Photograph of  cutaway house with some home inspection topics shown .Model Codes of Home Inspection Ethics
Ethics for Home Inspectors

  • HOME INSPECTION ETHICS - CONTENTS: Ethics and ethical practices in building inspection professions and industries. Guide to codes of ethics for building professionalsLinks to copies of national and state code of ethics documents for home inspection and related professions
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Ethics in the home inspection profession (or "industry" as it is less-professionally called):

This is a public, consumer information document describing the code of ethical behavior required for professional home inspectors in the United States.

Because ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors was the first and is the oldest home inspection "professional society" we include reference to ASHI's ethical codes here. Since the 1990's many U.S. States have enacted home inspector licensing laws and some of those states include a code of ethics for home inspectors under the aegis of state licensing. Examples are included here.

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Ethics is not an "Optional" Behaviour that Can be Declared "Not to Apply"

During an ethics committee report to the national board of directors of a professional association board meeting in the 1990's a board member objected to the findings and observed that "ethics does not apply in this case - it's just business".

The remark may have sprung from a well-intended motive of generosity, but it illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding about the role and nature of ethics in society and business.

Contrary to the board member's' statement, the application of rules of ethical behavior cannot be optionally "turned on or off" at the will of an individual.

The principles of ethical conduct are always present, and judgements about whether or not conduct is ethical always apply in all situations.

An individual or company can choose to follow ethical business practices or not. But it cannot choose to declare that "ethics does not apply."

Similarly, a professional association can decide to enforce its code of ethics, or not, in a given situation. But it is incoherent and thus impossible for an association to state that "ethics does not apply." - Daniel Friedman, prior chairman, ASHI National Ethics and Standards Committees.

Examples of Codes of Ethics for Home Inspectors

ASHI Code of Ethics

Because ASHI's ethics committee continues to meet and review ethical guidelines for the profession, a revised version of this particular ethics document may be obtained from the American Society of Home Inspectors, at the ASHI HQ website

Other individual home inspection associations and individual states may write their own codes of ethics.

OPINION: Readers will note that in comparison with the legislated State Code of Ethics above, this example of a professional association's code of ethics from 1993 is far more concise and less legalistic. The association consulted with professionals who had expertise in language and ethics (philosophy) as well as professional texts where business ethics are discussed. [Disclosure: the website editor DF was involved in that procedure as member and chair of the ASHI Ethics Committee.]

Honesty, justice, and courtesy form a moral philosophy which, associated with mutual interest among people, constitutes the foundation of ethics. The members should recognize such a standard, not in passive observance, but in a set of dynamic principles guiding their conduct. It is their duty to practice the profession according to this code of ethics.

As the keystone of professional conduct is integrity, the members will discharge their duties with fidelity to the public, their clients, and with fairness and impartiality to all. They should uphold the honor and dignity of their profession and avoid association with any enterprise of questionable character, or apparent conflict of interest.

  1. The member will express an opinion only when it is based on practical experience and honest conviction.
  2. The member will always act in good faith toward each client.
  3. The member will not disclose any information concerning the results of the inspection without the approval of the clients or their representatives.
  4. The member will not accept compensation, financial or otherwise, from more than one interested party for the same service without the consent of all interested parties.
  5. The member will not accept nor offer commissions or allowances, directly or indirectly, from other parties dealing with their client in connection with work for which the member is responsible.
  6. The member will promptly disclose to his or her client any interest in a business which may affect the client. The member will not allow an interest in any business to affect the quality of the results of their inspection work which they may be called upon to perform. The inspection work may not be used as a vehicle by the inspector to deliberately obtain work in another field.
  7. An inspector shall make every effort to uphold, maintain, and improve the professional integrity, reputation, and practice of the home inspection profession. S/He will report all such relevant information, including violations of this Code by other members, to the Association for possible remedial action.

© 1993 American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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