InterNACHI’s International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection
1.3. A general home inspection report t shall identify, in written format, defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. Inspection reports may include additional comments and recommendations.
2. Limitations, Exceptions & Exclusions
I. An inspection is not technically exhaustive.
II. An inspection will not identify concealed or latent defects.
III. An inspection will not deal with aesthetic concerns or what could be deemed matters of taste, cosmetic defects, etc.
IV. An inspection will not determine the suitability of the property for any use.
V. An inspection does not determine the market value of the property or its marketability.
VI. An inspection does not determine the insurability of the property.
VII. An inspection does not determine the advisability or inadvisability of the purchase of the inspected property.
VIII. An inspection does not determine the life expectancy of the property or any components or systems therein.
IX. An inspection does not include items not permanently installed.
X. These Standards of Practice apply only to properties with four or fewer residential units
I. The inspector is not required to determine:
A. property boundary lines or encroachments.
B. the condition of any component or system that is not readily accessible.
C. the service life expectancy of any component or system.
D. the size, capacity, BTU, performance or efficiency of any component or system.
E. the cause or reason of any condition.
F. the cause for the need of correction, repair or replacement of any system or component.
G. future conditions.
H. compliance with codes or regulations.
I. the presence of evidence of rodents, birds,
animals, insects, or other pests.
J. the presence of mold, mildew or fungus.
K. the presence of airborne hazards, including radon.
L. the air quality.
I. The inspector shall inspect:
A. the exterior wall-covering materials, flashing and trim;
B. all exterior doors;
C. adjacent walkways and driveways;
D. stairs, steps, stoops, stairways and ramps;
E. porches, patios, decks, balconies and carports;
F. railings, guards and handrails;
G. the eaves, soffits and fascia;
H. a representative number of windows; and
I. vegetation, surface drainage, retaining walls and grading of the property, where they may adversely affect the structure due to moisture intrusion.
II. The inspector shall describe:
A. the type of exterior wall-covering materials.
III. The inspector shall report as in need of correction:
A. any improper spacing between intermediate balusters, spindles and rails.
IV. The inspector is not required to:
A. inspect or operate screens, storm windows,
shutters, awnings, fences, outbuildings, or
exterior accent lighting.
B. inspect items that are not visible or readily accessible from the ground, including window and door flashing.
C. inspect or identify geological, geotechnical, hydrological or soil conditions.
D. inspect recreational facilities or playground equipment.
E. inspect seawalls, breakwalls or docks.
F. inspect erosion-control or earth-stabilization measures.
G. inspect for safety-type glass.
H. inspect underground utilities.
I. inspect underground items.
J. inspect wells or springs.
K. inspect solar, wind or geothermal systems.
3.4. HeatingI. The inspector shall inspect:
A. the heating system, using normal operating controls.
A. the location of the thermostat for the heating
B. the energy source; and
C. the heating method.
A. any heating system that did not operate; and
B. if the heating system was deemed inaccessible.
A. inspect or evaluate the interior of flues or
chimneys, fire chambers, heat
exchangers, combustion air systems, fresh-air
intakes, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, electronic air
filters, geothermal systems, or solar heating
B. inspect fuel tanks or underground or concealed fuel supply systems.
C. determine the uniformity, temperature, flow, balance, distribution, size, capacity, BTU, or supply adequacy of the heating system.
D. light or ignite pilot flames.
E. activate heating, heat pump systems, or other heating systems when ambient temperatures or other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or may damage the equipment.
F. override electronic thermostats.
G. evaluate fuel quality.
H. verify thermostat calibration, heat anticipation, or automatic setbacks, timers, programs or clocks.
C. the water heating equipment, including the
energy source, venting connections,
temperature/pressure-relief (TPR) valves, Watts
210 valves, and seismic bracing;
D. interior water supply, including all fixtures and faucets, by running the water;
E. all toilets for proper operation by flushing;
F. all sinks, tubs and showers for functional drainage;
G. the drain, waste and vent system; and
H. drainage sump pumps with accessible floats.
A. whether the water supply is public or private
based upon observed evidence;
B. the location of the main water supply shut-off valve;
C. the location of the main fuel supply shut-off valve;
D. the location of any observed fuel-storage system; and
E. the capacity of the water heating equipment, if labeled.
A. deficiencies in the water supply by viewing the
functional flow in two fixtures operated
B. deficiencies in the installation of hot and cold water faucets;
C. mechanical drain stops that were missing or did not operate if installed in sinks, lavatories and tubs; and
D. toilets that were damaged, had loose connections to the floor, were leaking, or had tank components that did not operate.
S. test, operate, open or close: safety controls,
manual stop valves, temperature/pressure-relief
valves, control valves, or check valves.
T. examine ancillary or auxiliary systems or components, such as, but not limited to, those related to solar water heating and hot water circulation.
U. determine the existence or condition of polybutylene plumbing.
A. the service drop;
B. the overhead service conductors and attachment point;
C. the service head, gooseneck and drip loops;
D. the service mast, service conduit and raceway;
E. the electric meter and base;
F. service-entrance conductors;
G. the main service disconnect;
H. panelboards and over-current protection devices (circuit breakers and fuses);
I. service grounding and bonding;
J. a representative number of switches, lighting fixtures and receptacles, including receptacles observed and deemed to be arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI)-protected using the AFCI test button, where possible;
K. all ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacles and circuit breakers observed and deemed to be GFCIs using a GFCI tester, where possible; and
L. smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors.
II. The inspector shall describe:
A. the main service disconnect's amperage rating, if labeled; and
J. inspect low-voltage systems, electrical de-icing
tapes, swimming pool wiring, or any timecontrolled
K. verify the service ground.
L. inspect private or emergency electrical supply sources, including, but not limited to: generators, windmills, photovoltaic solar collectors, or battery or electrical storage facility.
M. inspect spark or lightning arrestors.
N. inspect or test de-icing equipment.
O. conduct voltage-drop calculations.
P. determine the accuracy of labeling.
Q. inspect exterior lighting.
A. readily accessible and visible portions of the
fireplaces and chimneys;
B. lintels above the fireplace openings;
C. damper doors by opening and closing them, if readily accessible and manually operable; and
D. cleanout doors and frames.
A. the type of fireplace.
A. evidence of joint separation, damage or
deterioration of the hearth, hearth extension or
B. manually operated dampers that did not open and close;
C. the lack of a smoke detector in the same room as the fireplace;
B. ventilation of unfinished spaces, including attics,
crawlspaces and foundation areas; and
C. mechanical exhaust systems in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry area.
A. the type of insulation observed; and
B. the approximate average depth of insulation
observed at the unfinished attic floor area or roof structure.
A. the general absence of insulation or ventilation in unfinished spaces.
A. enter the attic or any unfinished spaces that are
not readily accessible, or where entry could
cause damage or, in the inspector's opinion,
pose a safety hazard.
B. move, touch or disturb insulation.
C. move, touch or disturb vapor retarders.
D. break or otherwise damage the surface finish or weather seal on or around access panels or covers.
E. identify the composition or R-value of insulation material.
F. activate thermostatically operated fans.
G. determine the types of materials used in insulation or wrapping of pipes, ducts, jackets, boilers or wiring.
H. determine the adequacy of ventilation.
G. move furniture, stored items, or any
coverings, such as carpets or rugs, in order to
inspect the concealed floor structure.
H. move suspended-ceiling tiles.
I. inspect or move any household appliances.
J. inspect or operate equipment housed in the garage, except as otherwise noted.
K. verify or certify the proper operation of any pressure-activated auto-reverse or related safety feature of a garage door.
L. operate or evaluate any security bar release and opening mechanisms, whether interior or exterior, including their compliance with local, state or federal standards.
M. operate any system, appliance or component that requires the use of special keys, codes, combinations or devices.
N. operate or evaluate self-cleaning oven cycles, tilt guards/latches, or signal lights.
O. inspect microwave ovens or test leakage from microwave ovens.
P. operate or examine any sauna, steamgenerating equipment, kiln, toaster, ice maker, coffee maker, can opener, bread warmer, blender, instant hot-water dispenser, or other small, ancillary appliances or devices.
Q. inspect elevators.
R. inspect remote controls.
S. inspect appliances.
T. inspect items not permanently installed.
U. discover firewall compromises.
V. inspect pools, spas or fountains.
W. determine the adequacy of whirlpool or spa jets, water force, or bubble effects.
X. determine the structural integrity or leakage of pools or spas.
• decorative: Ornamental; not required for the
operation of essential systems or components of
• describe: To report in writing a system or component by its type or other observed characteristics in order to distinguish it from other components used for the same purpose.
• determine: To arrive at an opinion or conclusion pursuant to examination.
• dismantle: To open, take apart or remove any component, device or piece that would not typically be opened, taken apart or removed by an ordinary occupant.
• engineering service: Any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience, and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such professional service or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design and supervision of construction for the purpose of assuring compliance with the specifications and design, in conjunction with structures, buildings, machines, equipment, works and/or processes.
• enter: To go into an area to observe visible components.
• evaluate: To assess the systems, structures and/or components of a property.
• evidence: (noun form) That which tends to prove or disprove something; something that makes plain or clear; ground for belief; proof.
• examine: To visually look (see inspect).
• foundation: The base upon which the structure or wall rests, usually masonry, concrete or stone, and generally partially underground.
• function: The action for which an item, component or system is specially fitted or used, or for which an item, component or system exists; to be in action or perform a task.
• functional: Performing, or able to perform, a function.
• normal operating controls: Describes the
method by which certain devices (such as
thermostats) can be operated by ordinary
occupants, as they require no specialized skill or
• observe: To visually notice.
• operate: To cause systems to function or turn on with normal operating controls. • readily accessible: A system or component that, in the judgment of the inspector, is capable of being safely observed without the removal of obstacles, detachment or disengagement of connecting or securing devices, or other unsafe or difficult procedures to gain access.
• recreational facilities: Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, tennis courts, playground equipment, and other exercise, entertainment and athletic facilities.
• report: (verb form) To express, communicate or provide information in writing; give a written account of. (See also inspection report.)
• representative number: A number sufficient to serve as a typical or characteristic example of the item(s) inspected.
• residential property: Four or fewer residential units.
• residential unit: A home; a single unit providing complete and independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
• safety glazing: Tempered glass, laminated glass, or rigid plastic. shut down: Turned off, unplugged, inactive, not in service, not operational, etc.
• structural component: A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads).
• system: An assembly of various components which function as a whole.
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