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ASHI & NAHI Explore Ways to Work Together


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By Mike O'Handley, TIJ Editor

It seems that there's some truth to that old saying about how time heals all wounds, because after more than two decades of sometimes bitter rivalry the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) have established a joint task force to look into various ways that the two oldest home inspectors' organizations can work together to strengthen the profession.

For those inspectors who aren't acquainted with the rivalry between ASHI and NAHI, a short history lesson is in order. The story begins around 1985- 1986 when a group of ASHI inspectors from around the country formed a committee to explore some insurance options for the association. While doing that work, some members of the committee learned that they shared common complaints with fellow committee members about the way that ASHI was being run at the time and the direction that the board of directors was taking the association. One thing led to another and before too long members of the group agreed to split from ASHI and form a new association - that association became the National Association of Home Inspectors and thus began the long rivalry between the two associations.

So, when early last week I'd received a telephone call from a fellow inspector, who wanted to let other inspectors know that ASHI and NAHI were exploring the possibility of sharing some resources and might even do a joint annual conference next year, I was surprised to say the least. You see, it was around 2000 - 2001 when I suggested to the then presidents of each of these organizations that they work together and issue a joint press release condemning a somewhat questionable pay-to-play east coast marketing scheme. Though they were both against the marketing scheme, from their reactions at the time you would have thought that I'd made insulting remarks about their parentage. One gentleman's response was somewhat on the order of, "You'll see me cooperate with them when pigs fly."

I was initially tempted to run with my "scoop, however, I decided that in the interest of fairness it would be best to ask both organizations directly whether the story was true, rather than fuel any speculation, so I fired off emails to the organization presidents. It was a good plan but, before the associations were able to officially respond to me, it was preempted when the owner of a well known public relations firm that's convinced its clients that they are actually members of a home inspectors "organization" broke the story on his website. True to his modus operandi, rather than verify the accuracy of the story and go with the truth, the fellow spun it as a "merger" caused by dwindling membership numbers of those organizations; I guess, for him, the fact that the membership numbers of one of those two organizations has actually been growing is too inconvenient a truth.

This morning via email I learned what is really going on from Bill Richardson and David Kolesari - ASHI and NAHI Presidents respectively - and Brion Grant and Jim Turner - Immediate Past Presidents and Co-Chairs of the joint task force. The fact is that no merger has been discussed formally between the two organizations; instead, both boards of directors have agree only to establish a joint task. The email goes on to state that this can take many forms but nothing has been decided or agreed upon and that anyone that says differently is "misinformed or may have a perspective or motives that are not shared" by the two organizations.

I'd sent these gentlemen a list of questions but they declined to answer them saying only that they understand why others want to know what's going on, and they fully intend for their process to be "transparent, honest and forthright, but since their joint task force hasn't even had a single meeting yet, such questions are premature. However, they did provide me with the text of the joint resolution used by their boards to establish the task force. That resolution is as follows:

The Board of Directors approves establishing a joint task force (the ASHI/NAHI Joint Venture Task Force) consisting of five ASHI representatives to work with five NAHI representatives to explore the possibilities of the two organizations; sharing resources, uniting chapters, collaborating on a joint annual conference and possibly a merger. The task force will survey the memberships and review issues including finances, membership, chapters, management and legal issues, governance, and other items as appropriate. Final decisions concerning any of these projects or activities shall require the express approval of the Board of Directors of each organization.

Each organization will be responsible for the expenses of their task force representatives. Any shared expenses such as survey creation, experienced merger consultant or financial auditor shall be borne by both associations on a prorated basis using membership numbers as determined on February 1st, 2009.

Neither organization is responsible or liable for the acts, activities or omissions of the other. Any future joint activities (except for the described exploratory work of the task force) or possible merger shall require a follow-up written agreement.id="brown">

Regardless of whether ASHI and NAHI simply do some joint projects - kind of like the way the Lions Club and the Elks Club sometimes work together on public service projects - or they actually do decide to merge, ASHI and NAHI are likely to maintain their position at the top of the tier with reputations as the two most credible associations with the most competent inspectors in the home inspection profession. Cooperation like this can only be good thing. Hopefully, it may be a sign that the trade has finally turned a corner and is moving back toward professionalism and away from the soap operas and silliness that have permeated the profession for nearly the past decade, since hucksters, with questionable and sometimes near criminal backgrounds have sought to make the profession their sandbox with competing entities that tout membership numbers and number of website hits over professionalism as the marks of a better organization.

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The two are so close, why not merge? I hope they do.

I think they should work on ways to eliminate the cozy "deals" that larger inspection firms make with Reeltors. Heck, eliminate all the lapdog toadie action, big or small.

While the two industries paths do cross, they should remain individual of one another. Reeltors and inspectors that is.

But yeah, I'de like to see an ASHI/NAHI merger.

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The possible merger is not as simple as it would first appear. Of course, I no longer am active at a national level in either org, so am far from informed on what is happening.

I am supportive of a merger. My support, meaningless as it is, is contingent on ASHI remaining the entity and absorbing NAHI. A dilution of the profession will result, but the "numbers" will look good.

I gotta think about it.

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Originally posted by qhinspect

I wonder what's different now than a year or two years ago. Has there been a change of people running NAHI and/or ASHI?

It is the entire economy and not the individual organizations. It is costly to run a quality membership organization. When folks are having to decide on putting food on the table for the family or a membership in a professional organization, I would hope that the family wins.

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The Universe of Home Inspectors is just too laughably small to have more than one professional organization. The differences between the organizations are just too minute. It doesn't make sense, financial or otherwise.

And if you look at them closely, there is no comparison between ASHI and NACHI, they are very different entities serving very different purposes. NACHI has rightly (until this post) been left out of the discussion.

Last I heard, the folks who study these things guessed there were about 20,000 home inspectors in North America. I don't know what that number would be today, but I don't imagine it's grown appreciably. Surely one big democratically run outfit ought to be enough. Especially in this economy.

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