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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
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Virginia Board for Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors
chapter
Home Inspector Licensing Regulations [18 VAC 15 ‑ 40]

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6/28/19  5:55 am
Commenter: Tim Gardner

Definition of a defect
 

The current Standard Of Practice does not define the term "Defect"

"18VAC15-40-130. Home inspection report.

B. In conducting a home inspection and reporting its findings, the home inspector, at a minimum, shall inspect the condition of and shall describe in writing the composition or characteristics of the following readily accessible components and readily observable defects, except as may be limited in the home inspection contract agreement:"

This has led to much confusion in the industry. The Roanoke Valley Association Realtors have subsequently redefined the scope of a home inspection thusly:

"Paragraph (A) Home Inspection
Of all the revisions, the changes to the scope and purpose of the Home lnspection is the most significant. The 2A17 lA (Inspection Addendum) defines the purpose is to "discovering material defects." lt defines "material defects" as "those items that could affect the decision of a reasonable person to purchase the Property" and goes on to carve out "cosmetic items, matters of preference or grandfathered systems or features that are properly functioning that would not comply with current building codes if constructed or installed today." ln addition, it states, " that a structural element, system or subsystem is near, at or beyond its normal useful life is not, by itself, a material defect." Lastly, it limits the inspection to the "primary dwelling."
The 2019 lA changes the purpose of the home inspection from "discovering material defects" to "discover defects." lt then defines "defects" as "any of the following: (i) that the plumbing (including well, well pump and septic system, if any), heating, air conditioning (if any), electrical system and appliances are not in safe working order; (ii) there are structural defects; and {iii) that the roof leaks." The definition leaves intact all the items carved out in the 2017 lA and, again, limits the inspection to the "primary dwelling."

Many members will recall this definition from years ago, prior to the introduction to the lA
back in 2010. Further, this definition seeks to remove debate over the scope of the Home
lnspection and items on a repair amendment. Much discussion was had prior to 2010 and will likely resurface regarding the definition of "structural defect." The Code of Virginia section 555-70.1" lmplied warranties on new homes states, "The term "structural defects," as used in this section, shall mean a defect or defects that reduce the stability or safety of the
structure below accepted standards or that restrict the normal use thereof." The Committee is not defining "structural defects" but felt 555-70.1 was a reasonable definition."

I suggest that a defect be defined by 18VAC15-40-10 as "A specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value or function of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people.  The fact that a system or component is near, at, or beyond the end of its normal, useful life is not, in itself, a material defect."

 

Respectfully, Tim Gardner