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

From the Speaker: Bylaws and Policies and Procedures


The hallmark of a good organization is that it operates under a set of clear, well-defined rules. Without such rules, chaos and confusion reign. ASHI’s founders and those who followed wisely recognized the need for formal rules. The operating framework that was put in place continues to be employed to this day. ASHI operates under two rule schemes that address the structure and management of our fine organization: Bylaws and Policy and Procedures. It is important to understand the difference.

Usually, bylaws are drafted in the charter or other founding document of an organization. Some define the organization’s mission and structure. ASHI’s mission statement may be restated as the results of the strategic plan.    

Bylaws generally describe the organization’s hierarchal structure such as officers, boards or committees and the duties assigned to each entity. They can define the membership requirements, dues or fees imposed, and where and when meetings will occur. Bylaws are designed to be the supreme governing rules for an organization. Normally, bylaws are difficult to amend, such as requiring super-majority acceptance by the membership.

Policies and procedures, although similar in some ways, differ from bylaws in function and creation. They provide a guide for the day-to-day operations of an organization. Officers and staff operate under these rules and are required to defer to policies in almost all circumstances. Policies and procedures evolve as needed for an organization to meet the needs of its members. As a result, these rules usually are easier to change. Normally, a board of directors is free to change or amend rules with a simple majority vote. A good analogy is bylaws are akin to the U.S. Constitution, and policies and procedures are like the statutes enacted by Congress or the rules used by government agencies, respectively.

As an ASHI member, it is a good idea to be familiar with the bylaws and policies and procedures. ASHI has made this task easy by posting both the ASHI Bylaws and the Policy and Procedure Manual on its website at The CoR Policy and Procedure Manual is also available on the website.
Knowing the rules will allow you to fully engage in the ongoing discussion concerning the future of ASHI.

Speaking of the website, have you visited it recently? The website was upgraded as ASHI continues its goal to provide members the most up-to-date information and tools for growing their business. In addition, be sure to visit the ASHI forum and join the discussions of your fellow inspectors. Your colleagues are a great resource for answering your questions about ASHI and for guidance when you encounter issues in the field. The website also is a great resource to homebuyers and real estate professionals looking for professional home inspectors. Be sure to direct your clients to it.

Please join all of us on the ASHI Forum!!


Contact Info for 2010 CoR Speaker and Group Leaders

Howard Pegelow, Speaker

Bob Walstead, Alternate Speaker

Glenn Gogal, New England/Canada Group Leader, 416-604-1280

Jerry Sanangini, New York/New Jersey Group Leader

Bob Sisson, Mid-Atlantic Group Leader

Ed Massart, Midwest Group Leader

Keven Kossler, South Atlantic Group Leader

Phil Smith, Gulf Group Leader

John Clason, South Midwest Group Leader

John Biegalski, North Central  Group Leader

Alan Blaker, Mountain Group Leader

Skip Walker, Pacific Group Leader

Lisa Alajajian-Giroux, Council Secretary