ASHI’s journey toward accreditation has lead to the implementation of a new concept in the way we fill our committee positions. Placing a member of the general public on what will be the Certification Committee is a requirement of acceptance by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). A public member, in our case, is a non-ASHI member, non-home inspector, who is familiar with the service we provide, but not a part of any directly related profession. Including a public member on a committee will be a first for ASHI.WHY HAVE A PUBLIC MEMBER
While the presence of a public member is new to ASHI, the concept has been used for decades by the boards and committees of responsible foundations, associations and credentialing agencies. The origin of board models is based on the perception by a group of professionals that the operation of an entity could best be accomplished only by a group from within that organization. Peers would keep a watchful eye on peers in this self-regulatory framework and the layman would have no role. As board development evolved, it found a need and benefit to having representatives of consumers, public advocates or persons serving as sounding boards for their professional counterparts included as members. Public interest and participation are now considered vital ingredients in the democratic process of creating and maintaining the programs of a responsible organization.
SELECTING A PUBLIC MEMBER
The Certification Committee will have the task of recruiting and appointing a public member within the parameters of our policies and procedures and the best practice standards of the NCCA. The general approach is to seek potential members from the affected population. This would include persons who have used the services of home inspectors and have a basic knowledge of the profession. Other sources are interviewing potential members with a specific expertise needed in an upcoming project or to address a particular issue. The Certification Committee has a two-year term for public members. This allows for flexibility of input in the multifaceted needs of certification.PUBLIC INPUT BENEFITS ASHI
The inclusion of a public member sends a strong message about the quality and dedication of ASHI. Other associations and foundations in the private sector, and government agencies and regulatory bodies, recognize the value of including a public member. Also, public-member input is appreciated by consumers.
David Swankin, president of the Citizen Advocacy Center in Washington, D.C., comments, “Homebuyers in our current economic environment do not trust their Realtors®, appraisers, lenders or insurance companies. The inspector is the only professional beholden solely to them as a client in the homebuying process. Having a public member reinforces both the inspector and ASHI’s concern for their welfare.”
Mr. Swankin is typical of the modern homebuyer in that he researched service providers and, as a result, decided to use only ASHI inspectors in each of his home purchases.
Further, there is a degree of responsibility that comes with the creation of programs that address the needs of the general public. ASHI Certified Home Inspectors play a major role in the safety of families and their home-investment dollar. Having public input in our certification program demonstrates ASHI’s commitment to integrity and excellence in the home inspection profession.
As a second-year ASHI director, Brendan Ryan is serving as the Certification Task Force chair. For background information on certification, see his article, “ASHI Certified Inspector … REALLY” in the December 2008 ASHI Reporter.