September, 2006
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Standards of Practice Revisions Become Official October 15, 2006


Editor's note: It has been several months since Members voted to accept the revised ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. The revisions were several years in the making and become official on October 1.

As the change takes place, JD Grewel, one of ASHI’s unofficial historians and former chair of the Standards of Practice committee, provides perspective on the process – a somewhat unique process for a membership organization.

Our unique change process–something to be proud of

ASHI’s Standards of Practice has changed over the decades. ASHI Members may not realize exactly how unique our change process is compared to other professional groups. ASHI Members have a direct voice in this process. First, they may submit suggested changes. Next, ASHI has a formal process for evaluating the changes that are recommended. Our Policy and Procedures Manuel mandates that a majority of our Members must approve any changes by means of a ballot vote. 

Other associations only require a vote of their Board members. Some associations even allow such changes to be made at the whim of an individual. ASHI allows each Member to have the opportunity to participate in changing our Standards. The ASHI membership should be exceptionally proud that we make our changes through a truly democratic process.

The newly adopted Standards of Practice compels everyone who claims to abide by it to also abide by our superior Code of Ethics. More than 75 percent of our Members voted in favor of the new Standards with this provision. 

ASHI’s Standards clearly states that we promise the public to look after its interests by citing items we consider as safety concerns.

ASHI’s Standards states we must evaluate systems and components, then report those items that are near the end of their normal service lives, those items that are in need of immediate correction and those items that are not functioning properly. We must also explain our reasoning and recommend a course of action, including future monitoring. When our expertise is insufficient, we must refer our clients to appropriate professionals.  

Other groups clearly state they have no intention to meet similar requirements. Their concept of a standard specifically limits the inspected items as being no more than functional on the day their inspector was present.  

Everyone within ASHI should appreciate how advanced we have become with our goals and ideals. Someday, maybe the rest of the profession will realize some civic responsibility.

Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics now one document

In 2004, 66 per cent of ASHI’s Members voted in favor of a new ASHI Code of Ethics. The revisions represented more than ten years of effort by committees and task forces, and ended the 28-year reign of the original code. As momentous as the change was, the membership was able to make a smooth transition because the original and new codes shared the same ethical underpinning.

There should be the same smooth transition by the membership to the new Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. The primary difference between the previous and new version is that the Standards and the Code are now one. Because the ASHI membership currently abides by both, no real impact should be felt. On the other hand, non-members who claim to conduct inspections according to the ASHI Standards will now have to commit to the Code as well. A change in business practice will be required if the ASHI Standards of Practice are referenced in their published material.

The goal of this change is to either force a significant improvement in the company referencing our Standards or result in removal of the reference in its published material.

Copies of the 2006 Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are now available from the ASHI Store in two languages: English and Spanish.

The new version in English and Spanish is also posted on the ASHI Web site in PDF format.