Home inspections do not include ‘Code’ inspections. Many home inspectors consider the word Code taboo. It is the ‘C-word. Today, I will share the arguments home inspectors use to oppose inspecting the To Code. Then I’ll give my take on it all.
THE CASE AGAINST BUILDING CODES
Two large organizations that serve home inspectors in the United States are the American Society of Home Inspectors, or ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) and InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors). These two organizations have a Standard of Practice which states that home inspectors do not need to report code compliance. The ASHI Standard of Practice states, “Inspectors do not have to verify compliance of systems or components with past and current requirements and guidelines (codes, regulations laws ordinances specifications use and care guides etc.
Home inspectors do not inspect To Code because it is almost impossible. A home built to Code 50 years ago will still meet the code requirements for Home seller in Brampton. This is how building codes work. To inspect a house To Code, I would need to know all the historical codes of every trade for each period and every house. Even though we are supposed to all be on the same page regarding building codes in the Twin Cities area, there is still inconsistent enforcement and interpretation. No one can keep track of all this.
Home inspectors have not coded enforcement officers. Home inspectors do not have the authority to force anyone to do anything. So why would we conduct a code compliance inspection? Building codes are constantly changing to make buildings more secure, durable, and energy-efficient. I will not have much to share if I inspect a house 50 years old that has no modifications. However, because I am doing a home inspection, there will be many recommendations regarding safety, durability, efficiency, and other factors. My recommendations don’t have “teeth”. While I can’t force anyone to do anything, my client will be much more informed about what they buy.
WHY HOME INSPECTORS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE CODE
Home inspections are done to inform the client, usually a buyer. According to the ASHI Standard of Practice, inspectors must report on unsafe conditions. This is defined as any condition that poses a risk to bodily injury during normal day-to-day usage. The risk could be damage, deterioration, or a change to residential construction standards. What are these standards? Although this isn’t explicitly stated, home inspectors know that it means “building codes”. This is how construction standards can be defined.
Inspectors use different building codes in different parts. This means that they have different standards for construction. In Minnesota, what is acceptable might not be in Minnesota. It is expected that home inspectors will know what is acceptable in their region and be able to prove it. This includes knowing the area’s building codes. Every home inspector should know at least the building codes in their area. They should also be able to look up code references whenever something is wrong.