April, 2006
From the ASHI President.
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Integrity & ASHI: Perfect Together


During our home inspections, we commonly encounter cluttered building conditions that need disclosure as limiting access and our ability to inspect. At times, inspections seem more about disclosure than defect recognition. In actuality, there should be a hefty dose of both in any building report…it’s a limitation of what we do.

Some of us might use these moments of inspection frustration to either reflect on conditions in our own homes or in our lives that could use a good clean up. Now, I don’t consider myself a pack rat, but I have my moments when I save obscure articles. In this case, it was a scrap of paper I recently found, scribed with the following message:

“The most important thing a person or entity can have is integrity. Lose that and you lose everything else. ASHI stands for excellence and must continue to defend that excellence. Abrogating the responsibility to defend that excellence while still purporting to stand for it is a loss of integrity.”

Whoever said our members don’t care, or aren’t eloquent, never attended an ASHI Board meeting. This quote is from an actual handwritten note handed to me by an Atlanta, Ga., audience member during a 2004 Board of Directors meeting. I do not recall who gave me this message, but at the time I received this note the Board was engaged in discussing the merits of a proposal to change elements of the Code of Ethics. Concerned about weakening ASHI’s ethics, this member felt compelled to reach out and touch a Board member in the hope of lending support to an idea or position I was commenting on. I thought this comment would be useful one day, and
I’m glad I kept it. As you can tell, ASHI members are passionate about our profession.

I believe our Society is built on basic tenets that speak directly to what our membership is most concerned with: the Code of Ethics (CoE) and Standards of Practice (SoP). If you haven’t done so recently, I suggest you go to ASHI’s Web site, download these documents, and reflect on how they fit into your reports. Apply our CoE to the products you deliver to customers, and see if there is a good fit or if changes in your business practice are necessary to comply. Try to align our standards and ethics with all your business elements, especially how you advertise to the homebuying public and to those activities that speak to your conduct and integrity. A successful business is not built overnight with fancy or costly marketing strategies; but instead, grows slowly with each satisfied client contact, each report that addresses those issues we are hired to identify, and by each inspection we perform—one building at a time. In the words of the attorney who incorporated my business in the mid-80s, “You work for the person who signs the check…do this in a consistent way and you will not have to look over your shoulder for people like me.”

When professional integrity, as outlined in our CoE, is universally applied by all in our business, it becomes a rising tide that floats all boats, or more plainly stated, enhances the profession in the publics’ eye, making our services a thing of value sought after in the homebuying process. For thirty years, ASHI has set the course for an honest business model. Let’s all do our part to elevate the publics’ image of the home inspection business.