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  1. #1
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    Default Understanding SOP's

    Based on a couple comments on IN threads, and on some other forums, it's apparent that many inspectors have little or no clue to what the SOP's (State Regs/Licensing or Association SOP's) actually say.

    Some have said that they are "prohibited" from doing one thing or another, yet there is nothing in the SOP that "prohibit" that action. Others have said it's against the law to do something, and its clearly not.

    I am very familiar with the ASHI SOP, and the State of TN SOP (they are very similar. Both of them say that inspectors "Shall INSPECT and REPORT" on specific components. They are also clear on what an Inspector "is NOT required" to do.

    A person would be hard pressed to find something in the SOP that "prohibits" an inspector from doing something. Code of Ethics? Yes! SOP? No.

    Where are these guys getting this information? Maybe its from the instructors at the home inspector training schools, that pass on their own misguided opinions and folklore. Maybe its just they never have read and understood the SOP.

    I can tell you that in several expert witness cases I have been involved with, where someone is going after a home inspector, the attorney goes over the SOP with a fine tooth comb.

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  2. #2
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    Just want to second your sentiments Jack. The jurisdictional SOPs, and/or those in your contract are the rack you will be tied to in the event of litigation. There is an active thread here on how much to say in a client debrief. I believe that is the opportunity to share anything that might be beyond SOPs because it is verbal, not court admissable and your client can still get the benefit of whatever that might be w/o putting it in your report. The amazing thing I have learned via construction litigation is the complete absence of morality, right or wrong. There is the applicable law/s and associated agreements in effect at the time of the "event". Wearing the White Hat, holding the highest principles or having the best intentions mean nothing in law.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    There is often talk of exceeding the SOPs. So much so that I think some newer inspectors forget to learn them backwards and forwards like they should. Great points, Jack and Garry.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    Reports should jive with the verbal dissertation.

    Anyone starting out in the inspection profession reading the posts on this forum would be scared to death.

    SOP are a guide that should be used in conjunction with a standard of care based on the common standards within the profession.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann
    I am very familiar with the ASHI SOP, and the State of TN SOP (they are very similar. Both of them say that inspectors "Shall INSPECT and REPORT" on specific components. They are also clear on what an Inspector "is NOT required" to do.

    A person would be hard pressed to find something in the SOP that "prohibits" an inspector from doing something. Code of Ethics? Yes! SOP? No.
    Jack,

    If you are talking about ASHI and TN, then that's fine, but in our state the SOP "Prohibits" home inspectors from doing many things and it is all in writing.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    Here is what I found..

    6.06: Prohibitions

    Inspectors are prohibited from:

    (1) Reporting on the market value of property or its marketability and/or the suitability of the property for any use.

    (2) Advising their Client about the advisability or inadvisability of the purchase of the property.

    (3) Testing Automatic Safety Controls.

    (4) Activating the sump pumps and/or dehumidifiers.

    (5) Offering or performing any act or service contrary to law and/or 266 CMR 6.00.

    (6) Determining the cost of repairs of any item noted in their Report and/or inspected by them and/or their firm.

    (7) Offering to make and/or perform any repair, provide any remedy: including but not limited to performing engineering, architectural, surveying, plumbing, electrical and heating services, pest control (treatment), urea formaldehyde or any other job function requiring an occupational license and/or registration (in the jurisdiction where the inspection had taken place) on a Dwelling, and/or Residential Building inspected by his/her firm. The only exception is if those repairs and/or services are part of a negotiated settlement of a complaint and/or claim against the Inspector and/or the firm he/she/represents.

    (8) However, nothing in 266 CMR 6.06 shall prohibit the Inspector and/or his/her/firm from offering consulting services on a Dwelling, and/or Residential Building his/her firm has not inspected as long as the consulting service is not pursuant to the sale and/or transfer of the property and/or dwelling.

    (9) Operating any system or component that is shut down or otherwise inoperable. (However, the Inspector shall recommend the Seller and/or the Seller's Representative demonstrate that those systems and/or components are functional).

    (10) Turn on any electrical or fuel supply and/or devices that are shut down. (However, the Inspector shall recommend the Seller and/or the Seller's Representative demonstrate that those systems and/or components are functional).

    Most of these are covered in Standard Code Of Ethics.

    Here are a couple examples I have heard recently from inspectors claiming they were "prohibited" from doing things...
    1. Moving things on a counter top.
    2. Operating window blinds to get access to latches.
    3. Move a towel draped over a tub, or children's toys in tub, to test whirlpool.
    4. Testing a gas furnace during the summer.
    5. Enter a crawlspace because the cover was secured with a screw.

    Those are just a few examples. As I said before, there is a huge difference between "NOT REQUIRED" and "PROHIBITED". There are many cases where inspectors are NOT REQUIRED to do something, for one reason or another (inspector safety is the most common), but they are not PROHIBITED.

    Like Matt said, all inspectors, licensed or not, should know the SOP's backwards and forwards, and as Raymond pointed out, they better know the local standard of care.

    Last edited by Jack Feldmann; 05-01-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    Let's add this as well.

    If you have someone sign a contact that Says These things are specifically not addressed ( but then ya address them anyway)
    .

    Attached Files Attached Files
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    One of the best things I ever did was volunteer to join my local association Peer Review Report Committee. Members submit their reports through a association member who removes all company, inspector and client specific information. The report is forwarded on to the committee who review the report specficially against the SOP. The committe makes comments and it is sent back through the "cleaner" to the original submiter.

    I was forced to read the SOP many times to confirm what was acceptable and what was lacking. I made many changes to my report boilerplate to ensure it meets the state and ASHI SOPs.

    I can tell you from conversations I hear and participate in at assoication meetings and training conferences, that many inspectors read the SOP enough to pass the state test once but have not paid much attention since then.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    One of the best things I ever did was volunteer to join my local association Peer Review Report Committee. Members submit their reports through a association member who removes all company, inspector and client specific information. The report is forwarded on to the committee who review the report specficially against the SOP. The committe makes comments and it is sent back through the "cleaner" to the original submiter.

    I was forced to read the SOP many times to confirm what was acceptable and what was lacking. I made many changes to my report boilerplate to ensure it meets the state and ASHI SOPs.

    I can tell you from conversations I hear and participate in at assoication meetings and training conferences, that many inspectors read the SOP enough to pass the state test once but have not paid much attention since then.


    So true. The best thing I've ever done to help my business is volunteer with the state to review reports.

    This is a check list form based on 1992 ASHI standards that we use.
    http://www.btr.state.az.us/UserFiles...Supplement.pdf

    I cannot count how many times the inspector truly believed he/ she met the standards. Yet it is not uncommon for an inspector, new, or in business 10 years, to miss 8- 10-or even 15 items on the check list.

    Honestly I think a lot of it is due to software compainies claims that their reports meet xyz standards and the inspector does not confirm what is, or is not included.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  10. #10
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    so so, California
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    I make my own.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    Excellent post Jack. I virtually never see a report that toes the line.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    Jack, any idea why you would be prohibited from activating a sump pump?


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    Jack, any idea why you would be prohibited from activating a sump pump?
    I also was curious about #3

    (3) Testing Automatic Safety Controls.

    Looks like this would include (or exclude) Testing the garage door safety reversal feature, including the photo beam.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Understanding SOP's

    I just copied the prohibited acts from the Mass SOP. I have no idea why they would prohibit testing sump pumps.


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