In this state, accessible is defined as having 12" clearance under beams and 18" under joists. This crawl space did not cut it. Post and block construction, no foundation around the perimeter of the home, is still quite common in my area. Now, I would not call it real common but maybe it is the case in 5% of houses -- all older ones.
A problem, I am finding with this construction, often has less to do with the state of the crawl space but more to do with lack of access to determine the condition of the crawl space. While some post and block foundations have aqmple access, the photo below is par for the course. Pulling these sticks of firewood back, reveals a small hole that a person can "peak" inside. Even if the hole was bigger, clearances are so low an inspector still could not crawl the area.
Again, in this state, accessible is defined as having 12" clearance under beams and 18" under joists. This crawl space did not even come close. All an inspector can do, in such a case, is to gtive it a valiant try. That entails putting the camera down there and doing a panorama of photos.
While not even approaching a real inspection, the photos reveal many problems -- no vapor barrier on soil, scrap lumber left all through the crawl space and wood to earth contact. An inspector then knows that there are a number of problems. In this state, despite knowing that basic information, the law says that the inspector must warn the client that lack of access impedes the inspection, is conducive to attracting or concealing wood destroying organisms, and that the crawl space should be made accessible and then given a real inspection by a qualified party.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspections