The STANDARDS OF PRACTICE of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF
HOME INSPECTORS® ASHI Standards of Practice Effective October 15, 2006 ©
Copyright 2006 American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc.® All rights reserved.
ASHI Standards of Practice
2. Purpose and Scope
3. Structural Systems
9. Air Conditioning
11. Insulation and Ventilation
12. Fireplaces and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances
13. General Limitations and Exclusions
Distribution of this material is not an indication of ASHI® Membership. For a free listing
of the Membership go to“Find an Inspector” at www.ashi.org. To obtain additional
copies or request permission to reprint The ASHI®Standards of Practice,contact: The
American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc.®
932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016 (800-743-ASHI/2744).
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording
or otherwise without the prior written consent of the publisher.
A BIT OF HOME INSPECTION AND ASHI HISTORY
Home inspections were being performed in the mid 1950s, and by the early 1970s
were considered by many consumers to be essential to the real estate transaction. The
escalating demand was due to a growing desire by home buyers to learn about the
condition of a house prior to purchase. Meeting the expectations of consumers required
a unique discipline, distinct from construction, engineering, architecture, or municipal
building inspection. As such, home inspection requires its own set of professional
guidelines and qualifications.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) formed in 1976 and established the
ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics to help buyers and sellers make real
estate transaction decisions based on accurate, objective information. As the oldest,
largest and highest profile organization of home inspectors in North America, ASHI
takes pride in its position of leadership. Its Membership works to build public
awareness of home inspection and to enhance the technical and ethical
performance of home inspectors.
Standards of Practice
The ASHI Standards of Practice guide home inspectors in the performance of their
inspections. Subject to regular review, the Standards of Practice reflect information
gained through surveys of conditions in the field and of the consumers’ interests and
concerns. Vigilance has elevated ASHI’s Standards of Practice so that today they are
the most widely-accepted home inspection guidelines in use and are recognized by
many government and professional groups as the definitive standards for professional
Selecting the right home inspector can be as important as finding the right home. ASHI
Members have performed no fewer than 250 fee-paid inspections in accordance with
the ASHI Standards of Practice. They have passed written examinations testing their
knowledge of residential construction, defect recognition, inspection techniques, and
report-writing, as well as ASHI’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.
Membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors is well-earned and maintained
only through meeting requirements for continuing education.
Find local ASHI Members by calling 1-800-743-2744 or visiting the ASHI Web site at:
ASHI's Standards of Practice Effective October 15, 2006 © Copyright 2006
American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc.® All rights reserved:
The American Society of Home Inspectors®, Inc. (ASHI®) is a not-for-profit
professional society established in 1976. Membership in ASHI is voluntary and its
members are private home inspectors. ASHI’s objectives include promotion of
excellence within the profession and continual improvement of its members’ inspection
services to the public.
2. PURPOSE AND SCOPE
2.1 The purpose of the Standards of Practice is to establish a minimum and uniform
standard for home inspectors who subscribe to these Standards of Practice. Home
inspections performed to these Standards of Practice are intended to provide the client
with objective information regarding the condition of the systems and components of
the home as inspected at the time of the home inspection. Redundancy in the
description of the requirements, limitations, and exclusions regarding the scope of the
home inspection is provided for emphasis only.
2.2 Inspectors shall:
A. adhere to the Code of Ethics of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
B. inspect readily accessible, visually observable, installed systems and components
listed in these Standards of Practice.
1. those systems and components inspected that, in the professional judgment of the
inspector, are not functioning properly, significantly deficient, unsafe, or are near the
end of their service lives.
2. recommendations to correct, or monitor for future correction, the deficiencies
reported in 2.2.C.1, or items needing further evaluation. (Per Exclusion 13.2.A.5
inspectors are NOT required to determine methods, materials, or costs of corrections.)
3. reasoning or explanation as to the nature of the deficiencies reported in 2.2.C.1, that
are not self-evident.
4. systems and components designated for inspection in these Standards of Practice
that were present at the time of the home inspection but were not inspected and the
reason(s) they were not inspected.
2.3 These Standards of Practice are not intended to limit inspectors from:
A. including other inspection services or systems and components in addition to those
required in Section 2.2.B.
B. designing or specifying repairs, provided the inspector is appropriately qualified and
willing to do so.
C. excluding systems and components from the inspection if requested by the client.
3. STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS
3.1 The inspector shall:
1. structural components including the foundation and framing.
2. by probing a representative number of structural components where deterioration is
suspected or where clear indications of possible deterioration exist. Probing is NOT
required when probing would damage any finished surface or where no deterioration is
visible or presumed to exist.
1. the methods used to inspect under-floor crawl spaces and attics.
2. the foundation.
3. the floor structure.
4. the wall structure.
5. the ceiling structure.
6. the roof structure.
3.2 The inspector is NOT required to:
A. provide any engineering or architectural services or analysis.
B. offer an opinion as to the adequacy of any structural system or component.
4.1 The inspector shall:
1. siding, flashing and trim.
2. all exterior doors.
3. attached or adjacent decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated
4. eaves, soffits, and fascias where accessible from the ground level.
5. vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls that are likely to adversely
affect the building.
6. adjacent or entryway walkways, patios, and driveways.
4.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect:
A. screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal accessories.
C. geological and/or soil conditions.
D. recreational facilities.
E. outbuildings other than garages and carports.
F. seawalls, break-walls, and docks.
G. erosion control and earth stabilization measures.
5.1 The inspector shall:
1. roofing materials.
2. roof drainage systems.
4. skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations.
1. roofing materials.
2. methods used to inspect the roofing.
5.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect:
B. interiors of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible.
C. other installed accessories.
6.1 The inspector shall:
1. interior water supply and distribution systems including all fixtures and faucets.
2. drain, waste, and vent systems including all fixtures.
3. water heating equipment and hot water supply system.
4. vent systems, flues, and chimneys.
5. fuel storage and fuel distribution systems.
6. drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping.
1. water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials.
2. water heating equipment including energy source(s).
3. location of main water and fuel shut-off valves.
6.2 The inspector is NOT required to:
1. clothes washing machine connections.
2. interiors of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible.
3. wells, well pumps, or water storage related equipment.
4. water conditioning systems.
5. solar water heating systems.
6. fire and lawn sprinkler systems.
7. private waste disposal systems.
1. whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private.
2. water supply quantity or quality.
C. operate automatic safety controls or manual stop valves.
7.1 The inspector shall:
1. service drop.
2. service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways.
3. service equipment and main disconnects.
4. service grounding.
5. interior components of service panels and sub panels.
7. overcurrent protection devices.
8. a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles.
9. ground fault circuit interrupters.
1. amperage and voltage rating of the service.
2. location of main disconnect(s) and sub panels.
3. presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring.
4. presence or absence of smoke detectors.
5. wiring methods.
7.2 The inspector is NOT required to:
1. remote control devices.
2. alarm systems and components.
3. low voltage wiring systems and components.
4. ancillary wiring systems and components not a part of the primary electrical power
B. measure amperage, voltage, or impedance.
8.1 The inspector shall:
A. open readily openable access panels.
1. installed heating equipment.
2. vent systems, flues, and chimneys.
1. energy source(s).
2. heating systems.
8.2 The inspector is NOT required to:
1. interiors of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible.
2. heat exchangers.
3. humidifiers or dehumidifiers.
4. electronic air filters.
5. solar space heating systems.
B. determine heat supply adequacy or distribution balance.
9. AIR CONDITIONING
9.1 The inspector shall:
A. open readily openable access panels.
1. central and through-wall equipment.
2. distribution systems.
1. energy source(s).
2. cooling systems.
9.2 The inspector is NOT required to:
A. inspect electronic air filters.
B. determine cooling supply adequacy or distribution balance.
C. inspect window air conditioning units.
10.1 The inspector shall inspect:
A. walls, ceilings, and floors.
B. steps, stairways, and railings.
C. countertops and a representative number of installed cabinets.
D. a representative number of doors and windows.
E. garage doors and garage door operators.
10.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect:
A. paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments.
C. window treatments.
D. central vacuum systems.
E. household appliances.
F. recreational facilities.
11. INSULATION & VENTILATION
11.1 The inspector shall:
1. insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces.
2. ventilation of attics and foundation areas.
3. mechanical ventilation systems.
1. insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces.
2. absence of insulation in unfinished spaces at conditioned surfaces.
11.2 The inspector is NOT required to disturb insulation. See 13.2.A.11 and 13.2.A 12.
12. FIREPLACES AND SOLID FUEL BURNING APPLIANCES
12.1 The inspector shall:
1. system components.
2. chimney and vents.
1. fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances.
12.2 The inspector is NOT required to:
1. interiors of flues or chimneys.
2. firescreens and doors.
3. seals and gaskets.
4. automatic fuel feed devices.
5. mantles and fireplace surrounds.
6. combustion make-up air devices.
7. heat distribution assists (gravity fed and fan assisted).
B. ignite or extinguish fires.
C. determine draft characteristics.
D. move fireplace inserts and stoves or firebox contents.
13. GENERAL LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS
13.1 General limitations:
A. The inspector is NOT required to perform any action or make any determination not
specifically stated in these Standards of Practice.
B. Inspections performed in accordance with these
Standards of Practice:
1. are not technically exhaustive.
2. are not required to identify concealed conditions, latent defects, or consequential
C. These Standards of Practice are applicable to buildings with four or fewer dwelling
units and their garages or carports.
13.2 General exclusions:
A. Inspectors are NOT required to determine:
1. conditions of systems or components that are not readily accessible.
2. remaining life expectancy of any system or component.
3. strength, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of any system or component.
4. the causes of any condition or deficiency.
5. methods, materials, or costs of corrections.
6. future conditions including but not limited to failure of systems and components.
7. the suitability of the property for any specialized use.
8. compliance with regulatory requirements (codes, regulations, laws, ordinances, etc.).
9. market value of the property or its marketability.
10. the advisability of purchase of the property.
11. the presence of potentially hazardous plants or animals including, but not limited to,
wood destroying organisms or diseases harmful to humans including molds or mold-like
12. the presence of any environmental hazards including, but not limited to, toxins,
carcinogens, noise, and contaminants in soil, water, and air.
13. the effectiveness of any system installed or method utilized to control or remove
suspected hazardous substances.
14. operating costs of systems or components.
15. acoustical properties of any system or component.
16. soil conditions relating to geotechnical or hydrologic specialties.
B. Inspectors are NOT required to offer:
1. or perform any act or service contrary to law.
2. or perform engineering services.
3. or perform any trade or any professional service other than home inspection.
4. warranties or guarantees of any kind.
C. Inspectors are NOT required to operate:
1. any system or component that is shut down or otherwise inoperable.
2. any system or component that does not respond to normal operating controls.
3. shut-off valves or manual stop valves.
D. Inspectors are NOT required to enter:
1. any area that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector
or other persons or damage the property or its systems or components.
2. under-floor crawl spaces or attics that are not readily accessible.
E. Inspectors are NOT required to inspect:
1. underground items including but not limited to underground storage tanks or other
underground indications of their presence, whether abandoned or active.
2. items that are not installed.
3. installed decorative items.
4. items in areas that are not entered in accordance with 13.2.D.
5. detached structures other than garages and carports.
6. common elements or common areas in multi-unit housing, such as condominium
properties or cooperative housing.
F. Inspectors are NOT required to:
1. perform any procedure or operation that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be
dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property or its systems or
2. describe or report on any system or component that is not included in these
Standards and was not inspected.
3. move personal property, furniture, equipment, plants, soil, snow, ice, or debris.
4. dismantle any system or component, except as explicitly required by these
Standards of Practice.
End of Standards of Practice '11
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