CREIA Standards of Practice
Residential Standards
Four or Fewer Units

Originally Adopted September 13, 1983
Revisions herein effective July 12, 2003

Download from CREIA the Residential Standards of Practice (PDF: 60K)

Table of Contents
I. Definitions and Scope

II. Standards of Practice

Mandatory Sections:

1. Foundations, Basements, and Under-floor Areas
2. Exteriors
3. Roof Coverings
4. Attic Areas and Roof Framing
5. Plumbing
6. Electrical Systems
7. Heating Systems
8. Central Cooling Systems
9. Fireplaces and Chimneys
10. Building Interior

Optional Sections:

11. Other Built-in Appliances and Systems
12. Pools and Spas
13. Manufactured Homes
III. Limitations, Exceptions and Exclusions

IV. Glossary of Terms

Copyright © 1997-2004 California Real Estate Inspection Association.

ASHI [American Society of Home Inspectors] Standards
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is a not-for-profit professional society established in 1976. Membership in ASHI is voluntary and its members include private, fee-paid home inspectors. ASHI's objectives include promotion of excellence within the profession and continual improvement of its members' inspection services to the public.

Download the complete ASHI Standards of Practice PDF Document here.



Home inspectors are governed by a hierarchy of codes and regulations. The most general are state and federal codes, both criminal and civil, which apply to the general population. Next, California Business and Professions Code, Sections 7195 to 7199 define “home inspector” and itemizes their duties. CREIA’s Standards of Practice add another layer, specifying what is included and excluded in an inspection. Most CREIA inspectors incorporate the CREIA Standards of Practice in their contracts. Finally, CREIA members agree to operate in accordance with the CREIA Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics establishes guidelines for our interactions with our clients, sellers, and agents. These guidelines foster a higher level of public trust of our profession and organization as clients and agents learn they can depend on our clear, ethical behavior. We agree to abide by the Code as a condition of CREIA membership. Adherence to the ethical guidelines is critical in promoting our credibility as individuals and as an organization. In addition to directing our own behavior, we agree to report to CREIA substantial violations we observe by other members.

The Code of Ethics specifically prohibits practices that could create conflicts of interest: reports must be unbiased and objective; we must act in good faith toward our clients and other interested parties; we must not harm the public, discredit CREIA, or our profession; advertising must be honest and accurate; we must not make derogatory statements about other inspectors, or those involved in real estate transactions, including buyers and sellers.

The most common complaints we receive are related to advertising, improper or unauthorized use of the CREIA logo, improper use of the word “certified,” inaccurate listing of credentials, or CREIA offices held. Typically these infractions are inadvertent or relatively minor, and are resolved with a “cease and desist” letter from CREIA, followed by full cooperation of the inspector member. The next most common complaint is from unhappy clients who feel that an inspector did a poor job. These are Standards of Practice issues as opposed to ethics issues, and CREIA simply informs the complainant that this is not an area in which the Ethics Committee has jurisdiction.

All complaints must be in writing, addressed to CREIA’s state office, and must be signed—no anonymous complaints are accepted. Upon receipt by the Executive Director, the complaint is logged, and forwarded to the Ethics Chair for investigation. The Ethics Chair, or one of the other two Ethics Committee members will investigate the situation. Generally a complaint is investigated by an Ethics Committee member who is in a different chapter from the investigator in question to help maintain objectivity. The investigation process includes reviewing the complaint and any evidence and contacting the inspector to hear his version. The investigator then writes a letter which reiterates the complaint, identifies findings, and any recommended disciplinary action. If a situation is complex, a formal hearing may be held at the next state board meeting. In either case, the findings and disciplinary actions are reviewed and ratified by the Board of Directors. Corrective actions could include censure, suspension, or expulsion from CREIA. The inspector involved can accept the ruling, or appeal it. In case of an appeal, the CREIA chair appoints three members to an appeal board: the past board chairperson, plus two other past board members. The appeals board reviews the evidence, the findings, and the actions and makes a decision which is final. The appeal option is rarely used.

Complaint procedures are designed to be as fair and objective as possible. The goal is to encourage all CREIA inspectors to abide by the Code of Ethics, and to assure the public that certain professional and ethical standards can be expected from CREIA members.

All Inspector Members (MCI, CCI and Candidates) of the California Real Estate Inspectors Association (CREIA) are committed to providing professional, high quality service to the public. This code will serve as a basis for ethical decision making in the conduct of professional inspection work. It sets forth principles and rules of conduct enforced by CREIA through specific procedures contained in Section B, Judicial Procedures. This Code of Ethics is applicable to all CREIA members as defined in the CREIA bylaws.

I.* Inspectors shall avoid conflicts of interest or activities that compromise, or appear to compromise, professional independence, objectivity, or inspection integrity.

1. Inspectors shall not inspect properties for compensation in which they have, or expect to have, a financial interest.
2. Inspectors shall avoid inspections under contingent arrangements such as:
nnna) Payment contingent upon closing of escrow.
nnnb) Amount of fees dependent upon inspection findings.
nnnc) Future business referrals depending on inspection findings and/or nnnclosure of escrow.
3. Inspectors shall not compensate, directly or indirectly, realty agents or other parties financially interested in real estate transactions for the referral of inspections, or for inclusion on a list of recommended inspectors, preferred providers, or similar arrangements.
4. Inspectors shall not receive compensation from more than one party per inspection unless agreed to by the client(s).
5. nspectors shall not accept compensation, directly or indirectly, for recommending contractors, services, or products to inspection clients or other parties having an interest in inspected properties.
6. Inspectors shall not repair or physically improve, for compensation, reported deficient systems or components listed in the CREIA Standards of Practice, within one year after each inspection.

II.* Inspectors shall act in good faith toward each client and other interested parties.

1. Inspectors shall perform services and express opinions based on honest conviction and only within their areas of education, training, or experience.
2. Inspectors shall be objective in reporting and not knowingly understate or overstate the significance of reported conditions.
3. Inspectors shall not disclose personal information about the client, seller, tenant, or others involved in the inspection without the approval of the individual(s) affected.
4. Inspectors shall not disclose inspection results without the approval of the client.
5. nspectors will make a reasonable effort to notify client, agent, seller and/or occupant of immediate safety hazards discovered in the course of an inspection.

III. Inspectors shall avoid activities that harm the public, discredit themselves, or reduce public confidence in the profession.

1. nspectors will maintain professional relationships with clients, colleagues and others associated with the inspection without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability.
2. nspectors will refrain from making derogatory comments regarding other inspectors, colleagues or other persons involved in the real estate or home inspection professions.
3. nspector’s advertising, marketing, and promotion of services or qualifications shall not be fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading.
4. Inspectors shall abide by CREIA bylaws and guidelines in the use of the CREIA logo and other CREIA materials.
5. Inspectors will respond promptly to client or CREIA concerns and complaints about an inspection.
6. nspectors shall report substantial and willful violations of this Code to CREIA.

*Special thanks to ASHI for portions of Sections I and II


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