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Home Inspector Minimum Standards of Practice



Following is the current Maryland Home Inspectors Minimum Standards of Practice as appearing on the State's DLLR website, exclusive of sections .01 - Definitions, .02 - General Information, and .03 - Limitations and Exclusions.  To view these sections visit the State website at: http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/SubtitleSearch.aspx?search=09.36.07.*

.04  Structural System
  1. A home inspector shall visually inspect the structural system, including the structural components including foundation and framing.

  1. Probing

(1)   A home inspector shall probe a representative number of structural components where deterioration is suspected or where clear indications of possible deterioration exist.
(2)       Probing is not required:

a.        If it will damage any finished surface; or
b.       Where no deterioration is visible.

  1. A home inspector shall describe the structural system, including the:

(1)     Foundation, and report the methods used to inspect the under-floor crawl spaces and basements;
(2)     Floor structure;
(3)     Wall structure;
(4)     Ceiling structure; and
(5)     Roof structure, and report the methods used to inspect the attic.

  1. A home inspector is not required to:

(1)     Provide any engineering service; or
(2)     Offer any opinion as to the adequacy of any structural system or component.

.05  Exterior
  1. A home inspector shall visually inspect the home exterior, including:

(1)     Exterior wall covering, flashing and trim;
(2)     All attached doors;
(3)     Attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings;
(4)     Eaves, soffits, and fascias that are accessible from the ground level;
(5)     Vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls on the property if any of these may adversely affect the  building; and
(6)     Walkways, patios, and driveways leading to dwelling entrances.

  1. A home inspector shall describe the exterior wall covering.
  2. A home inspector is not required to inspect any of the following:

(1)     Screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal accessories;
(2)     Fences;
(3)     Geological, geotechnical, or hydrological conditions;
(4)     Recreational facilities;
(5)     Outbuildings;
(6)     Seawalls, break-walls, and docks; or
(7)     Erosion control and earth stabilization measures.

.06  Roof System
  1. A home inspector shall visually inspect a roof system, including:​

(1)     The roof covering;
(2)     Roof drainage systems;
(3)     Flashings; and
(4)     Skylights, chimneys, and exterior and roof penetrations.

  1. A home inspector shall describe the roof covering and report the methods used to inspect the roof.

  1. A home inspector is not required to:

(1)     Inspect:

a.        Antennae;
b.       Interior of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible; or
c.        Other installed accessories.

(2)     Walk on or access a roof where it could damage the roof or roofing material or be unsafe for the home inspector;
(3)     Remove snow, ice, debris, or other conditions that prohibit the observation of the roof surfaces; or
(4)     Determine:

a.        The remaining life expectancy of roof coverings;
b.       The presence or absence of hail damage;
c.        Manufacturer’s defects;
d.       Installation methods; or
e.        The number of layers of roofing material.

.07  Plumbing System
  1. A home inspector shall visually inspect the plumbing system, including:

(1)     Interior water supply and distribution systems, including all fixtures and faucets;
(2)     Drain, waste, and vent systems, including all fixtures;
(3)     Water heating equipment;
(4)     Vent systems, flues, and chimneys;
(5)     Fuel storage and fuel distribution systems;
(6)     Drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping;
(7)     The functional flow of all fixtures and faucets; and
(8)     The functional drainage of all fixtures.

  1. A home inspector shall describe the plumbing system, including:

(1)     Water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials;
(2)     Water heating equipment, including the energy source; and
(3)     The location of the main water and main fuel shut-off valves.

  1. A home inspector is not required to:

(1)     Inspect any of the following:

a.        Clothes washing machine connections;
b.       Interiors of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible;
c.        Wells, well pumps, or water storage related equipment;
d.       Water conditioning systems;
e.        Solar water heating systems;
f.         Fire and lawn sprinkler systems; or
g.       Private waste disposal systems;

(2)     Determine:

a.        Whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private; or
b.       The quantity of the water supply; or

(3)     Operate safety valves or shut-off valves.

.08  Electrical Systems
  1. A home inspector shall visually inspect an electrical system, including: 

(1)     The service drop
(2)     Service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways;
(3)     Service equipment and main disconnects;
(4)     Service grounding;
(5)     Interior components of service panels and sub-panels;
(6)     Conductors;
(7)     Overcurrent protection devices;
(8)     A representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches and receptacles;
(9)     Ground fault and arc fault circuit interrupter; and
(10)  The general condition of visible branch circuit conductors that may constitute a hazard to the occupant or the structure by reason of improper use or installation of electrical components.

  1. A home inspector shall describe the electrical system, including:

(1)     Amperage and voltage rating of the service;
(2)     Location of main disconnect and sub-panels; and
(3)     Wiring methods.

  1. If applicable, a home inspector shall include in a written report the:

(1)     Presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring; and
(2)     Absence of smoke detectors.

  1. A home inspector is not required to:

(1)     Inspect:

a.        Remote control devices, unless the device is the only control device;
b.       Alarm systems and components;
c.        Low voltage wiring systems and components; or
d.       Ancillary wiring, systems, and components that are not part of the primary electrical power distribution system; or

(2)     Measure amperage, voltage or impedance. 
 
.09  Heating System
  1. A home inspector shall visually inspect:

(1)     Installed heating equipment;
(2)     Vent systems, flues, and chimneys; and
(3)     Heating distribution.

  1. A home inspector shall describe energy sources and heating methods by distinguishing characteristics and means of distribution.

  1. A home inspector is not required to:

(1)     Inspect:

a.        Flue or chimney interiors that are not readily accessible;
b.       Heat exchangers;
c.        Humidifiers or dehumidifiers;
d.       Electronic air filters; or
e.        Solar space heating systems; or

(2)     Determine the adequacy of the heat system or the distribution balance.

.10  Air-Conditioning System
  1. A home inspector shall inspect the installed central and through-wall cooling equipment.
  2. A home inspector shall describe the energy sources and cooling methods by distinguishing characteristics and means of distribution.
  3. A home inspector is not required to:

(1)     Inspect electronic air filters; or
(2)     Determine the adequacy of the cooling system or the distribution balance.

.11  Interior
  1. A home inspector shall visually inspect:

(1)     Walls, ceilings, and floors;
(2)     Steps, stairways, and railings;
(3)     Countertops and a representative number of installed cabinets;
(4)     A representative number of doors and windows; and
(5)     Garage doors and garage door openers.

  1. A home inspector is not required to inspect:

(1)     Paint, wallpaper,  and other finish treatments;
(2)     Carpeting;
(3)     Window treatments;
(4)     Central vacuum systems;
(5)     Household appliances; or
(6)     Recreational facilities.

.12  Insulation and Ventilation
  1. A home inspector shall visually inspect:

(1)     Insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces;
(2)     Ventilation of attics and foundation areas; and
(3)     Mechanical ventilation systems.

  1. A home inspector shall describe:

(1)     Insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces; and
(2)     If applicable, the absence of insulation in unfinished spaces at conditioned surfaces.

  1. A home inspector is not required to:

(1)     Disturb insulation or vapor retarders; or
(2)     Determine indoor air quality.

.13  Fireplaces and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances
  1. A home inspector shall visually inspect:

(1)     System components of fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances; and
(2)     Vent systems, flues, and chimneys.

  1. A home inspector shall describe:

(1)     Fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances; and
(2)     Chimneys.

  1. A home inspector is not required to:

(1)     Inspect any of the following:

a.        Interiors of flues or chimneys;
b.       Fire screens and doors;
c.        Seals and gaskets;
d.       Automatic fuel feed devices;
e.        Mantles and fireplace surrounds;
f.         Combustion make-up air devices; or
g.       Gravity-controlled and fan-assisted heat distribution assists;

(2)     Ignite or extinguish fires;
(3)     Determine draft characteristics; or
(4)     Move fireplace inserts or stove or firebox contents.