Illinois Standard of Practice

State Of Illinois

According to the State of Illinois a “Home inspection” means the examination and evaluation of the exterior and interior components of residential real property, which includes the inspection of any 2 or more of the following components of residential real property in connection with or to facilitate the sale, lease, or other conveyance of, or the proposed sale, lease, or other conveyance of, residential real property:

1) heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system;
2) plumbing system;
3) electrical system;
4) structural composition;
5) foundation;
6) roof;
7) masonry structure; or
8) any other residential real property component as established  by rule.

The definition I like to use, as defined by The Bellman Group, "A home inspection is a documented professional opinion of a home, based on a visual evaluation and operational testing, of the home systems and components, to determine their present condition."

Areas of the home and the systems and components need to be readily accessible. Readily accessible means that an item or component that is, in the judgment of the inspector, capable of being safely observed without the removal of obstacles, detachment or disengagement of connecting or securing devices, or other unsafe or difficult procedures to gain access. All utilities need to be on. If utilities are not on, some systems or components can not be inspected.

    Illinois Administrative Code

         Section 1410.200  Standards of Practice
 
     a) For the purposes of this Section, the terms listed below shall mean:
 
        1) Alarm Systems:  Warning devices, installed or free-standing, including but not limited to: carbon monoxide detectors, flue gas and other spillage detectors, security equipment, ejector pumps and smoke alarms.
 
        2) Client:  A person or person who engages or seeks to engage the services of a home inspector for an inspection assignment.
 
        3) Component:  A part of a system.
 
        4) Decorative:  Ornamental; not required for the operation of the essential systems and components of a home.
 
        5) Describe:  To report a system or component by its type or other observed, significant characteristics to distinguish it from other systems or components.
 
        6) Home Inspection:  As defined in Section 1-10 of the Act.
 
        7) Home Inspection Report:  A written evaluation prepared and issued by a home inspector upon completion of a home inspection, that meets the standards of practice as established by OBRE.
 
        8) Inspect:  To visually examine readily accessible systems and components of a building in accordance with these Standards of Practice, using normal operating controls and opening readily accessible access panels.
 
        9) Roof Drainage Systems:  Components used to carry water off a roof and away from a building.
 
        10) Significantly Deficient:  Unsafe or not functioning.
 
        11) Solid Fuel Burning Appliances:  A hearth and fire chamber or similar prepared place in which a fire may be built and which is built in conjunction with a chimney; or a listed assembly of a fire chamber, its chimney and related factory-made parts designed for unit assembly without requiring field construction.
 
        12) Structural Component:  A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads).
 
        13) System:  A combination of interacting or interdependent
components, assembled to carry out one or more functions.
 
        14) Under Floor Crawl Space:  The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the floor.
 
        15) Unsafe: A condition in a system or component that is a significant risk of personal injury or property damage during normal, day-to-day use. The risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation or a change in accepted residential construction standards.
 
     b) These Standards of Practice define the practice of home     inspection in the State of Illinois and shall:
 
        1) Provide home inspection guidelines; and
 
        2) Define certain terms relating to these home inspections.
 
     c) The purpose of these standards of practice is to establish a minimum and uniform standard for licensed home inspectors to provide the client with information regarding the condition of the systems and components of the home as inspected at the time of the home inspection.
 
     d) Home inspectors or home inspector entities shall enter into a written agreement with the client or duly authorized representative prior to the home inspection that includes at a minimum:
 
        1) The purpose of the inspection;
 
        2) The date of the inspection;
 
        3) The name, address and license number of the home inspector or home inspector entity;
 
        4) The fee for services performed;
 
        5) A statement that the inspection will be performed in accordance with these Standards;
 
        6) A list of the systems and components to be inspected;
 
        7) Limitations or exclusions of systems or components being inspected; and
 
        8) The signature of the client or his or her duly authorized representative, and the signature of the home inspector or the duly authorized representative of a home inspector entity.
 
     e) At the conclusion of the home inspection, a home inspector shall submit a written report to the client or duly authorized representative within 48 hours that includes the home inspector's signature and license number and expiration date and shall:
 
        1) Describe the systems and components that were inspected;
 
        2) Report on those systems and components inspected that, in the opinion of the inspector, are significantly deficient; and
 
           A) A reason why the system or component is significantly deficient.
 
            B) Disclose any systems or components designated for inspection, that were present at the time of the home inspection, but were not inspected and a reason they were not inspected.
 
     f) These Standards are not intended to limit home inspectors from:
 
        1) Including other inspection services, systems or components in addition to those defined in these standards of practice; and
 
        2) Excluding systems and components in the written agreement from the inspection.
 
     g) When, pursuant to written agreement with a client, the structural system/ foundation is inspected, the home inspector shall:
 
        1) Inspect the structural components including the foundation and framing; and
 
        2) Describe the foundation and report the methods used to inspect the under-floor crawl space, floor, wall, ceiling, roof, structure and report the methods used to inspect the attic.
 
     h) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the exterior is inspected, the home inspector shall:
 
        1) Inspect the exterior wall covering, flashing, trim, all exterior doors, attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings, the eaves, soffits, and fascias where accessible from the ground level, the vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls on the property when any of these are likely to adversely affect the building, walkways, patios, and driveways leading to dwelling entrances; and
 
        2) Describe the exterior wall covering.
 
     i) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the roof system is inspected, the home inspector shall:
 
        1) Inspect the roof covering, the roof drainage systems, the flashings, the skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations; and
 
        2) Describe the roof covering and report the methods used to inspect the roof.
 
     j) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the plumbing system is observed, the home inspector shall describe in detail the interior water supply and distribution including all fixtures and faucets, drains , waste and vent systems including all fixtures, the water heating equipment, the vent systems, flues, and chimneys, the fuel storage and fuel distribution systems, the drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping, and the location of main water and main fuel shut-off valves.
 
     k) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the electrical system is inspected, the home inspector shall:
 
        1) Inspect the service drop, the service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways, the service equipment and main disconnects, the service grounding, the interior components of service panels and sub panels, the conductors, the over-current protection devices, installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles, the ground fault circuit interrupters;
 
        2) Describe the amperage and voltage rating of the service, the location of main disconnects and sub panels, the wiring methods; and
 
        3) Report on the presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring and on the absence of smoke detectors.
 
     l) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the heating system is inspected, the home inspector shall:
 
        1) Inspect the installed heating equipment, the vent systems, flues, and chimneys; and
 
        2) Describe the energy source, the heating method by its distinguishing characteristics.
 
     m) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the cooling system is inspected, the home inspector shall:
 
        1) inspect the installed central and through-wall cooling equipment; and
 
        2) describe the energy source, the cooling method by its distinguishing characteristics.
 
     n) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the interior is inspected, the home inspector shall inspect the walls, ceilings, and floors, the steps, stairways, and railings, the countertops, installed cabinets, doors and windows, garage doors and garage door operators.
 
     o) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the insulation and ventilation are inspected, the home inspector shall:
 
        1) inspect the insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces, the ventilation of attics and foundation areas, the mechanical ventilation systems; and
 
        2) describe the insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces, the absence of insulation in unfinished spaces at conditioned surfaces.
 
     p) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances are inspected, the home inspector shall:
 
        1) Inspect the system components, the vent systems, flues, and chimneys; and
 
        2) Describe the fireplaces, solid fuel burning appliances, and the chimneys.
 
(Source:  Amended at 27 Ill. Reg. 14180, effective August 15, 2003)

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