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Information Regarding Laws and Regulations in
Washington State Regarding Home Inspections/Inspectors
 
 
Starting July 1, 2010 all home inspectors in the State of Washington must have an active license with the WA Department of Licensing.  If you are hiring an inspector in the State of Washington ASK THEM (at a minimum) for their License Number.
 
On this page your will find information regarding the regulations for home inspectors in the State of Washingtin, including Standards of Practice (bottom of the page).
 
Do note that if your inspector has a Home Inspection license, this does not mean that he/she has a Structural Pest Inspector's License.  To comment on the presence or absence of wood destroying inspections such as Termites or Carpenter Ants, the home inspector must have a SPI License with the Washington State Department of Agriculture.  You want to be sure that your home inspector has BOTH Licenses!
 
Links of Interest
 
Washington State Home Inspector
Standards of Practice/Code of Ethics
 
Chapter 308-408C Chapter 308-408C WAC
STANDARDS OF PRACTICE
 
WAC 308-408C-010 WAC 308-408C-010 
Standards of practice (SOP)--Purpose and Scope
 
Violations of the following SOP and ethics are subject to disciplinary action under RCW 18.235.130.
 
The purpose of a home inspection is to assess the condition of the residence at the time of the inspection using visual observations, simple tools and normal homeowner operational controls; and to report deficiencies of specific systems and components. Inspectors must perform all inspections in compliance with the SOP set forth by the Washington state department of licensing.
 
A home inspection is not technically exhaustive and does not identify concealed conditions or latent defects. This SOP is applicable to buildings with four or fewer dwelling units and their attached garages or carports.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-010, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-020 WAC 308-408C-020 
Ethics—Statement of Purpose
 
In order to ensure the integrity and high standard of skill and practice in the home inspection profession, the following rules of conduct and ethics shall be binding upon the inspector.
 
The home inspector must:
(1) Provide home inspection services that conform to the Washington state home inspectors' SOP.
 
(2) Provide full written disclosure of any business or familial relationships or other conflicts of interest between themselves and any other party to the transaction. The parties may include, but are not limited to, buyers, sellers, appraisers, real estate licensees, mortgage representatives, title companies, vendors and service contractors.
 
(3) Act as an unbiased party and discharge his or her duties with integrity and fidelity to the client.
 
(4) Perform services and express opinions based on genuine conviction and only within the inspector's area of education, training, or expertise.
 
(5) Not conduct a home inspection or prepare a home inspection report that knowingly minimizes, compromises or attempts to balance information about defects for the purpose of garnering future referrals.
 
(6) Not provide services that constitute the unauthorized practice of any profession that requires a special license when the inspector does not hold that license.
 
(7) Not accept compensation for a home inspection from more than one party without written disclosure to the inspect tor's client(s).
 
(8) Not for one year after completion of the inspection repair, replace, or upgrade for compensation components or systems on any building inspected - this section applies to the inspector's firm and other employees or principals of that firm or affiliated firms.
 
(9) Not provide compensation, inducement, or reward directly or indirectly, to any person or entity other than the client, for the referral of business, inclusion on a list of recommended inspectors or preferred providers or participate in similar arrangements. The purchase and/or use of low-value advertising or marketing services or products that does not exceed ten dollars per item, is not considered inducement or reward.
 
(10) Not disclose information contained in the inspection report without client approval or as required by law. However, at their discretion inspectors may disclose when practical observed safety or health hazards to occupants or others that are exposed to such hazards.
 
(11) Not advertise previous experience in an associated trade as experience in the home inspection profession. An inspector's advertised inspection experience will reflect only the inspector's experience as a home inspector and inspectors shall not advertise, market or promote their home inspection services or qualifications in a fraudulent, false, deceptive or misleading manner.
 
(12) Not accept a home inspection referral or perform a home inspection when assignment of the inspection is contingent upon the inspector reporting predetermined conditions.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-020, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-030 WAC 308-408C-030  
Exclusions and Limitations
 
Inspectors are not required to:
 
(1) Determine the condition of any system or component that is not readily accessible; the remaining service life of any system or component; the strength, adequacy, effectiveness or efficiency of any system or component; causes of any condition or deficiency; methods, materials, or cost of corrections; future conditions including, but not limited to, failure of systems and components.
 
(2) Comment on the suitability of the structure or property for any specialized use, compliance with codes, regulations, laws or ordinances.
 
(3) Report the presence of potentially hazardous plants or animals including, but not limited to, wood destroying insects or diseases harmful to humans; the presence of any environmental hazards including, but not limited to mold, toxins, carcinogens, noise, and contaminants in soil, water or air; the effectiveness of any system installed or methods utilized to control or remove suspected hazardous substances.
 
(4) Determine the operating costs of any systems or components.
 
(5) Determine the acoustical properties of any systems or components.
 
(6) Operate any system or component that is shut down, not connected or is otherwise inoperable.
 
(7) Operate any system or component that does not respond to normal user controls.
 
(8) Operate any circuit breakers, water, gas or oil shutoff valves.
 
(9) Offer or perform any act or service contrary to law.
 
(10) Offer or perform engineering services or work in any trade or professional service other than home inspection.
 
(11) Offer or provide warranties or guarantees of any kind unless clearly explained and agreed to by both parties in a preinspection agreement.
 
(12) Determine the existence of or inspect any underground items including, but not limited to, underground storage tanks or sprinkler systems.
 
(13) Inspect decorative items, or systems or components that are in areas not entered in accordance with the SOP.
 
(14) Inspect detached structures, common elements and areas of multiunit housing such as condominium properties or cooperative housing.
 
(15) Perform any procedure or operation that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or others or damage the property, its systems or components.
 
(16) Move suspended ceiling tiles, personal property, furniture, equipment, plants, soil, snow, ice or debris.
 
(17) Dismantle any system or component, except as explicitly required by the SOP.
 
(18) Enter flooded crawlspaces, attics that are not readily accessible, or any area that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property, its systems or components.
 
(19) Inspect or comment on the condition or serviceability of elevators or related equipment.
 
(20) Inspect or comment on the condition or serviceability of swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, sports courts or other similar equipment or related equipment.
 
Inspectors are not limited from examining other systems and components or including other inspection services. Likewise, if the inspector is qualified and willing to do so, an inspector may specify the type of repairs to be made. 
 
An inspector may exclude those systems or components that a client specifically requests not to be included in the scope of the inspection or those areas that, in the opinion of the inspector, are inaccessible due to obstructions or conditions dangerous to the inspector. When systems or components designated for inspection under this SOP are excluded, the reason the item was excluded will be reported.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-030, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-040 WAC 308-408C-040 
Recordkeeping
 
The inspector is required to maintain the following records for a period of three years:
 
(1) Preinspection agreements signed by the client and the home inspector for all home inspections.
 
(2) Home inspection reports.
 
(3) Timesheets or similar documentation used to establish proof of field training, when supervising a home inspector applicant/candidate.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-040, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-050 WAC 308-408C-050 Contracts
 
A preinspection agreement is mandatory and as a minimum must contain or state:
 
(1) Address of property.
 
(2) Home inspector compensation.
 
(3) General description of what the home inspector will and will not inspect. That description will include all items that the Washington state SOP requires to be inspected.
 
(4) A statement that the inspection does not include investigation of mold, asbestos, lead paint, water, soil, air quality or other environmental issues unless agreed to in writing in the preinspection agreement.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-050, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-060 WAC 308-408C-060
Procedures
 
A home inspector must:
 
(1) Provide a copy of the preinspection agreement to the client prior to the inspection unless prevented by circumstances from doing so.
 
(2) Provide the client a copy of the home inspection report according to the terms of the preinspection agreement.
 
(3) Return client's money related to a home inspection report when ordered to do so by a court.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-060, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-070 WAC 308-408C-070 
Structure
 
An inspection of the structure will include the visible foundation; floor framing; roof framing and decking; other support and substructure/superstructure components; stairs; ventilation (when applicable); and exposed concrete slabs in garages and habitable areas.
 
(1) The inspector will:
 
(a) The condition and serviceability of visible, exposed foundations and grade slabs, walls, posts, piers, beams, joists, trusses, subfloors, chimney foundations, stairs and the visible roof structure and attic components where readily and safely accessible.
(b) Subfloor crawlspaces and basements for indications of flooding and moisture penetration.
 
(2) The inspector is not required to:
(a) Subfloor crawlspaces that require excavation or have an access opening less than eighteen inches by twenty-four inches or headroom less than eighteen inches beneath floor joists and twelve inches beneath girders (beams).
(b) Any areas that are not readily accessible due to obstructions, inadequate clearances or have conditions which, in the inspector's opinion, are hazardous to the health and safety of the inspector or will cause damage to components of the home.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-070, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-080 WAC 308-408C-080
Exterior
 
An inspection of the exterior includes the visible wall coverings, trim, protective coatings and sealants, windows and doors, attached porches, decks, steps, balconies, handrails, guardrails, carports, eaves, soffits, fascias and visible exterior portions of chimneys.
 
(1) The inspector will:
 
(2) The inspector is not required to:
(a) Buildings, decks, patios, fences, retaining walls, and other structures detached from the dwelling.
(b) Safety type glass or the integrity of thermal window seals.
(c) Flues or verify the presence of flue liners beyond what can be safely and readily seen from the roof or the firebox of a stove or fireplace.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-080, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-090 WAC 308-408C-090 
Roofs
 
An inspection of the roof includes the roof covering materials; gutters and downspout systems; visible flashings; roof vents; skylights, and any other roof penetrations; and the portions of the chimneys and flues visible from the exterior.
 
(1) The inspector will:
 
(2) The inspector is not required to:
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-090, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-100 WAC 308-408C-100 
Plumbing System
 
An inspection of the plumbing system includes visible water supply lines; visible waste/soil and vent lines; fixtures and faucets; domestic hot water system and fuel source.
 
(1) The inspector will:
 
(a) Describe the visible water supply and distribution piping materials; drain, waste and vent materials; water-heating equipment.
(b) Report
(i) The presence and functionality of sump pumps/waste ejector pumps when visible or confirm the float switch activates the pump when the sump is dry.
(ii) The presence and location of a main water shutoff valve and/or fuel shutoff valve(s), or report that they were not found.
(iii) The presence of the temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve and associated piping.
(iv) Whether or not the water temperature was tested and state that the generally accepted safe water temperature is one hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit.
(c) Inspect the condition of accessible and visible water supply pipes, drain/waste plumbing and the domestic hot water system when possible.
(d) Operate fixtures in order to observe functional flow.
(e) Check for functional drainage from fixtures.
(f) Describe any deficiencies of these systems or components in the inspection report.
 
(2) The inspector is not required to:
 
(a) Operate any valves, including faucets of freestanding or built-in appliances or fixtures, if the outlet end of the valve or faucet is connected or intended to be connected to an appliance.
(b) Inspect
(i) Any system that is shut down or winterized.
(ii) Any plumbing components not readily accessible.
(iii) Floor drains and exterior drain systems, including but not limited to, exterior stairwell drains and driveway drains.
(iv) Fire sprinkler systems.
(v) Water-conditioning equipment, including softeners and filter systems.
(vi) Private water supply systems.
(vii) Gas supply systems.
(viii) Interior components of exterior pumps or sealed sanitary waste lift systems.
(ix) Ancillary systems or components such as, but not limited to, those related to solar water heating and hot water circulation.
(c) Test
(i) Pressure or temperature/pressure relief valve.
(ii) Shower pans for leaks or use special equipment to test/scan shower or tub surrounds for moisture in surrounding substrate materials.
(d) Determine
(i) The potability of any water supply whether public or private.
(ii) The condition and operation of water wells and related pressure tanks and pumps.
(iii) The quantity of water from on-site water supplies.
(iv) The quality or the condition and operation of on-site sewage disposal systems such as waste ejector pumps, cesspools, septic tanks, drain fields, related underground piping, conduit, cisterns, and related equipment.
(e) Ignite pilot lights.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-100, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-110 WAC 308-408C-110
Electrical System
 
The inspection of the electrical system includes the service drop through the main panel; subpanels including feeders; branch circuits, connected devices, and lighting fixtures.
(1) The inspector will:
(a) Describe in the report the type of primary service, whether overhead or underground, voltage, amperage, overcurrent protection devices (fuses or breakers) and the type of branch wiring used.
(b) Report
(i) The existence of a connected service-grounding conductor and service-grounding electrode when same can be determined.
(ii) When no connection to a service grounding electrode can be confirmed.
(c) Inspect the main and branch circuit conductors for proper over-current protection and condition by visual observation after removal of the readily accessible main and subelectric panel cover(s).
(d) Report, if present, solid conductor aluminum branch circuits. Include a statement in the report that solid conductor aluminum wiring may be hazardous and a licensed electrician should inspect the system to ensure it's safe.
(e) Verify
(i) The operation of a representative number of accessible switches, receptacles and light fixtures.
(ii) The grounding and polarity of a representative number of receptacles; particularly in close proximity to plumbing fixtures or at the exterior.
(iii) Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection and arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) protection where required.
(f) Report the location of any inoperative or missing GFCI and/or AFCI devices when they are recommended by industry standards.
(g) Advise clients that homes without ground fault protection should have GFCI devices installed where recommended by industry standards.
(h) Report on any circuit breaker panel or subpanel known within the home inspection profession to have safety concerns.
(i) Describe any deficiencies of these systems or components.
(2) The inspector is not required to:
(a) Insert any tool, probe or testing device into the main or subpanels.
(b) Activate electrical systems or branch circuits that are not energized.
(c) Operate circuit breakers, service disconnects or remove fuses.
(d) Inspect ancillary systems, including but not limited to:
(i) Timers.
(ii) Security systems.
(iii) Low voltage relays.
(iv) Smoke/heat detectors.
(v) Antennas.
(vi) Intercoms.
(vii) Electrical deicing tapes.
(viii) Lawn sprinkler wiring.
(ix) Swimming pool or spa wiring.
(x) Central vacuum systems.
(xi) Electrical equipment that's not readily accessible.
(e) Dismantle any electrical device or control, except for
the removal of the deadfront covers from the main service
panel and subpanels.
(f) Move any objects, furniture, or appliances to gain
access to any electrical component.
(g) Test every switch, receptacle, and fixture.
(h) Remove switch and receptacle cover plates.
(i) Verify the continuity of connected service ground(s).
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-110, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-120 WAC 308-408C-120 
Heating System
 
The inspection of the heating system includes the fuel source; heating equipment; heating distribution; operating controls; flue pipes, chimneys and venting; auxiliary heating units.
(1) The inspector will:
(a) Describe the type of fuel, heating equipment, and heating distribution systems.
(b) Operate the system using normal readily accessible control devices.
(c) Open readily accessible access panels or covers provided by the manufacturer or installer, if readily detachable.
(d) Inspect
(i) The condition of normally operated controls and components of systems.
(ii) The condition and operation of furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, electrical central heating units and distribution systems.
(iii) Visible flue pipes and related components to ensure functional operation and proper clearance from combustibles.
(iv) Each habitable space in the home to determine whether or not there is a functioning heat source present.
(v) Spaces where fossil fuel burning heating devices are located to ensure there is air for combustion.
(vi) Electric baseboard and in-wall heaters to ensure they are functional.
(e) Report any evidence that indicates the possible presence of an underground storage tank.
(f) Describe any deficiencies of these systems or components.
(2) The inspector is not required to:
(a) Ignite pilot lights.
(b) Operate:
(i) Heating devices or systems that do not respond to normal controls or have been shut down.
(ii) Any heating system when circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or when doing so will damage the equipment.
(c) Inspect or evaluate
(i) Heat exchangers concealed inside furnaces and boilers.
(ii) Any heating equipment that is not readily accessible.
(iii) The interior of chimneys and flues.
(iv) Installed heating system accessories, such as humidifiers, air purifiers, motorized dampers, heat reclaimers; solar heating systems; or concealed distribution systems.
(d) Remove covers or panels that are not readily accessible or removable.
(e) Dismantle any equipment, controls, or gauges except readily identifiable access covers designed to be removed by users.
(f) Evaluate whether the type of material used to insulate pipes, ducts, jackets and boilers is a health hazard.
(g) Determine:
(i) The capacity, adequacy, or efficiency of a heating system.
(ii) Determine adequacy of combustion air.
(h) Evaluate thermostats or controls other than to confirm that they actually turn a system on or off.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-120, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-130 WAC 308-408C-130 
Air Conditioning Systems
 
The inspection of the air conditioning system includes the cooling equipment; cooling distribution equipment and the operating controls.
(1) The inspector will:
(a) Describe the central air conditioning system and energy sources.
(b) Operate the system using normal control devices and measure and record temperature differential.
(c) Open readily accessible access panels or covers provided by the manufacturer or installer.
(d) Inspect the condition of controls and operative components of the complete system; conditions permitting.
(e) Describe any deficiencies of these systems or components in the inspection report.
(2) The inspector is not required to:
(a) Activate cooling systems that have been shut down.
(b) Inspect
(i) Gas-fired refrigeration systems.
(ii) Evaporative coolers.
(iii) Wall or window-mounted air-conditioning units.
(iv) The system for refrigerant leaks.
(c) Check the coolant pressure/charge.
(d) Determine the efficiency, or adequacy of the system.
(e) Operate cooling system components if the exterior temperature is below sixty degrees Fahrenheit or when other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or when doing so might damage the equipment.
(f) Remove covers or panels that are not readily accessible.
(g) Dismantle any equipment, controls, or gauges except readily identifiable access covers designed to be removed by users.
(h) Determine how much current the unit is drawing.
(i) Evaluate digital-type thermostats or controls.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-130, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-140 WAC 308-408C-140
Interiors
 
The inspection of the interior includes the walls, ceilings, floors, windows, and
doors; steps, stairways, balconies and railings.
 
(1) The inspector will:
 
(a) Verify
That steps, handrails, guardrails, stairways and landings are installed wherever necessary and report when they are missing or in need of repair and report when baluster spacing exceeds four inches.
(b) Inspect
(i) The overall general condition of cabinets and countertops.
(ii)  Caulking and grout at kitchen and bathroom counters.
(iii) The interior walls, ceilings, and floors for indicators of concealed structural deficiencies, water infiltration or major damage.
(iv) The condition and operation of a representative number of windows and doors.
(c) Comment on the presence or absence of smoke detectors.
(d) Describe any noncosmetic deficiencies of these systems or components.
(2) The inspector is not required to:
(a) Report on cosmetic conditions related to the condition of interior components.
(b) Verify whether all walls, floors, ceilings, doorways, cabinets and window openings are square, straight, level or plumb.
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-140, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-150 WAC 308-408C-150
Insulation and Ventilation
 
The inspection of the insulation and ventilation includes the type and condition of the insulation and ventilation in viewable unfinished attics and subgrade areas as well as the installed mechanical ventilation systems.
 
(1) The inspector will:
 
(2) The inspector is not required to:
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-150, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-160 WAC 308-408C-160 
Fireplaces and Stoves
 
Includes solid fuel and gas fireplaces, stoves, dampers, fireboxes and hearths.
 
(1) The inspector will:
(2) The inspector is not required to:
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-160, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-170 WAC 308-408C-170
Site
 
The inspection of the site includes the building perimeter, land grade, and water drainage directly adjacent to the foundation; trees and vegetation that adversely affect the structure; walks, grade steps, driveways, patios, and retaining walls contiguous with the structure.
 
(1) The inspector will:
 
(a) Describe the material used for driveways, walkways, patios and other flatwork around the home.
(b) Inspect
(i) For serviceability of the driveways, steps, walkways, patios, flatwork and retaining walls contiguous with the structure.
(ii) For proper grading and drainage slope.
(iii) Vegetation in close proximity to the home.
(c) Describe any deficiencies of these systems or components.
 
(2) The inspector is not required to:
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-170, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]
 
308-408C-180 WAC 308-408C-180
Attached Garages or Carports
 
The inspection of attached garages and carports includes their framing, siding, roof, doors, windows, and installed electrical/mechanical systems pertaining to the operation of the home.
 
(1) The inspector will:
 
(2) The inspector is not required to:
 
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.280.050 and 18.280.060(6). 09-08-014, §
308-408C-180, filed 3/20/09, effective 4/20/09.]


(503) 502.1495
pdxinspector@gmail.com

Board Certified Master Inspector
CCB 172294/OCHI 1173
ASHI/NACHI/WSDA/WSPCA
SWWAHI/OR-NACHI

Licensed - Insured - Bonded