As a member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (Internachi), I inspect homes using the organization’s Standards of Practice (SOP).
Many of Internachi’s Standards of Practice are exactly the same as codes written into the International Code books, as well as the National Electric Code book.
While home inspectors may have a basic understanding of codes related to safety hazards, we are not code inspectors, nor should we be expected to report code violations to our clients.
Some of those SOP’s where Internachi has adopted codes into its language include the following:
- Spacing requirements between intermediate balusters, spindles and handrails for steps, stairways, guards and railings. 1012 “Handrail height, measured above stair tread nosings, or finish surface or ramp slope, shall be uniform, not less than 34 inches and not more than 38 inches.” 1012.7 “Clear space between a wall or other surface shall be a minimum of 1 1/2 inches.” R311.7 “Stairways shall not be less than 36 inches in clear width at all points above the permitted handrail height and below the required headroom height.” 1013.2 “Guards shall be located along open-sided walking surfaces, including mezzanines, equipment platforms, stairs, ramps and landings that are located more than 30 inches measured vertically to the floor or grade below at any point within 36 inches horizontally to the edge of the open side. 1013.4 “Required guards shall not have openings which allow passage of a sphere 4 inches in diameter from the walking surface to the required guard height.” 312.1.3 “Required guards shall not have openings from the walking surface to the required guard height which allow passage of a sphere 4 inches in diameter. Exceptions: 1. The triangular openings a the open side of stair, formed by the riser, tread and bottom rail of a guard, shall not allow passage of a sphere 6 inches in diameter. 2. Guards on the open side of stairs shall not have openings which allow passage of a sphere 4 3/8″ inches in diameter.”
- Clearance requirements in front of heating equipment. M1305.1 “Appliances shall be accessible for inspection, service, repair and replacement without removing permanent construction, other appliances, or any other piping or ducts not connected to the appliance being inspected, serviced, repaired or replaced. A level working space at least 30 inches deep and 30 inches wide shall be provided in front of the control side to service an appliance. Installation of room heaters shall be permitted with at least an 18-inch working space.” M1305.1.1 “Furnaces and air handlers within compartments or alcoves shall have a minimum working space clearance of 3 inches along the sides, back, and top with a total width of the enclosing space being at least 12 inches wider than the furnace or air handler. Furnaces having a firebox open to the atmosphere shall have at least a 6-inch working space along the front combustion chamber side.” M1305.1.2 “Appliances installed in a compartment, alcove, basement or similar space shall be accessed by an opening or door and an unobstructed passageway measuring not less than 24 inches wide and large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance in the space, provided there is a level service space of not less than 30 inches deep and the height of the appliance, but not less than 30 inches, at the front or service side of the appliance with the door open.” M1305.1.3 “Attics containing appliances shall be provided with an opening and a clear and unobstructed passageway large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance, but not less than 30 inches high and 22 inches wide and not more than 20 feet long measured along the centerline of the passageway from the opening of the appliance. The passageway should have continuous solid flooring in accordance with Chapter 5 not less than 24 inches wide. A level service space at least 30 inches deep and 30 inches wide shall be present along all sides of the appliance where access is required. The clear access opening dimensions shall be a minimum of 20 inches by 30 inches, and large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance.”
- Clearance requirements in front of cooling equipment. (same as for heating appliances)
- Vertical clearances from grade and roof for overhead service entrance conductors. 225.18 “Overhead spans of open conductors and open multiconductor cables of not over 1000 volts, nominal, shall have a clearance of not less than the following: (1) 10 feet above finished grade, sidewalks, or from any platform or projection from which they might be reached where the voltage does not exceed 150 volts to ground and accessible to pedestrians only. (2) 12 feet over residential property and driveways, and those commercial areas not subject to truck traffic where the voltage does not exceed 300 volts to ground.” 225.19 “Overhead spans of open conductors and open multiconductor cables shall have a vertical clearance of not less than 8 feet about the roof surface. The vertical clearance above the roof level shall be maintained for a distance not less than 3 feet in all directions from the edge of the roof.”
- Unused openings in electric panels. 408.7 “Unused openings for circuit breakers and switches shall be closed using identified closures, or other approved means that provide protection substantially equivalent to the wall of the enclosure.”