STATE OF FLORIDA | HOME INSPECTION STANDARDS OF PRACTICE: 61-30.801 Standards of Practice

 

General

(1) Home inspections performed to these Standards of Practice are intended to provide the client with information regarding the overall condition of installed systems and components of the home based on observation of the visible and apparent condition of the structure and components at the time of the home inspection and to report on those systems and components inspected that, in the professional opinion of the inspector, are significantly deficient or at the end of their service lives. A home inspection does not include the prediction of future conditions.

 

(2) These standards shall not be construed as limiting the scope of the inspection process in those areas where the inspector is qualified and/or has special knowledge.

 

(3) The inspector shall inspect readily accessible, installed systems and components of homes listed in these Standards of Practice by using normal operating controls and opening readily operable access panels. Where multiple instances of the same component exist, a representative number shall be inspected.

 

(4) The inspector shall inspect and report as required by Section 468.8323, F.S., when required by these standards, systems or components by their type and/or significant characteristics.

 

(5) If not self-evident to the client at the time of inspection, the inspector shall give a reason why, in his or her opinion, the system or component was reported as significantly deficient or near the end of its service life.

 

(6) The inspector shall make recommendations for correction and/or monitoring, or further evaluation of the deficiencies that the inspector observed.

 

(7) These Standards of Practice do not limit inspectors from: (a) Including other inspection services, in addition to those required by these Standards of Practice; (b) Specifying repairs, provided the inspector is appropriately qualified; (c) Excluding systems and components from the inspection if agreed upon in writing by the inspector and client.

 

Structure

(1) Structural system and components include the following: (a) Foundation; (b) Floor structure; (c) Wall structure; (d) Ceiling structure; (e) Roof structure; (f) Posts; (g) Beams; (h) Columns; (j) Joists; (k) Rafters; (l) Trusses; (m) Other framing; and (n) Ventilation of foundation areas.

 

(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible structural systems and components by probing structural components where deterioration is visible or suspected or where clear indications of possible deterioration exist. Probing is not required when, in the opinion of the inspector, probing would only further damage any area already identified as defective or where no deterioration is visible or presumed to exist.

 

(3) The inspector is not required to enter or traverse any under-floor crawl space or attic, if in the opinion of the inspector: (a) An unsafe or unsanitary condition exists; (b) Enter areas in which inadequate clearance exists to allow the inspector safe entry or traversing; (c) The potential exists to cause damage to insulation, ductwork, other components or stored items.

 

(4) The inspector is not required to provide any engineering or architectural services or offer an opinion as to the adequacy of any structural system or component.

 

Electrical Systems

(1) Electrical systems and components include the following: (a) Service entrance conductors, drip loop, cables, and raceways; (b) Main service equipment and main disconnects; (c) Service grounding; (d) Interior components of main service panels and sub panels; (e) Conductors; (f) Over current protection devices; (g) Readily accessible installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles; (h) Ground fault circuit interrupters; (i) Amperage and voltage rating of electrical service; (j) Main disconnect(s); (k) Methods or types of wiring; (l) Smoke detectors; (m) Carbon monoxide detectors; (n) Arc fault circuit interrupters.

 

(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible electrical systems and components.

 

(3) The inspector is not required to inspect: (a) Remote control devices; (b) Security alarm systems and components; (c) Low voltage wiring, systems and components, ancillary wiring and systems and components not a part of the primary electrical power distribution system; (d) Generators, photovoltaic solar collectors or battery or electrical storage devices and associated equipment.

 

(4) The inspector is not required to: (a) Measure amperage, voltage or impedance; (b) Perform a load calculation; (c) Insert any tool, probe, or device into any electrical component; (d) Determine the accuracy of circuit labeling.

 

HVAC Systems

(1) HVAC systems and components include heating and air conditioning systems and components and HVAC distribution systems and components.

 

(2) Heating and air conditioning systems and components. (a) The heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and components include the following: 1. Installed heating equipment; 2. Fuel storage and fuel distribution systems; 3. Vent systems, flues, and chimneys; 4. Ductwork and air distribution components; 5. Mechanical ventilation systems; 6. Heating system energy source(s); 7. Heating system capacity in BTUs or kilowatts. (b) The inspector shall inspect all readily accessible heating and air conditioning systems and components. (c) The inspector is not required to inspect: 1. Interiors of flues or chimneys which are not readily accessible; 2. Heat exchangers; 3. Humidifiers or dehumidifiers; 4. Electronic air filters, sanitizers, or UV lights; 5. Solar space heating systems; 6. Internal components such as coils and pans.

 

(3) HVAC distribution systems and components. (a) The heating and air conditioning (HVAC) distribution systems and components include the following: 1. Energy source; 2. Cooling method by its distinguishing characteristics; 3. The presence of condensate over flow warning/shutoff devices. (b) The inspector shall inspect readily accessible HVAC distribution systems. (c) With regards to HVAC distribution systems, the inspector is not required to inspect: 1. Electronic air filters, sanitizers, or UV lights; 2. Humidistats; 3. Automatic HVAC zoned systems, dampers, controls, that are not readily accessible; 4. Removable window air conditioning systems. (3) The inspector is not required to: (a) Determine heat supply adequacy or distribution balance; (b) Operate heat pump systems when ambient temperatures pose the potential for damage to the air conditioning system; (c) Determine cooling supply adequacy, distribution balance or indoor air quality; (d) Operate the air conditioning system when ambient temperatures pose the potential for damage to the air conditioning system.

 

Roof Covering

(1) Roof covering systems and components include the following: (a) Roofing materials; (b) Flashings; (c) Skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations; (d) Roof drainage systems; (e) Ventilation of attics; and (f) Insulation of attics.

 

(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible roof covering systems and components.

 

(3) The inspector is not required to inspect: (a) Components or systems that are not readily accessible; (b) Antenna or other installed accessories; (c) Interiors of flues or chimneys which are not readily accessible.

 

(4) The inspector is not required to walk on the roof surface when, in the opinion of the inspector, the following conditions exist: (a) Roof slope is excessive to safely walk on; (b) There is no safe access to the roof; (c) Climatic conditions render the roof unsafe to walk on; (d) Condition of the roofing material or roof decking renders the roof unsafe to walk on; (e) Walking on the roof may cause damage to the roof covering materials; and (f) Walking will place any liability or danger to the homeowner or other representatives involved in the home inspection process.

 

(5) The inspector is not required to disturb insulation.

 

Plumbing System

(1) Plumbing systems and components include the following: (a) Interior water supply piping and distribution systems including all fixtures, faucets, and components; (b) Drain, waste and vent systems, including all plumbing fixtures; (c) Plumbing related vent systems, flues, and chimneys; (d) Drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping; (e) Materials used for water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping; (f) Water heating equipment including the energy source; (g) Main water and main fuel shut-off valves.

 

(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible plumbing systems and components.

 

(3) The inspector is not required to inspect: (a) Wells or water storage related equipment; (b) Water conditioning systems; (c) Solar water heating systems; (d) Fire sprinkler systems; (e) Private waste disposal systems; (f) Irrigation system(s).

 

(4) The inspector is not required to: (a) Test shower pans, tub and shower surround for leakage; (b) Operate safety valves or shut-off valves; (c) Determine whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private; (d) Determine the quantity or quality of the water supply, or if the function flow at the time of the inspection or thereafter will meet the client’s needs.

 

Interior Components

(1) The interior components that shall be inspected include the following: (a) Interior walls, ceilings, and floors; (b) Steps, stairways, and railings; (c) Countertops and representative number of installed cabinets; (d) Garage doors; (e) Interior and exterior doors and windows and their operating locks and latches or other opening mechanisms; (f) Insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces; (g) Fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances; (h) Vent systems, flues, and chimneys; (i) Household appliances.

 

(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible interior components. When inspecting doors and windows, the inspector may inspect a representative number of doors and windows. The inspector shall inspect household appliances for normal operation – using normal operating controls to activate a primary function. Inspectors will not operate systems or appliances with owners’ belongings, or if there is a risk to the property being inspected. Inspectors will first review the system to be operated and use professional judgment as to whether it is safe to operate using normal operating controls and report accordingly.

 

(3) The inspector is not required to inspect: (a) Paint, wallpaper, window treatments, and other specialty finish treatments; (b) Carpeting; (c) Window treatments; (d) Central vacuum systems; (e) Recreational facilities; (f) Fire screens and doors, if not permanently attached; (g) Seals and gaskets on fireplaces; (h) Automatic fuel feed devices; (i) Mantles and fireplace surrounds; (j) Combustion make-up air devices; (k) Heat distribution assists whether gravity controlled or fan assisted in fireplaces.

 

(4) The inspector is not required to: (a) Open or operate any windows or doors and access covers that are permanently or temporarily secured by mechanical means, are painted shut, or are blocked by stored items or furniture; (b) Ignite or extinguish fires; (c) Light gas fireplaces or heaters, or other unlit pilot light devices; (d) Determine draft characteristics for fireplaces and chimneys; (e) Move fireplace inserts or stoves or firebox contents; (f) Disturb insulation; (g) Activate any system or appliance that is shut down, disconnected, or otherwise rendered inoperable; (h) Operate or evaluate any system, component or appliance that does not respond to normal user controls; (i) Operate any gas appliance that requires the manual lighting of a pilot light or burner device; (j) Operate any system, appliance or feature that requires the use of special codes, keys, combinations, or devices or where user manual reference is required; (k) Operate any system, component, or appliance where in the opinion of the inspector, damage may occur; (l) Determine thermostat(s) calibration, adequacy of heating elements, operate or evaluate self cleaning cycles, door seals, indicator lights, timers, clocks or timed features, defrost cycles or frost free features, or other specialist features as it applies to the appliance device; (m) Determine leakage from microwaves ovens; (n) Determine the presence or operation of back draft damper devices in exhaust devices; (o) Move any appliance; (p) Confirm operation of every control or feature of a system or appliance.

 

Exterior Components

(1) Exterior systems and components include the following: (a) Exterior wall cladding/siding, flashing and trim; (b) All exterior doors; (c) Attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings; (d) Eaves, soffits and fascias where accessible from the ground level; (e) Walkways, patios, and driveways leading to the dwelling entrances; (f) Garages and carports.

 

(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible exterior systems and components.

 

(3) The inspector is not required to inspect: (a) Window and door screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal or protective accessories and devices; (b) Fences; (c) Recreational facilities; (d) Outbuildings, with the exception of garages and carports; (e) Swimming pools, seawalls, break-walls, boat lifts and/or docks.

 

(4) The inspector is not required to move furniture, appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools, stored items, wall decorations, floor covering, clothing or any items that block the view and access to components or structures.

 

Site Conditions that Affect the Structure

(1) Site conditions that affect the structure include the following: (a) Vegetation; (b) Grading; (c) Surface drainage; and (d) Retaining walls on the property when any of these are likely to adversely affect the structure.

 

(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible site conditions that affect the structure. (3) The inspector is not required to inspect: (a) Geological, geotechnical or hydrological site conditions; (b) Eros

 

 

Glossary 

  • accessible:  In the opinion of the inspector, can be approached or entered safely, without difficulty, fear or danger.

  • activate:  To turn on, supply power, or enable systems, equipment or devices to become active by normal operating controls. Examples include turning on the gas or water supply valves to the fixtures and appliances, and activating electrical breakers or fuses.

  • adversely affect:  To constitute, or potentially constitute, a negative or destructive impact.

  • alarm system:  Warning devices, installed or freestanding, including, but not limited to: carbon-monoxide detectors, flue gas and other spillage detectors, security equipment, ejector pumps, and smoke alarms.

  • appliance:  A household device operated by the use of electricity or gas. Not included in this definition are components covered under central heating, central cooling or plumbing.

  • architectural service:  Any practice involving the art and science of building design for construction of any structure or grouping of structures, and the use of space within and surrounding the structures or the design, design development, preparation of construction contract documents, and administration of the construction contract.

  • component:  A permanently installed or attached fixture, element or part of a system.

  • condition:  The visible and conspicuous state of being of an object.

  • correction:  Something that is substituted or proposed for what is incorrect, deficient, unsafe, or a defect.

  • cosmetic defect:  An irregularity or imperfection in something, which could be corrected, but is not required.

  • crawlspace:  The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the lowest floor's structural component.

  • decorative:  Ornamental; not required for the operation of essential systems or components of a home.

  • describe:  To report in writing a system or component by its type or other observed characteristics in order to distinguish it from other components used for the same purpose.

  • determine:  To arrive at an opinion or conclusion pursuant to examination.

  • dismantle:  To open, take apart or remove any component, device or piece that would not typically be opened, taken apart or removed by an ordinary occupant.

  • engineering service:  Any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience, and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such professional service or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design and supervision of construction for the purpose of assuring compliance with the specifications and design, in conjunction with structures, buildings, machines, equipment, works and/or processes.

  • enter:  To go into an area to observe visible components.

  • evaluate:  To assess the systems, structures and/or components of a property.

  • evidence:  That which tends to prove or disprove something; something that makes plain or clear; grounds for belief; proof.

  • examine:  To visually look (see inspect).

  • foundation:  The base upon which the structure or wall rests, usually masonry, concrete or stone, and generally partially underground.

  • function:  The action for which an item, component or system is specially fitted or used, or for which an item, component or system exists; to be in action or perform a task.

  • functional:  Performing, or able to perform, a function.

  • functional defect:  A lack of or an abnormality in something that is necessary for normal and proper functioning and operation, and, therefore, requires further evaluation and correction. 

  • general home inspection:  The process by which an inspector visually examines the readily accessible systems and components of a home and operates those systems and components utilizing this Standards of Practice as a guideline.

  • home inspection:  See general home inspection.

  • household appliances:  Kitchen and laundry appliances, room air conditioners, and similar appliances.

  • identify:  To notice and report.

  • indication:  That which serves to point out, show, or make known the present existence of something under certain conditions.

  • inspect:  To examine readily accessible systems and components safely, using normal operating controls, and accessing readily accessible areas, in accordance with this Standards of Practice.

  • inspected property:  The readily accessible areas of the buildings, site, items, components and systems included in the inspection.

  • inspection report:  A written communication (possibly including images) of any material defects observed during the inspection.

  • inspector:  One who performs a real estate inspection.

  • installed:  Attached or connected such that the installed item requires a tool for removal.

  • material defect:  A specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people.  The fact that a system or component is near, at, or beyond the end of its normal, useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.

  • normal operating controls:  Describes the method by which certain devices (such as thermostats) can be operated by ordinary occupants, as they require no specialized skill or knowledge.

  • observe:  To visually notice.

  • operate:  To cause systems to function or turn on with normal operating controls.

  • readily accessible:  A system or component that, in the judgment of the inspector, is capable of being safely observed without the removal of obstacles, detachment or disengagement of connecting or securing devices, or other unsafe or difficult procedures to gain access.

  • recreational facilities:  Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, tennis courts, playground equipment, and other exercise, entertainment and athletic facilities.

  • report (verb form): To express, communicate or provide information in writing; give a written account of.  (See also inspection report.)

  • representative number:  A number sufficient to serve as a typical or characteristic example of the item(s) inspected.

  • residential property:  Four or fewer residential units.

  • residential unit:  A home; a single unit providing complete and independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.

  • safety glazing:  Tempered glass, laminated glass, or rigid plastic.

  • shut down:  Turned off, unplugged, inactive, not in service, not operational, etc.

  • structural component:  A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads).

  • system:  An assembly of various components which function as a whole.

  • technically exhaustive:  A comprehensive and detailed examination beyond the scope of a real estate home inspection that would involve or include, but would not be limited to:  dismantling, specialized knowledge or training, special equipment, measurements, calculations, testing, research, analysis, or other means.

  • unsafe:  In the inspector's opinion, a condition of an area, system, component or procedure that is judged to be a significant risk of injury during normal, day-to-day use. The risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation, or a change in accepted residential construction standards.

  • verify:  To confirm or substantiate.

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