Structural Pest & Dry Rot Inspection Standards of Practice
Adopted November 1997
Wood-Destroying Organism Inspections and Reports (Structural Pest & Dry Rot Report)
Real estate sales or other real estate financial transactions often require a formal wood-destroying organisms inspection report. Whenever a formal wood-destroying organism inspection report is provided, the inspection will be performed only by a person who is licensed to perform home inspections by the State in which the inspection was performed, if applicable, and who has been certified to perform Structural Pests and Dry Rot Inspections by the American Institute of Inspectors®.
Each report will contain, as a minimum, the following elements.
Even though many areas of the structure are considered inaccessible for inspection, the inspection report will, never-the-less, make full disclosure of those areas of the structure that were inaccessible for inspection or were not otherwise inspected.
Each inspection report will include a graphical representation of the structure or portions of the structure inspected, indicating thereon the approximate location of any infested areas evident, and the parts of the structure where conditions exists which would ordinarily subject such parts to attack by wood-destroying organisms. Although the diagram need not be to scale, it should be sufficiently accurate and detailed so that it can be determined where the front of the structure is located, in addition to finding the actual areas of infestation and /or damage as a result of viewing the diagram.
1. The date of inspection
2. The address or location of the property inspected.
3. The name of the person or firm ordering the report.
4. The State Licensing number, if applicable, and the A.I.I. Certification number.
5. The name, signature and appropriate license number/numbers of the inspection firm.
6. Finding and recommendations pertaining to the presence or absence of wood-destroying organisms and their conducive conditions.
7. State Contractors registration numbers as required by individual states.
8. Signed Service Agreement for the Structural Pests and Dry Rot Report.
In addition to the above, the following will apply to all inspections and reports:
I. Wood Destroying Organism Inspection Report:
A wood-destroying organism inspection report is a written opinion of a qualified inspector based upon what was visible and evident at the time of the inspection. As such, the inspection report does not in any way represent or guarantee the structure to be free from wood-destroying organisms or their damage, nor does it represent or guarantee that the total damage or infestation is limited to that disclosed in the report.
II. Inspection Procedures:
The inspector shall make an inspection of the subject structure to render an opinion on the presence and extent of wood destroying organisms. These shall include subterranean termites, dampwood termites, dry wood termites, carpenter ants, wood boring beetles and wood decay fungi. In addition, he/she shall look for those conditions which are conducive to wood destroying organisms. Conducive conditions shall include, but not be limited to:
A. Faulty Grade Levels:
This condition shall exist when the top of the foundation is less than six inches above the adjacent earth. This condition shall also exist whenever the bottom of a sub-area foundation vent is less than two to six inches above the adjacent earth or when wood siding is less than two to six inches above adjacent earth. Six inches will be considered ideal in new construction and two inches is acceptable at portions of the structure that are on a slab or when landscaping has been added to give only two inches. As long as no visible evidence exist to indicate damage to or entry into the structure by wood destroying organisms.
B. Inadequate Clearance:
This condition shall exist where there is less than 18” clear space between the bottom of the floor joists and the unimproved ground area in any crawl space or portion thereof.
C. Earth-wood Contact:
This condition exists where wood of the structure is in direct contact with the soil.
D. Cellulose Debris:
Cellulose debris in the sub-structure crawl area shall be considered any wood, paper, or cardboard material that can be raked (with a standard garden rake) or larger.
B. Insufficient Ventilation:
This condition shall exist when the lack of ventilation is contributing to the growth of wood-destroying organisms.
C. Excessive Moisture:
Excessive moisture shall constitute any condition such as wet soil in the crawl space, improper draining that contributes to standing water and /or seasonal standing water in the crawl space, plumbing leaks or any other commonly controllable moisture condition that poses a threat to structural members or prevents inspection of the crawl space.
III. Limitations of Inspections.
A. Visual Only:
Statements, representations, or conclusions of a wood-destroying organism inspection report are based upon a visual examination of the exposed areas of the structure. The inspector does not deface nor probe into finished window or door frames, trim work, floor coverings, walls, ceilings, or other finished surfaces. As such, the inspection firm will not be held liable for infestation and/or infections that were not evident except by probing or marring finished surfaces.
B. Inaccessible Areas:
Certain areas of a structure which are inaccessible by the nature of the structure may be subject to infestation by wood destroying organisms. Such “inaccessible areas” cannot be seen by a visual inspection unless they are excavated, torn out or unless physical obstructions are removed. Such areas include, but are not limited to, wall voids, spaces between floors, portions of the substructure concealed by subfloor insulation, floors beneath coverings, and areas concealed by furniture, appliances, built-in cabinets and/or personal possession. The inspection firm shall not be held responsible in any matter by any party of any conditions of wood destroying organisms or for any consequences of such infestation if such conditions were concealed in inaccessible areas and were not reasonably apparent by a visual inspection at the time of the inspection. Inaccessible substructure crawl space areas, which are discovered by the inspector, will be indicated on the inspection report.
C. Roofs, Gutters and Inside Attic Spaces:
Unless otherwise indicated on the report, roofs, gutters and inside attic spaces are excluded from the scope of a wood-destroying organisms inspection. A structural pests and dry rot inspector is not an expert in the roofing field. The inspection firm shall not be held responsible or assume liability in any manner concerning the condition of any portion of the roof area, including outside coverings, soffits, gutters and inside attic areas, their soundness or estimated life. It is therefore recommended that if professional opinions or certification are needed for these areas that the interested parties contact a qualified licensed roofing contractor
D. Sheds, Detached Garages, Outbuilding and Wood Decks:
Sheds, detached garages and carports, outbuildings, wood decks or other structures on the property which are not attached to the main structure will not be included in the inspection and report unless specifically requested and noted. The inspection firm shall reserve the right to charge an additional fee to inspect any unattached structures or wood decks. Wood decks attached to the house will only be inspected and reported on when the wood destroying condition is excessive and can be seen from a visual inspection of the surface of the deck.
E. Future Conditions:
The inspection shall cover only current conditions visible and evident at the time of the inspection. It shall not cover latent conditions not visible at the time of inspection. The inspection firm shall in no way be held responsible for future conditions, damages or infestation that were not reasonably evident at the time of the inspection. F. Minor Rot Conditions:
In certain geographical areas, where wet climate is common, a large percentage of structures are subject to minor rot conditions. While such conditions are technically fungi infestations they may not substantially affect the quality, structural soundness or anticipated future life of the structure. Such conditions as spot areas on doors, window casings, porch steps, railing and portions of wood decks and common weathering on siding, decks and non-supporting wooden members shall not be reported on inspection reports except at the discretion of the inspecting firm for purposes of clarification only.
G. Other Conditions:
This inspection does not include inspection of electrical, plumbing, heating, or other mechanical systems of the structure, nor will it detect building code violations, or address asbestos or any other environmental hazards.WoekWork
IV. Work Performed by Others:
The property owner, purchaser or other interested party who elects to perform the work recommended on the wood destroying organisms report shall provide a written statement certifying that either he/she and/or the contractor performing the work has completed the recommendations as specified in the inspection report and agree to assume full liability for, and hold the inspection firm harmless for any defects in the work performed. The inspecting firm will not guarantee or warranty any work of others and is not permitted to work on property, previously inspected by said firm, by the Standards and Practice of the American Institute of Inspectors®, unless state law specifically allows the inspecting firm to do the work, and then only at the discretion of the inspecting firm.
No report shall be issued by the inspecting firm unless a state licensed inspector from that firm has made an inspection of the structure in conformity with these standards and the applicable Standards of the American Institute of Inspectors®. Reports shall be subject to III. (LIMITATIONS OF INSPECTORS)
A. Original Report:
The report pertaining to the first inspection performed of a piece of property will be the original report.
B. Supplemental Reports:
A “Supplemental Report” is a report of condition in previously reported inaccessible areas which have since been made accessible for inspection. Upon receipt, the “Supplemental Report” should be attached to the original report or contain the original reports’ information as well as the “Supplement Reports’” information. Re-inspection Reports: A re inspection shall be an inspection of those items previously listed on an original report or any subsequent “Supplemental Reports” to determine if the recommendations have been completed. Re re-inspection shall be performed for not more than the price of the firm’s original inspection fee and shall be completed within 10 working days after a re inspection has been requested. After four months from the date of an original inspection, all inspections shall be original inspections and not re-inspections.
Completion Statement/Report: A completion statement on the report shall state work as complete and be signed by the inspector whenever requested by the person/agent ordering the report except that no inspection firm shall be required to provide a completion statement without a signed third party agreement (can be part of the inspection report) whenever the completion report lists items recommended for repair.
V. Conditions Revealed During Performance of Recommendations:
The inspecting firm shall not be liable nor responsible in any way for infestations, infections or damage that may be revealed in inaccessible areas in the course of performing repairs, or other work recommendations. Should any wood destroying organism, damage or conducive conditions be revealed during the performance of work recommendations, whether done by owner, purchaser, or contractor, the inspecting firm must be notified of such conditions for the purpose of having an opportunity to inspect the area and determine any additional work recommendation before such conditions are covered up. The owner, purchaser or his agents undertaking the work shall be responsible for such notification. The inspection firm, upon discovery of hidden infestations, infections or damage, or if notified as provided herein, shall perform an additional inspection and shall issue any additional work recommendations that are deemed necessary. Nothing contained herein shall prevent the inspecting firm from charging an additional fee for each additional inspection.
VI. Time Limits:
Because conditions can change considerably within short periods of time, no report should be relied upon for the closing of any real estate transaction that is four months old or older. The inspecting firm shall not be held liable for any conditions reported or not reported on any report that is four months old or older at the time of the closing of any real estate transaction.
Copyright 1997, American Institute of Inspectors®