June, 2010
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Focus on Standards


The ASHI Standards of Practice Committee is charged with developing and maintaining the ASHI Standards of Practice and answering Requests For Interpretation (RFI) of it.

Anyone with a question about the intent or applicability of a current standard is invited to review past answers to requests for interpretation on the ASHI Members Only website, under Resources, or to submit his or her question to the committee, using the form in the same section.

Two past requests and responses appear below.

Request for Interpretation
When performing a check of a heat pump, is it not the standard to check it in one mode, heating during heating season and cooling during cooling season? And for the moderate seasons, such as fall and spring, whatever the outside temperature dictates?

The methods used to inspect systems and components during a home inspection are subject to the professional judgment of the inspector. Factors that might influence this judgment include the condition of the system or component, climate and other conditions at the time of the inspection, and general industry practices regarding operation of the system or component.

ASHI Standards of Practice Sections 8.1.B and 9.1.B require that inspectors inspect heating and cooling equipment using normal operating controls; however, Section 13.2.F.1 allows the inspector to not perform any operation that will likely damage systems or components. The inspector must balance the benefits of testing the heating and cooling equipment against the risk that the test might damage equipment. Each inspector must make this balancing judgment based on the facts available during the inspection. If the inspector elects not to inspect systems or components designated for inspection in the Standards, the inspector should inform the client per Section 2.2.C.4.

Request for Interpretation
Does flashing in this section (4.1.a.1) refer to window flashing and/or vapor barrier around the stud wall frame out? An attorney has brought up the fact that the SOP states that I am to report on the window flashing. There is no visible window flashing, only flashing inside the brick wall that is not visible.

The term flashing in Section 4.1 refers to materials installed to prevent the entry of water at horizontal projects through the siding, such as Z-type flashing often found above windows and doors or bituminous flashing tape used around windows to prevent water entry.

Most window and door flashing is neither visually observable nor readily accessible and the inspector is not required to inspect such flashing. ASHI Standards do not require inspection of moisture and air barriers that are typically installed under exterior wall coverings, in part because such components are rarely visually observable or readily accessible.