December 2002 (Palm Springs, Calif) — REALTORs often hear Inspectors discuss Standards of Practice, but may not see how such Standards impacts them. Standards of Practice are established to offer a level of consistency among Inspectors. While most consumers have an idea what is involved when getting a physical from their family doctor, or a tune-up for their automobile, very few have an understanding about a typical home inspection.
By setting standards, Inspectors are able to develop a minimum expectation level for users of their services. When an Inspector follows recognized Standards of Practice, consumers receive an home inspection report that includes important information on the essential components of the property, including the roof, foundation, heating, plumbing, electrical, among others.
Following the recognized Standards is essential to providing valuable information. For instance, the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) Standards of Practice, Section 7 - Water Heating Systems, indicates that an Inspector must report the fuel type, capacity, and location of the unit. Additionally, Inspectors must also identify deficiencies or inadequacies relating to pressure relief valves, combustion air, ventilation, shut off valves, and seismic restraints. Mandating that an inspection report contains this important information provides the consumer with piece of mind that the property has been thoroughly examined.
REALTORs who refer an Inspector who do not follow a recognized Standard of Practice may be placing themselves at risk, as it could be argued that the REALTORâ did not recommend a thorough and competent inspection. In fact, California Business and Professions Code Section 7196 allows a judicial authority to use the Standards of Practice of the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA), ASHI, or other nationally recognized organizations, as the duty of care applied to a home inspection.
How can a real estate professional be sure the Inspector follows recognized Standards of Practice? The best way is to be sure that the Inspector is a member of a recognized professional association. Members are required to follow the organization’s Standards of Practice, much like REALTORs are required to follow the practices mandated by the California and the National Association of REALTORs.
This real estate bulletin is brought to you by the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA). Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.
CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a written test of property systems and complete 30 hours of education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances that affect property inspection and the business of real estate inspection. CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you, click here.