March, 2008
Ethics
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Using Ancillary Services to Obtain Additional Work

BILL LODEN

As the new chair of the Ethics Committee, it is important for me to recognize the outstanding work of Keith Oberg, who has led this committee and its work for the past three and one half years. When Brion Grant asked me to take over this committee, the first thing I did was take a look at the Requests for Interpretation (RFI) on the ASHI Web site. In reviewing these, I found a common thread of logic and consistency running through the interpretations.

When the current Code of Ethics took effect on June 13, 2004, there was a new baseline against which all questions needed to be measured. This was an immense task for the Ethics Committee.

The work the Ethics committee undertook can be likened to the U.S. Supreme Court’s work in examining legal questions of the day against the Constitution. It is also clear that Keith Oberg and the committee he led were strict constructionists. They carefully analyzed each ethics question from the members and evaluated them with a strict adherence to the content and intent of the CoE.

This was a trailblazing effort that we all benefit from. As the new committee chairperson, I have not only the CoE as a guide, but I now have the captured wisdom from the precedence that has been documented in the RFIs developed during the past 3-1/2 years.

Keith, thanks again for a job well done!

By publishing two similar Requests for Interpretation, we continue to provide the members with the committee’s response to the questions posed by their fellow home inspectors.

When serious questions arise about the intent and applicability of the revised code, members are encourage to submit the required RFI form, which can be found on the ASHI Web site under Downloads/ASHI Forms & Documents.

— Bill Loden, Chair, 2008 ASHI Code of Ethics Committee


Request for Interpretation

e071011 Using ancillary services to obtain additional work

Is it a violation of the Code of Ethics to use ancillary services such as termite inspections, radon testing, etc. to obtain work correcting any deficiencies found when performing these services, based on Sections 1. and 1.E of the Code of Ethics?  

e070828 Can I perform Radon Mitigation on a home I have inspected?

Response


Profiting from work correcting deficiencies found in the course of a home inspection would bring into question the objectivity of the inspection report. 1.F of the Code of Ethics addresses this conflict of interest, stating that “Inspectors shall not repair, replace, or upgrade, for compensation, systems or components covered by ASHI Standards of Practice, for one year after the inspection.” Offering to repair framing members damaged by wood-destroying insects, for example, would violate 1.F of the Code.

While all conflicts of interest that arise in the course of providing a home inspection should be avoided per Principle 1 of the Code, the prohibition against performing repairs in 1.F of the Code only addresses “components covered by ASHI Standards of Practice.” This is because ASHI represents the profession of home inspection, rather than the practices of other professions that are either regulated or represented by their own professional associations.

Radon mitigation or termite abatement does not represent a repair to an inspected component included in the ASHI Standards of Practice and is not specifically addressed by our Code of Ethics.  For additional guidance, we recommend that the inspector look to governmental regulation or the practices of applicable associations, such as AARST, for radon testing/mitigation and NPMA for pest management.