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Standards of Practice


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Just a reminder to all. As things change we must make sure we change along with them. To start things off right for new year I highly suggest that each and every one of use take a look at our web sites, reports and reporting styles. Make sure what is stated in our web sites are not contradicted in our reports and vice-versa.

Most important make sure whatever SOP's you are using that your report meets those SOP's at each and every inspection!! It is amazing how many inspector web sites post sample reports that come no where close to meeting their chosen/given SOP's. If you post samples, post a real report with no names not a five year old report from North Carolina (when you live and inspect in Oregon) from a software manufacturer.

Happy Holidays and prosperous 2010!!

Chuck

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If you post samples, post a real report with no names not a five year old report from North Carolina (when you live and inspect in Oregon) from a software manufacturer.

Was the above just for an example, or did you find this?

I have found many web samples similsr to the example above. Many sample reports are from 1-6 years old. Kinda funny!!

I have found at least 6 sites that have the same sample report from North Carolina. Many inspectors who use a well know inspection system use that systems sample report on their web page.

Chuck

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Many inspectors are too lazy or new or ???? to realize the harm from that!

They'll never know how much business they lost because of that.

Very True. And very timely for me.

A month ago, I bought a company that I'd been doing inspections for as an independent contractor. The sample report on the web site is six years old! I'm certainly not publicizing the site in its current state. It's being completely replaced.

Well, maybe just this one time.

http://homeprosystems.net/

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Good advice. I'm always tweaking my stuff. Most recently, I made a change from NAHI to ASHI SOP. While they are similar there are a few differences.

I have to change some things on my webiste still. I'm ok for now because of this moment I am a member of both. By the end of the year I need to remove language that talks about being a NAHI member and insert ASHI in its place.

That reminds me, I need to go sign up at the ASHI forum.

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Hi,

There are a bunch of folks in Washington State working their way through that now. As of September 1st, every inspection done in this state must to be done to the Washington State SOP, regardless of an inspectors affiliation with any of the associations.

Everyone is subject to that. There are some misguided folks that seem to think that, because they haven't been issued a home inspector's license yet, that they aren't subject to that rule and they are continuing to advertise that they do their inspections to ASHI, NAHI or IACI SOP and they aren't following state SOP. These folks should ask themselves whether an unlicensed driver is still subject to the law if he or she is driving and violates a traffic law.

What these folks don't realize is that, since September 1st all of their work is subject to review by DOL and the complaint process for consumers to initiate a complaint against an inspector has been up and running since then. If a consumer makes a complaint about an inspection to DOL, and an investigation by DOL determines that they weren't complying with the state SOP, they may automatically lose any argument they present to DOL. That is completely preventable and unnecessary.

Proof-read your sites, Folks, look at those report layouts and start tweaking them, 'cuz DOL isn't going to advertise what the length of the grace period will be. Get it done!

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hi,

There are a bunch of folks in Washington State working their way through that now. As of September 1st, every inspection done in this state must to be done to the Washington State SOP, regardless of an inspectors affiliation with any of the associations.

Mike

Hi Mike,

Can one do the inspection to both WA State and, say, ASHI standards? IL says we have to do our inspections to IL standards, so I do, but I also meet all ASHI inspection standards, and advertise such/state such in my agreements.

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Don't forget that ASHI made their Code of Ethics a part of their Standards a few years back. So if you are abiding by the ASHI SOP you must also follow their Code of Ethics. This has proved to be an issue for some.

If you are in a licensed state then you must follow those state standards. Why advertise at all what standards you follow? What I love is when a member of say INACHI or NAHI state that they follow ASHI Standards!

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As long as the ASHI standards meet or exceed the WA state requirements.

Hi,

Yes, that's correct, as long as they meet or exceed the state standard, but why would one even interject that into the equation?

From my point of view, it's nutty for an inspector to advertise that he or she inspects to the standard of some association if the state requires the inspection and report to conform to the state standard.

The fact that the report meets or exceeds the state standard should be the only thing that the inspector is bragging about in all marketing materials, because it's the only one that's going to matter if the inspector ends up under investigation by DOL, or, in extreme cases, in court for any inspection done after September 1, 2009.

Most buyers don't know ASHI, NAHI, IACHI (formerly NACHI) or AII from squat. They might have read some propaganda marketing piece someplace that told them to never hire an inspector that wasn't a member of X association, but when it comes down to what one must inspect and report, trying to argue with a buyer that the association standard that you use meets or exceeds the state standard is going to sound like you're selling wolf tickets - even when you aren't. It's like a Wyoming resident saying that there is no speed limit when driving through Illinois on the interstate because there is no speed limit on the interstate in Wyoming and the law in Wyoming meets or exceeds the Illinois law - it's bogus. The only standard that counts is the one that the law recognizes, regardless of how good the other standard might be.

Buyers do know how to find the state licensing site and the rules there. I know that because more than a few of my clients have already told me that they'd visited the site and we're only a couple of months into this thing.

The SOPs between all the various associations are very similar. Usually just one or two items that are different. More than likely the WA state SOP is a tweaked version of the ASHI SOP anyway.
Yes and no. NAHI was started by a bunch of disaffected ASHI guys who used the ASHI SOP as an example of where to start, AII's looks like a tweaked version of both of them and IACHI's is a tweaked version of the other three and even uses some identical language to elements in each. Some of the newer versions of the ASHI SOP have clearly borrowed elements from others'.

The Washington State SOP is actually based on a proposed SOP that the Washington Home Inspectors Legislative Advisory Group (WHILAG) drafted. WHILAG is a coalition of ASHI, NAHI, AII, NABIE, WSPMA, WAPI and IACHI members. WHILAG took the ASHI, NAHI, AII and IACHI SOP's, broke them down into similar language and put them side-by-side in the same document to compare them. Then they voted on which one they thought made the most sense from both an inspector's and consumer's standpoint, provided the most protection for the client and was fairest to the inspector. As it so happens, that was the NAHI SOP and even ASHI members on WHILAG agreed with the outcome of that vote.

So, WHILAG used the NAHI SOP as their chassis and then built their dream SOP from there, borrowing bits and pieces of other SOP's or completely replacing some paragraphs with those from others, or writing their own parts, until they had what they felt was a good document.

When licensing passed here, the changing business practices sub-committee was tasked with writing the state SOP. The committee submitted the WHILAG draft to the full board for comments and the full board agreed that that was a good place to start. At that point, the committee dusted off that document and repeated the process, ultimately coming up with the first draft for a state SOP. From that point on, about 4 or 5 draft versions were brought before the full board were debated, gutted, were rebuilt and then re-gutted and rebuilt again until the board was in agreement that the result protects consumers and home inspectors about as well as can be expected, while still being as fair and equitable as possible.

All of the organizational SOP's state that their members must comply with their organizational SOP but they also all state that the inspector must comply with state law. None of them will discipline a member who is following his state law, even if they think that state law is weaker than their own SOP, because that is going to contradict their own rule that mandates the inspector comply with state law; so, again, inspectors in licensing states should emphasize that they inspect to the only SOP that counts - their state's.

The code of ethics is also rolled up into the Washington state SOP and the same process was used to come up with that. The one thing that a state SOP does for a consumer is give a consumer something in the way of an enforced standard. Sure, if an ASHI or IACHI guy failed to comply with his org's SOP or COE, folks could squawk about it, but there was no way short of a full blown lawsuit that a consumer could seek to have a sub-standard inspector disciplined for negligence with anything stronger than censure or expulsion from the association; because none of the organizations can stop or suspend an inspector from practicing his craft, fine the inspector or have any other substantial enforcement powers.

By creating a state SOP that encompasses the COE, and having administrative procedures in place that enable DOE to officially, investigate complaints, give inspectors an opportunity for a fair hearing and ultimately exonerate the inspector or find in favor of the plaintiff, and when necessary take disciplinary measures that can range from a small fine to a large fine, suspension or revocation of license, or both - all without the consumer or the inspector needing to dump huge gobs of money into some lawyer's pocket - it's a better deal all around.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The great Comm. of Mass. requires adherence to the CMR 266 since 5/1/01. ASHI SOPs and anyone elses are OK. Mass. regs are required if you want to practice in Mass.

My 2010 wish is the formation of a professional group of Home Inspectors without any affiliation (ASHI-NAHI-INTERNACHI_or any other).

Other states can do it. Why can't Mass.[:-banghea

Happy and safe holidays to all.[:-party]

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Hi Jack,

Pick up the phone and do it. Myself and one or two other independents and one or two NAHI guys were invited to a private meeting at the Rainier Club (I think it was) in December of 2005. The local ASHI guys were having a seminar or something and had their pres in town and they had something they wanted to talk about. It turned out that a fellow here in Washington had been waving around a proposed home inspector registration law that he and a state representative were planning to push through. It sucked pretty bad so the local ASHI guys were planning to initiate movement to counter it with their own version.

About 20 minutes into the meeting, and after hearing ASHI this and, ASHI that, I finally spoke up and told them that if what they attempted to do wasn't a joint effort by representatives from all home inspector stake holders in the region, plus the independents, because independents outnumbered those affiliated with associations, whatever they did was sure to become mired down in the same B.S. that bogged folks down in New Jersey for so many years. Joe Corsetto, then ASHI Pres, was in the room. He's from New Jersey. He spoke up at that point and said that he agreed 100% - that an ASHI only initiate would probably fail because everyone else would fight it.

I think it was Hugh Kelso that chaired the meeting. Hugh said, "Well, who's going to track down people from all of these various entities and try and get them to the table?" I said I would - that's how WHILAG was formed and folks in that group learned to work together pretty well after a few meetings despite all of the caterwauling about which association each felt was better. It was primarily WHILAG that over the next two years got Senator Spanel's two ill-considered versions of her bill shunted into committee or sunrise review and it was WHILAG that she finally called before attempting a third go-ground and who's ideas - born of a group made up of all entities - she finally agreed to incorporate into her bill. With WHILAG's support, her bill finally went through.

All you have to do is be the guy who takes that first step. You'll meet a lot of rejection but eventually you'll find folks that, despite their differences, will be willing to put aside that organizational B.S. and sit down and work with other professionals.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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