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Home inspection exclusions in Massachusetts

The following areas of a home are not required to be reported on during a home inspection in Massachusetts. Some of these exclusions may be added to a home inspection if specifically contracted for (which may require an additional fee), and some of these areas may require a special license by the inspector to report on.

Exclusions

General exclusions Under the Massachusetts regulations adn standards of practice for home inspections, home inspectors are not required to report on:
  • The remaining life expectancy of any component or system.
  • The causes of the need for repair.
  • The materials for corrections of the problems.
  • The methods of repair other than to indicate the repair should comply with applicable requirements of the governing codes and sound construction practices.
  • Compliance or non-compliance with applicable regulatory requirements unless specifically contracted for in writing.
  • Any component or system not covered by 266 CMR 6.04.
  • Cosmetic items
  • Items that are not readily accessible and observable, underground items, or items not permanently installed.
  • Systems or components specifically excluded by the client.
  • Offer warranties, guarantees and/or insurance policies of any kind on the property being inspected.
  • Disturb or move insulation, stored and/or personal items, furniture, equipment, plant life, soil, snow, ice, or debris that obstructs access or visibility.
  • Determine the effectiveness of any system installed to control or remove suspected hazardous substances.
  • Predict future conditions, including but not limited to failure of components.
  • Project operating costs of components.
  • Determine extent or magnitude of damage or failures noted.
  • Test for radon gas.
  • Determine the presence or absence of pests including but not limited to: rodents or wood destroying insects.
  • Determine the energy efficiency of the dwelling as a whole or any individual system or component within the dwelling.
  • Perform environmental services including determining the presence or verifying the absence of any micro-organisms or suspected hazardous substances.
  • (including, but not limited to, carbon monoxide, latent surface and/or subsurface volatile organic compounds, PCB's, asbestos, UFFI, toxins, allergens, molds, carcinogens, lead paint, radon gas, electromagnetic radiation, noise, odors, or any contaminants in soil, water, air wet lands and/or any other environmental hazard).
  • Evaluate acoustical characteristics of any system or component.
  • Inspect surface and subsurface soil conditions.
Roofing

Home inspectors are not required to walk on the roof is they feel it is unsafe or that they'll damage the roofing compnents by doing so. They also are not required to report on:
  • Solar systems
  • Antennae
  • Satellite dishes
  • Lightning arrestors
  • Other attached accessories
  • Interior of chimney flues
Exterior
  • Storm doors and windows
  • Screening
  • Shutters
  • Awnings
  • Other seasonal accessories
  • Fences
  • Landscaping
  • Trees
  • Swimming pools
  • Patios
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Safety glazing
  • Geological conditions
  • Soil conditions
  • Recreational facilities
  • Any other dwelling units or addresses in multi-unit buildings
  • Outbuildings
  • Detached garages
  • Underground utilities
  • Pipes
  • Buried wires
  • Conduits
Basement/crawl space
  • Engineering data (size, span, spacing, species, section modulus, slenderness ratio and/or modulus of elasticity of the structural members.)
  • Wood destroying insects, rodents, and/or vermin
Attic space Not required to report on:
  • Engineering data (size, span, spacing, species, section modulus, slenderness ratio and/or modulus of elasticity of the structural members.)
  • Wood destroying insects, rodents and/or vermin.
Electrical systems
  • Engineering data on the compatibility of the overcurrent devices
  • The short circuit interrupting current capacity
  • The adequacy of the ground and/or the in-place systems to provide sufficient power to the dwelling
  • Test or operate any overcurrent device except ground-fault circuit interrupters and arc fault interrupters.
  • Inspector is not required to remove the covers of the service and distribution panels if the panel covers are not readily accessible, if there are dangerous or adverse situations present, or when removal would damage or mar any painted surface and/or covering materials.
  • The quality of the conductor insulation.
  • Electro-magnetic fields
  • Low voltage systems (doorbells, thermostats, other.)
  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Telephone, security alarms, cable TV, intercoms, or other ancillary wiring that is not a part of the primary electrical distribution system.
  • Underground utilities, pipes, buried wires, or conduits
Plumbing
  • Determine whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private
  • Inspect any valve except water closet flush valves and fixture faucets.
  • Engineering data on the size of or length of water and/or waste systems
  • Remove covering materials
  • State the effectiveness of anti-siphon devices
  • Exterior hose bibs
  • Water conditioning systems
  • Fire and lawn sprinkler systems
  • On-site or public water supply quantity and quality
  • Foundation sub drainage systems
  • Whirlpool tubs, except as to functional flow and functional drainage
  • Interior of flue linings
  • Underground utilities, pipes, buried wires, or conduits
  • Equipment related to on-site water supply systems
  • Water filtration components and systems
Heating
  • Test the heat exchanger
  • Collect engineering data on the size of the heating equipment and/or the size or length of the distribution systems.
  • Report on the adequacy or uniformity of the in-place systems to heat the dwelling.
  • Operate heating systems when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage, or when the electrical and/or fuel supply to the unit is in the off position.
  • Ignite or extinguish solid fuel and/or gas fires.
  • Identify the type of insulation coverings.
  • The interior of flues (except exposed flues serving other appliances as observed in the smoke chamber of the fireplace.
  • Fireplace inserts flue connections
  • Humidifiers
  • Electronic air filters
  • Active underground pipes, tanks, and/or ducts (aside from their existence).
  • Active oil tanks
Central air conditioning
  • Collect engineering data on the size of the cooling equipment, the size or length of the distribution systems.
  • Identify the type of insulation coverings.
  • Air filters
  • Operate the cooling systems when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage, or when the electrical supply to the unit is in the off position.
  • Evaporator coils
  • Non-central air conditioners
  • The adequacy or uniformity of the in-place systems to cool the dwelling.
General interior conditions
  • Paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Other finish treatments on the walls, ceilings, and floors.
  • Draperies
  • Blinds
  • Other window treatments
  • Household appliances
  • Determine the fire safety rating of any walls, ceilings, and doors between a dwelling unit and an attached garage or another dwelling unit.
Insulation and ventilation
  • The type(s) and/or amounts of insulation and/or its material make-up.
  • Concealed insulation and vapor retarders
  • Venting equipment that is integral with household appliances
  • Venting of kitchens
  • The adequacy, uniformity, and capacity of the in-place systems to ventilate the various areas of the dwelling.
Source: The Massachusetts Board of Home Inspectors Standards of Practice, 266 CMR 6.04

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