ASHI Client Bill of Rights puts the focus where it belongs

By Bill Loden, ASHI Ethics Committee chairperson

If the discovery of something beneficial quite by chanceis serendipitous, then the 2008 HBO miniseries "John Adams" proved tobe just that for the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and for clientsof ASHI home inspectors. The miniseries aired soon after I accepted the post ofchair for the Ethics Committee and was in the midst of an intensive study ofthe ASHI Code of Ethics.

The drama detailed our second president's life andaccomplishments from the time of the infamous Boston Massacre to his death onJuly 4, 1826.  While watching theseries that encompassed the signing of the Declaration of Independence andadoption of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, it occurred to methat our clients also have an expectation of certain rights from their ASHIhome inspectors. Those rights are embedded in our Code of Ethics.

A little research revealed other professional organizations had various documents spelling out the rights of their clients and other stakeholders. To create the ASHI Client Bill of Rights, we extracted 10critical elements from the ASHI Code of Ethics. Ten seemed like an appropriate number given the U.S. Constitution Bill of Rights' 10 amendments to the constitution.

While there is nothing new in this ASHI Client Bill ofRights as far as requirements, it creates a shift in perspective. Typically,ASHI has projected its Code of Ethics as an inspector's responsibility to performin a given manner. The ASHI Code, like most others, is a list of rules. Whilethese rules are of the utmost importance to us, there may be littleunderstanding of some of the provisions among the general public, and ourclients may not understand fully how our code protects and serves them.

The Client Bill of Rights shifts the focus from theinspector to the client. Our ethics are no longer something we 'do toourselves' or rules we must follow, but rather a benefit we provide ourclients. This is a significant shift and important distinction in theprofession. Homeowners and homebuyers can now better appreciate the need tohire an ASHI inspector.

Copies of the ASHI Bill of Rights are available from ASHIhome inspectors, and they can be viewed and downloaded from the ASHI Web site.

To download a .pdf version of the ASHI Client Bill of Rights click here.

To find an ASHI home inspector, click here.

Bill Loden

An ASHI member since 1997, Bill Loden chairs the 2008-09ASHI Code of Ethics Committee. He has over 17 years experience in constructionand engineering, and operates Insight Building Inspection in Madison, Ala.

Visit his Web site at www.insight-inspection.net.

Date : 3/20/2009