February, 2011
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Ethics Questions Asked and Answered


The ASHI Code of Ethics Committee is charged with developing ethics education and awareness for ASHI members and answering Requests for Interpretation (RFI) of the Code of Ethics.

When serious questions arise about the intent and applicability of the revised code, members are encouraged to review previous requests and responses on the ASHI Members-Only website under Resources. If there has not been a request for an interpretation of a similar situation, a member may submit a question using the required RFI form, which can be found under Downloads/ASHI Forms & Documents. The committee continues to provide ASHI members with responses to their requests.


When a member performs a home inspection, what fee-paid services does item 1F of the ASHI Code of Ethics prohibit him from performing?


Item 1F of the ASHI Code of Ethics reads:

"1. Inspectors shall avoid conflicts of interest or activities that compromise, or appear to compromise, professional independence, objectivity, or inspection integrity.

F. Inspectors shall not repair, replace, or upgrade, for compensation, systems or components covered by ASHI Standards of Practice, for one year after the inspectio

The purpose of this prohibition is to ensure a home inspection and a report are not used to generate compensation for certain services that represent a conflict of interest and could harm a consumer. These services involve repairs, replacements, or upgrades by a member to a home inspected by that member.

The member is prohibited from providing these services for compensation.

Compensation refers to any reward or consideration paid for services rendered, whether money or otherwise.

The prohibition refers to repairs, replacements, or upgrades to all systems and components covered by the ASHI Standards of Practice, regardless of their condition. Services other than repairs, replacements, or upgrades to systems and components covered by the ASHI Standards of Practice are not prohibited.
Repairs, replacements, or upgrades to systems and components beyond the scope of the Standards of Practice are not prohibited.

The prohibition lasts one year. The one-year period begins on the day the home inspection begins and expires one year after the home inspection ends.


Requests for Interpretation

Standards and Ethics Requests for Interpretation have been updated online in a more user-friendly format and a new search engine has been added. This recent improvement makes it easier to find the information you're looking for. Chances are the question you have about the Standards or Ethics has already been answered and can be found online.

To look up your question, log in as a member on www.HomeInspector.org. Go to Resources and then to Interpretations. If you wish to file a Request, the link to the necessary form can be found there.

What are Requests for Interpretation (RFIs)?

ASHI members may file a Request For Interpretation (RFI) for either the Standards of Practice (SoP) or Code of Ethics (CoE) when an issue may seem unclear or undefined by the SoP or CoE. These requests will be reviewed by the respective committees and ASHI legal counsel.

Filing an RFI

The committees understand that you desire a quick response, but please be advised they have multiple requests and, because the SoP and CoE are vital to ASHI, interpretations must be performed with extreme care. Before filing an RFI, you are strongly encouraged to review past interpretations that are posted in their respective section, SoP or CoE. You also may perform a quick keyword search in the search function that will search both sections.