A home inspection is NOT an inspection to determine full code compliance. Why? because codes change regularly, leaving most existing homes in Georgia non-compliant with the current codes. Codes are regularly used and talked about during the inspection but remember a home inspection has more to do with functionality of systems in the home. Be wary of anyone saying a structure is fully up to code. You cannot see behind walls or under foundations.
Home inspections are visually based. If I can't see it or get to it reasonably, I can't inspect it without special provisions that are outside the scope of the SOP (Standards of Practice). Anything beyond the standard visual inspection must be agreed to by the client/owner and inspector, and will most likely come with additional fees. For example, cutting a hole in a wall to inspect for moisture damage is not covered in the visual inspection. Just remember the keyword Visual and you most likely will not be surprised by much. I do make every attempt to get into access panels and observe behind items whenever possible.
Items to be inspected must be Accessible and Readily Accessible. There is a difference between the two. Accessible means there may be a removable panel impeding access to an item needing inspection. Removing and reinstalling a panel that was manufactured to be easily removed is fine, so long as it isn’t sealed. For example, an access panel to the water pump and electrical components of hydrotherapy tubs can be sealed shut with caulking/paint. It has now become inaccessible and will be noted in the report as such. (If I were to cut that seal and damage the finish, the owner will be very upset.) Readily Accessible indicates nothing is in the way of or obstructing the item being inspected. For example, lifting carpet or moving furniture or piles of magazines and pictures to observe a wall outlet receptacle is not considered readily accessible. An inspector wants to see all of these items but is courteous enough not to put your valuables at risk by moving them. It is always best when you know an inspector is coming to have items moved before he arrives to ensure the most accurate inspection.
Below is a sample list of items you might see on your inspection report according to ASHI's standards of practice.
- A written opinion as to the performance of the foundation - Visible framing - Exterior cladding - Ventilation of crawlspaces and attics - Site drainage (how rainwater gets away from the property) - Roof covering materials (asphalt shingle, clay tile, slate) - Attic visible framing members (rafters, joists, rafter ties, collar ties, bracing) - Performance of doors and hardware - Performance of windows and hardware (window treatments such as blinds or curtains are not part of the inspection) - Visible points of moisture penetration during time of inspection - Fire separations between garage and living space or between multi-family dwellings. - Emergency escapes and rescue openings - Insulated windows that are obviously fogged - Safety glass in hazardous locations - Stairway compliance (step riser heights, nosing, tread depth) - Handrail heights and proper location - Fireplaces and chimney - Attached balconies, carports and porches - Guardrails (different than handrails) - Electrical service from the power pole into the building - Grounding electrode system - Missing electrical panel covers or electrical receptacle cover plates - Conductors (electrical wires) not protected - Electrical cabinet and panel board location - Electrical panel labeling of circuits - Bonding and grounding of electrical appliances and equipment - Proper presence of GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter, electrical "plug" with buttons on it) - Proper presence of AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter) - Copper and aluminum wiring deficiencies - Doorbell operation - Smoke alarm operation and location - Home heating equipment - Venting of gas combustion appliances - Home cooling equipment - Cooling performance opinion - Location of water meter - Main water shutoff to home - Presence of visual active plumbing leaks - High/low water pressure - Deficient water supply piping - Faucet flow adequacy - Draining adequacy of sinks, basins and tubs - Dishwasher operation in normal mode - Range hood operation and venting - Gas or electric range operation - Oven temperature within range - Microwave operation (must be built in, not a free standing microwave) - Garage door operation and safety - Dryer exhaust properly vented (it shouldn't just terminate into the attic)
Note: You may not see all of the above items in the inspection report if there is no issue with them at the time of inspection. You may also see many other items not listed here. My knowledge base is very extensive.
Optional Systems not included in a standard inspection include: irrigation sprinkler systems, pools, outbuildings, private water wells and private sewage disposal systems (septic). Each of these optional system items will include additional fees.
I hope this page has provided a little insight to guide your expectations of the inspection. We look forward to working with you!