February, 2006
From the ASHI President.
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Voice of the Profession


Several past presidents have mentioned the challenge of writing this column, admitting it may well be one of the most challenging assignments of this position. I now understand what they mean as I consider topics with relevance to our profession. It comes as no surprise there is no shortage of topics, and I’ll attempt to address several this year that I believe have made a positive impact on this business or are bothersome, or worse, a detriment to the profession. You can think of this article as my platform to rant or rave...an exercise called Presidents’ privilege. So, let’s begin.

In the face of newly formed competing organizations, I recognize our membership has choices regarding where to spend their dues dollars. To me and my ASHI brethren, the choice is clear. We belong to the only association that truly speaks to the profession in a meaningful way, without distorting qualifications and making wild claims of global dominance within this profession. Flippant claims derail attempts to promote the profession and embarrass legitimate efforts.

Your association is the go-to place for insight into what home inspectors do on a daily basis. This is evidenced with each contact by media, with calls to headquarters from federal agencies and state legislators hungry for truthful information about some aspect of what we do, and more importantly, how the things we do or say impact the home-buying consumer. In the same vein runs our Code of Ethics. It generates interest as a stand-alone document. Our Society’s ethics complement legislative intent so well that the Code is consistently referenced by states as the basis for regulating the behavioral elements of inspection services.

It is my belief that the public trust in what we do and say is what makes ASHI uniquely qualified as the recognized ‘voice of the profession.’ I can list the many things we do, but instead, reflect on where we’ve been to further support this claim.

My early years in ASHI began in 1984 amid an ongoing struggle to define this relatively new business called home inspection. If you are in this business for 10, 15 or more years, all you have to do is refer to a dated report generated when you first started. You will quickly realize how your reporting matured over the years, and there may be building components or conditions missing that are now mainstream reporting items. Many of us would probably never describe in a report the things we see today in the same manner we did when we first started. In the early years, those starting out fresh had no opportunity to purchase software to generate a report and little opportunity to paraphrase existing material in print. If my memory serves me, check sheets made of NCR paper were available as the modern product, with little else that offered standards and condition comments with easy reference. The ‘inter-net’ was something you’d catch crabs in at the Jersey shore or scoop up fish with…the place in the net you reach to pull them out. We have come a long way in a short time.

This association was instrumental in guiding this business during those early years and continues to do so today. These efforts successfully resulted in respected standards that are copied, practiced or applied in some form across North America by groups of all shapes and sizes, including many of the training schools and service providers that populate our world. Whether or not these groups realize or admit it, there probably is quite a bit of language contained in their bylaws, standards and documents steeped in ASHI development. Over the past 30 years, ASHI has provided the fertile ground to develop ideas that enhance the business of home inspection. In my mind and professional view, this carries more weight and importance than how many inspection referrals an organization can generate or acronyms placed after my name.

The simple point of this short overview of where we’ve been is where we are going, and what we will look like as a profession once we get there. Rest assured, ASHI will play a role in shaping this future, and there are bound to be surprises along the way.

I will attempt to address some of my observations with future articles. With this first message of the year, I want to recognize the men and women who have devoted much to moving this business into the realm of a real profession. Here’s to the next 30 years.