March, 2003

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Protocol, Branding, Information Systems and Education Occupy Directors 4th Quarter Meeting


The Board of Directors unanimously approved a new protocol for the ASHI Membership Forum, an online discussion board in the Members Only section of The protocol comes with new rules and a user agreement with teeth; all designed to curtail personal attacks and discussion of inappropriate topics on the Forum. A committee of volunteers will monitor discussions. Although there has been a user’s agreement in place, it failed to define violation discipline procedures. Now those who disregard the rules may have their Forum privileges suspended. Many organizations are taking similar steps, some to avoid problems, such as the sharing of prices, terms of service or other competitive information that is a violation of anti-trust laws; others to attract participants to a user-friendly environment. The purpose of the ASHI Forum is for the education of its participants in technical aspects of the home inspection profession along with the sharing of personal experiences directly related to inspection issues. The Membership is encouraged to participate and to take advantage of the wealth of information shared freely on the Forum by many of ASHI’s most knowledgeable members.

Branding update
ASHI Executive Director Rob Paterkiewicz was joined by consultants Taunya Land, Leading Solutions Group, and Gordon Rudow, Bonfire Communications, in an update to Directors on the Branding program, prior to it being presented to the Membership at InspectionWorld.

Information systems
The Board of Directors authorized ASHI’s executive director to keep the Society’s Information Systems up-to-date by approving funding to enhance the systems. Existing software and hardware resources are being strained by growth plus additional services offered to the Membership. Web site and network operations rely heavily on outsource support, with more than $60,000 budgeted this year for external support for these two areas alone. The database program does not provide the sophisticated operations and support necessary to deliver the service expected by the Membership. Dues renewal, MRC collection, inspector referrals, accounting, mailings and e-mails are all being hampered by the lack of technical resources. Paterkiewicz will be pursuing a database program written for ASHI that will cover current and future expansion needs. This program will be written in a language easily supported and modified, if necessary. ASHI will hire an employee who can write it. The goal is to eliminate hours of troubleshooting as a result of the inherent conflict of using different vendors and consultants for systems that need to interact, specifically database, network and Web site. With reduced reliance on outsource support and improved systems, ASHI will have the caliber of IS operation the organization deserves.

Two motions from the Education Committee were passed after all Directors and Officers with ties to training organizations removed themselves from participating.
The Board approved the expansion of ASHI@Home to allow for distribution of the program in a college or university classroom format, and it approved a revised Request for Proposals (RFP) for distribution to establish a partnership with training providers in offering ASHI home inspector education and training. The revised RFP accommodates requests for clarification, and at the Board’s request the committee will provide bidders not selected with a list of deficiencies. The committee’s rationale for the motions focused on ASHI’s long association with home inspector education, the desire to play a significant role in home inspector licensing, and the opportunity to generate revenue for the Society.

First quarter board meeting
President Rich Matzen will call together the first board meeting of term on Friday, April 11 in Chicago.