they can and cannot do, but rather are statewide requirements for all inspections being performed to determine the “condition of real property…for a buyer or a seller of real property”. In other words, it does not matter to the inspector what the requirements of the local jurisdictions are, but what the requirements of the standards of practice are for any given item as determined by the inspector, including the “existing or recognized hazards”.

That was 18 years ago, still applies and written far earlier than the majority of licensees have been in business.

A freshly minted licensed inspector (as we all were at some time) can certainly be an amusement. The chest beating glory of being a “real estate inspector” like it means something with a self-inflicted ego unknowingly awaits his or her turn of being shot down. The expectation of rewards without the hardship of learning or maturity is quite visible in some as they embarrass themselves in public after they vomit out some unintelligible comment. The house has not fallen down so it must be ok is a performance based inspection. That’s not the inspection I would want if it were my home.

TREC is somewhat unique in what it requires. Here in NY, code-related observations are specifically excluded from our requirements under the law.

In fact, an inspector was sued, and lost $35k in court, simply because he included an ICC certification reference in his advertising. Although code inspections are excluded from the SOP under the state guidelines, and he did not perform a code iinspection, there were violations in the residence he failed to report on. The court ruled that he advertised he had special knowledge, as he stated we was ICC certified. As such, the inspector had an obligation to perform a code inspection whether he charged ot not, and whether he was an AHJ or not.

When you advertise you have special knowledge, the rules can change, and not be in your favor.

As to what matches and what does not match, AHJs do have differing views of what is acceptable or not. that is a known fact in the Northeast. We also had lawsuit where an inspector claimed there was a code violation, and the seller threatened to sue the inspector for a lost sale. The seller researched the issue, and had the municipality read the report and inspect the dwelling. In fact, in the opinion of the AHJ, there was no problem.

All I can say is to stay within the requirements of the law in your area. Be mindful of the SOP you follow, where one is not mandated by law. Be careful of your advertising. When you must quote Code, be very sure that you are interpreting it correctly.

I never said AIA designation informed me, I referenced the IRC and compared to what was installed and it was compliant. Point was he was wrong and couldn’t show me how, he insisted it had to be copper! Which is wrong!

Wow I’m always impressed!!

When you are inspecting and see an issue that is outside of the Texas SOP requirements do you report on it?


There will always be those in any profession who do only the absolute least that is required of them, no matter what the task set before them. “Inspectors” who cling desperately to any SOP (and there is no discussion to be had that any SOP is the minimum standard), are minimalists, plain and simple.

We need slacker HIs to service the ever-burgeoning crowd of unidscerning clients. The unsophisticated home buyer’s only hope to learn is to be screwed by a minimalist and his/her agent host.

Once stung by the minimalist the home buyer either learns from the experience and moves beyond hiring on-the-job-trainees, or returns at a later date to be stung again.

FYI, the term minimalist is a synonym of conservative.:mrgreen:

[quote=“escanlan, post:12, topic:71447”]

When you are inspecting and see an issue that is outside of the Texas SOP requirements do you report on it?/

[quote=“pcraddock, post:14, topic:71447”]

Not sure how this entry was corrupted but this is from the email update I received on the response.

So Phillip as to my original question:

“When you are inspecting and see an issue that is outside of the Texas SOP requirements do you report on it?”

Do you?

Manny are you, or were you, a cop in Josephine? I met a cop there once who was an inspector there. The consulting firm I do work for is currently building 3 houses for low income folks in your town.

Seriously? Ok y’all are trying to imply things I didn’t say! Of course if there is a defect not in SOP I’ll say something, the SOP Is a minimum standard you must follow or you will get tagged by state.

What do think inspectors should do different? Real examples please…

In the absence of the even the remote possibility that all inspectors be required to have a minimum of 5 years on-the-job as a residential general contractor, every single inspector should take of his or her time to become code certified.

Our job is to identify minimal safety issues in order to protect life, limb and property. That is the very essence of the building code:

IRC R101.3 Purpose. The purpose of this code is to provide minimum
requirements to safeguard the public safety, health and
general welfare through affordability, structural strength,
means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, light and ventilation,
energy conservation and safety to life and property from
fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment.

That sounds good, my problem is a lot of the GC’ out there are not worthy and take too many shortcuts. In Texas anyone can be a G.C., the customer beware because they talk a good talk but some, not all … some are great at talking and lacking of proper construction techniques.


What standards and/or authoritative sources do you use to determine if an item contains a defect if that defect is not specifically required to be called out by the mandated SOP?