Why are specific items excluded in inspection contracts?

It is not uncommon for professional home inspectors to specifically exclude inspection of items such as swimming pools, hot tubs, household appliances (kitchen appliances, central vacuum systems, etc.) active and passive solar space heating and domestic hot water heating systems, lawn sprinkler systems, intrusion detection and alarm systems, and fire and smoke detection and suppression systems.

Typically, they also specifically exclude services such as inspection for or testing for lead and asbestos as well as other environmental inspections or testing. All standards of practice for professional home inspection exclude such items and services. This is not because professional inspectors are not competent and qualified to inspect such items or perform such services. Rather, it is because competent inspection of these items and performance of these services requires significant additional time and highly specialized training.

Some services such as pest infestation inspection and treatment require specific governmental licenses and mandated training. A thorough and competent visual inspection of the visible, safely accessible and readily accessible components of a swimming pool for conditions which are adversely affecting their normally intended function or operation may require as much as 1½ to 2 hours with fees starting at $100.00 per hour. In addition, some systems such as lawn sprinkler systems and swimming pools may be deactivated for extended periods of time.

Some professional home inspectors may choose to include certain items or services that are typically excluded in standards of practice and others may offer inspection of specifically excluded items under separate contract or they will direct buyers to individuals or companies qualified to perform such services. If inspectors were to spend the additional time required to perform a thorough and competent inspection of typically excluded systems, they would have less time to inspect the major systems of a home for more important and potentially costly conditions unless they significantly increased their fees.

If buyers desire information regarding the condition of excluded systems as well as specific operation and maintenance information, it is more cost effective for them to engage the services of the individuals or companies that have been servicing and maintaining such systems for the current occupants.

While many professional inspectors maintain liberal follow-up policies regarding telephone or in-office consultation with customers after inspections, reinspection of corrective measures resulting from information developed during inspections is typically not offered. This is because qualified individuals or companies are expected to evaluate the conditions noted in the inspection report and make any appropriate and necessary corrections in accordance with all applicable industry standards and governmental codes, ordinances, and regulations.