Founding of ASHI
Compared with many other professions in the United States, home inspection is relatively young. In 1976, a group of visionary home inspectors with the common goal of building consumer awareness and enhancing the professionalism of their field established the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). The founding of ASHI was paramount, a key factor that helped home inspection establish itself as a legitimate profession during this time.
Prior to ASHI, when someone was buying a house, they would often ask a relative or a friend with a background in the building trades or engineering to take a look and quickly assess their prospective home on their behalf. These "amateur" home inspections were been performed as early as the 1940's, though they were by not necessarily reliable nor the best source of information. Not until the late 1960's was home inspection being pursued as a formal occupation. In the early 1970's, more and more individuals possessing these technical backgrounds saw the opportunity that home inspection offered and began to practice home inspection as their primary occupation. As the home inspection industry was starting to take hold, it became clear that action needed to take place to not only help define home inspection, but also to create awareness for the importance of this consultation service. Ron Passaro, one of these early pioneers of home inspection from Connecticut, began to reach out to the other home inspectors throughout the East Coast. What he proposed was to meet up and discuss ways in which to create structure and legitimacy to this profession.
The meeting was held in Passaro's office at Rutgers University and attracted inspectors from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The group agreed that forming an organization would provide them the necessary foundation to evolve the practice of home inspection into a fully realized profession. As the meeting wrapped up, it was decided that name of the organization would be the "Tri-State Association of Home Inspectors," and next step for these inspectors would return home to enlist local inspectors to its cause. They motivated new members using the simple message that without an organization behind them, the American public may not accept home inspectors as professionals. As more members joined, expanding further across the country the name of the organization was updated to "American Society of Home Inspectors," to reflect the evolution into a national organization.
At this stage, ASHI had members representing about 60 different home inspection companies. These members who joined ASHI prior to April 1977 were appointed charter level membership, and resumed their objective of laying the groundwork for the organization. For this undertaking, the members divided themselves into committees that would focus on a specific task such as internal operations, standardizing the practice of home inspection, and educating the public and lawmakers about this budding profession.