CREIA Standards of Practice

Residential Standards – Four or Fewer Units

  • Originally Adopted September 13, 1983
  • Revised November 1, 1996
  • Revised April 15, 1999
  • Revised July 12, 2003
  • Revised April 15, 2006 — Effective July 1, 2006
  • Revised August 1, 2012

Note: Italicized words in this document are defined in the Glossary of Terms.

Table of Contents

  1. Definitions and Scope
  2. Standards of Practice
  3. Foundation, Basement, and Under-floor Areas
    2. Exterior
    3. Roof Covering
    4. Attic Areas and Roof Framing
    5. Plumbing
    6. Electrical
    7. Heating and Cooling
    8. Fireplaces and Chimneys
    9. Building Interior

III. Limitations, Exceptions and Exclusions

  1. Glossary of Terms
  2. Definitions and Scope

These Standards of Practice provide guidelines for a real estate inspection and define certain terms relating to these inspections. Italicized words in these Standards are defined in Part IV, Glossary of Terms.

  1. A real estate inspection is a survey and basic operation of the systems and components of a building which can be reached, entered, or viewed without difficulty, moving obstructions, or requiring any action which may result in damage to the property or personal injury to the Inspector. The purpose of the inspection is to provide the Client with information regarding the general condition of the building(s). Cosmetic and aesthetic conditions shall not be considered.
    B. A real estate inspection report provides written documentation of material defects discovered in the inspected building’s systems and components which, in the opinion of the Inspector, are safety hazards, are not functioning properly, or appear to be at the ends of their service lives. The report may include the Inspector’s recommendations for correction or further evaluation.
    C. Inspections performed in accordance with these Standards of Practice are not technically exhaustive and shall apply to the primary building and its associated primary parking structure.
  2. Standards of Practice

A real estate inspection includes the readily accessible systems and components or a representative number of multiple similar components listed in Sections 1 through 9 subject to the limitations, exceptions, and exclusions in Part III.

  1. Foundation, Basement, and Under-floor Areas
  2. Items to be inspected:
  3. Foundation system
  4. Floor framing system
  5. Under-floor ventilation
  6. Foundation anchoring and cripple wall bracing
  7. Wood separation from soil
  8. Insulation
  9. The inspector is not required to:
  10. Determine size, spacing, location, or adequacy of foundation bolting/bracing components or reinforcing systems
  11. Determine the composition or energy rating of insulation materials
  12. Exterior
  13. Items to be inspected:
  14. Surface grade directly adjacent to the buildings
  15. Doors and windows
  16. Attached decks, porches, patios, balconies, stairways, and their enclosures, handrails and guardrails.
  17. Wall cladding and trim
  18. Portions of walkways and driveways that are adjacent to the buildings
  19. The inspector is not required to:
  20. Inspect door or window screens, shutters, awnings, or security bars
  21. Inspect fences or gates or operate automated door or gate openers or their safety devices
  22. Use a ladder to inspect systems or components
  23. Roof Covering
  24. Items to be inspected:
  25. Covering
  26. Drainage
  27. Flashings
  28. Penetrations
  29. Skylights
  30. The inspector is not required to:
  31. Walk on the roof surface if in the opinion of the Inspector there is risk of damage or a hazard to the Inspector
  32. Warrant or certify that roof systems, coverings, or components are free from leakage
  33. Attic Areas and Roof Framing
  34. Items to be inspected:
  35. Framing
  36. Ventilation
  37. Insulation
  38. The inspector is not required to:
  39. Inspect mechanical attic ventilation systems or components
  40. Determine the composition or energy rating of insulation materials
  41. Plumbing
  42. Items to be inspected:
  43. Water supply piping
  44. Drain, waste, and vent piping
  45. Faucets and fixtures
  46. Fuel gas piping
  47. Water heaters
  48. Functional flow and functional drainage
  49. The inspector is not required to:
  50. Fill any fixture with water, inspect overflow drains or drain-stops, or evaluate backflow devices, waste ejectors, sump pumps, or drain line cleanouts
  51. Inspect or evaluate water temperature balancing devices, temperature fluctuation, time to obtain hot water, water circulation, or solar heating systems or components
  52. Inspect whirlpool baths, steam showers, or sauna systems or components
  53. Inspect fuel tanks or determine if the fuel gas system is free of leaks
  54. Inspect wells or water treatment systems
  55. Electrical
  56. Items to be inspected:
  57. Service equipment
  58. Electrical panels
  59. Circuit wiring
  60. Switches, receptacles, outlets, and lighting fixtures
  61. The inspector is not required to:
  62. Operate circuit breakers or circuit interrupters
  63. Remove cover plates
  64. Inspect de-icing systems or components
  65. Inspect private or emergency electrical supply systems or components
  66. Heating and Cooling
  67. Items to be inspected:
  68. Heating equipment
  69. Central cooling equipment
  70. Energy source and connections
  71. Combustion air and exhaust vent systems
  72. Condensate drainage
  73. Conditioned air distribution systems
  74. The inspector is not required to:
  75. Inspect heat exchangers or electric heating elements
  76. Inspect non-central air conditioning units or evaporative coolers
  77. Inspect radiant, solar, hydronic, or geothermal systems or components
  78. Determine volume, uniformity, temperature, airflow, balance, or leakage of any air distribution system
  79. Inspect electronic air filtering or humidity control systems or components
  80. Fireplaces and Chimneys
  81. Items to be inspected:
  82. Chimney exterior
  83. Spark arrestor
  84. Firebox
  85. Damper
  86. Hearth extension
  87. The inspector is not required to:
  88. Inspect chimney interiors
  89. Inspect fireplace inserts, seals, or gaskets
  90. Operate any fireplace or determine if a fireplace can be safely used
  91. Building Interior
  92. Items to be inspected:
  93. Walls, ceilings, and floors
  94. Doors and windows
  95. Stairways, handrails, and guardrails
  96. Permanently installed cabinets
  97. Permanently installed cook-tops, mechanical range vents, ovens, dishwashers, and food waste disposals
  98. Absence of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  99. Vehicle doors and openers
  100. The inspector is not required to:
  101. Inspect window, door, or floor coverings
  102. Determine whether a building is secure from unauthorized entry
  103. Operate, test or determine the type of smoke or carbon monoxide alarms or test vehicle door safety devices
  104. Use a ladder to inspect systems or components

III. Limitations, Exceptions and Exclusions

  1. The following are excluded from a real estate inspection:
  2. Systems or components of a building, or portions thereof, which are not readily accessible, not permanently installed, or not inspected due to circumstances beyond the control of the Inspector or which the Client has agreed or specified are not to be inspected
  3. Site improvements or amenities, including, but not limited to; accessory buildings, fences, planters, landscaping, irrigation, swimming pools, spas, ponds, waterfalls, fountains or their components or accessories
  4. Auxiliary features of appliances beyond the appliance’s basic function
  5. Systems or components, or portions thereof, which are under ground, under water, or where the Inspector must come into contact with water
  6. Common areas as defined in California Civil Code section 1351, et seq., and any dwelling unit systems or components located in common areas
  7. Determining compliance with manufacturers’ installation guidelines or specifications, building codes, accessibility standards, conservation or energy standards, regulations, ordinances, covenants, or other restrictions
  8. Determining adequacy, efficiency, suitability, quality, age, or remaining life of any building, system, or component, or marketability or advisability of purchase
  9. Structural, architectural, geological, environmental, hydrological, land surveying, or soils- related examinations
  10. Acoustical or other nuisance characteristics of any system or component of a building, complex, adjoining property, or neighborhood
  11. Conditions related to animals, insects, or other organisms, including fungus and mold, and any hazardous, illegal, or controlled substance, or the damage or health risks arising there from
  12. Risks associated with events or conditions of nature including, but not limited to; geological, seismic, wildfire, and flood
  13. Water testing any building, system, or component or determine leakage in shower pans, pools, spas, or any body of water
  14. Determining the integrity of hermetic seals at multi-pane glazing
  15. Differentiating between original construction or subsequent additions or modifications
  16. Reviewing information from any third-party, including but not limited to; product defects, recalls, or similar notices
  17. Specifying repairs/replacement procedures or estimating cost to correct
  18. Communication, computer, security, or low-voltage systems and remote, timer, sensor, or similarly controlled systems or components
  19. Fire extinguishing and suppression systems and components or determining fire resistive qualities of materials or assemblies
  20. Elevators, lifts, and dumbwaiters
  21. Lighting pilot lights or activating or operating any system, component, or appliance that is shut down, unsafe to operate, or does not respond to normal user controls
  22. Operating shutoff valves or shutting down any system or component
  23. Dismantling any system, structure, or component or removing access panels other than those provided for homeowner maintenance
  24. The Inspector may, at his or her discretion:
  25. Inspect any building, system, component, appliance, or improvement not included or otherwise excluded by these Standards of Practice. Any such inspection shall comply with all other provisions of these Standards.
  26. Include photographs in the written report or take photographs for Inspector’s reference without inclusion in the written report. Photographs may not be used in lieu of written documentation.

IV – Glossary of Terms

Note: All definitions apply to derivatives of these terms when italicized in the text.

  • Appliance: An item such as an oven, dishwasher, heater, etc. which performs a specific function
  • Building: The subject of the inspection and its primary parking structure
  • Component: A part of a system, appliance, fixture, or device
  • Condition: Conspicuous state of being
  • Determine: Arrive at an opinion or conclusion pursuant to a real estate inspection 
  • Device: A component designed to perform a particular task or function 
  • Fixture: A plumbing or electrical component with a fixed position and function 
  • Function: The normal and characteristic purpose or action of a system, component, or device
  • Functional Drainage: The ability to empty a plumbing fixture in a reasonable time
  • Functional Flow: The flow of the water supply at the highest and farthest fixture from the building supply shutoff valve when another fixture is used simultaneously
  • Inspect: Refer to Part I, “Definition and Scope”, Paragraph A
  • Inspector: One who performs a real estate inspection 
  • Normal User Control: Switch or other device that activates a system or component and is provided for use by an occupant of a building
  • Operate: Cause a system, appliance, fixture, or device to function using normal user controls
  • Permanently Installed: Fixed in place, e.g. screwed, bolted, nailed, or glued
  • Primary Building: A building that an Inspector has agreed to inspect
  • Primary Parking Structure: A building for the purpose of vehicle storage associated with the primary building
  • Readily Accessible: Can be reached, entered, or viewed without difficulty, moving obstructions, or requiring any action which may harm persons or property
  • Real Estate Inspection: Refer to Part I, “Definitions and Scope”, Paragraph A
  • Representative Number: Example, an average of one component per area for multiple similar components such as windows, doors, and electrical outlets
  • Safety Hazard: A condition that could result in significant physical injury
  • Shut Down: Disconnected or turned off in a way so as not to respond to normal user controls
  • System: An assemblage of various components designed to function as a whole
  • Technically Exhaustive: Examination beyond the scope of a real estate inspection, which may require disassembly, specialized knowledge, special equipment, measuring, calculating, quantifying, testing, exploratory probing, research, or analysis

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