Dear Barry,

Whenever you recommend home inspection associations, you specify the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), or a recognized state association such as CREIA. While those organizations are well-known, none can claim to be the top organization in the home inspection industry.

NACHI, the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, is number one. With nearly 8,000 members in the United States and Canada, it is the premier association in the home inspection industry. How about giving NACHI some recognition? –Jerry

Dear Jerry,

Although NACHI appears to have the largest number of member inspectors, it is not recognized as “number one” by the majority of established, highly experienced home inspectors. For example, in the county where I reside, there are approximately 30 home inspectors. Of these, only five are listed as members on the NACHI Web site, and all of these five are relatively new inspectors, with little experience in the profession. This means that a home buyer who uses the NACHI Web site to find an inspector in this area would have no access to a highly experienced inspector.

If, on the other hand, you would check the Web site of the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA), you would find a list of 23 inspectors, including the most experienced professionals in the area.

If you visited the ASHI Web site, you’d find 12 members, including several with 10 to 20 years in the business.

At the NAHI site, you would find one local member, but that inspector has nearly 20 years of experience. On the basis of these facts, which Web site would you recommend to a client who was hoping to find a highly qualified home inspector? Would it be ASHI, NAHI, CREIA or NACHI?

Dear Barry,

I’m a Realtor and am having a disagreement with another agent. He insists that home inspectors routinely walk on concrete tile roofs. A home inspector I know says that tile roofs should not be walked on by anyone except a licensed roofing contractor. Who is right, and what is the standard for inspecting tile roofs? –Karen

Dear Karen,

There is no rule that mandates whether home inspectors should or should not walk on tile roofs. But the standards of practice of ASHI (the American Society of Home Inspectors) and NAHI (the National Association of Home Inspectors) exclude walking on tile roofs as an obligation for home inspectors. The reason for this exclusion is to relieve inspectors from the liability imposed by broken tiles, whether or not those tiles were broken by the inspector.

Actually, it is not difficult to walk on a concrete tile roof without causing damage, but sometimes, regardless of care and caution, damage does occur. And home inspectors who break tiles are liable for the costs of repair or replacement. The other risk assumed when inspectors walk on tiles is the chance of being blamed for tiles that were already broken. This has happened to some inspectors and is one of the reasons that most inspectors refuse to walk on roof tiles.

Tile roofs are usually inspected by placing a ladder against the eaves at various places around the building. When the eaves are too high for the inspector’s ladder, binoculars are sometimes used. Walking on a tile roof admittedly enables a more thorough inspection, but unfortunately, liability pressures have had an adverse effect on the conduct of tile roof inspections.

To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at


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