Texas Home Inspector Standards of Practice
THE FOLLOWING STANDARDS OF PRACTICE HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED BY THE STATE OF TEXAS AND THE TEXAS REAL ESTATE COMMISSION FOR INSPECTORS LICENSED IN TEXAS
§535.228. Standards of Practice: Inspection Guidelines for Structural Systems.
(a) Foundations. The inspector shall do the following:
....(1) identify the type of foundation (for example, slab-on-grade or pier and beam);
....(2) inspect the foundation, related structural components and/or slab surfaces;
....(3) inspect the crawl space area to determine the general condition of foundation components and report the method used to observe the crawl space when an area is not entered due to inaccessibility or hazardous conditions or when access or visibility is limited;
....(4) render a written opinion as to the performance of the foundation;
....(5) identify (without exhaustive detail ) the general indications of movement that supports an opinion of foundation movement, such as sheetrock cracks, brick cracks, out-of-square door frames or floor slopes;
....(6) observe and report if any post tensioned cable ends are not covered;
....(7) observe for the presence of crawl space ventilation;
....(8) observe the conditions or symptoms that may indicate the possibility of water penetration, such as improper grading around foundation walls or plumbing leaks; and
....(9) observe the site for conditions which may be adversely affecting foundation performance, such as erosion or water ponding.
(b) Specific limitations for foundations. The inspector is not required to enter a crawl space or any areas where headroom is less than 18 inches and the width of the access opening is less than two feet, or where the inspector reasonably determines conditions or materials are hazardous to health or safety of the inspector.
(c) Interior walls, doors, ceilings and floors. The inspector shall do the following:
....(1) observe the deficiencies of the surfaces of walls, ceilings and floors as related to structural performance or water penetration;
....(2) inspect operation of accessible doors, excepting locks and latches;
....(3) inspect steps, stairways, balconies and railings, reporting as a recognized hazard spacings between intermediate guardrails which permit passage of an object greater than four inches in diameter and;
....(4) report the absence of safety glass in hazardous locations as a recognized hazard.
(d) Specific limitations for Interior walls, doors, ceilings and floors. The inspector is not required to do the following:
....(1) determine the condition of floor, wall or ceiling coverings except as they affect structural performance or water penetration;
....(2) identify obvious damage to floor, wall or ceiling coverings;
....(3) determine the condition of paints, stains and other surface coatings; or
....(4) determine condition of cabinets.
(e) Exterior walls and doors, windows and door glazing. The inspector shall do the following:
....(1) observe deficiencies of exterior walls as related to structural performance and water penetration;
....(2) observe and report on condition and operation of exterior doors and garage doors and the operation of the door locks and latches when present.
....(3) inspect the condition of windows and exterior doors to determine whether glazing is present and undamaged;
....(4) inspect insulated glass windows for obvious fogging or other evidence of broken seals and report as a recognized hazard the absence of safety glass in hazardous locations;
....(5) observe the presence and condition of window and door screens;
....(6) inspect burglar bars, if present, for functional keyless egress in appropriate areas, reporting as a recognized hazard the absence of functional keyless burglar bars in appropriate locations;
....(7) operate windows at burglar bar locations of sleeping rooms or egress areas and a random sampling of others which are accessible; and
....(8) report as a recognized hazard spacings between intermediate guardrails which permit passage of an object greater than four inches in diameter.
(f) Specific limitations for exterior walls and doors, windows and door glazing. The inspector is not required to do the following:
....(1) report the condition or presence of storm windows or doors, awnings, shutters or security devices or systems;
....(2) determine the condition of paints stains or other surface coatings; or
....(3) determine the presence of, or extent or type of, insulation or vapor barriers in exterior walls.
(g) Fireplace and chimney. The inspector shall do the following:
....(1) inspect the visible components and structure of the chimney and fireplace;
....(2) inspect the interior of the firebox and the visible flue area, including whether creosote is built up in the visible areas of the firebox and flue, excepting the adequacy of the draft or performance of a chimney smoke test;
....(3) inspect the operation of the damper, if present;
....(4) observe for presence of non-combustible hearth extension;
....(5) observe the condition of lintel, hearth and material surrounding the fireplace;
....(6) observe attic penetration of chimney flue, where accessible, for firestopping;
....(7) inspect gas log lighter valves for function and for gas leaks;
....(8) inspect operation of circulating fan, if present;
....(9) observe for deficiencies in combustion air vent, if present; and
....(10) observe chimney coping or crown, caps or spark arrestor (from ground level at a minimum).
(h) Specific limitations for fireplace and chimney. There are no specific limitations for fireplace and chimney.
(i) Roof, roof structure and attic. The inspector shall do the following:
....(1) identify the type of roof covering and inspect its visible components and their condition (excepting the life expectancy of the roof covering), determining whether:
........(A) the roof covering is appropriate for the slope of the roof;
........(B) fasteners are present and appropriate, (where it can be reasonably determined); and
........(C) roof jacks, flashing and counter flashing are properly installed.
....(2) inspect the general condition of, and evidence of previous repairs to, flashing, skylights and other roof penetrations;
....(3) observe for presence of attic space ventilation;
....(4) inspect condition of roof structure and sheathing (including evidence of moisture penetration) where accessible, inspecting for the presence and appropriate installation of components such as purlins, struts, collar ties or rafter ties, where necessary, and observing for excessive deflections or depressions in the roof's surface relating to the performance of the framing and the roof deck;
....(5) enter attic space(s) except when there is inadequate access or hazardous conditions exist as reasonably determined by the inspector (observation from attic access opening only must be reported as such);
....(6) report the method used to inspect roofing if the inspection is performed from other than roof level (if the inspector reasonably determines that conditions are unsafe, that the inspector cannot safely reach the roof's surface or that damage to the roof or roof covering material may result from walking on the roof, the inspector shall report the method used to inspect the roof);
....(7) observe the presence and approximate depth of insulation where visible; and
....(8) observe the condition of visible installed gutter and downspout systems.
(j) Specific limitations for roof, roof structure and attic. There are no specific limitations for roof, roof structure and attic.
(k) Porches and decks. The inspector shall inspect porches, decks, steps, balconies and carports for structural performance as to visible footings, joists, deckings, railings and attachment points, where applicable reporting (except for decks which are not higher than 30 inches as measured from the adjacent grade) as a recognized hazard spacings between intermediate guardrails which permit passage of an object greater than four inches in diameter.
(l) Specific limitations for porches and decks. The inspector is not required to inspect detached structures or waterfront structures and equipment, such as docks or piers.