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I love that Walter brought up the 'other' side of this debate. But Jane, you ignorant slut! Yes, there are many significant regional differences. A national standard should not delve into the details of region-specific matters.

But a national standard can and should ensure that every HI understands:

1. the characteristics (and correct names!) of common building materials.

2. the basic physics of the atmosphere and why vapor barriers are placed where they are.

3. the difference between distributed and point loads.

4. plumbing materials, dissimilar metals, grounding rods are for lightning,...

5. electricity, panels, transformers, wiring, GFCI, AFCI ...

6. why there are so many basements in the north.

7. fire.

8. soils.

9. CO.

10. basic legal issues.

11. how not to appear stupid when writing a report.

Those are just 11 of the fundamentals that every HI should understand. There are more, I'm sure. There is plenty here that applies nationally. Such knowledge is not covered by the comedy of 'tests' presented to today's candidates.

A properly designed national standard should ensure that all HI's understand these fundamentals so they can apply them to their climate and locale. With an understanding of the fundamentals, an HI can intelligently inspect the various systems that make up a house. That is the difference between education and training. This industry needs more education.

I understand that this topic is "inspection standards" and not "licensing", but I believe an inspection standard can be written such that any inspector with the proper education can follow it. That group of inspectors will be different from today's group, but that's a good thing.

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Brother ozofprev wrote:

A properly designed national standard should ensure that all HI's understand these fundamentals so they can apply them to their climate and locale. With an understanding of the fundamentals, an HI can intelligently inspect the various systems that make up a house. That is the difference between education and training. This industry needs more education.

Well, OK. I'm all in favor of education, not just for HIs, but for the uneducated or miseducated population in general.

The problem with HI "education" is that it's coming from HI "schools" that pollute -- rather than clean and polish -- the HI knowledge base, such as it is. Best I can tell, there's more HI folklore than there are HI facts. In this very thread, we've seen that some folks don't understand the difference between a recommendation from Consumer Reports and a blurb from a piece of throwaway wire-service infill. Or, it could be that some folks know the difference, but just can't help being dishonest.

Those are the two things that sully this business: A severe lack of basic education/reasoning/intellectual curiosity among many of the practitioners; and, the 68%+ of the HI population who wake up every morning with a conflict of interest. Taken as a breed, they're just spinning their wheels -- it's either beg the reeltors for scraps, or go back to their old jobs as roustabouts and grifters.

IMHO, it'll take at least 30 years of intense rehabilitation to undo the 30 years of bad education and questionable business practices that have made this business what it is today.

I am strongly in favor of improvement. I just can't imagine when/where it'll start.

WJid="blue">

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I don't have a great deal to add to Gary R and Walter J's comments. I do find it interesting that there is a very limited response from the other participants.

I don't think any short term training can be construed as the only education requirement. Walter started the GED thing several years ago and seldom gets any feedback on it. Gary has very good formal education credentials. Most of us meet and exceed a minimum formal education requirement. There are some of the best ethical inspectors that may not meet the miminum standard. The problem is most inspectors do not VALUE education.

Real education will make your head hurt, or in Kurt case your hair hurt. Most inspectors don't like the pain or joy of learning.

As an aside - Oxford dictionary recently excluded 16,000+ hyphens from the latest edition.

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Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

... I am strongly in favor of improvement. I just can't imagine when/where it'll start.id="blue">

Walter, that's all true and easy to agree with. I can't imagine an answer to when/where either, but getting back to a national standard...

No offense to the authors, but it seems to me that current SoPs are meaningless in the sense that their logic is flawed when it comes to clearly defining things like "report" v "inspect" and they are minimal to the point of, well "Duh."

I am a proponent of citing meaningful sources to back recommendations, but too many home inspectors blindly cite code books while disclaiming they are doing a code inspection.

A home inspection standard, IMO, should not mention specific distances, gauges, slopes or diameters because that's a code inspection. Nor should it provide a list of what to inspect (cabinets, countertops...) because that falls under the well Duh category.

Of course inspectors should know where to find relevant sources - ICC credentials are a great start for that - but a home inspector should be a better value to the client than a code inspector. A home inspector should recognize that, even though the code allows xyz, xyz is not sufficient in this case because of ... whatever.

A code inspector should see the whole picture and not just the rote specifications of each individual system. A national standard should lead a home inspector on a path that exercises his relevant education of what makes a living space safe, durable, and comfortable.

It is an attractive home, but it will be hotter than two rats [:-censore in a wool sock. Look at the large clerestory on the south wall.

A code inspector doesn't care about the 60 foot magnolia in the front yard, but a home inspector should warn his client that the roots of that tree may cause plumbing problems, and perhaps foundation issues.

Sure, the code allows the studs and vinyl siding to serve as "the wall" here, but without a sheathing under the siding, this is a shortcut that was unwise in this case because... whatever.

Yep, the roof is brand new, but it will leak soon since the rusted flashing was not replaced.

Although the terrain slopes away from your home, it is not sufficient since this location, or this soil, or this foundation...whatever.

This material is not meant to be used in this climate because...

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To me if a home inspection standard that covered everything was written; it would needs to be at least as big as the IRC and you know the builders that suppose to be using the IRC does not follower it.

There are inspectors out that does not even follow any of the standards that out there now.

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Walter is right. No, make that double-right. A good, national HI standard simply can't be written. Construction materials and climates just vary too much from Prudhoe Bay to Puerto Rico. The best shot at it to date is the ASHI standards, and even though they're the best there is, they are lacking. It's a bit like trying to breed the fattest racehorse in the world. What is the point?

I don't usually chime in to restate what's already been said, but the simple fact that Walter and I agree on anything is noteworthy enough to warrant the post.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Walter is right. No, make that double-right. A good, national HI standard simply can't be written. Construction materials and climates just vary too much from Prudhoe Bay to Puerto Rico. The best shot at it to date is the ASHI standards, and even though they're the best there is, they are lacking. It's a bit like trying to breed the fattest racehorse in the world. What is the point?

I don't usually chime in to restate what's already been said, but the simple fact that Walter and I agree on anything is noteworthy enough to warrant the post.

Come on, there is an enormous gap between the thin little pamphlet that is the ASHI standard, and a fat racehorse! Current standards don't make up a fat gnat. Is this where it ends? Really?

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This thread and the comments by WJ and others are opening my eyes to the state of our business. Home Inspectors are nothing more then subcontractors in the dirty industry of Real Estate. Get a rusty pickup truck and a few tools and go out and start underbidding the next guy.

Sure, some of us started out inspecting with years of building construction under our belts, but no formal training and little idea of what the consumer needed from us. We survived because people didn’t (and most still don’t) know what to expect of their Inspector.

ASHI started out great, went weak kneed when it watered down membership and then went to the “Other Sideâ€

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Gary,

I'd like to live in a world where it weren't so, but a whole bunch of the smartest HI's I can think of have all taken a crack at the ASHI standards and those are the best there are, IMO. But you needn't agree with me. Pick your favorite national standard! They're all wildly generic and a long way from impressive.

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Originally posted by ozofprev

[br

Come on, there is an enormous gap between the thin little pamphlet that is the ASHI standard, and a fat racehorse! Current standards don't make up a fat gnat. Is this where it ends? Really?[/navy]

I don't think that's what he was saying, as much as he was tacitly acknowledging the pursuit of a national standard as an obscure path. It doesn't end there.

It sort of started there, though, w/all the nods necessary to the various special interests that populate the association. Which, by definition, place it in the odious backwater of politicial documents.

It's not hard to figure out what folks need to know in any particular marketplace; there may be a lot of it, but it's not hard to figure out.

That's not a bad standard to start with; figure out your market, and write it down.

So much of the association approach is about the art and process of associating together; for everyone to remain involved, there is an inevitable migration to small ideas.

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Originally posted by emalernee

I do think there is hope yet to make this a true profession. As others have done and are attempting to do now by raising the bar on education, recognition will come. We should work to get a full collage level track on Building Inspection. I see it as a cross between structural/civil engineering and Architecture with a strong track on building history and lots of lab time (Toy Room at Warm U.). Before there were schools for engineering and Architecture, they learned by doing, as some of us have done. Regionalism is solved by working as an intern for a couple of years before regional or state test can be taken to become a Registered Inspector or PBI (Professional Building Inspector).

Ezra Malernee

Canton, Ohio

That's what I'm talking about. I read this 4 or 5 times. This is a large idea.

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Aside the few Pom Pom girls that needed to jump in after my kickoff, (Sis Boom Bah! Rah Rah Rah! Give us an N – Give us an A – Give us a C … Aaah forget it), I commend the rest of the true thinkers who brought this thread to serious discussion about an important aspect of our dismal future.

This topic of establishing a national standard is an easy target for naysayers. Association hardliners having that ‘it’s my way or the highway mentality’. Just like the contractor that tells us “I've been doing it this way for 30 yearsâ€

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Originally posted by randynavarro

I'm asking because I don't know. . .

Is there a singular national standard for architects, attorneys and doctors?

Well, doctors do pledge to "do no harm." We could start there. More than half of my work these days consists of explaining how a bonehead home inspector got up one morning, and went out and did a bunch of harm.

WJ

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Part of the problem is we soft sell what's right. We're nice to each other on the forums and at association meetings (I've been to two).

One of the inspectors at one of those meetings cheapened our profession by using his status as a radio host to sell vinyl siding. When in natural discourse the term "pimping vinyl siding" came out, there was a hush. How dare anyone say anything negative about a brother.

We need to actually demand excellence. We need to demand it from each other in person and online. We need to tell our "brother" inspectors that maybe they're whoring our business to folks that would rent us a room by the hour.

I get all pissed off when I read a report that says the galvanized pipe was dripping because iron is porous. Condensate is a noun, not a verb.

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Ezra gave a pretty accurate assessment of where we are today and some of how we got here (but Ezra, that's college). It seems clear that lawsuits like the one he is watching will influence what happens to the home inspection biz - state by state. The intern idea to handle regionalism is nice.

Jim does want the same world as I do (sunny beaches with lots of scenery), and he is right to say that the best and brightest of us have gotten together to develop the industry's current standards.

Kurt pointed out the obscurity of attaining a national standard due to politics and SIGs. He writes, "Figure out your market, and right it down." That is the best starting point because it begins by defining the problem for which we provide a solution. It is the beginning of understanding and setting client expectations. Can I assume that was the starting point for our current SoPs??? Kurt also writes, "For everyone to remain involved, there is an inevitable migration to small ideas." Ouch! That's a biggy that can be a perpetual catch-22. We need big ideas, but only the little ones float? If things go right, some people in the industry today will not be qualified for this industry in the future. That is a very good thing for the consumer!

Chris wants to know how 'this' national standard is going to be different from the current standard(s). Well, for starters I imagine it will contain terms that a stranger on the street won't fully understand. Bituminous, gypsum, EIFS, entrained air, knee wall, curing (not drying), shear, moment, cone of compression, bonding, grounding, and other terms we should all be very comfortable with. Do you think an MD's standard would read, "Ensure that the knee bone is connected to the shin bone?" The purpose of a specialized vocabulary is not to obfuscate, rather it is to more accurately convey deep knowledge. Joe Blow off the street should not look at the standards and think, "Oh man, I understood all of that - I am going to sign up for the 7 day course. I'm gonna make a fortune!"

Justin's last paragraph caught my attention - I had to read everything to make sure he was being facetious - he was, whew. He correctly points out that a national standard would/could/should do away with the infantile in-fighting caused by the various associations/societies/orgs. He mentioned state regulation of this biz. Because we have a "well, Duh" standard today, NY is making much of what you in other states take for granted, the domain of other professionals. Significant limits are placed on home inspectors and that work is handed to PEs and code enforcement officers.

Randy, yes there is a national standard for attorneys - it's the federal law. Sure, they also have state laws, but unless the state law is more stringent, then the federal law generally prevails. Louisianna uses Napoleanic law, which is significantly different from other states. But the real difference between home inspection and the professions you mention is the barrier to entry - specifically, post graduate education.

Chad wants us to get a backbone. He gave an example demonstrating that Kurt's 'only small ideas float' theory is alive and well. He's right. So now, what is anyone going to do about it?

Captain writes, "The reason why things won't change is home inspection is a business and not a profession. Follow the money"

I think that says it all, don't you?

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Golly. I feel all funny saying so, but I do see a long-shot upside.

Cleaning up this "profession" could be fairly simple. First, we work on creating a system of decent HI education -- something equivalent to a couple years of college, and a B+ GPA. As part of that education, a few stellar HIs could make it their job to become spin doctors -- writers of newsletters, press releases, TV and radio ad copy, etc. Those spin doctors could use their skills to blunt the legislative assault of the RE lobbyists. (For the last 30 years, we've put all of our advertising/lobbying efforts into sucking up to salesfolk, and begging them for work, which work of course is tainted by the inherent conflict of interest.)

For the finale, we have to let go of the RE agent teat (gasp, choke), and go get our own customers.

A decently-educated HI can do all this, by himself, right now. He just has to develop a skillset that contains more than backrubs for RE agents, and grow a backbone that'll let him buck the system.

Oh, and charge double the going bonehead-HI rate, so he can afford to advertise. (A little chicken/egg conundrum there...)

WJ

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My logic chip locked up.

"could be fairly simple"

is followed by

"creating a system of decent HI education"

"a few stellar HIs could make it their job to become spin doctors -- writers of newsletters, press releases, TV and radio ad copy, etc. Those spin doctors could use their skills..."

is followed by

"A decently-educated HI can do all this, by himself, right now."

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For the finale, we have to let go of the RE agent teat (gasp, choke), and go get our own customers.

See, there's the key.

Make inspectors fight for their clients; compete in a fair market place. That way word of mouth, credentials, and past performance would create the individual inspector's potential market. Eliminate the ass kissing, back slapping, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, and half of the inspectors working would atrophy and die away.

Those that are left after the melt down will feel the pressure to step up the level of service to get a larger market share.

I've prepared our first address as my contribution: (read it like Jesse would)

Our profession will commence ascension! Add a new dimension! Bring attention! to our Divine Intention!

YES, YES, YES my brothers!, Join w/ me now as I shed all apprehension and ditch reeltor tension . I Declare!, Yes I swear That we will be better! shed our ethic fetter, and work to be men of letters.

Keys clicked . Our lives were mated!

By time ,by space, by death belated!

We'll move forward unabated!

Sweet Nirvana yet created

Streak Onward Maddened Things!

Let us gun it, fun it, run it

Let's give it wings!

Or we could try something a little more subdued than the Jessee approach, but you guys get the idea.

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I think I'm not the only one addicted to caffeine.

But I agree wholeheartedly. Fighting for the client - that's all that the champions of this industry have ever done. Doesn't the next generation owe it to this generation's champions to carry on to the next (higher!) level?

Why deny the obvious child?

Sonny gets sunnier!

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WHERE ARE THE COMMENTS FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE? This thread has been read 2254 times Where are the comments from the folks that did drink the kool-aid?

Where is Goodman, with his poetic license?

Is Scott P in Las Vegas?

Or, are they much like me and just enjoying the reparte'?

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Well what are you trying to say? That our current SOP's are tied to the RE stranglehold on our industry? That the stranglehold really only exists because of willing HI's?

I can't think of any profession that can produce the kind of income that this one can in less time then it takes to get a 4 year degree. In my opinion thats the problem. Until the effort to enter this business gets on par with other professions it will remain a business and not a profession.

Chris, Oregon

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