ASHI is the gold standard of the home inspection industry. Back in 1976, a group of foresighted individuals met to establish ASHI. They set a Standard of Practice and a Code of Ethics. The inspection was of small residential properties. That was back in 1976. The early leadership set up a network of independent chapters to deliver education and build camaraderie.
Going into the archives of the ASHI Reporter, I found this written by 2002 ASHI President Mike Casey:
"Change the way we do business, both as individuals and as an association. We must think more about our decisions, and be sure we make every effort to obtain all the information possible, including how the decisions will affect stakeholders. Anything is possible for our Society, if we work together, and understand the current professional arena. This is the reason for ASHI.
"As the largest professional society for home inspectors, what we do affects the profession. That's why the Council of Representatives, committees, directors and staff are in constant communication. We'll achieve our specific goals by working together. I'm proud to be the elected president of this Society. Sure, I have lofty goals; what's wrong with that? Together let's raise the professionalism of the profession."
We are now 35 years into our mission. Here are some of my observations. Most of our membership still only does the basic visual and basic functional evaluation of a house. Now we have affordable technology to expand the scope beyond the minimums set in the ASHI Standard of Practice. Many of us have some electronic measurement tools such as a TIFF 8800 gas analysis tool to detect gas leaks, carbon monoxide detectors, moisture meters, radon monitors to measure and record periodic radon levels over a few days, and even an infrared camera to graphically display a thermal image that can indicate indirectly moisture problems, air leakage, electrical overheating and the like.
Is it time for ASHI to start defining additional layers of building evaluations? Consumers are also concerned about healthy homes. Is there a way we can do indoor air quality evaluations?
Membership requirements and categories have changed over the years. We started out with a peer review to join ASHI. Then we went to written tests and report verification. Now, we use the National Home Inspector Examination, Code of Ethics/Standards of Practice course and report verification. There was no licensing. Approximately 34 states have legislation regulating home inspections and home inspectors. This can be in the form of licensing or registering home inspectors or establishing a Trade Practice Act.
Is it time for ASHI to raise the bar to join our Society and recognize the professionalism of licensed home inspectors? This could lead to increased membership and a stronger ASHI. It is my hope that ASHI's image can change from "jump through all these hoops" to one of "earning your stripes." We will be looking at our membership categories this year. ASHI leadership (Board, Membership Committee and the Council of Representative) will study this area. Proposals will be developed, and we will vet them to the membership before we ask for your vote for change.
ASHI's vision in 2011 will be how to maintain its core values and mores and grow. This is a complex proposition. With about 5,000 members, we will not appease everyone. We, ASHI, need to establish propositions that satisfy the needs and desires of our members. My father taught me, "The man who makes no deeds, makes not misdeeds. We learn from our successes as well as our failures."
Thank you, ASHI members, for you continued support. In these times and especially in the depressed real estate industry, ASHI has a 93 percent retention rate of ASHI Certified Inspectors. Again, thank you.