Home Inspectors and Codes - 4 of 4 - In Summary

In this final Home Inspectors and Codes post, let’s summarize.

• In contrast to codes which specify minimum standards, nothing stops homeowners and builders from exceeding the code.

• A code-compliant structure may not satisfy needs – an upstairs office may be too heavy for the code.

• Home inspectors are generalists and simply cannot know all code details.

• Home inspectors identify and report on anomalies in homes in general terms. A precise risk evaluation of any identified flaw should be recommended to a specialist for further identification.

• Home inspectors do not enforce codes or even identify code deficiencies. That exceeds the scope of a home inspection, which is to observe and report.

• Home inspectors will rely on codes as general guidelines for reporting on something found during the inspection.

• A code deficiency found by homeowners is often corrected by builders after the local Authority Having Jurisdiction has been called and a violation declared.

• Code deficiencies are not violations until the AHJ has written a citation.

• Repairs and remodeling usually requires permits. Contractors know they probably won’t get caught doing work without a permit indoors. They may resist getting a permit or say it simply isn’t needed. Check with the local authorities! A contractor who wants to proceed without permits is considered suspect.

• It is usually the homeowner and not a construction “professional” that is ordered by the court to correct violations.

• On new construction, the supervisor on site and the subs hired determine how well the builder’s specs have been met.

• Home Owner Associations can stipulate things outside the local codes and those stipulations in effect becomes “The Code.”

• If it doesn’t feel right or look right – QUESTION IT! Remember – Mother Nature is the ultimate authority. She will enforce the principles underlying all codes -- WITH IMPUNITY !! Just look at her!  With impunity I tell you!

My Recommendation:  Your home inspector tries very hard to stay current and while he may not be specifically aware of all codes, he will be trained to observe and report ...  and be discriminating!  Hire one you can trust!

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!