April 2006 (PALM SPRINGS, Calif) — A home seller or home buyer may hear their professional inspector refer to Standards of Practice, but may not see how such Standards impact 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 a home inspection report that includes important information on the essential components of the home which includes the current condition of including the roof covering, foundation, heating, plumbing, electrical systems, and occupant safety issues among others.
For the past two years, the California Real Estate Inspection Association (www.CREIA.org) has been reviewing, revising and re-formatting the real estate inspection Standards of Practice resulting in a document that is easier to understand and apply in the field. For decades, CREIA has produced the widely accepted standards under which California home inspectors operate. Legislation has acknowledged these standards, noting that courts may consider the standards of practice and code of ethics of CREIA in determining the degree of care a California inspector must demonstrate. Since California does not regulate the inspection profession though licensing, CREIA’s Standards or Practice, its Code of Ethics and its qualifying process is the model for the profession in the state.
It is no secret that California does not license home inspectors. However, without such licensing, homebuyers may wonder how to best choose a qualified real estate inspector. “Being regulated by the state, or having a contractor's license, does not necessarily ensure competency,” explains Bill Poulton, Board Chairman of the more than 1100-member California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA). “What ensures competency is experience, training, and membership in an organization that produces accepted and unbiased Standards of Practice. It is smart business for a consumer to seek out those who have been qualified by a recognized professional association.”
CREIA is committed to maintaining Standards of Practice for its members. Before any inspector is authorized to identify himself or herself as a CREIA Certified Inspector (CCI), they must pass a rigorous inspection knowledge exam and agree to abide by CREIA’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics in their business conduct. CREIA also has a more stringent test and experience requirement for the CREIA Master Inspector (MCI) designation. Following recognized standards is essential to providing valuable information. Mandating that an inspection report contains this important information provides the consumer with piece of mind that the property has been thoroughly examined.
Inspectors who do not follow a recognized Standard of Practice may be placing themselves at risk. 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.
To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you click here or call CREIA at (800) 388-8443. 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. CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a comprehensive written examination of building systems and complete 30 hours of continuing education each year. Members accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, state educational 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 affecting the profession of real estate inspection. CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education.