Home Inspector Licensing Hearing Held by DOL

The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) held a hearing recently on the issue of home inspector licensing. A new law was enacted this year (ESSB 5788/C 388 L 07) requiring DOL investigate the issue, hold hearings across the state to gather public input and make a recommendation to the legislature on whether or not home inspection services should be regulated and, if so, how such regulation should be structured.

The hearing was well attended by home inspectors from across Western Washington. The testimony from inspectors was mixed. Some testified that increased regulation would benefit consumers by setting minimum standards for the provision of home inspection services. Another set of persons testified that while new regulation could be necessary, they had real concerns with the provisions of early drafts of SB 5788 in 2007. A final group testified that increased regulation was not necessary as current professional standards are sufficient.

The AIA Washington Council testified in support of home inspector licensing, with certain caveats. First, architects and engineers should be exempt from the licensing. Architects are the only professionals specifically authorized by law to design a complete building. A critical part of their professional services is inspecting their work and inspecting other structures. The existing regulatory structure for architects and engineers is sufficient to protect consumers, when they provide home inspection services.

The AIA/WA is further concerned that requiring architects and engineers to have an additional license to provide services which are clearly authorized in their current statutory authority will dilute the existing licensing laws and burden the professions with additional testing, fees and licensing, without benefit to consumers. And, we are concerned that giving another board authority over the practices of architects and engineers will fragment the regulation of the professions and confuse consumers as to which board to contact regarding information about services provided by these professionals.

The next hearing is July 11, 2007, in Wenatchee. For more information on the issue, contact Stan Bowman, Executive Director of the AIA/WA, at bowman@aiawa.org.