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Experience Versus Expertise

November 15, 1998

In his Oct. 11 "Ask the Inspector" column, Barry Stone said that a contractor must perform 1,000 inspections to become competent as an inspector ("Advice for Finding a Competent Home Inspector.")

I am a home inspector, and I've been a hands-on general contractor for 37 years. I've drawn plans and have built and remodeled many homes. I don't need 1,000 inspections to become competent and professional.


Via e-mail

Stone replies:

When I specified 1,000 home inspections as a reliable benchmark of proficiency among home inspectors, it was not my intention to offend or demean inspectors with less than this level of direct inspection experience.

Your 37 years as a professional contractor and builder are formidable and no doubt have equipped you with a vast degree of building knowledge. The disciplines and skills practiced by contractors, architects and engineers provide excellent backgrounds for entry-level inspectors.

But these associated fields neither employ nor engender the forensic skills needed in the process of home inspection. Such attributes can be acquired only through years of practice as a full-time home inspector.

For those in doubt, there is a reliable method of testing the proficiency of home inspectors, as it relates to relative experience.


If you'd like to try this, contact your local chapter of the California Real Estate Inspection Assn. Get the name of an inspector who has been designated as a certified professional inspector.

This will be someone who has performed an exceptional number of home inspections and has passed a written test consistent with that level of inspectorship. Member inspectors are notable for their ability to identify property defects overlooked by inspectors with less experience.

Ask the certified inspector to accompany you on an inspection. While on site, each of you should perform an independent inspection and then compare notes at the end of the process. The bottom line will be the most complete list of pertinent findings.

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