November, 2006
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



ASHI Reaches Out to Puerto Rican Inspectors

SANDY BOURSEAU

After meeting with home inspectors, engineers and architects in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, ASHI President Joe Corsetto said, “I want to thank the Board of Directors for allowing Rob Paterkiewicz (ASHI’s executive director) and me this opportunity to represent ASHI in Puerto Rico. This visit made me proud to be part of this association and to carry our banner to a distant place.”

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Photo: ASHI President Joe Corsetto talks shop with several Puerto Rican inspectors and engineers as they tour a typical single-family home under construction on the island.  As is the case with most homes in Puerto Rico, the entire home is constructed using concrete.


Corsetto and Paterkiewicz were warmly welcomed on the island, confirming reports of strong interest in establishing an ASHI presence. ASHI first learned of this interest from Gerry Rodriguez, who lives in Miami, Fla., and operates a home inspector education business in Puerto Rico. Months earlier, he contacted the Society on behalf of a group of professionals looking for an organization in the States that represented home inspectors with high standards—standards that could inspire trust with homebuyers and encourage home inspector professionalism.  

Corsetto said he was told, “After 10 minutes of online searching, ASHI was the clear choice,” and the invitation was issued to come to Puerto Rico.

Home inspectors turn out
Several months and numerous conversations later, Corsetto and Paterkiewicz found themselves speaking to a meeting room packed with local home inspectors. And, long-time ASHI Member Adrian Bishop from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, was on hand, adding his voice to the call for a new Caribbean Chapter.

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Photo: Response to the announcement of the special ASHI meeting in Puerto Rico was overwhelming with well over 100 RSVPs and a standing-room only crowd.

“What was surprising to me,” Paterkiewicz said, “was the overall interest shown not just to ASHI, but to the profession of home inspection.  It was clear that these individuals were hungry for as much information as possible on the right standards and ethics to follow, as well as the appropriate aspects of regulation to be promoted in order to pass an inspection law.  

“I was also impressed to learn that nearly 800 individuals on the island consider themselves home inspectors. With four million residents in Puerto Rico and an equal number or more of homes on the island, the time is right for ASHI’s involvement,” he concluded.

In addition to sharing information and determining the level of interest in an ASHI chapter, Corsetto and Paterkiewicz learned about local concerns, specifically pending legislation and an influx of insufficiently trained home inspectors, neither of which are perceived to be in the best interest of the home inspection profession and consumers.

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Photo: President Gerardo Rodriguez-Albizu welcomes the attendees to the ASHI program and provides details of pending inspector legislation on the island.









SIG first step

Because of the request for support of grassroots efforts already underway, the next logical step was for a Florida chapter (FLASH) to sponsor a Special Interest Group (SIG). This will allow those seeking a strong local ASHI presence to quickly organize one.  

Paterkiewicz explained, “We are very excited at the birth of ASHI’s Caribbean presence. Our newly created SIG of the FLASHI Chapter is a perfect launch of what will soon be an official ASHI Chapter for the Caribbean. I know
there are ASHI Inspectors who have been working on a few of the islands, almost in isolation.  I’m hopeful this development will provide benefits to them as well.”

Successful trip

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Photo: Attendees of the first official meeting of ASHI’s Caribbean Special Interest Group.Front row, left to right:  Gerardo Rodriguez-Albizu, Ing. Daniel Oquendo, Moises Rivera, Rob Paterkiewicz, Victor LaTorre, Joe Corsetto. Bottom row, left to right: Annette Saliva, Milirie Alicea Miranda, Joan Maiz Inesta, Adrian Bishop.


While much remains to be discussed, Corsetto declared the two-day trip a success, listing the following outcomes from meetings with the original contact group of professionals and local home inspectors:

• Home inspectors perceived our visit as a strong commitment to establish a presence on the island.  

• ASHI learned there are enough potential members on the islands of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to establish a strong ASHI presence within the Caribbean.  

• The sponsoring Florida Chapter will be able to expand its influence and presence with a Caribbean SIG and to advertise this affiliation within its region of influence.