Since we bring up the Illinois Standards of Practice (SOPs) so frequently, here's a handy copy for your review and continued education:
TITLE 68: PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS CHAPTER VIII: DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION PART 1410 HOME INSPECTOR LICENSE ACT SECTION 1410.200 STANDARDS OF PRACTICE
Section 1410.200 Standards of Practice
a) The following are terms commonly used in the writing of home inspection reports.
1) Alarm Systems: Warning devices, installed or free-standing, including but not limited to: carbon monoxide detectors, flue gas and other spillage detectors, security equipment, ejector pumps and smoke alarms.
2) Automatic Safety Controls: Devices designed and installed to protect systems and components from unsafe conditions.
3) Client: A person or person who engages or seeks to engage the services of a home inspector for an inspection assignment.
4) Component: A part of a system.
5) Decorative: Ornamental; not required for the operation of the essential systems and components of a home.
6) Describe: To report a system or component by its type or other observed, significant characteristics to distinguish it from other systems or components.
7) Dismantle: To take apart or remove any component, device or piece of equipment that would not be taken apart or removed by a homeowner in the course of normal and routine home owner maintenance.
8) Further Evaluation: Examination and analysis by a qualified professional, tradesperson or service technician beyond that provided by the home inspection.
9) Home Inspection: As defined in Section 1-10 of the Act.
10) Home Inspection Report: A written evaluation prepared and issued by a home inspector, upon completion of a home inspection, that meets the standards of practice established by this Subpart.
11) Household Appliances: Kitchen, laundry and similar appliances, whether installed or free-standing.
12) Inspect: To visually examine readily accessible systems and components of a building in accordance with this Subpart, using normal operating controls and opening readily accessible access panels.
13) Installed: Attached in such a manner that removal requires tools.
14) Normal Operating Controls: Devices such as, but not limited to, thermostats, switches or faucets intended to be operated by the homeowner.
15) Readily Accessible: Available for visual inspection without requiring moving of personal property, dismantling, destructive measures, or any action that will likely involve risk to persons or property.
16) Readily Operable Access Panel: A panel provided for homeowner inspection and maintenance that is within normal reach, can be removed by one person, and is not sealed in place.
17) Recreational Facilities: Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, and exercise, entertainment, athletic, playground or other similar equipment and associated accessories.
18) Report: To communicate in writing.
19) Representative Number: One component per room for multiple similar interior components, such as windows, doors and electric outlets, and one component on each side of the building for multiple similar exterior components.
20) Roof Drainage Systems: Components used to carry water off a roof and away from a building.
21) Significantly Deficient: Unsafe or not functioning.
22) Shut Down: A state in which a system or component cannot be operated by normal controls.
23) Solid Fuel Burning Appliances: A hearth and fire chamber or similar prepared place in which a fire may be built and that is built in conjunction with a chimney; or a listed assembly of a fire chamber, its chimney and related factory-made parts designed for unit assembly without requiring field construction.
24) Structural Component: A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads).
25) System: A combination of interacting or interdependent components, assembled to carry out one or more functions.
26) Technically Exhaustive Inspection: An investigation that involves dismantling or the extensive use of advance techniques, measurements, instruments, testing, calculations or other means.
27) Under-floor Crawl Space: The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the floor.
28) Unsafe: A condition in a system or component that poses a significant risk of personal injury or property damage during normal, day-to-day use. The risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation or a change in accepted residential construction standards.
29) Wiring Methods: Includes identification of electrical conductors or wires such as, but not limited to, non-metallic sheathed cable (Romex), armored cable (BX) or knob and tube.
b) This Subpart definesthe practice of home inspection in the State of Illinois and:
1) Provides home inspection guidelines; and
2) Defines certain terms relating to home inspections.
c) The purpose of this Subpart is to establish a minimum and uniform standard for licensed home inspectors to provide the client with information regarding the condition of the systems and components of the home as inspected at the time of the home inspection. The home inspectors shall observe readily visible and accessible installed systems and components listed as part of a home inspection, unless the system or component is limited and/or excluded under the signed written agreement with the client. d) Home inspectors or home inspector entities shall enter into a written agreement with the client or duly authorized representative prior to the home inspection that includes at a minimum:
1) The purpose of the inspection;
2) The date of the inspection;
3) The name, address and license numbers of the home inspector and home inspector entity;
4) The fee for services performed;
5) A statement that the inspection will be performed in accordance with these Standards;
6) A list of the systems and components to be inspected;
7) Limitations or exclusions of systems or components being inspected; and
8) The signature of the client or his or her duly authorized representative, and the signature of the home inspector or the duly authorized representative of a home inspector entity.
e) At the conclusion of the home inspection, a home inspector shall submit a written report, which can be in electronic format (including electronic signature), to the client or duly authorized representative within 2 business days (Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays) that includes the home inspector's signature and license number and license expiration date and shall:
1) Describe the systems and components that were inspected;
2) Report on those systems and components inspected that, in the opinion of the inspector, are significantly deficient including:
A) A reason why, if not self evident, the system or component is significantly deficient. B) Whether the reported deficiency should be corrected or monitored. C) Disclosure of anysystems or componentsdesignated for inspection that were present at the time of the home inspection but were not inspected with a reason why they were not inspected. f) These Standards are not intended to limit home inspectors from:
1) Including other inspection services, systems or components in addition to those defined in these Standards;
2) Specifying repairs, provided the inspector is appropriately qualified and willing to do so; and
3) Excluding systems and components from the inspection if the exclusion is specified in the written agreement.
g) When, pursuant to written agreement with a client, the structural system/ foundation is inspected, the home inspector shall:
1) Inspect the structural components, including the foundation and framing;
2) Describe the foundation and report the methods used to inspect the under-floor crawl space or basement area, floor, wall, ceiling, roof and structures and report the methods used to inspect the attic; and
3) Report visible signs of water and moisture penetration into the building or signs of condensation on building components.
h) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the exterior is inspected, the home inspector shall:
1) Inspect the exterior wall covering; flashing and trim; all exterior doors; attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches and their associated railings; the eaves, soffits and fascias if accessible from the ground level; the vegetation, grading, surface drainage and retaining walls on the property when any of these are likely to adversely affect the building; walkways; patios; and driveways leading to dwelling entrances; and
2) Describe the exterior wall covering.
i) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the roof system is inspected, the home inspector shall:
1) Inspect the roof covering, roof drainage systems, flashings, skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations; and
2) Describe the roof covering and report the methods used to inspect the roof.
j) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the plumbing system is observed, the home inspector shall describe in detail the interior water supply and distribution systems, including fixtures and faucets, drains, waste and vent systems; water heating equipment and vent systems; flues and chimneys; fuel storage and fuel distribution systems; drainage sumps, sump pumps and related piping; and location of main water and main fuel shut-off valves. k) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the electrical system is inspected, the home inspector shall:
1) Inspect the service drop; service entrance conductors, cables and raceways; service equipment and main disconnects; service grounding; interior components of service panels and subpanels; conductors; overcurrent protection devices; a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches and receptacles; and ground fault circuit interrupters;
2) Describe the amperage and voltage rating of the service, the location of main disconnects and subpanels and the wiring methods; and
3) Report on the presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring and on the absence of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
l) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the heating system is inspected, the home inspector shall:
1) Inspect the permanently installed heating equipment, including fans, pumps, ducts and piping; their supports, registers, radiators and convectors; and visible vent systems, flues and chimneys; and
2) Describe the energy source and the heating method by their distinguishing characteristics.
m) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the cooling system is inspected, the home inspector shall:
1) inspect the permanently installed central and through-wall cooling equipment; and
2) describe the energy source and the cooling method by their distinguishing characteristics.
n) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the interior is inspected, the home inspector shall:
1) Inspect the walls, ceilings and floors; steps, stairways, balconies and their railings; countertops, installed cabinets, doors and windows; and garage doors and garage door operators; and
2) Report visible signs of water and moisture penetration into the building or signs of condensation on building components.
o) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the insulation and ventilation are inspected, the home inspector shall:
1) inspect the insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces, the ventilation of attics and foundation areas, and the mechanical ventilation systems in attics, kitchens, bathrooms and laundry; and
2) describe the insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces and the absence of insulation in unfinished spaces at conditioned surfaces.
p) When, pursuant to the written agreement with a client, the fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances are inspected, the home inspector shall:
1) Inspect the system components, vent systems, flues and chimneys; and
2) Describe the fireplaces, solid fuel burning appliances, and chimneys.
(Source: Amended at 34 Ill. Reg. 8063, effective June 3, 2010)