August, 2011
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Maintaining and Interpreting the ASHI 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 RFIs 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. A recent request and response appears below.

– Bruce Barker, chair, 2011 ASHI Standards of Practice Committee

S110425 Testing for gas leaks or CO detection

Please confirm that it is not required by SOP to provide gas-leak testing or CO detection on combustible gas appliances and under which SOP does this fall?

Inspectors are required by the ASHI Standards of Practice (SOP) to inspect gas piping, but are not required to use instruments to do so. The SOP does not require gas-leak detection other than detection using techniques that are not technically exhaustive. (One example of such a technique would be using your nose.)

The SOP requires inspecting certain gas combustion appliances (6.1.A.3, 8.1.B1, & 12.1.A.1) and their vents (6.1.A.5, 8.1.B.2, & 12.1.A.2), but does not require measurement of CO levels at appliances or elsewhere. Other methods for detecting the possible presence of CO concerns might include flame color, flame shape, backdrafting or other methods that are not technically exhaustive.

6.1 The inspector shall:
  A. Inspect
    5. fuel storage and fuel distribution systems.

13.1 General limitations
  A. The inspector is NOT required to perform any action or make any determination not specifically stated in these Standards of Practice.
  B. Inspections performed in accordance with these Standards of Practice:
    1.are not technically exhaustive defined as: An investigation that involves dismantling, the extensive use of advanced techniques, measurements, instruments, testing, calculations or other means.

13.2 General Exclusions:
  A. Inspectors are not required to determine:
    12. the presence of any environmental hazards including, but not limited to, toxins, carcinogens, noise and contaminants' in soil, water and air.

S101015 Reporting on possible asbestos

Does the presence of possible asbestos containing material need to be reported if it is not friable and is still in a solid form.

Why: Some attorneys and/or judges have stated that the presence of asbestos (or a possible asbestos-containing material) must be reported as the SOP are being misinterpreted unless it has become airborne or has been found to be in soil, water and air, it is within the scope of reportable standards. Is there a way to separate or define the meaning of strictly the presence of environmental hazards from those in soil, water and air? I realize that this is subjective interpretation.


An inspector is not required to report the presence of any (emphasis added) possible asbestos containing material. The condition and the location of the material are not relevant. Identification of environmental hazards is a separate discipline beyond the scope of a home inspection. Home inspectors typically are not trained, equipped, or licensed to perform environmental inspections and testing. Also, note that many materials found in a home may contain asbestos. It's unreasonable to expect a home inspector to identify and test all materials that might contain asbestos.

Standards of Practice clause 13.2.A.12 states that inspectors are not required to determine the presence of any (emphasis added) environmental hazards. The remaining part of this clause identifies examples of environmental hazards. It is not a complete list of all environmental hazards and is not a complete list of all possible locations of such hazards.