Axium SOP

EXTERIOR

General Info:

Go to your Exterior Section and it’s going to come up to your 2 cover pictures. Your 2 cover pictures for the Exterior should be front right corner, where you can see the front of the House and down the right side, and then the back left corner, where you can see the left side and back of the House.

As you walk around, be looking at the Eaves, Ridges, Walls, and everything as a whole, to make sure the house is structurally sound, and note any damage up high. If you get too close to the building, you will miss all the things up high.

We always leave our ladder up, because you are making a show to the client that you actually got on the roof, especially when you drive a small car, they will know you actually have a ladder.

You always want to go in the same order when you are going outside. So if the client comes at the end and they want you to walk around with them, your pictures should be in order so you’re not zig zagging all the way around the property. You will be starting at the Front Door, working Left to Right and just going through everything as you go and not missing anything. Always close all gates behind you so you don’t let any dogs or other pets out of the yard, make sure gates are closed even if there are no pets.

REMEMBER: Before you are done, always check and make sure that everything on screen is green. When you think you are done with the Exterior, scroll through and make sure everything is green. Don’t move on to the next step or section until you are done so you don’t have to waste your time to go back outside and get a picture to complete the section.

Tools Needed: GFCI Receptacle Tester, Gas Detector, Probe Screwdriver, Water Pressure Gauge, Binoculars, Tape Measure.

Cover Pictures Needed: Opposite corners of structure

3.01 Wall Siding, Flashing and Trim Condition

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Inspector will look for any damage to the siding around the property.

Tools Needed

Inspector may need to use probe screwdriver to test for any rot in wood siding. If the screwdriver is in the picture it means deterioration or soft wood.

Pictures Needed

Picture of defect

Procedure

  • Inspector should observe the siding while walking around the property and document any visible damage. Make sure to look up as high as you can see from the ground.
  • Probe test any flat wood trim at the windows and check under seams of windows for soft rotted wood. Also probe test any siding that is close to the ground.

Common Defects

  • Gaps at Intersections.
  • Tuck Pointing Needed.
  • Hairline and regular cracking.
  • Has swollen appearance due to moisture intrusion.
  • Has lifted nails and need tightened.
  • Has signs of repaired damage.
  • Siding that is missing or loose.
  • Siding that is not painted (bare wood).
  • Vinyl siding that has been painted a darker color.
  • Siding that was installed improperly or not according to standards.
  • Firewood or debris should not be stacked next to house siding.
  • Siding in contact with the ground.
  • Is damaged or deteriorated.
  • If wood is deteriorating and it looks like it could be because of bugs or termites, say that there is “possible inspect damage” since we are not a bug or termite inspector. If you are not certified for something always put “possible”. In the report you can put that it is deteriorated and needs to be further evaluated.
    • Is not painted or has peeling paint.

Common Mistakes

  • Not identifying the siding as EIFS Stucco siding (However, this defect does not go in this section, rather in section 3.22 Exterior Wall Covering Material).
  • Not probe testing wood siding around windows and close to the ground.
  • Not checking all of the visible siding from top to bottom.

3.02 Eaves, Soffits and Fascias

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the eaves, soffit and fascia.

Pictures Needed

Picture of defect

Procedure

  • Inspector should observe the eaves, soffits and fascia while walking around the property looking for any visible damage.

Common Defects

  • Has paint that is peeling or damaged in areas.
  • Has bare wood exposed.
  • Gaps between the roof sheathing.
  • Has visible moisture damage.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the entire property for damage at the eaves, soffits and fascia.
  • Making sure that gutters are secured properly to the home.

3.03 Doors

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the exterior doors.

Pictures Needed

Picture of defect

Procedure

  • Inspector should test every exterior door (starting at the front) by opening and closing it. Should check to make sure that it operates smoothly and is able to lock properly. Step on the inside of the door, operate the lock and check the deadbolts to make sure that it is locking properly.
  • Check to make sure it latches properly and that everything is aligned and not rubbing.
Check glass sliding doors and screen doors for proper operation. Check screen for any rips or tears. A very common defect on exterior glass sliding doors is that they do not lock, so double and triple check the locks.
  • Inspector should check weather stripping and make sure there is no daylight coming through a closed door. Run hand around the door to check for this.

Common Defects

  • Door having damage at panels, locks, handles, and weather stripping.
  • Daylight coming through a closed door.
  • Door rubbing at the floor, jamb, or the top during operation.
  • Glass being broken, cloudy, cracked, or loose.
  • Hinges being loose or damaged.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking for weather stripping and daylight from the inside while door is closed.
  • Not checking to make sure the door locks properly.

3.04 Door Bell

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Inspector will test the door bell for operation by pushing the button and report if it is not operational or visibly broken.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect door bell.

Pictures Needed

Picture of defect

Procedure

  • Inspector should test the door bell by pushing button and inspect for any damage or loose wires.

Common Defects

  • Door bell being inoperable.
  • Door bell missing a button.
  • Door bell having damage or loose wires.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the door bell for operation.

3.05 Fixtures (Exterior)

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Inspector to check all exterior lighting.

Tools Needed

The inspector will require an LED light bulb to test exterior lights if a light bulb is missing.

Pictures Needed

Picture of defect

Procedure

  • Use light switches at the front and rear entry to turn on all accessible exterior lights. Check to make sure the lights are working and are in good condition.

Common Defects

  • Bulbs missing or not working.
  • Light fixture uses a light socket adapter.
  • Unable to find switch to turn on light fixtures.
  • Has a chain that is missing or stuck.
  • Cords hanging by the electrical wiring.
  • Exposed splices and/or electrical conductors.
  • Using an extension cord for permanent wiring and needs its own outlet.
  • Light fixture is damaged, loose, broken, missing, or flickering.
  • Light fixture that is old and rusty.
  • Covers cracked, damaged, or missing.
  • Electrical wires not being covered with conduit.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking all of the lights to see if they are working properly.

3.06 Outlets (Exterior)

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

Tools Needed

Use your GFCI receptacle tester on all accessible exterior outlets and use the reset button on the tester to trip the GFCI. The inspector should have two GFCI outlet testers so they can double check outlets if other tester isn’t working properly or is broken.

Pictures Needed

  • Every accessible outlet should have picture with GFCI tester plugged in
  • Picture of defect
  • If not GFCI protected, take picture with finger or tester next to outlet signifying no GFCI

Procedure

  • Plug GFCI tester into exterior outlets and use the reset button to trip the outlet. If all the electrical outlets outside are not working, that should tell you there could be a GFCI outlet tripped somewhere or not resetting properly. So you just want to make sure you look for double GFCI’s on a circuit.
  • Make sure to trip every GFCI outlet that is accessible and document in the report by taking a picture of the GFCI receptacle tester plugged into the outlet with the proper light on. All exterior outlets should be GFCI protected and have weather-proof coverings.
  • If the exterior outlet is not working. the code for that is a finger on the test button of the outlet tester showing that it didn’t trip properly. If there is another defect, like reverse polarity, you would point to the lights of the GFCI tester indicating that it is a defect. If the lights aren’t working properly or the picture doesn’t show the lights on the tester, use both fingers to point to the lights that should be on, indicating the defect.

Common Defects

  • No GFCI protection
  • Damaged or missing faceplate – Damaged or missing weatherproof cover
  • GFCI has multiple on one circuit, not grounded, will not reset, will not trip, or is not present.
  • Open Neutral – Reverse Polarity – Obstructed – Not Working – Not Grounded – Obstructed – Wired to Light.

Common Mistakes

  • Not resetting the GFCI after it has been tripped:

-For an exterior outlet the reset button will either be on the outlet that we are tripping, or it could be anywhere on any of the other Exterior Outlets, so you will continue to look as you go around the Home. It could also be connected to the same circuit as the garage, so the next place you would check is in the garage to reset the exterior outlets.

-In some older homes, it could actually be on a bathroom GFCI outlet, so all the bathrooms, garage and exterior could all be on one GFCI circuit.

-On newer homes, sometimes it could be on a basement circuit, so the garage, the outside and the basement circuit could all be on one circuit, so you would look in the basement for GFCI circuit. The primary place to look in a basement for a GFCI is somewhere around the stairs. The stairs were built at the time the home was built, even if the basement was finished or unfinished, so usually under the stairs, they will put the GFCI circuit.

-The other place that should be checked would be the electrical panel because sometimes the reset will be located in the panel.

-For kitchen outlets the reset button will either be on the outlet that we are tripping, or it could be anywhere on any of the other kitchen outlets, so you will continue to look as you go around the kitchen. The new standard is for there to be two dedicated circuits for GFCI protection in the kitchen. These should not be connected to other GFCI circuits (i.e., bathroom, exterior, garage).

-Inspector should always re-check to make sure any GFCI’s are reset after they test them. Make sure the inspector finds the reset and they do not just leave the property. That’s a number one complaint that we get is that the GFCI is not working or outlet is not working when people come home, after we have been at the property.

3.07 Windows

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Inspector will inspect ALL accessible windows at the property. Operating the windows by opening and closing them will be covered in the Interior Section 7.05.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect windows.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • Inspector should observe all exterior windows checking for damage, proper sealing, and for gaps between the window and the seal. Also check for proper flashing and that the window trim and frame are not damaged from water intrusion.

Common Defects

  • Window that is broken, cracked, warped, deteriorated, loose, missing, or damaged.
  • Missing putty, prep, and paint.
  • Not painted or peeling paint.
  • Window is weathered and/or has a broken thermal seal.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the sealing of the entire window and that there are no gaps.
  • Not checking all windows around the exterior of the property.
  • Not checking for broken thermal seals (condensation). Inspector should also make note of this on the Interior Section with the prewritten statement.

3.08 Window Wells

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Inspector will observe ALL accessible window wells around the property looking for damage, missing covers, and egress issues.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect window wells.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • Inspector should look at every window well around the property and check to make sure it is properly secured to the foundation wall (It can be pulling away or bowing inward). The inspector will also want to take note of any window wells that are missing covers, have debris inside of them, are rusted or deteriorated, and do not have any egress. Window well damage or deterioration will hinder its ability to support the weight of the soil.

Common Defects

  • Window well is damaged or deteriorated, or not secured to the home.
  • No cover on window well – Debris in window well from no cover.

-All window wells should be covered for safety and to prevent water from filling up the window well.

  • No egress or ladder present at a window well.
  • Window with no well.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking to make sure the window well is attached and secured to the home.
  • Not looking far enough down the window well to see if there is any deterioration.
  • Not calling out missing covers or egress on window wells.

3.09 Driveways

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

Tools Needed

The inspector will require a tape measure to show any heaving/settling and tripping hazards.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • The inspector should walk the entire driveway looking for defects. Make sure to check for cracks and can recommend to the client that they can be maintained by filling the cracks with an appropriate sealant (Polyurethane). All flat concrete will crack over time.

Common Defects

  • Common/Moderate/Significant cracking. Also could have settlement cracks.
  • Driveway is deteriorated or has erosion present.
  • Driveway needs gravel or is pitted.
  • Heaving/Settling or spalling is present on the driveway.
  • Driveway slopes toward the house.
  • Steps that are too shallow/tall and handrails that are missing.
  • Uneven, Tripping Hazard

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the entire driveway.
  • Not taking pictures with tape measure when tripping hazards are present.

3.10 Walkways

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

Tools Needed

The inspector will require a tape measure to show any heaving/settling and tripping hazards.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • The inspector should inspect all walkways around the property looking for defects. Make sure to check for cracks and can recommend to the client that they can be maintained by filling the cracks with an appropriate sealant (Polyurethane). All flat concrete will crack over time.
  • The inspector will also check steps, porches, and patios. Check for handrails on any steps that have four or more risers.
  • We DO NOT inspect city sidewalks, only sidewalks on the property.

Common Defects

  • Common/Moderate/Significant cracking.
  • Heaving/Settling Trip or Spalling that is present on a walkway.
  • Common/Moderate/Significant cracking. Also could have settlement cracks.
  • Walkway is deteriorated or has erosion present.
  • Walkway needs gravel or is pitted.
  • Walkway slopes toward the house.
  • Steps that are too shallow/tall and handrails that are missing.
  • Uneven, Tripping Hazard

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking all of the walkways, porches, patios, and steps.
  • Not taking pictures with tape measure when tripping hazards are present. Any walkway raised by 3⁄4 inch is a trip hazard.

3.11 Grading and Drainage

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the grading and drainage.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • Inspector should observe the grading and drainage of the property while walking around the home and make notes of any negative grading or no clearance from grade. The top of the foundation wall should be a minimum of 6” inches above soil. Inadequate clearance may result in moisture intrusion of the structure. Excessively high moisture levels can result in damage to the property structure or materials from decay or deterioration and may result in conditions which encourage the growth of microbes such as mold fungi. Excessive growth of mold fungi can produce high concentrations of mold spores in indoor air, which can cause serious health problems in some people. Door thresholds should be kept sealed and the base of the exterior walls monitored for moisture intrusion, especially during prolonged periods of rain.

Common Defects

  • Negative Grading
  • No Clearance from Grade

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the entire property’s grading and drainage.

3.12 Vegetation

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Evaluating trees are beyond the scope of a general home inspection but the inspector will note any trees that are in contact with the property or vegetation that is overgrown around the property.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspected the vegetation.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • Inspector will observe all vegetation while walking around the property looking specifically for any vegetation that is in contact with the home. Trees should be at least ten feet away from the house. Check for tree limbs that are in contact with the roof or hanging near the roof that should be trimmed. Bushes and shrubs should also be trimmed back from the property.

Common Defects

  • Vines growing on the siding of the home.
  • Tree limbs in contact with or overhanging on the roof.
  • Vegetation overgrown near the building.
  • Large trees being too close to the structure.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking all the vegetation around the property.

3.13 Sprinkler System Supply Line

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Inspector will check the sprinkler system supply line for any damage, cracking, or leaking. The sprinkler system or sprinklers themselves are not included in the scope of a home inspection.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the sprinkler system supply line.

Pictures Needed

No pictures needed

Procedure

  • Inspector should both visibly observe and run their hand over the sprinkler system supply line. The inspector MUST feel the supply line. Should be 18” inches above all sprinkler heads.
  • Check to make sure that anti-siphon valve is present and there is no damage or leaking.
  • We DO NOT activate sprinkler systems, supply lines, or mess with anyone’s timer. If we turn off someone’s timer and their grass dies, they are going to hold us responsible. We also do not turn on sprinkler system supply valves, especially in the wintertime. If they have it insulated or wrapped, we just want to take a picture to show that it was insulated and we couldn’t see it visually. We do not want to unwrap it or take off the insulation.

Common Defects

  • Anti-Siphon damaged, leaking, loose, or missing.
  • Supply line corroded, cracked, damaged, leaking, or removed.

Common Mistakes

  • Inspector not using hand to touch the supply line to check for defects.
  • Inspector turning on/off the sprinkler system.

3.14 Plumbing Water Faucets (Hose Bibs)

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Inspector will test all exterior faucets to make sure that they are working and no defects are present.

Tools Needed

The inspector will need to use the water pressure gauge to inspect the exterior faucets.

Pictures Needed

Picture of Hose bib

Procedure

  • Make sure faucet (hose bib) is properly secured to the wall and sealed at the wall penetration properly.
  • Use water pressure gauge and attach it to exterior faucet securely, and turn faucet on high. Take picture showing that it is working properly or point out any defects. At this point go to the Plumbing Section 9.05 to record the water pressure for the property. Make sure to get a good picture showing the water pressure (40-80 PSI is the acceptable range).
  • Check for leaks at the knob, anti-siphon or supply line when on and under pressure, and check for leaks when it is turned off as well. Also, just check the general condition of the water faucet to see if there is any damage.
  • If all exterior water faucets are damaged and water pressure can not be tested at the exterior, test water pressure at the laundry room hose bibs. If water pressure is too high or too low the inspector should check to see if there is a pressure regulating valve installed above the main water shut off to the home.

Common Defects

  • Faucet being loose inside of wall.
  • Faucet is damaged, does not work, or drips when turned off.
  • Faucet leaks/drips at knob, supply line, anti-siphon, or vacuum breaker.
  • Has stripped threads (from pliers) at the knob.
  • Knob is damaged, loose, missing, or seized.
  • Was winterized.

Common Mistakes

  • Make sure we are turning the water faucets off after we test. If we disconnect a hose, we need to reconnect it after we are done.
-In the wintertime, the policy is to disconnect the hose and leave it disconnected because people should not have hoses connected to their faucets in the winter. This is doing them a favor so their pipes and faucets do not freeze. In the summertime, make sure to reconnect the hose.
  • Removing a cover over the faucet and not replacing it.

3.15 Sump Pump Discharge Pipe

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Inspector should locate the sump pump discharge pipe on the exterior of the home.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the sump pump discharge pipe.

Pictures Needed

Picture of the pipe

Procedure

  • When the inspector locates the sump pump discharge pipe it is important to make sure that it is connected properly and extended at least six feet away from the property.

Common Defects

  • Sump pump discharge pipe is damaged or not connected properly.
  • Sump pump discharge pipe is not extended at least six feet away from the property.
  • Sump pump discharge pipe is connected to interior drain lines.

Common Mistakes

  • Not looking for the discharge pipe if there is a sump pump installed at the home.
  • Not checking to make sure it is extended at least six feet from the home.

3.16 Gas Meter / Main Gas Shut Off/Gas Piping

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector shall inspect all accessible gas piping and the gas meter for leaks. The gas detector must be in the picture that is taken with the gas meter and if any leaks are found.

Tools Needed

Use your gas detector on all gas related items. You must have the meter in the picture or else it is your word against the client’s. Use your nose and if you smell anything, start looking.

Pictures Needed

Picture with gas detector on meter

Procedure

  • Check for gas leaks with gas detector. Perform a gas leak test around the entire unit. Make sure there is a shut-off valve on the unit and make a mental note if it is on or off position. We want to make sure that it is in the ON position. Check that it is properly secured and that there are no gas leaks. If there is a gas leak, make sure to test it with the detector three times (move detector away and allow it to reset) to ensure that there is not a false positive reading. The inspector should also do a fourth test with their nose to confirm a gas leak is present.
  • Make sure the entire unit and the gas detector with the brand name showing pointed at the gas valve are included in the picture. Take a picture of the gas meter with our finger pointing at the gas valve.

Common Defects

  • If slanted or rusted, defective service entry lines should be sealed.
  • Gas meters located on the inside in some older homes is not considered a defect. The city is slowly going around and moving meters to the exterior.
  • Indicated possible gas leaks at meter or gas piping.
  • Loose or leaning, so needs to be leveled and secured.
  • Was corroded, damaged, or kinked.
  • Was installed improperly using soft copper through floor or wall.
  • Was exposed to accidental rupture by vehicle.
  • Was missing or missing a cap.

Common Mistakes

  • Gas detector not present in pictures being taken.
  • Not checking gas leaks three times with the detector and once with nose.
  • Getting a false positive reading.
  • Not checking all visible and accessible gas piping for gas leaks.
  • Checking the wrong gas meter if a condo/townhome complex.

3.18 Vent Covers

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector will check all accessible exterior vent covers to make sure they are secured to the wall and nothing is obstructing the vent.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the vent covers.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • The inspector should check all of the exterior vent covers that are accessible and make sure the flaps are not damaged or stuck open. Be careful when sticking hands up inside the vent cover because there could be insects, animals, or nests present.

Common Defects

  • Vent cover or flap is damaged/missing.
  • Screen is missing or clogged.
  • Flap stuck open or missing.
  • Using PVC for clothes dryer vent ducting is prohibited unless specifically approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) – 0.016-inch thick rigid metal duct, limited to 25 feet in length with deductions for 45-degree and 90-degree elbows (unless dryer mfg. specs allow greater lengths). Flexible metal duct is limited to 8 feet in length and is to be used as a transition duct between the dryer and the rigid metal duct. Flexible duct shall not be concealed within construction.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking under the covers to inspect the flaps.

3.19 Exterior Foundation Wall

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI standards of practice.

Tools Needed

The inspector may require a tape measure or screwdriver to show the thickness of any cracks in the exterior foundation wall.

Pictures Needed

Two pictures of foundation

Procedure

  • The inspector will observe the foundation wall while walking around the property and identify the type of foundation that is present (Brick, Concrete Block, Poured Concrete, and Stone). The inspector will document any cracks in the foundation, even small ones. Make sure to use tape measure to show size of large cracks. You can never take too many pictures of different locations and views.
  • When inspecting a foundation that has brick siding above it, make sure the bricks sit flush on top of the foundation and that there isn’t any bowing of the bricks. If there is brick pulling away from a window, make sure to check the foundation and check for any lateral displacement of the brick (Use level to show displacement).
  • Some older foundation walls have a concrete decorative covering that can cover and conceal defects in the foundation. Make sure to make a comment on this that you are not able to view the foundation due to concrete covering.

Common Defects

  • Vertical, settlement, and horizontal cracking at the foundation wall.
  • Block and mortar are missing.
  • Brick and mortar are loose or missing.
  • Foundation wall had cracks at the corner.
  • Loose or missing mortar.
  • Foundation wall is damaged and/or deteriorated.
  • Shrinkage, stair-step, and structural cracks at foundation wall.
  • Has been repaired or has signs of previous repair. (May have been repaired improperly).
  • Is missing a proper footing.
  • Rock and mortar are missing.
  • Was deteriorated or undercut.

Common Mistakes

  • Not taking multiple pictures of every crack that is found in the foundation.
  • When cracking is severe should always recommend further evaluation by a licensed structural engineer.

3.20 Additional Structures

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Inspection of additional structures is outside the scope of the inspection. The inspector does not inspect any additional buildings or structures including sheds, awnings, fountains, gas grills, hot tubs, ponds, pools, and recreational equipment.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect additional structures.

Pictures Needed

No pictures needed

Procedure

  • Inspector needs to remember to always take a picture of anything we are not inspecting. In the program when you select “Not Inspected” make sure to select the proper item from the drop down menu that is not being inspected (i.e., shed) and take a picture of the shed.

Common Defects

  • N/A

Common Mistakes

  • Not taking picture of the item that is not being inspected.

3.21 Decks and Balconies

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspection of the deck typically includes the following: Attachment to the property (fastening method and flashing), structural integrity, planking (flooring) guardrails, finish coatings, stairs (including treads, risers, attachment to deck, supports and handrail).

Tools Needed

The inspector would need a probe screwdriver to test joists for any rot and a tape measure to check for the proper distances for steps and spindles.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • The inspectors should perform a screwdriver test to make sure the wood isn’t rotting.
  • Check the entire deck for general stability and sturdiness, including support posts and columns.
  • Check to make sure that rails are the proper height – Exterior rails should be 36” inches high from the deck surface to the top of the rail. (Interior rails should be 42” inches high). Decks 30” inches or higher from grade require guardrails. Check all handrails around the deck to ensure that they are not loose and are properly secured. Use tape measure to make sure the gaps in the handrail (spindles) are less than 4” inches.
  • Check to make sure steps are all the same height. The proper height for steps is 7 3/4” but it can range from 4” inches to 7 3⁄4”. The step riser maximum difference is 3/8” to 5/8”.
  • Check to make sure the posts sit on metal fasteners or spacers so the wood does not come in contact with concrete, and absorb water and rot.
  • Check to make sure the screws on the deck are not drywall screws (black and magnetic).
  • Make sure that lag bolts are utilized to connect the deck to the house, need to be galvanized with washer to make sure they are secure. Also make sure that they are not corroded.
  • Check to make sure that there are joist hangers present and are the posts secured at the bottom with metal.
  • Check to make sure the ledger board flashing on the deck is proper (Goes under the siding and over the ledger board of the deck).
  • Check under concrete porches and walkways for any missing dirt that has been washed away by water or dirt that has been dug out from animals. This is a defect that would need to be filled in.

Common Defects

  • Guard/Handrail being loose, missing, having a rail lower than 32” inches, no return at railing ends, or having spindles greater than 4” inches.
  • Steps being damaged, loose, sloped, risers being too high, tread being too short, or having no proper headroom.
  • Joists/ledger board/posts being broken, damaged, loose, missing, spaced too far apart, deteriorated, or not properly supported.
  • Joists/ledger board/posts deteriorated or rusted from moisture intrusion.
  • Loose posts due to settling of the porch.
  • If the deck is old it is NOT a defect to have the post in concrete, but should mention it in the report.
  • Deck floor is warped and could cause a tripping hazard.
  • Deck floor has algae, is deteriorated, has peeling paint, is swollen, or loose.
  • Was not T&G (tongue and groove).
  • There was sagging at support posts.

Common Mistakes

  • Not probing any joists to see if the wood is rotted.
  • Not checking all of the railings to make sure they are properly secured.
  • Not checking to make sure the deck is properly secured and supported.

3.22 Exterior Wall Covering Material

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector needs to make sure they identify the type of siding at the property, especially if it is ASBESTOS or EIFS STUCCO.

Tools Needed

Sometimes an inspector will need to use a screwdriver to help them determine the siding of the property. If it is determined to be EIFS siding one picture to to prove that would be the inspector pushing the butt of the screwdriver into the wall to show whether it is concrete or stucco siding.

Pictures Needed

No pictures needed

Procedure

  • Inspection of composite siding typically includes visual examination of installation practices and condition. Although exterior wall construction may be hidden behind interior and exterior wall coverings, exterior walls of the property could be conventional wood framing covered on the exterior by brick. Brick is typically fastened to the framing using metal fasteners and construction typically includes an air space between framing and brick. The Inspector may be unable to confirm the presence of a moisture-resistant membrane.
  • The most important thing to look for in this section is the presence of EIFS stucco at the property. It is very important to make sure to positively identify EIFS stucco. Not identifying it as EIFS is just as bad as identifying it as EIFS when it is not. We always want to make sure we can positively identify any stucco, as either hardback stucco or synthetic stucco. This could be a $70,000 error if this is missed. Homes can have two different types of stucco around the home so make sure to check all areas. Even new homes can have EIFS stucco around window and trim areas of the house.

– The quick and easy difference is to look for any places on the edges that you may see the mesh behind it, or the Styrofoam. So look for Styrofoam and Mesh with an eighth inch (1/8th”) cover of stucco. Another way to identify EIFS is to press on the stucco with your thumb and feel the Styrofoam give under pressure. Make sure to document this with a picture of your thumb pushing the stucco. If you can not press in on the stucco, then take a picture with the round end of your screwdriver pressing on the stucco to show that it will not press in. If you can not push it with your fingers, then it’s usually hardback and these cracks will indicate hard.

– Then you look up under the edge. Then take at least one picture under the bottom edge to show the layers and type of stucco. Document any areas of damage for positive identification of what is under the stucco layer. We have had Inspectors miss that before. If you call it out either way – If you call it out as Stucco and it’s not and they bring someone out, you’re not going to look good. If you call it out as synthetic and you say it’s good and it’s not, and the client comes back and finds out that it is synthetic, and then says he would not have bought this house if it wasn’t stucco, then you may have to buy a million-dollar house.

– Be very clear in your comments to the extent of the EIFS stucco. If anyone has questions, then send pictures and call during the inspection. In your report, when they call me and ask me if we can positively identify it, you want to have positive identification. So, you get a picture up underneath edge, showing that it has a drip screen and a metal flashing where everything can drain properly.

– Any inspectors that have not taken and passed the EIFS Stucco Course on the InterNACHI site needs to do this in the next 30 days. If Stucco is in contact with the ground, or any siding in contact with the ground, we want to call that out as a defect.

Common Defects

  • EIFS Stucco Siding
  • Asbestos Siding

Common Mistakes

  • Not identifying the correct type of stucco at the property.

3.23 Roof Drainage System – Down Spouts & Extensions

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the roof drainage system.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • As the inspector is walking around the property they should check for proper downspout extensions and any damage to the downspouts. Extensions should extend five feet from the home.

Common Defects

  • Downspouts that are damaged, dented, loose or missing.
  • Downspouts that are not connected properly or are in the secured up position.
  • Downspouts that are missing extensions or parts.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking all of the downspouts around the property.

3.24 Garage Door Exterior

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector will observe the exterior of the garage door for any damage.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the exterior garage door.

Pictures Needed

Picture if defect only

Procedure

  • Inspector will observe the garage door exterior for damage to panels, weather stripping, and that the garage door is sealed properly to the ground while closed.

Common Defects

  • Garage door that is damaged at jamb, glass pane, handle/locking hardware, panels, or weather stripping. Also, weather stripping that is missing.
  • Needs to be sealed with silicone caulking and painted.
  • Not properly sealed or has panels that are not properly aligned.
  • Has paint that is peeling or garage door is weathered.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the weather stripping and making sure that garage door is sealed to the ground to prevent moisture from intruding into the garage.