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The first meeting of the Board for the Kansas Home Inspection Registration Board was held Monday the 27th and was attended by each of the Board members (contact sheet attached), Dan Bowers and Tom Lauhon. A Wichita inspector Tim Williams was in attendance for a short will and left to do an inspection. The meeting designed to start the process of developing the rules and regulations as required by the statutes in the new law. To aid in the process, I wrote a rough draft of rules and regs to help the Board start the discussion process. The draft included language drawn from the bill and also included information not provided for in the bill. The purpose of the items which were outside of the directives of the bill was to provide more detail into our industry for those Board members who are not doing inspections on a daily basis and not to indicate a direction for the Board to pursue. The draft did, however include items which will need to be added to a bill addendum such as language for reciprocal agreements. When drafting the bill we were told that these types of things could be added as rules and regs, but now we find that they cant. Reciprocal agreements with other states will be a critical component for those inspectors working close to the state line and must find a way back into the process.
Many, many issues were discussed and worked through in an effort to provide the best possible language with the least impact. One of the key discussions was over the Standards of Practice. We originally wrote the bill to allow the inspector to choose the standards he or she wanted to follow. Section 5 of the act (KS ST 58-4504) states that the Board shall “approve and adopt the standards of practice of nationally-recognized home inspections associations which meet the requirements of this act”. In Section 1 C,e,3 & 4 of the act (KS ST 58-4502) has language which discusses the requirement for the inspector to provide the client a pre-inspection notice informing the client what national inspection association the inspector belongs to and to list what standards of practice they are following to conduct the inspection. The reason for this language was to allow the inspector to follow which ever standards he wanted to. It was brought up at the meeting however, by Ron Naab, that if the same house is inspected under two different standards over a short period of time it could get confusing for the home owner. A valid point. The discussion then turned to the Board creating a standard for the state of Kansas like many other states have done. The problem with this is the language in the bill which states that the Board shall “approve and adopt the standards of practice of nationally-recognized home inspections associations”. In order for the state to adopt its own standard an amendment would need to be approved allowing for this change. The Board agreed to set up a standing Standards of Practice committee to further review this issue.
Along a similar line of discussion, was the requirement for the inspector to belong to an approved national society or association. The reason for this language in the first place, was that at renewal time the Board only needed to verify with the inspection association if the inspector was in good standing, meaning that they have met their continuing ed and other requirements to maintain membership. The benefit of this is much less paper work for the Board in verifying the continuing ed requirements. The problem that arose was during a conference call with the Secretary of State and Attorney General’s office. We were advised by the AG’s office that it was unconstitutional for a state agency to require someone to belong to a private organization. We explained that many states have similar requirements, in fact, some even require membership in specific associations. Her response was, she did not care what other states allowed, it was unconstitutional on both the federal and state side. We have ask for a written opinion from her office to verify her opinion. It’s not that we cared either way, but before we are required to make a change we want to know for sure. The only problem it causes for the Board is the requirement to collect verification of continuing ed at renewal time and one more thing for the inspector to send in.
Speaking of education, this one item took up the most time for a single subject. This is a particularly sticky subject because the Board wanted to make sure current education providers in the state were protected from out of state diploma mills while not making it too difficult for inspectors to obtain the required education hours. In the draft I provided for the Board, I drew from information taken from several other states regulations. No one on the Board has any experience in these issues so we stole what we could from others as a basis and then worked from that. Some of the language in the draft was particularly problematic and distasteful to our guests in attendance. We were extraordinarily lucky to have Dan and Tom at the meeting as both have a great deal of experience in this area and we drew a great deal from our discussion with them. We were able to toss out sections of the language we had prepared and concentrate on the areas that made since. In the long run however, we were stuck on a couple of issues and tabled the discussion. The Board established an Education committee made up of Dan and Tom, Pat Regan and Ralph Pimentel and one person to me named later. We felt it was better for these two Board members and Dan and Tom to spend more time on the issue to get it right rather that just put something out there and hope it works.
It was a very long day for all with the meeting starting at 9:30 working through lunch and ending around 5:00. Special thanks to Ron Naab who rented a car and drove all night to make the meeting after his flight from Denver was cancelled. Most people would have punted the meeting, Ron proved his dedication to the industry on this day. This process of putting together the rules and regs will be a long one. The Board must come to a consensus on the language then send to the Department of Administration for review in sure every word meets the statute requirements and then its on to the AG’s office for further review. After that its back to the Board for final action or correction. We have been told this process can take 6 to 8 months if there are no major changes needed. The problem with this is that registration process must be ready in June so we can start getting every body registered in time for the July 1 deadline. I have discussed this problem with the AG’s office and she indicated that if its not ready, its not ready. If we can’t register their is no enforcement of the statute. As many of you know we have been having quite a problem, mostly in the KC area regarding the question of when the provisions of the statue take effect, primarily Section 11. I have discussed this problem with the AG’s office before and her response was the same as I listed above. I have asked for an official written opinion on both issues, however to clarify and to provide a document to back up our position. I just hope closer review doesn’t cause a change of opinion.
The Board has established three five member standing committees which need to be filled. The policy of the Board is that any committee shall consist of at least 2 Board members, members must be Kansas inspectors operating an ongoing inspection business and you must have been in business for at least one year. The standing committees which need to be filled are Education, Standards of Practice and Complaint Resolution. We need one person for the education position, three for the Standards of Practice committee and two for the Complaint Resolution committee. If you have interest in any of these positions please forward an e-mail to me expressing your interest and I will return an application for you to complete and return. Please keep in mind that at this point the Board has no funds for reimbursement of expenses so we are trying to keep the committee members geography close together. The Education committee is currently made up of four people from the Topeka, KC area and we would prefer the 5th person come from this area as well, to make the meeting process easier. The Complaint Resolution committee is currently made up of three from the Wichita area and we need 2 more to fill this committee. This committee will, most likely, not see duty for a year or more, hopefully, never. The third committee, Standards of Practice currently has no members, but will require at least two to be Board members. Again if you have interest please e-mail me at email@example.com Again, I have attached a contact sheet for the Board, if you have additional questions, please feel free to contact any one of them.
Jeff Barnes, Chair