How To Look At A House
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Does a home inspector check the roof?
Sunday, June 30, 2019
What a home inspector checks on a roof depends on two variables: the state where the home is located and the inspector's own personal standards. As of today, 28 states have licensing requirements for home inspectors, which include education and experience standards and continuing education necessary for license renewal, along with a list of roof inspection standards to comply with. But 22 states have no licensing.
We have licensing and inspection standards in Florida but, once you cross the state line into Georgia, no license is required. Yet Georgia falls somewhere in the middle, because they have a “Trade Practices Act” that basically says an inspector must provide a scope of work, do a visual inspection, and provide a written report. Not much of a standard, but something.
Inspectors in a state with no licensing may voluntarily choose with comply with the standards of a national association like American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHi) or International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). And, of course, some inspectors take pride in going above-and-beyond the expectations of any of the requirements. So, it depends.
Having said all that, Florida’s standards state that an inspector must “inspect all visible and readily accessible roofing covering systems and components,” but the inspector is not required to actually walk the roof if, in the inspector’s opinion, it would be unsafe to do so. Here’s the full text of the section of Florida 61-30.805 on roofing:
61-30.805 Standards of Practice, Roof Covering.
(1) Roof covering systems and components include the following:
(a) Roofing materials;
(c) Skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations;
(d) Roof drainage systems;
(e) Ventilation of attics; and
(f) Insulation of attics.
(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible roof covering systems and components.
(3) The inspector is not required to inspect:
(a) Components or systems that are not readily accessible;
(b) Antenna or other installed accessories;
(c) Interiors of flues or chimneys which are not readily accessible.
(4) The inspector is not required to walk on the roof surface when, in the opinion of the inspector, the following conditions exist:
(a) Roof slope is excessive to safely walk on;
(b) There is no safe access to the roof;
(c) Climatic conditions render the roof unsafe to walk on;
(d) Condition of the roofing material or roof decking renders the roof unsafe to walk on;
(e) Walking on the roof may cause damage to the roof covering materials; and
(f) Walking will place any liability or danger to the homeowner or other representatives involved in the home inspection process.
(5) The inspector is not required to disturb insulation.
The admistrative law also states the inspector must report any visible roof defects, explain why it is a defect if not obvious, and make recommendations for monitoring or correction of the problem. Also, “a home inspection does not include the prediction of future conditions.” In other words, the inspector is not required to predict when the roof will have to be replaced, only its current condition.
Standards for Florida generally exceed ASHI and InterNACHI overall, although they are similar. To read the full text of all the Florida standards, go to our blog post Are there any minimum inspection standards that a Florida licensed home inspector must meet?
Also, see our blog posts What's the average lifespan of a roof? and What does a home inspector look for when examining a roof? and Why is my roof leaking?
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