It will not surprise anyone to know that many interested factions are at work here, doing what they can to try to have rules read and work in a certain way. That is not to be interpreted as a bad thing, many of those groups have good ideas and good intentions. It is essential for all interested parties to be heard.
I wish to comment on a misunderstanding that many people have about the Washington State Home Inspector Licensing Board and our authority. Make no doubt about it, the board will have a major impact on the field. The decisions about Standards of Practice, education, mentoring or field training will be far reaching for years to come.
However, a fair number of people who contact us, or come to the board meetings, do not grasp our role. I have heard people say: "You are the board, you can do anything you want. And we want you to do this." THAT IS NOT TRUE! We do not make ALL the rules. We board members learned quickly that many essential rules were set by the state lawmakers a year back and we cannot tinker with much of that language. However, we are in a position to define and fine-tune some rules and procedures, but we have no authority in other areas.
Let me give two examples. The legislature, in the initial law, stated that training for new home inspectors must be classroom education. There were those who wanted us to include in that definition online or video training. The state had the Attorney General's office look at that one and the decision came back -- no! The legislature said "classroom" in the law and that has been defined by the AG as just what it says -- instructor running the class, live basically. So that rule will be that way unless the lawmakers want to change it. On the other hand, in another part of the law, regarding field training, the legislature said that new inspectors must have "up to" 40 hours of field training. Well, that was an oversight. Even one hour is "up to" 40 hours. They wanted more and not less. That was the intent so, as the board, we were able to define field training as being 40 hours minimum.
This process keeps plugging along and any interested parties should plan to attend the board meeting on January 6. We will will be wrangling out the rules regarding the new standards of practice. That meeting will start at 9:30AM at the Doubletree Inn in Seatac.
To see additional information on home inspector licensing in the state, click on George's head.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspections