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

Skeptic: ASHI as a Business


The Skeptic: Promoting Critical Thinking

I've been giving some thought to a recent conversation about ASHI as a business, and I think that one of the major issues we've never been able to define is whether ASHI is a professional society or a trade association. There is no doubt that ASHI was set up to be a professional body. We have the standards, the ethics, and have attempted to define the minimum qualifications to practice the profession. Many of our members certainly feel it is our function to police the profession.

The problem with this model is that we never have had the acceptance by state governments as they have added licensing nor the acceptance of having this role by Realtors® and other stakeholders. Typically, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and attorneys have their own state boards or bars, which regulate admittance to the profession based on the certification and accreditation requirements of the national association.

For example, the American Bar Associations (ABA) accredits education. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) sets the standards and entry for CPAs. State boards recognize the CPA requirements to practice. A professional society is self-regulating. Home inspection is not. There has been no acceptance at the state level of ASHI Certification as the standard that must be met to practice.

In examining the function of a trade association, the purpose is to market the profession, lobby and to provide education, collaboration and standardization. This certainly is what we do at ASHI. If you really look at where we are today, we are better off focusing on what a trade association's mission is.

ASHI never will be able to become a bar association. It is a model that was perhaps the vision of the founders, but never succeeded due to the direction that state licensing took. Early advocates at the state level wanted ASHI membership to be a requirement for licensing, but the state governments would not accept anything exclusionary because NAHI and NACHI argued this was anti-fair trade.

Given that it's unlikely ASHI will ever have or even want the authority to regulate home inspectors, it might be time to consider conducting itself as a business and defining its mission the way a trade association does: marketing the profession, lobbying, and providing education, collaboration and standardization.


According to the Bylaws…

Purpose. The primary purpose of the Society is to serve the needs of its membership and the general public through research, education, and exemplary practice in the home inspection profession. The purpose includes the following goals:

1.3.1 To plan, develop, and oversee professional opportunities for the members and others to achieve preeminence in the home inspection profession; establish, promote and maintain professional standards and qualifications; develop, review and publish technical and educational materials;

1.3.2 To develop, maintain and enhance membership growth and retention programs;

1.3.3 To develop and maintain the financial and human resources necessary to accomplish the purposes and goals of the Society;

1.3.4 To communicate the ethics, standards, purposes, goals and accomplishments of the Society to its membership, government, private sectors and the general public;

1.3.5 To promote and enhance relationships with all publics, including the Society membership, other associations, governmental agencies, standards organizations, and the general public.