August, 2005
ASHI Community
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Great Lakes and Indianapolis Chapters Team Up


By Ray Hogan, Great Lakes Chapter president

Chimney2.gifThe Great Lakes and Indianapolis Chapters of ASHI held a Spring Co-Op Conference in Indianapolis April 29–May 1, 2005. Through the efforts of both GLC and INASHI members, the conference was a success with over 125 attendees. This was the second co-op conference GLC has participated in, which has allowed for increased interaction between chapter members to promote educational opportunities, develop contacts and network with the ASHI membership.

Don-Norman-Speaking.gifASHI President Don Norman was the keynote speaker, reporting on the progress ASHI is making in branding, member development and education. Dr. Bill Hill of Ball State University opened the conference with a session on carbon monoxide, building ventilation problems and sustainable housing issues.

On Saturday participants boarded the bus to attend a presentation by Ashley Aldrige of the Chimney Safety Institute at its new training and education facility in Indianapolis. The hands-on demonstrations on chimney and fireplace construction and safety, pressurization, and the mock-up home showing how all the components of the house interact were the highlights of the conference!

Saturday evening, the group went to dinner and the theater. Sunday’s sessions with Danny Maynard on Indiana inspector licensing, and Frank Lesh and company’s “Stump the Chumps” session, rounded out a great conference.

A special thanks goes to Don Osborne and all the guys at INASHI for their help in presenting another great conference.

NOVA Chapter Plans for Candidate Success
by Mike Stephens, NOVA ASHI President

When I joined ASHI, I immediately knew my local chapter was where I was going to get my training and develop my skills. As a visitor at my first meeting, I was warmly welcomed by the officers and members. As a new member, I was encouraged to take advantage of the education and other benefits the chapter had to offer and to prepare for the exam. When I passed the exam, and again when I became a full ASHI Member, I was singled out for approval and commendation.
Now, years later, as the chapter president, I reflect on how I perceived my chapter the first time I attended a meeting, and I hope each new Candidate feels as welcome as I did.

Over time, the chapter has expanded Candidate Development resources into a comprehensive set of developmental programs. We retooled programs that weren’t working and enhanced the ones that were the most appreciated. The programs are fueled by experienced inspectors who believe that home inspectors should be well trained, especially anyone who wears the ASHI logo. Members offer encouragement by example and leave any fear of teaching our competitors at the door—a remarkable attitude since our ratio of Members to Candidates is 2 to 1.

This year, I volunteered to serve on the ASHI National Membership Committee. The committee’s task is to develop new and lasting programs for membership. ASHI is up against other organizations that provide a quick fix to certification, more relaxed standards of practice and looser ethics. In order to thrive, we must offer our new Candidates programs that will aid them in achieving Member status in the best home inspector organization available, ASHI.

Here are a few known facts to remind us of what we are about:

1. Every association or professional society exists for and because of its membership.

2. The reason members join is for benefits they can enjoy, whether fraternal, monetary or prestige, by associating with the best in a profession.

3. The association exists and survives by the dues it collects from its members.

4. Therefore, developing and keeping members is the driving force that keeps national and local chapter organizations functioning.

Developing comprehensive programs for Candidates

Our chapter, like scores of others, has a number of programs to help Candidates and Members grow in their work. The tools we put into place are working well, as our chapter membership grows by developing our Candidates. Programs for Candidates include the following:

1. A Candidates’ Hour
Run by NOVA Education Chair Dave Rushton

A one-hour class is held before the chapter meeting. Experienced instructors, often someone who has a license in a trade, conduct the training. Instructors from the three inspection training schools in our area also volunteer to teach. The classes are well attended, on average, by 15 to 20 Candidates. Attendance is taken and the Candidates receive I MRC for each classroom hour attended. The popular program has been running for two years. This year, Candidates will learn about the following topics:

EIFS Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems
Taught by an EDI-certified inspector

Building Design Criteria Per Chapter 3 of CABO/IRC
Taught by an ICC-certified inspector

Spotting Common Electrical Defects
Taught by a licensed electrician

Inspecting beyond ASHI Standards and using Cool Tools
Taught by two Va.-certified home inspectors

Foundations–Footing and wall designs with soils bearing study
Taught by a Virginia Class-A-licensed contractor

Electrical Grounding
Taught by a training school instructor and past national ASHI president

Polybutylene Plumbing Systems
Taught by a training school instructor

Problematic Systems FRT, Flex vents, etc.
Taught by an experienced inspector

Electrical Service panels
Taught by a licensed electrician

2. A Formal Mentoring Program
Author: Tom Murley

After a few attempts at informal programs, it was evident that
a structured program was necessary. To participate, the Candidate fills out a questionnaire and is assigned a Member mentor, who is an experienced home inspector. The Candidate is able to consult the mentor on issues he or she may have seen that day, on recently learned inspection techniques, or on how to report specific findings. The mentor also provides peer review and ride-along inspections. On-the-job training is the best form of learning and this program offers Candidates that learning opportunity. For a complete description of NOVA’s mentoring program, plus the forms and resource lists used by the chapter, visit ASHI documents on

3. A Comprehensive Study/Reference Library
Librarian: Bil Greg

One of our earliest and most popular resources, the study program has been in place for more than four years. The chapter has two complete sets of the Carson Dunlop study guides in the Tape and CD formats, as well as IRC Code and Study books to include the Code Commentary available for reference. Candidates and Members are required to furnish a credit card number to get a library card, which allows them to sign out modules, and they agree to be charged for lost or damaged units. Because of the constant demand, units must be returned each month before the meeting. The library has also received donated materials from the local training schools in our area.

4. A Rebate program for passing the NHIE
Initiator: Greg Caudill

Candidates who successfully pass the National Home Inspectors Examination (NHIE) are reimbursed $100. They turn in a copy of the passing certificate to our treasurer to receive a check. As you might imagine, Candidates like this program.

5. Guest Speakers at our monthly meetings
Responsible party: Reggie Marston

Monthly meetings are generally meat-and-potatoes kind of meetings rather than a dining event—no pun intended. We schedule a 1-3/4 hour training session given by guest speakers from the business communities. Inspectors get together at a local restaurant after the meeting for socializing. This year, we’ve covered the following topics:

  • Buried oil tanks and LP tanks
  • Boilers
  • Chimney restorations
  • Inspector safety
  • Re-piping systems
  • Termite inspections
  • Water and fire damage clean up
  • The state regulating board representative
  • Unusual defects found in the field, a pictorial review
  • How to market yourself and increase your business
6. Fall Seminar
Event Chair: Jim Funkhouser

Every year, we host a training seminar, usually in the fall. Last year’s two-day event on the 2003 IRC was attended by 125 people. Eighty percent of the chapter members attended, along with visitors from as far away as St. Louis. NOVA ASHI has been training home inspectors in our area for more than 12 years, and continues to present new topics designed to keep us on our toes and ahead of the competition.

Notice that a different person is responsible for each of the programs. Something of this scope is too much for one person to handle. We have an overall Education Committee chair who oversees the programs with a team of dedicated volunteers.
Our success is possible because of the willingness of the experienced inspectors to volunteer, sharing their knowledge as they create a welcoming and professional chapter environment. We encourage new chapter members to begin to volunteer from the day they join —participating in the environment of giving back. 

NOVA ASHI strives to keep its ratio of Members to Candidates high (2 to 1), and believe we’re able to do so because our program actually works!