WHAT IS COVERED IN A HOME INSPECTION
Standards of Professional Practice
For Arizona Home Inspectors
& Additional Whole Home Inspections S.O.P.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Section Description
2. Purpose & Scope
3. General Limitations & Exclusions
4. Structural Components
10. Central Air Conditioning
12. Insulation and Ventilation Glossary NOTE: Italicized words are defined in the Glossary
For more/detailed information regarding the Standards of Professional Practice For Arizona Home Inspectors, we recommend reviewing information posted on the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration’s Website: (https://btr.az.gov) & Glossary of words, History/origin of SOP and additional detailed information/regulations can be found there.
Information on this page has mostly come from the State’s website; however this is intended to help answer the question:
What’s Covered in a Home Inspection?
NOTE: Areas in BLUE represent items that Whole Home Inspections, LLC’s Company SOP goes above the minimum State Standards
<RED> Are areas that may be important to you however are outside the scope of a Home Inspection and not within the State and/or Companies Standards of Practice
GREEN Represent additional/more in-depth information
The Arizona Standards of Practice are adopted from the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Standards of Practice, through the AZ ASHI, with Arizona made modifications and amendments. The Arizona Board of Technical Registration gratefully acknowledges the assistance and permission of the American Society of Home Inspectors, and the assistance of the Arizona Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
2. PURPOSE AND SCOPE
(1) Inspections performed to these Standards shall provide the client with a better understanding of the property conditions, as observed at the time of the inspection.
(2) Inspectors shall: Before the inspection report is delivered, enter into a written agreement with the client or their authorized agent: An agreement will be sent via email and can be e-signed or printed/signed and brought the home inspection. This is not only a State Requirement but also required by our Insurance Company.
Agreement including a confirmation email will cover:
- the purpose of the inspection.
- the date of the inspection.
- the name address and certification number of the inspector.
- the fee for services.
- a statement that the inspection is performed in accordance with these Standards.
6.A Limitations or exclusions of systems or components inspected. Such as roof, if not safely accessible
7.B. Observe readily accessible installed systems and components listed in these Standards.
8.C. Submit a written report to the client which shall:
1. Describe systems and components identified in sections 4-12 of these Standards.
2. State which systems and components designated for inspection in these Standards have been inspected and any systems and components designated for inspection in these Standards which were present at the time of the inspection and were not inspected and a reason why they were not inspected.
3. State any systems and components so inspected which were found to be in need of immediate major repair and any recommendations to correct (When appropriate may recommend upgrades that can help further protect your home and or systems), monitor or evaluate by appropriate persons.
2.3 These Standards are not intended to limit inspectors from:
A. Reporting observations and conditions in addition to those required in Section 2.2.
B. Excluding systems and components from the inspection if requested by the client.
3. GENERAL LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS
A. Inspections done in accordance with these Standards are visual, not technically exhaustive and will not identify concealed conditions or latent defects.
B. These Standards are applicable to buildings with four or less dwelling units and their garages or carports.
3.2 General exclusions:
A. Inspectors are NOT required to report on:
1. life expectancy of any component or system. (However in some cases we may make recommendations for further evaluation by a specialist to help determine remaining life)
2. the causes of the need for a major repair.
3. the methods, materials and costs of corrections.
4. the suitability of the property for any specialized use.
5. compliance or non-compliance with applicable regulatory requirements.
6. the market value of the property or its marketability.
7. the advisability or inadvisability of purchase of the property.
8. any component or system which was not observed.
9. the presence or absence of pests such as wood damaging organisms, rodents, or insects. (However if we see something that leads us to believe you should get further evaluation, we will recommend it)
10. cosmetic items (means aesthetic imperfections that do not affect working condition of the item) underground items, or items not permanently installed.
B. Inspectors are NOT required to:
1. offer warranties or guarantees of any kind. (We have not found a program we believe in enough and/or feel comfortable enough with sharing our client’s information with)
2. calculate the strength, adequacy, or efficiency of any system or component.
3. enter any area or perform any procedure which may damage the property or its components or be dangerous to the inspector or other persons. (We love our job and want to perform the most detailed inspections we can, however we make every effort not to damage the property and/or ourselves)
4. operate any system or component which is shut down or otherwise inoperable.
(Such as breakers and water valves that are turned off)
5. operate any system or component which does not respond to normal operating controls.
6. disturb insulation, move personal items, furniture, equipment, plant life, soil, snow, ice, or debris which obstructs access or visibility.
7. determine the presence or absence of any suspected hazardous substance including but not limited to toxins, fungus, molds, mold spores, carcinogens, noise, contaminants in soil, water, and air. (However if we see something that leads us to believe you should get further evaluation, we will recommend it)
8. determine the effectiveness of any system installed to control or remove suspected hazardous substances.
9. predict future conditions, including but not limited to failure of components.
10. project operating costs of components.
11. evaluate acoustical characteristics of any system or component.
3.3 Condominium / townhouse unit(s) can be limited inspection. Inspection may not include common areas or other spaces you do not/would not own. There may also be limitations that hinder evaluation of all areas, and/or systems. We may sometimes offer comments concerning our observations of common areas as a courtesy.
3.4 Limitations and exclusions specific to individual systems are listed in following sections.
4. SYSTEM: STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS
4.1 The inspector shall observe:
A. structural components including:
4.2 The Inspector shall:
A. describe the type of:
2. floor structure.
3. wall structure.
5. ceiling structure.
6. roof structure.
B. probe structural components where deterioration is suspected. However, probing is NOT required when probing would damage any finished surface.
C. enter underfloor crawl spaces and attic spaces except when access is obstructed, when entry could damage the property, or when dangerous or adverse situations are suspected.
D. report the methods used to inspect underfloor crawl spaces and attics.
E. report signs of water penetration into the building or signs of abnormal or harmful condensation on building components.
5. SYSTEM: EXTERIOR
5.1 The inspector shall observe:
A. wall cladding, flashings and trim.
B. entryway doors and representative number of windows.
C. garage door operators.
D. decks, balconies, stoops, steps, areaways, and porches including railings.
E. eaves, soffits and fascias.
F. vegetation, grading, drainage, driveways, patios, walkways and retaining walls with respect to their effect on the condition of the building.
5.2 The inspector shall:
A. describe wall cladding materials.
B. operate all entryway doors and representative number of windows including garage doors, manually or by using permanently installed controls of any garage door operator.
C. report whether or not any garage door operator will automatically reverse or stop when meeting reasonable resistance during closing.
<5.3> The inspector is NOT required to observe:
A. storm windows, storm doors, screening, shutters, awnings and similar seasonal accessories.
C. safety glazing.
D. garage door operator remote control transmitters.
E. geological conditions.
F. soil conditions.
G. recreational facilities. Such as but not limited to: basketball hoops, tennis courts, playground equipment, splash pads, diving boards or slides.
H. outbuildings other than garages and carports. Sheds are not included unless specified by the client prior to the inspection, additional costs may apply.
6. SYSTEM: ROOFING
6.1 The inspector shall observe:
A. roof coverings.
B. roof drainage systems.
D. skylights, chimneys and roof penetrations.
E. signs of leaks or abnormal condensation on building components.
6.2 The inspector shall:
A. describe the type of roof covering materials.
B. report the methods used to inspect roofing.
<6.3> The inspector is NOT required to:
1.A. walk on the roofing. (We try to walk on every roof we can. Clay tile roofs and New Build Construction are limited to ladders edge. We only carry 12 ½ and 22 foot ladders with us (90% of roofs are accessible with these ladders) and if not safely accessible with these, it will be considered unsafe to access. If we do not access to roof, it will be disclosed with a recommendation for further evaluation.)
2.B. observe attached accessories including but not limited to solar systems, antennae, and lightning arresters.
7. SYSTEM: PLUMBING
7.1 The inspector shall observe:
A. interior water supply and distribution system including:
1. piping materials, including supports and insulation.
2. fixtures and faucets.
3. functional flow.
4. leaks. When accessible, we check the main water meter for movement. This is to help detect large/major unseen leaks, not small drips/leaks.
5. cross connections. (We will mostly make recommendation to help correct any areas of obvious cross contamination)
B. interior drain, waste and vent system, including:
1. traps; drain, waste, and vent piping; piping supports and pipe insulation.
3. functional drainage.
C. hot water system including:
1. water heating equipment.
2. normal operating controls.
3. automatic safety controls.
4. chimneys, flues and vents.
D. fuel storage and distribution systems including:
1. interior fuel storage equipment, supply piping, venting and supports.
2. leaks. (when/if detected by sight, sound, smell)
E. sump pumps.
7.2 The inspector shall:
1. water supply and distribution piping materials.
2. drain, waste and vent piping materials.
3. water heating equipment.
B. operate all plumbing fixtures, including their faucets and all exterior faucets attached to the house.
<7.3> The inspector is NOT required to:
A. state the effectiveness of anti-siphon devices. (However we generally let you know if a hose bib anti-syphon device leaks when under pressure and/or if other back flow prevention devises are observed failing at time of inspection)
B. determine whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private.
C. operate automatic safety controls.
D. operate any valve except water closet flush valves, fixture faucets and hose faucets. (Older shut-off valves have a tendency of leaking if/when operated.)
1. water conditioning systems.
2. fire and lawn sprinkler systems.
3. on-site water supply quantity and quality. (However water pressure is tested to see if it falls within proper/reasonable range, if an available access is provided.)
4. on-site waste disposal systems. (Plumbing waste cleanout location(s) are observed and reported) (We can also help schedule a plumber to provide a sewer scope inspection)
5. foundation irrigation systems.
6. spas, except as to functional flow and functional drainage. (We check jet tubs for functionality, safety and leaks if access is available)
– We do not perform gas leak detection.
8. SYSTEM: ELECTRICAL
8.1 The inspector shall observe:
A. service entrance conductors.
B. service equipment, grounding equipment, main overcurrent device, main and distribution panels.
C. amperage and voltage ratings of the service.
D. branch circuit conductors, their overcurrent devices, and the compatibility of their ampacities and voltages.
E. the operation of a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches and receptacles located inside the house, garage, and on its exterior walls.
F. the polarity and grounding of all (accessible) receptacles within six feet of interior plumbing fixtures and all receptacles in the garage or carport, and on the exterior of inspected structures.
G. the operation of ground fault circuit interrupters. (When possible we will add a list of reset locations for protected outlets and also a recommendation for additional protection where needed to meet current safety standards)
8.2 The inspector shall:
1. service amperage and voltage.
2. service entry conductor materials.
3. service type as being overhead or underground.
4. location of main and distribution panels.
B. report any observed aluminum branch circuit wiring.
<8.3> The inspector is NOT required to:
A. insert any tool, probe or testing device inside the panels. (When safe, we use a plastic tool to check that the wires are secure to breakers)
B. test or operate any overcurrent device except Ground Fault Interrupters. (We also check/test Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters AFCI / CAFCI breakers when installed.)
C. dismantle any electrical device or control other than to remove covers of the main and auxiliary distribution panels. (We remove the main and sub panel covers to evaluate internal wiring, if when doing so will not damage the property. If we feel paint can be cut around panels to access without damaging the home, the inspector may attempt to do so at their discretion.)
1. low voltage systems. (Such as irrigation, alarms and landscape lighting)
2. smoke detectors. (We will mostly remind you to double-check detectors when moving in to your home and let you know if there were obvious/visible signs of needing upgrading/replacing detectors)
3. telephone, security, cable TV, intercoms or other ancillary wiring that is not a part of the primary electrical distribution system.
9. SYSTEM: HEATING
9.1 The inspector shall observe:
A. permanently installed heating systems including:
1. heating equipment.
2. normal operating controls.
3. automatic safety controls.
4. chimneys, flues and vents.
5. solid fuel heating devices.
6. heat distribution systems including fans, pumps, ducts and piping, with supports, dampers, insulation, air filters, registers, radiators, fan coil units, convectors.
7. the presence of an installed heat source in each room.
9.2 The inspector shall:
1. energy source.
2. heating equipment and distribution type.
B. operate the systems using normal operating controls.
C. open readily openable access panels provided by the manufacturer or installer for routine homeowner maintenance. Generally not opened if not intended for access as part of homeowner maintenance.
<9.3> The inspector is NOT required to:
A. operate heating systems when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage. (We do not operate equipment when average outside temperature is over 85 degrees)
B. operate automatic safety controls.
D. ignite or extinguish solid fuel fires.
1. the interior of flues.
2. fireplace insert flue connections.
4. electronic air filters.
5. the uniformity or adequacy of heat supply to the various rooms. (However we will alert you to large temperature splits if we feel additional evaluation of the duct(s)/system should be done by a specialist)
10. SYSTEM: CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING
10.1 The inspector shall observe:
A. central air conditioning including:
1. cooling and air handling equipment.
2. normal operating controls.
B. distribution systems including:
1. fans, pumps, ducts and piping, with supports, dampers, insulation, air filters, registers, fan-coil units.
2. the presence of an installed cooling source in each room.
10.2 The inspector shall:
1. energy sources.
2. cooling equipment type.
B. operate the systems using normal operating controls.
C. open readily openable access panels provided by the manufacturer or installer for routine homeowner maintenance.
<10.3> The inspector is NOT required to:
A. operate cooling systems when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage. (Cooling cycle is not ran if the outside air temperature averages under 65 degrees)
B. observe non-central air conditioners. (Such as window units)
C. observe the uniformity or adequacy of cool-air supply to the various rooms. (However we will alert you to large temperature splits if we feel additional evaluation of the duct(s)/system should be done by a specialist)
11. SYSTEM: INTERIORS
11.1 The inspector shall observe:
A. walls, ceiling and floors.
B. steps, stairways, balconies and railings.
C. counters and a representative number of cabinets.
D. a representative number of doors and windows.
E. separation walls, ceilings, and doors between a dwelling unit and an attached garage or another dwelling unit.
11.2 The inspector shall:
A. operate a representative number of primary windows and interior doors.
B. report signs of water penetration into the building or signs of abnormal or harmful condensation on building components.
<11.3> The inspector is NOT required to observe:
A. paint, wallpaper and other finish treatments on the interior walls, ceilings, and floors.
B. carpeting. (However may make recommendation to help existing conditions)
C. draperies, blinds or other window treatments.
D. household appliances. (When applicable, we run through most kitchen appliances to help determine their functionality and make recommendations based on our findings) (We do not operate washers or dryers)
E. recreational facilities or another dwelling unit.
12. SYSTEM: INSULATION & VENTILATION
12.1 The inspector shall observe:
A. insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces.
B. ventilation of attics and foundation areas.
C. kitchen, bathroom, and laundry venting systems.
D. We try to determine proper dryer venting, report finding and make recommendations when/if needed.
2.2 The inspector shall describe:
A. insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces.
B. absence of same in unfinished space at conditioned surfaces.
<12.3> The inspector is NOT required to report on:
A. concealed insulation and vapor retarders.
B. venting equipment which is integral with household appliances. We do not evaluate attic/whole house fans. (However we make every un-invasive effort to determine proper venting for laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchens.)
Home Inspection Glossary
Devices designated and installed to protect systems and components from high or low pressures and temperatures, electrical current, loss of water, loss of ignition, fuel leaks, fire, freezing, or other unsafe conditions.
Central Air Conditioning:
A system which uses ducts to distribute cooled and/or dehumidified air to more than one room or uses pipes to distribute chilled water to heat exchangers in more than one room, and that is not plugged into an electrical convenience outlet.
A customer who contracts with a home inspector for a home inspection.
A readily accessible and observable aspect of a system, such as a floor, or wall, but not individual pieces such as boards or nails where many similar pieces make up the system.
Any physical connection or arrangement between potable water and any source of contamination.
Dangerous or Adverse Situations:
Situations which pose a threat of injury to the inspector, and those situations that require the use of special protective clothing or safety equipment.
Report in writing a system or component by its type, or other observed characteristics, to distinguish it from other components used for the same purpose.
To take apart or remove any component, device or piece of equipment that is bolted, screwed, or fastened by other means and that would not be taken apart or removed by a homeowner in the course of normal household maintenance.
Any professional service or creative work requiring education, training, and experience and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences
Evaluation by Appropriate Persons:
Examination and analysis by a qualified professional, tradesman, or service technician beyond that provided by the home inspector.
A drain is functional when it empties in a reasonable amount of time and does not overflow when another fixture is drained simultaneously.
A reasonable flow at the highest fixture in a dwelling when another fixture is operated simultaneously.
Immediate Major Repair:
A major defect, which if not quickly addressed, will be likely to do any of the following:
1. worsen appreciably
2. cause further damage
3. be a serious hazard to health and/or personal safety
A person certified as a home Inspector by the Arizona Board of Technical Registration
Attached or connected such that the installed item requires tools for removal.
A system or component that is unsafe or not functioning
Normal Operating Controls:
Homeowner operated devices such as a thermostat, wall switch or safety switch.
The act of making a visual examination of a system or component and reporting on its
On-site Water Supply Quality:
Water quality is based on the bacterial, chemical, mineral and solids content of the water.
On-site Water Supply Quantity:
Water quantity is the rate of flow of water.
Primary Windows and Doors:
Windows and/or exterior doors which are designed to remain in their respective openings year round.
Available for visual inspection without requiring moving of personal property, dismantling, destructive measures, or any action which will likely involve risk to persons or property.
Readily Openable Access Panel:
A panel provided for homeowner inspection and maintenance that has removable or operable fasteners or latch devices in order to be lifted off, swung open, or otherwise removed by one person, and its edges and fasteners are not painted in place. Limited to those panels within normal reach or from a 4-foot stepladder, and which are not blocked by stored items, furniture, or building components.
Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, tennis courts, playground equipment, and other exercise, entertainment, or athletic facilities.
For multiple identical components such as windows and electrical outlets, the inspection of one such component per room. For multiple identical exterior components, the inspection of one such component on each side of the building.
Roof Drainage Systems:
Gutters, downspouts, leaders, splash blocks, and similar components used to carry water off a roof and away from a building.
Tempered glass, laminated glass, or rigid plastic.
A piece of equipment whose safety switch or circuit breaker is in the “off” position, or its fuse is missing or blown, or a system that cannot be operated by the device or control that a home owner should normally use to operate it.
Solid Fuel Heating Device:
Any wood, coal, or other similar organic fuel burning device, including but not limited to fireplaces whether masonry or factory built, fireplace inserts and stoves, woodstoves (room heaters), central furnaces, and combinations of these devices.
A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads). For purposes of this definition, a dead load is the fixed weight of a structure or piece of equipment, such as a roof structure on bearing walls, and a live load is a moving variable weight added to the dead load or intrinsic weight of a structure.
A combination of interacting or interdependent components, assembled to carry out one or more functions.
An inspection is technically exhaustive when it involves the use of measurements, instruments, testing, calculations, and other means to develop scientific or engineering findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
Underfloor Crawl Space:
The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the lowest floor structural .
A condition in a readily accessible, installed system or component which is judged to be a significant risk of personal injury during normal, day to day use. The risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation or changes in adopted residential construction standards