Does a home inspector verify that structural components like joists, rafters, columns, beams, and foundation are the right size?

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations require the inspector to examine and report on the structural components of a home. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), for example, states that “the inspector shall inspect the structural components including foundation and framing.” But the inspector is not required to determine whether the structural systems are adequately sized for the loads imposed on them. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) says that “the inspector is not required to identify the size, spacing, span or location or determine the adequacy of foundation bolting, bracing, joists, joist spans or support systems,” and ASHI has a similar exemption.

   That does not mean that structural problems get ignored. An inspector must call out any visible structural defects, such as sagging floors or ceilings, notching, cutting, or other damage to structual members, wood rot or insect structural damage, missing connectors, and cracks in beams. These are often symptoms of structural inadequacy or deterioration that need to be further evaluated and/or repaired.

    To learn more, see our blog post How can I determine if a house is structurally sound? It’s a roundup of tips and links to articles about detecting the many differenty types of structual problems a house can have.

    Click on any of the links below to read other articles about what is required to be included, or not, in a home inspection:

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

To learn more about exterior walls and structures, see these other blog posts:

What is the average lifespan of a house foundation?

What causes vertical cracks in fiber cement siding planks?

What causes raised white lines of residue on a block wall that are crusty and crumbling? 

What is the difference between soil subsidence, heave, creep, and settlement? 

How much ventilation is required for the under-floor crawl space of a home? 

 What causes stair-step cracks in a block or brick wall?

What causes a horizontal crack in a block or brick wall? 

How can I tell if a diagonal crack in drywall at the corner of a window or door indicates a structural problem?

What causes the surface of old bricks to erode away into sandy powder? 

What are the pros and cons of concrete block versus wood frame construction?

Should I buy a house with a crawl space? 

Why is my stucco cracking?

There's cracks running along the home's concrete tie beam. What's wrong? 

What would cause long horizontal lines of brick mortar to fall out?

How do I recognize serious structural problems in a house?

What is engineered wood siding?

Should I buy a house that has had foundation repair? 

What is a "continuous load path”?

Should I buy a house with asbestos siding?   

How can I tell if cracks in the garage floor are a problem or not? 

What do you look for when inspecting vinyl siding?

Why is housewrap installed on exterior walls under the siding? 

Why did so many concrete block homes collapse in Mexico Beach during Hurricane Michael? 

How can I tell if the concrete block walls of my house have vertical steel and concrete reinforcement?

Should I buy a house with structural problems? 

What are those powdery white areas on my brick walls?

What causes cracks in the walls and floors of a house?

How can I tell if the exterior walls of a house are concrete block (CBS) or wood or brick?

What are the common problems of different types of house foundations? 

• What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

How can I tell whether my house foundation problems are caused by a sinkhole or expansive clay soil?

        Visit our EXTERIOR WALLS AND STRUCTURE and "DOES A HOME INSPECTOR…?” pages 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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