General Limitations and Exclusions

American Institute of Inspectors Standards of Practice


3.1 General limitations:

  • Inspections performed in accordance with these Standards are for a limited visual inspection of the readily accessible components of the property, only, and are NOT contractually intended to be technically exhaustive.
  • Inspections performed cannot identify concealed conditions or latent defects.

3.2 General exclusions:

  • The inspector IS NOT REQUIRED TO report on:
  1. The causes of any condition found that may adversely affect the function or operation of a system or component. Such a notification is outside the scope of this inspection and the Standards.
  2. The suitability/desirability of the property for any usage. The inspector is not an expert on land use, zoning and the usage of the property.
  3. Compliance or non-compliance with governing codes, ordinances restrictive covenants, and statutes including, but not limited to local building codes, zoning and land use.
  4. The market value of the property or its marketability.
  5. The advisability or inadvisability of purchase of the property.
  6. Any system, component or structure that was not observed, except to report that it was not observed and why.
  7. Any system, component or structure not contained in a limited visual inspection of the property. If the inspector limits the inspection to specific systems, components or structures, the inspector shall confirm in the report that the inspection has been limited to such individual specific systems, components and structures of the property.
  8. Any items that are concealed or not readily accessible.
  9. The life expectancy, warranties or guarantees of any kind for any component or system.
  10. The methods, materials, or costs of corrections for any condition noted.
  11. The presence or absence of wood destroying organisms unless specifically contracted for such service, which must follow state licensing and/or training requirements.
  12. Cosmetic or decorative items, underground items, items not permanently installed or detached structures.
  13. Any systems, components or structures not specifically identified in these Standards or by a separate contract with an individual inspector or inspection company.
  • The inspector will NOT:
  1. Offer or perform any act or service contrary to law.
  2. Offer or perform engineering, architectural services, plumbing, electrical or any other job function (professional trade) on inspected property.
  3. Offer guarantees or warranties of any kind other than as set forth in the Standards.
  4. Determine the causes for possible repairs, offer to make repairs or estimates of cost for repairs, methods or materials to be used for repairs on any property inspected by he/she or their company.
  5. Calculate the strength, adequacy, or efficiency of any system or component.
  6. Enter any area or perform any procedure that may damage the property or its components or be dangerous to the inspector or other persons.
  7. Operate any system or component that is shut down or otherwise inoperable using normal operational controls.
  8. Enter into under-floor crawl spaces or into attics that are not readily accessible or, in the judgment of the inspector, may be hazardous to the inspectors health/safety.
  9. Operate any shut-off valve.
  10. Determine the existence of any hidden deficiencies or defects.
  11. Determine the effectiveness of system controls or predict future conditions, operating costs or failure of components.
  12. Operate any system or component that does not respond to normal operating controls.
  13. Dismantle or perform any destructive examination, test or analysis of any system, component or structure.
  14. Move suspended ceiling tiles, personal items, furniture, equipment, plant life, soil, snow, ice, debris, or disturb insulation that obstructs access or visibility.
  15. Remove access panels and covers that are not readily detachable without tools, except electrical main distribution and sub-panels (sub-panels only in areas that are inspected).
  16. Enter into any area or perform any procedure that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property or its system components.
  17. Obtain or review information from any third party or research the history of the property (unless specifically contracted for that service).
  18. Make any determination about damage caused to the structure or any systems by termites and/or any other insects, or organisms, if contradictory to state law. However, any findings that tend to indicate that termites or other insects may have infested the inspected property shall be described with recommendations that further evaluation by an appropriate professional be obtained. [Inspectors who are not State licensed pest inspectors shall comply with any and all State regulations that may apply to Pest Reports.]
  19. Evaluate the acoustical or other nuisance characteristics of the property its components, complex, adjoining property or neighborhood
  20. Determine the presence or absence of any suspected hazardous substance or material including, but not limited to: asbestos, odors, molds, fungi, mildew, sick home syndrome, electromagnetic fields, fiberglass, formaldehyde, hazardous wastes, lead, radon, soils contamination, underground storage tank contamination or quality of drinking water or waste disposal, etc. Consideration of any hazardous substance or material may require additional specialized training, certification, experience and/or State licensing. Inspectors shall comply with any and all State regulations that may apply to specialized inspections and are to contract them separately and specifically. This does not prevent the inspector from reporting an observed presence or conditions that requires further evaluation by an appropriate professional.
  21. Operate or evaluate any low voltage electrical (less than 120-volt line voltage) system or component (except doorbell if installed).
  22. Operate or evaluate any security, monitoring or fire suppressant system on the property (Components of monitoring systems, such as smoke alarms, will not be tested with normal controls if connected to an external central monitoring agency unless there is confirmation that the monitoring system has been deactivated.)
  23. Examine any fire resistant aspects of the property.
  24. Examine every individual component of a system or structure where representative samples are only available and accessible; such as, doors, windows, switches, outlets, etc.
  25. Determine the age of construction or installation of any system, component or structure or differentiate between original construction and modifications and upgrades.

Limitations and exclusions specific to individual systems are listed in the following sections.

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