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CREIA Standards of Practice

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Residential Standards of Practice - Four or Fewer Units

Part I. Definitions and Scope

These Standards of Practice provide guidelines for a home inspection and define certain terms relating to these inspections. Italicized words in these Standards are defined in Part IV, Glossary of Terms.

A. A home inspection is a noninvasive, visual survey and basic operation of the accessible systems and components of a home, which can be reached, entered, or viewed without difficulty, moving obstructions, or requiring any action which will result in damage to the property or personal injury to the Inspector.  The purpose of the inspection is to provide the Client with information regarding the general condition of the building(s) to assist client in determining what corrections or further evaluations the Client should have corrected, evaluated or obtained estimates for repair prior to the release of contingencies. 

B. A home inspection report provides written documentation of material defects discovered in the inspected building’s systems and components which in the opinion of the Inspector, are safety hazards, are not functioning properly, or appear to be at the ends of their service lives. The report will include the Inspector's recommendations for correction or further evaluation.

C. All corrections or further evaluation, needs to be provided by an appropriate, competent, licensed and/or certified professional as stated in the CA Business and Professions Code 7195(c).

D. Client should consider all available information when negotiating regarding the Property

E. Inspections performed in accordance with these Standards of Practice are not technically exhaustive and shall apply to the primary building and its associated primary parking structure.

F. Cosmetic and aesthetic conditions shall not be considered.

Part II. Standards of Practice

home inspection includes the readily accessible systems and components or a representative number of multiple similar components listed in Sections 1 through 9 subject to the limitations, exceptions, and exclusions in Part III.

SECTION 1 - Foundation, Basement, and Under-floor Areas- Items to be inspected/reported:

  1. Foundation
  2. Floor framing system   
  3. Under-floor ventilation
  4. Foundation anchoring
  5. Cripple wall bracing
  6. Wood separation from soil
  7. Insulation

SECTION 2 - Exterior - Items to be inspected/reported:

  1. Surface grade directly adjacent to the building
  2. Doors and windows
  3. Attached decks, porch, balconies
  4. Stairways that are attached to the building, attached decks, or porch
  5. Wall cladding and trim
  6. Portions of patios, walkways, and driveways that are adjacent to the building
  7. Pool/spa drowning prevention safety features, for the sole purpose of identifying which, if any, are present
  8. Pool/spa drowning prevention safety features, for the sole purpose of identifying if less than two are present

SECTION 3 - Roof Covering - Items to be inspected/reported:

  1. Covering
  2. Drainage
  3. Flashings
  4. Penetrations
  5. Skylights

SECTION 4 - Attic Areas and Roof Framing - Items to be inspected/reported:

  1. Framing
  2. Ventilation
  3. Insulation

SECTION 5 - Plumbing - Items to be inspected/reported:

  1. Water supply piping
  2. Drain, waste, and vent piping
  3. Faucets, toilets, sinks, tubs, and showers
  4. Fuel gas piping
  5. Water heaters

SECTION 6 - Electrical - Items to be inspected/reported:

  1. Service equipment
  2. Electrical panels
  3. Circuit wiring
  4. Switches, receptacles, outlets, and lighting fixtures

SECTION 7 - Heating and Cooling - Items to be inspected/reported:

  1. Heating equipment
  2. Central cooling equipment
  3. Energy source and connections
  4. Combustion air and exhaust vent systems
  5. Condensate drainage
  6. Conditioned air distribution systems

SECTION 8 - Building Interior - Items to be inspected/reported:

  1. Walls, ceilings, and floors
  2. Doors and windows
  3. Stairways, handrails, and guardrails
  4. Permanently installed cabinets
  5. Permanently installed cook-tops, mechanical range vents, ovens, dishwashers, and food waste disposals
  6. Absence of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  7. Vehicle doors and openers

SECTION 9 - Fireplaces and Chimneys - Items to be inspected/reported:

  1. Chimney exterior
  2. Spark arrestor
  3. Firebox
  4. Damper
  5. Hearth extension

Part III. Limitations, Exceptions, and Exclusions

  1. Determine size, spacing, location, or adequacy of foundation bolting or bracing components or reinforcing systems
  2. Determine the composition or energy rating of insulation materials.
  3. Inspect door or window screens, shutters, awnings, or security bars
  4. Inspect fences or gates or automated door or gate openers or their safety devices, except as required by applicable law
  5. Use a ladder to Inspect systems or components
  6. Walk on the roof if in the opinion of the Inspector there is risk of damage or a hazard to the Inspector
  7. Warrant or certify that roof systems, coverings, or components are free from leakage
  8. Inspect mechanical attic ventilation systems or components
  9. Fill any fixture with water, inspect overflow drains or drain stops, or evaluate backflow devices, waste ejectors, sump pumps, or drain line cleanouts
  10. Inspect or evaluate water temperature balancing devices, temperature fluctuation, time to obtain hot water, water circulation, or solar heating systems or components
  11. Inspect whirlpool baths, steam showers, or sauna systems or components
  12. Inspect fuel tanks or determine if the fuel gas system is free of leaks
  13. Inspect wells, private water supply or water treatment systems
  14. Operate circuit breakers
  15. Inspect de-icing systems or components
  16. Inspect onsite electrical generation or storage or emergency electrical supply systems or components
  17. Inspect heat exchangers or electric heating elements
  18. Inspect non-central air conditioning units or evaporative coolers
  19. Inspect radiant, solar, hydronic, or geothermal systems or components
  20. Determine volume, uniformity, temperature, airflow, balance, or leakage of any air distribution system
  21. Inspect electronic air filtering or humidity control systems or components
  22. Determine whether a building is secure from unauthorized entry
  23. Operate, test or determine the type of smoke or carbon monoxide alarms
  24. Inspect chimney interiors, fireplace inserts, seals, or gaskets. Operate any fireplace or determine if a fireplace can be safely used
  25. Test vehicle door safety impact reversing devices
  26. 26.   Inspect systems or components of a building, or portions thereof, which are not readily accessible, not permanently installed, or not inspected due to circumstances beyond the control of the Inspector or which the Client has agreed are not to be inspected
  27. Inspect site improvements or amenities (i.e., accessory buildings, fences, planters, landscaping, irrigation, swimming pools, spas, ponds, waterfalls, fountains, landscape stairs…)
  28. Inspect auxiliary features of appliances beyond the appliance’s basic function
  29. Inspect systems or components, or portions thereof, which are under ground, under water, or where the Inspector must come into contact with water
  30. Inspect common areas as defined in California Civil Code section 1351, et seq., and any dwelling unit systems or components located in common areas
  31. Determine compliance with manufacturers’ installation guidelines or specifications, building codes, accessibility standards, conservation or energy standards, regulations, ordinances, easements, setbacks, covenants, or other restrictions
  32. Determine adequacy, efficiency, suitability, quality, age, marketability or advisability of purchase or remaining life of any building, system, or component.
  33. Conduct structural, architectural, geological, environmental, hydrological, land surveying, or soils-related examinations
  34. Evaluate acoustical or other nuisance characteristics of any system or component of a building, complex, adjoining property, or neighborhood
  35. Report Wood Destroying Organisms (WDO) including termites or any insect, as well as rot or any fungus, that damage wood.
  36. Inspect or identification for the presence of animals or animal activity
  37. Evaluate risks associated with events or conditions of nature including (i.e., geological, seismic, wildfire, flood…)
  38. Conduct any water testing or determine leakage in any body of water (i.e., shower pans, water features…)
  39. Determine the integrity of hermetic seals or reflective coatings at multi-pane glazing
  40. Differentiate between original construction or subsequent additions or modifications
  41. Review or interpret information or reports from any third-party (i.e., permits, disclosures, product defects, construction documents, litigation concerning the Property, recalls, insurance requirements…)
  42. Specify correction procedures or estimating cost to correct
  43. Inspect communication, computer, security, or low-voltage, timer, sensor, or similarly controlled systems or components
  44. Evaluate fire extinguishing and suppression systems and components or determine fire resistive qualities of materials or assemblies
  45. Inspect elevators, lifts, and dumbwaiters
  46. Lighting pilot lights or activating or operate any system, component, or appliance that is shut down, unsafe to operate, or does not respond to normal user controls
  47. Operate shutoff valves or shutting down any system or component
  48. Dismantle any system, structure or component or removing cover plates or access panels other than those provided for homeowner maintenance
  49. Test, operate or determine if any drowning prevention safety feature is installed properly or is adequate, effective or meets ASTM standards

IV. Glossary of Terms

IV. Home Glossary of Terms

Note: All definitions apply to derivatives of these terms when italicized in the text.

Appears: When the Inspector observes an item or defect but, cannot determine the state or cause of the item or defect, when analysis or procedures are out of the scope of the Standard of Practice, or it is beyond the Inspector's expertise

Appliance: An item such as an oven, dishwasher, heater, etc. which performs a specific function

Building: The subject of the inspection and its primary parking structure

Component: A part of a system, appliance, fixture, or device

Condition: Conspicuous state of being

Correction: The appropriate corrective action taken by the appropriate, competent, licensed and/or certified person (i.e., repair, replace, remove…)

Determine: Arrive at an opinion or conclusion

Device: A component designed to perform a particular task or function

Drowning Prevention Safety Features (as per CA Health and Safety Code 115992):

1.     Isolation barrier
2.     Mesh barrier
3.     Pool/spa cover
4.     Home exit alarms
5.     Self-closing and self-latching home doors
6.     Pool/spa alarm

Equipment: An appliance, fixture, or device

Evaluate: Form an idea of the amount, number, or value of; assess

Fixture: A plumbing or electrical component with a fixed position and function

Function: The normal and characteristic purpose or action of a system, component, or device

Further Evaluation: A recommendation when the Inspector can not determine the state or cause, when analysis or procedures are out of the scope of the Standard of Practice, or it is beyond the Inspector's expertise

Home Inspection: Refer to Part I, 'Definitions and Scope', Paragraph A

Inspect: Refer to Part I, 'Definition and Scope', Paragraph-A

Inspector: One who performs a home inspection

Isolation Barrier: The barrier around the pool area that isolates the pool area from the house

Mesh Barrier: The barrier around the pool area that isolates the pool area from the house of which any portion is made of mesh

Natural Barrier: A portion of the barrier that is not man-made (cliff, lake, boulder…)

Normal User Control: Switch or other device that activates a system or component and is provided for use by an occupant of a building

Operate: Cause a system, appliance, fixture, or device to function using normal user controls

Permanently Installed: Fixed in place, e.g. screwed, bolted, nailed, or glued

Primary Building: A building that an Inspector has agreed to inspect

Primary Parking Structure: A building for the purpose of vehicle storage associated with the primary building, which may be attached or detached. Only one primary parking structure may be designated as primary.

Readily Accessible: Can be reached, entered, or viewed without difficulty, moving obstructions, or requiring any action which may harm persons or property

Representative Number: Example, an average of one component per area for multiple similar components such as windows, doors, and electrical outlets

Safety Hazard: A condition that could result in significant physical injury

Shut Down: Disconnected or turned off in a way so as not to respond to normal user controls

System: An assemblage of various components designed to function as a whole

Technically Exhaustive: Examination beyond the scope of a home inspection, which may require disassembly, specialized knowledge, specialized equipment, measuring, calculating, quantifying, specialized testing, exploratory probing, research, or analysis