WAC 308-408C-090 Roofs

(1) The inspector will:
-Traverse the roof to inspect it.

(2) The inspector is not required to:
-Traverse a roof where, in the opinion of the inspector, doing so can damage roofing materials or be unsafe. If the roof is not traversed, the method used to inspect the roof must be reported.

Per WA state law, quoted above, should this roof be traversed?


Bonus question for Ben When was this picture taken? :mrgreen:

I know, I know, but I will wait for Ben. Hint, it is not 1863.:mrgreen:

I guess that would be up to you, I mean the home inspector, as it says in the opinion of the inspector. So, if the home inspector deems it safe to walk, then yes. If the home inspector does not feel it would be safe, no.

Then, I guess the question is how far does the inspector’s “opinion” reach? If the inspector’s opinion is definitive, what good does this law do? This roof seems perfectly safe for me to walk and brand new shingles aren’t, in general, prone to be easily damaged by walking on them.

Just about every state that has licensing has wording of that nature regarding roofs. Not all roofs are created equal, so it is at the inspectors discretion whether it would be safe or not to traverse it. This is why you see some home inspectors advertising that they walk ALL roofs.

I walk all roofs that are safe to do so. (considering slope, moisture, covering)We have some that have clay tiles and since I don’t feel like replacing the entire roof these are not walked.

If I am unable to walk the roof I put in the report the reason why and recommend they have a roofing company exam it in more detail. I will look from a ladder and use binoculars but there are limitations to what I can see and these are spelled out in the report.

You have to make your own call, but I would walk it.

So, basically, that part of the law is completely useless and unenforceable since the word “opinion” is too ambiguous?

Kevin, it is actually in their to protect the inspector. When an inspector pulls up to a home with a 10/12 on it, and it is pouring rain with 40 mph winds, he cannot reasonably be expected to walk the roof. Yet, some customers will still think that he should. This, according to the law, gives him a legitimate reason as to why he did not. It could have risked his personal safety and no one would really argue that.

I’m not really sure why you care though, you’re not a home inspector, remember?

I am, currently, a law abiding home inspector.

I understand what you’re saying, however, I’m talking about the other end of the spectrum where the inspector should be traversing the roof, according to the law, and doesn’t. What then? Can he hide behind is “opinion”, however he chooses to express it. At what point does the law supersede an inspector’s opinion? This is an important detail to understand. No?

In an instance such as that, the report would have to be read to see what reasons the inspector gave as to why the roof was not traversed. The roof would have to be looked at, weather conditions at the time of the inspection would have to be reviewed, and so on. In your scenario, yes, it would most likely come down to a matter of opinion on the inspectors part. Going by the wording of these laws, home inspectors are usually not REQUIRED to traverse ANY roof if they so choose. Each inspector is different as is each inspector. And yes, some do hide behind it, but that is their own choice.

So, just out of curiousity, what is your beef with this wording? Do you think you should be required to traverse every roof? How do you think it should read?

In NJ, which has its own HI laws and SOP, we are not required to walk roofs. We are required to list the method of inspection.(obviously) The kicker is that we have a minimum required tool list which includes an 11 foot ladder. That is the minimum size. There’s not much you can do with that. We have a lot of tall townhomes, so I carry a 32’ beast for that.

I think it’s unenforceable and useless if the law is written to force inspectors to walk walk-able roofs. It’s good to have for a reason not to walk a roof however.

I was just curious to hear some opinions. This house is enrolled in my warranty management program and the homeowner gave me an inspection report as a warranty request. I just noticed that the WA state licensed home inspector described that he viewed the roof with binoculars which prompted me to look how that law was written.

I think, after review, that this inspector should have walked it but, legally, he could certainly hide behind his “opinion” of safety and possibly causing damage.

I guess Ben couldn’t figure out when the picture was taken. :mrgreen: So much for that theory…

I agree with you there Kevin. Certainly ‘looks’ walkable from the picture, but who knows. I am sure there are some inspectors who will hide behind such wording in their own state. To each his own, I guess.


What were the weather conditions at time of inspection? If this was a new construction home inspection, there are a large number of builders that do not allow inspectors on a roof during construction. Quadrant, Sound Built and many others. Just like many require hard hats when on-site. What were all the conditions at time of inspection?

The wording in the state law is for the protection of the inspector. It is not supposed to be used as an out because they don’t want to walk the roof.

This was inspected post construction. Also, it’s safe to assume if the driveway is dry, the roof is dry enough to walk on, IMO.

I think Steven Smith, whom is on the licensing board, disagrees. You make the call:
“…if as a general practice, an inspector does not walk roofs, he or she is violating the law as written.](http://activerain.com/blogsview/951535/home-inspection-not-walking-the-roof-a-sign-of-incompetence-)”

Did you take the picture posted or is that from the inspectors report? How many days between the inspection and your function?

It’s from the inspector’s report.

So the picture could have been taken when he arrived at the property. I personally try to take the front picture before anybody else arrives so there are no vehicles in the driveway.

I like to enter the attic prior to going on the roof. It could have started to rain after he arrived before he went on the roof.

But most likely he figured it is a brand new roof, what could be wrong… :wink:

Who was the builder?