ASHI Legislative Committee member George Harper (also representing the California Real Estate Inspection Association), ASHI Membership Committee Chair Scott Patterson (also representing the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors) and ASHI Director of Chapter Relations & State Affairs Bob Kociolek represented the Society at the Association of Real Estate License Law Organizations Home Inspector (ARELLO) Roundtable in Banff, Alberta, April 26-28. ARELLO is an important and influential group of regulators. ASHI has a longstanding relationship with the group, whose members look to us for expert information on the profession. This year’s schedule included sessions on standards of practice, regulatory bodies and a voluntary certification program in Canada, to name a few.
L to r: Bob Kociolek, ASHI director of chapter relations & state affairs; Scott Patterson, ASHI Membership Committee chair; and George Harper, ASHI Legislative Committee member, attended the ARELLO meeting in Banff, Alberta.
One of the highlights was a general session delivered by renowned attorney James T. Casey, q.c., on unprofessional behavior. It was based on a presentation Casey gave to the College of Dieticians of Alberta. The inspectors who attended agreed there was much that applied to the inspector profession.
The following is edited and approved for the Reporter by James T. Casey, Q.C.
Top ten causes of unprofessional conduct
1. Failure to maintain currency of professional knowledge and competence
Professions evolve and professionals must keep pace. Maintaining competence on an ongoing basis is a central tenet of professionalism. “That’s how I did it when I became a home inspector” is not a valid defense.
2. Failure to seek assistance or make appropriate referrals
You may encounter difficult situations for which you do not have the necessary skills and unprofessional conduct may occur where you plow ahead without getting assistance. Recognize limitations and realize that seeking assistance is not a form of weakness, but rather a professional strength.
3. Difficulties in personal life affect your professional performance
Your work can affect your home life and vice versa. It’s common for personal issues to spill over into your practice. Realize that you may need help as you are not the most objective person to evaluate how your performance is affected.
4. Alcohol and drug addictions
Substance abuse is the root cause of some of the most serious cases of unprofessional conduct. Keep yourself well. Seek counseling if you think you have a problem.
5. Poor Communication
Failure to communicate effectively and appropriately causes many complaints between an inspector and a client. Appreciate that a critical part of being a true professional is being a good listener and communicator.
6. Failure to properly address client concerns
A client will typically contact you first with a concern over the inspection. Many complaints are filed because the client felt his initial concern was not taken seriously. Take all concerns seriously and actively listen to the client.
7. Environmental factors
Excessive workload, lack of proper mentoring or inappropriate practices may lead to poor conduct. Regardless of these issues, your work must meet professional standards. Seek advice from your peers.
8. Personality conflicts escalate to unprofessional conduct
Conflicts between you and a client may result in uncharacteristically bad behavior. If you experience conflict, consider recommending another inspector. You and the client will both be better served.
9. Complacency about professional standards
A lot of experience is no excuse for becoming complacent about standards and developing sloppy habits. A commitment to professionalism is a life-long marriage. Regularly work on refreshing your understanding of standards.
10. Professional documentation
Failure to adequately document causes significant problems for professionals. If you have acted professionally, then proper documentation will be your best defense. Always practice professional documentation.
Remember: Professionalism is not about perfectionism. All professionals make mistakes. The key is to learn from your mistakes, recognize the root causes of unprofessional behavior and do your best to act as a true professional.