Inspection Standards of Practice
National Association of Home Inspectors
General Limitations and Exclusions
2.1 Inspections performed under the standards exclude any item(s) concealed or not readily accessible to the inspector. The inspector is not required to move furniture, personal, or stored items; lift floor coverings, or panels; or perform any test(s) or procedure(s) which could damage or destroy the item(s) being evaluated.
2.2 The following are excluded and not limited to; appliances, recreational facilities, alarms, intercoms, speaker systems, radio controlled devices, security devices and lawn irrigation systems
2.3 The determination of the presence of or damage caused by termites or any other wood-damaging insects or organism is excluded
2.4 Also excluded from a standard home inspection is the determination of indoor air quality or sickness of any building including, but not limited to the presence or absence of all manner of biological activity, such as molds, insects, birds, pets, mammals, and other flora and fauna, and their consequent damage, and noxiousness.
2.5 Use of special instruments or testing devices, such as amp meters, pressure gauges, moisture meters gas detectors and similar equipment is not required.
2.6 The inspection is not require to include information from any source concerning previous property, geological, environmental or hazardous waste conditions, manufacture recalls, or conformance of proper manufacturer’s installation of any component or system, or information contained in Consumer Protection Bulletin. The inspection is not required to include information from any source concerning past or present violations of codes ordinances or regulations.
2.7 The inspection and report are opinions only, based upon visual observation of existing conditions of the inspected property at the time of the inspection. THE REPORT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE, OR TO BE CONSTRUDE AS, A GUARANTEE, WARRANTY, OR ANY form OF INSURANCE. The inspector will not be responsible for any repairs or replacements with regard to property or the contents thereof.
2.8 The inspector is not required to determine property boundary lines or encroachments.
2.9 The inspector is not required to provide an inspection of any condominium common component, system or evaluate condominium, reserve accounts.
2.10 The inspector is not required to enter any premises that visibly show’s a physical threat to the safety of the home inspector or others nor inspect any area or component that poses a danger to the inspector or others.
3. SITE/ GROUNDS
3.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION
Building perimeter, land grade and water drainage directly adjacent to the foundation
Trees and vegetation that adversely affect the structure
Walks, grade steps, driveways, patios, and retaining walls contiguous with the structure
3.2 PROCEDURES FOR INSPECTION The inspection will…
Describe the type of material and inspect the condition of the driveways, walkways, grade steps, patios, and retaining walls contiguous with the structure. Observe the drainage, grading, and vegetation that adversely affect the structure
NOT REQUIRED TO:
Inspect fences or privacy walls. Evaluate the condition of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation Evaluate or determine soil or geological conditions, site engineering, or property boundaries.
4.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION
Foundation walls, first-floor systems, and other support and sub-structure components, stairs.
Ventilation when applicable Grade slab and/or floor slab
4.2 PROCEDURES FOR INSPECTION The inspector will…
Describe the type of structure and material comprising the structure and other items inspected.
Observe the condition and serviceability of visible exposed areas of foundation walls, grade slab, bearing walls, posts, piers, beams, joists, trusses, sub-floors, chimney foundation, stairs, and other similar structural components. Inspect foundations for indications of flooding, moisture, or water penetration. Observe sub-floor crawl space ventilation and vapor barriers. Operate the sump pump when present. Inspect the visible and accessible wooden members. Observe the visible condition of floor slab when present.
4.3 LIMITATIONS: NOT REQUIRED TO…
Enter sub-floor crawl spaces with headroom of less than 3 feet, obstructions or other detrimental conditions. Move stored items or debris or perform excavation to gain access. Enter areas which, in the inspector’s opinion, may contain conditions or materials hazardous to the health and safety of the inspector. Operate sump pumps equipped with internal/water dependent switches.
5.1 COMPONENETS FOR THE INSPECTION
Visible structural components. Wall covering, trim, and protective coating. Windows and doors. Attached porches, decks, steps, balconies, handrails, guardrails, and carports. Visible exterior portions of chimneys.
5.2 PROCEDURE FOR INSPECTION: The inspector will…
Describe the type and material comprising the exterior components inspected. Observe the conditions of the components from ground level. Observe the condition of a representative number of visible windows and doors. Inspect attached porches, decks, steps, balconies, handrails, guardrails.
5.3 LIMITAIONS: NOT REQUIRED TO…
Inspect buildings, decks, patios, retaining walls and other structures detached from the house. Evaluate functions of shutters, awnings, storm doors, storm windows, and similar accessories. Inspect or test the operation of security locks, devices, or systems. Evaluate the interior of the chimney flues or determine the presence or absence of flue liners. Evaluate the presence, extent and type of insulation and vapor barriers in the exterior walls. Inspect for safety type glass or the integrity of thermal window seals or damaged glass.
6. ROOF COVERINGS, FLASHINGS, GUTTERS, DOWNSPOUTS AND ROOF VENTILATION
6.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION:
Roof covering material. Rain gutter and downspout system. Visible portions of roof flashings. Roof ventilation, roof soffits and fascias, roof skylights and other roof accessories.
6.2 PROCEDURE FOR INSPECTION Inspector will…
Describe the type of roofing and gutters. Observe the condition of visible roof material, rain gutter and downspout systems, visible portions of roof flashings, roof soffits and fascias. Roof vents, skylights and other roof accessories visible from the exterior. If possible inspect the roof surface, and components from arms length distance or with binoculars from the ground. Inspect flat roofs where internal accessibility is readily and safely available. Report presence of roof ventilation.
6.3 LIMITATIONS: NOT REQUIRED TO…
Walk on or access a roof where it could damage the roof or roofing material or be unsafe for the inspector. Remove ice, snow, debris, or other conditions that prohibit the observation of the roof surfaces. Inspect internal gutter and downspouts systems and related underground drainage piping. Inspect antennas, lightning arrestors, or similar attachments. Operate powered roof ventilators. Determine remaining life expectancy of roof coverings, presence or absence of hail damage, manufacturer’s defects, exceptions, installation methods or recalls, or number of layers.
Determine the adequacy of roof ventilation.
7. ROOF STRUCTURE, ATTIC AND INSULATION:
7.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION
Roof framing, sheathing, and decking, attic insulation
7.2 PROCEDURE FOR INSPECTION, Inspector will…
Describe the type of material comprising the roof structure in the visible attic area. Observe the condition of the visible roof structure and attic components where readily accessible and safely accessible. Investigate evidence of the presence of water penetration. Determine the presence of attic insulation and its approximate thickness.
7.3 LIMITAIONS: NOT REQUIRE TO…
Enter attic spaces with less than 5 feet of headroom, with insulation covering the ceiling joists. Or bottom truss cords, or if there are obstructions, trusses, or other detrimental conditions. Break or otherwise damage the surface finish or weather seal on or around access panels and covers.
8. ATTACHED GARAGE(S) CARPORT(S)
8.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION
Exterior and interior walls and ceilings, floors, windows, doors, roofs, and foundation. Electrical system and components. Plumbing system and components, heating system or units.
8.2 PROCEDURE FOR INSPECTIONS Inspector will…
Describe the type and material of door(s), exterior walls, roof if applicable, and other items to be inspected. Observe the condition and function of listed components, electrical, pluming, heating, and similar systems. Inspect vehicle doors for type, general condition and intended function by manual operation or by the use of permanently installed openers.
8.3 LIMITAIONS: NOT REQUIRED TO…
Inspect or operate equipment housed in the garage area except as otherwise addressed in the standards. Verify or certify safe operation of any auto reverse or related safety function of a vehicle door.
9.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION
Entrance of primary service from masthead to main panel. Main and sub-panels including feeders. Branch circuits, connected devices, and lighting fixtures.
9.2 PROCEDURES FOR INSPECTION: Inspector will…
Describe the type and location of primary service, overhead or underground, voltage, amperage, and over-current protection devices. (Fuses or breakers). Observe the existence of connected grounding conductor when readily accessible. Inspect the main and branch circuit conductors for proper over current protection and condition by visual observation after removal of readily accessible main and sub electrical panel covers. Report the presence of aluminum branch circuit wiring at the main and sub-panels. Verify operation of a representative number of accessible switches, receptacles, and lighting fixtures. Verify grounding and polarity of a representative number of receptacles in proximity to plumbing fixtures or on the exterior. Verify operation of ground fault interrupters GFCI if present. Observe the general condition of visible branch circuit conductors that may constitute a hazard to the occupant or structure by reason of improper installation of electrical components.
9.3 LIMITAIONS: NOT REQUIRED TO…
Insert any tool, probe or testing device into main panel or sub-panels. Activate electrical systems or branch circuits which are not energized. Operate overload protection devices. Inspect ancillary systems, including but not limited to: burglar alarms, home protection systems, low voltage relays, smoke/heat detectors, antennas, electrical de-icing tapes, lawn sprinkler wiring, swimming pool wiring, or any system controlled by timers. Move any objects, furniture or appliance to gain access to any electrical component. Test every switch, receptacle and fixture. Remove switch and outlet covers. Inspect electrical equipment not readily accessible or dismantle any electrical device or control. Verify continuity of connected service grounds.
10.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION
Verify water supply lines. Visible waste/soil and vent lines, fixtures and faucets, domestic hot water system and fuel source.
10.2 PROCEDURES FOR INSPECTION Inspector will…
Describe the material of the main line and water supply lines. Verify the presence of a main water supply valve. Describe the type of sanitary waste piping. Describe the type and capacity of domestic water heating unit(s). Inspect the condition of accessible and visible water waste lines. Inspect and operate fixture and faucets. Inspect and operate the domestic hot water system. Inspect and operate drain pumps and waste ejector pumps when possible. Test the water supply for functional flow. Test waste lines from the sinks, tubs, and showers, for functional drainage.
10.3 LIMITATIONS: NOT REQUIRED TO…
Operate any main, branch or fixture valve, except faucets or determine water temperature. Inspect any system that is shut-down or secured. Inspect any plumbing components not readily accessible. Inspect any exterior plumbing components or interior or exterior drainage systems. Inspect interior fire sprinkler systems. Evaluate the potability of any water supply. Inspect water conditioning equipment, including softener and filter systems. Operate freestanding or built-in appliances. Inspect private water supply systems. Test shower pans, tub and shower surrounds or enclosures for leakage. Inspect gas supply system for materials, installation or leakage. Evaluate the condition and operation of water wells and related pressure tanks and pumps; or the quantity of water on-site water supplies; or the condition and operation of on-site sewage disposal systems such as cesspools, septic tanks, drain fields, related underground piping, conduit, cisterns, and equipment.
Inspect and operate fixture and faucet if the flow end of the faucet is connected to an appliance. Record location of any on-site visible fuel tanks within or directly adjacent to structure.
11. CENTRAL HEATING
11.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION;
Fuel source, heating equipment, heating distribution, operating controls flue pipes chimneys and venting. Auxiliary heating units.
11.2 PROCEDURES FOR INSPECTION; Inspector will…
Describe the type of fuel heating equipment and heating distribution system. Operate the systems using normal readily accessible control devices. Open readily accessible panels or covers provided by the manufacturer or installer if readily detachable. Observe the condition of norm ally operated controls and components of the systems. Observe visible flue pipes, dampers and related components for functional operation. Observe the condition of a representative number of heat sources in each habitable space of the home. Inspect the operation of fixed supplementary heart units. (See 2.6 for more information)
11.3 LIMITATIONS NOT REQUIRED TO…
Activate or operate heating or other systems that do not respond to normal controls or have been shut-down. To inspect or evaluate the heat exchanger. Inspect equipment or remove covers or panels that are not readily accessible. Dismantle any equipment, controls or gauges. Inspect the interior of chimneys flues. Inspect heating system accessories, such as humidifiers, air purifiers, motorized dampers heat reclaimers etc. Inspect solar heating systems. Activate heating, heat pump systems, or other systems when ambient temperatures or other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or may damage the equipment. Evaluate the type of material contained in insulation and/or wrapping or pipes, ducts, jackets, and boilers. Operate digital-type thermostats or controls. Evaluate the capacity adequacy, or efficiency of a heating or cooling system. Test or operate gas logs, built in gas burning appliances, grills, stoves space heaters, or solar heating devices. Determine clearance to combustibles or adequacy of combustion air.
12. CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING
12.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION;
Cooling equipment, cooling distribution, Operating controls.
12.2 PROCEDURE FOR INSPECTION; Inspector will…
Describe the type of central air conditioning system and energy source. Operate the system using normal operating controls. Open readily accessible access panels or covers provided by the manufacturer or installer if readily accessible. Observe the condition of controls and operative components of the complete system, conditions permitting. Observe the condition of a representative number of the central air cooling outlets in each habitable space of the house.
12.3 LIMITATIONS; NOT REQUIRED TO…
Activate or operate cooling or other systems that have been shut-down. Inspect gas-fired refrigeration systems, evaporative coolers, or wall or window-mounted air conditioning units.
Check the pressure of the system coolant or determine the presence of leakage. Evaluate the capacity, efficiency or adequacy of the system. Operate equipment or systems if the exterior temperature is below 60 degrees F for 24 hours prior to the inspection, or when other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or may damage the equipment. Remove covers or panels that are not readily accessible. Dismantle any equipment, controls, or gauges. Check the electrical current drawn by the unit. Operate digital-type thermostats or controls.
13.1 COMPONENTS FOR INSPECTION
Walls, ceilings. Floors, windows, and doors. Steps, stairways, balconies, railings, fireplaces. Electrical outlets, and fixtures, plumbing fixtures and components heating and cooling distribution.
13.2 PROCEDURES FOR INSPECTION; Inspector will…
Observe the visible condition of the surfaces of walls ceilings, and floors, relative to structural integrity and evidence of water penetration. Verify the presence of steps, stairways, balconies, handrails and guardrails, and observe their condition. Describe type, material, condition and operation of a representative number of windows, doors, and their hardware. Inspect the exterior condition of the kitchen cabinets and counter tops. Observe the condition of fireplaces, dampers, fire boxes, and hearths readily accessible. Locate and observe a representative number of electrical outlets/fixtures and wiring in each room as described in sec 9. Comment on presence or absence of smoke detectors. Observe condition and operation of plumbing fixtures and components in each room as described in section 10.
13.3 LIMITATIONS; NOT REQUIRED TO…
Ignite fires in a fireplace or stove to determine the adequacy of draft, perform a chimney smoke test, or inspect any solid fuel device in use. Evaluate the installation or adequacy of inserts, wood burning stoves, or other modifications in a fireplace, stove, or chimney. Determine cosmetic condition of ceilings, walls, floor coverings and components. Determine if the bath and/or kitchen vent fan ducting exhausts air to the exterior of the house.
The state of Wisconsin’s standards of practice is primary and the above is applicable if no state regulations apply.