How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

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What are the minimum access openings for a termite (WDO) inspector in Florida for a crawl space and attic, and within these spaces?

Friday, June 21, 2019

There is no specific information in the Florida Adminstrative Code regarding minimum size openings that an inspector can be expected to enter if deemed safe otherwise. But the pest control industry uses a document entitled “Baseline Practices for Performing 13645 WDO Inspections” as a standard. It was prepared in 2005 by a committee comprised of members representing FPMA, CPCO, COSWFL, FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the division of Florida government that regulates WDO inspections), University of Florida, and an attorney who represents the industry and numerous pest control operators/companies. 

ATTIC INSPECTION

• Maximum ceiling height for attic access (without a pull-down ladder or staircase) is 8 feet. No furniture, debris, permanent fixtures, shelving, appliances, household or stored items are to be under or around the opening/access area that hinders safe access. There must be sufficient room to safely place and utilize a ladder (if necessary to gain access) without causing damage to the home or items in the area of the attic access. If any of these conditions exist, that particular attic access is considered inaccessible for the purposes of this inspection.

Minimum attic access opening is 20” x 20”. Opening or access area to attic must be specifically designed for the function of accessing the attics. Dropped ceiling panels are not to be considered as an access opening.

Minimum openings between truss webs is 48” high x 22” wide (see diagram below). Inspections of truss tails and soffit areas should be included to the extent they are accessible under the conditions existing in the interior attic space at the time of the inspection. Areas of the attic space may be considered inaccessible for inspection purposes if traversal of the interior attic space is obstructed by insulation which conceals the ceiling joists and no other means of traversal exists. Areas to be inspected that are concealed or blocked by insulation, HVAC equipment, electrical or other utility lines, stored items, pipe and chimney chases are considered inaccessible.

CRAWL SPACE INSPECTION

• Minimum crawl space access opening is 16” high x 24” wide. Areas that are blocked by plumbing, ductwork or other items may be excluded from the inspection. Investigation should be made to ascertain if an interior entryway exists for crawl space areas that do not have an exterior entryway.

• Minimum height within crawl space is 24” from bottom of floor joists to the ground. Lower areas are not required to be entered. However, those areas that cannot be physically entered into, yet can be observed by use of a lighting device, should be inspected visually to the extent possible.

SAFETY ISSUES 

    Safety concerns rendering a substructure or portions thereof inaccessible include but may not be limited to items such as: sewage waste, broken glass, unprotected electric lines, biting arthropods (spiders), vermin or other animals, and plenum space.

    To read a copy of the complete “Baseline Practices” document, click on the link below:

wdoinspbasel.pdf 

    Also, see our blog posts Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim? and What areas of the exterior of a home is a termite (WDO) inspector in Florida required to inspect? and Do termites eat concrete?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:

• Should I be worried about termites if my neighbor's house is being tented?

• Do carpenter ants cause structural damage to houses in Florida?

• How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection done?

• How long does Bora-Care® last? 

 Why is it a mistake to store lumber in the crawl space under a house?

• Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites? 

• How do termites infest a house and remain hidden while doing major damage?

• Are homes in Florida required to have termite protection? 

• If termite damage appears to be old, does that mean that termites may no longer be present?

• How do I know if my WDO/termite report is "clear"? 

• When do termites swarm in Florida?

• Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites? 

• Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

• Do I have to tent the house if I have termites? 

• What is the difference between a subterranean termite and a drywood termite?

• What are the green plastic discs in the ground around the house? 

• What is a termite shield?

• How do termites get into a concrete block house? 

• What is a clean WDO?  

• What do termites eat?

• How do I treat wood rot  that's listed in my termite-WDO report? 

• Do I really need a termite-WDO inspection? 

• What's causing those holes in the fascia?

• Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?

• I think I have termites. What does a termite look like?

• I'm buying a concrete block house. Do I still need a termite inspection? 

• I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?

• Why do termite inspectors tap the wood siding and baseboard wood in a home?

      Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.  

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