The purpose and effect of the proposed rules is to implement the regulations for Home Inspectors, enacted in Chapter 468, Part XV, Florida Statutes.  

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    DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION

    Division of Professions

    RULE NOS.:RULE TITLES:

    61-30.101Definitions

    61-30.103Examination

    61-30.402Continuing Education Requirements for Biennial Renewal

    61-30.502      Provider Requirements, Pre-licensure and Continuing Education

    61-30.503Course Approval, Pre-licensure and Continuing Education

    61-30.602Disciplinary Guidelines

    61-30.603Notice of Noncompliance

    61-30.604Citations

    61-30.605Mediation

    61-30.801Standards of Practice, General

    61-30.802Standards of Practice, Structure

    61-30.803Standards of Practice, Electrical Systems

    61-30.804Standards of Practice, HVAC Systems

    61-30.805Standards of Practice, Roof Covering

    61-30.806Standards of Practice, Plumbing Systems

    61-30.807Standards of Practice, Interior Components

    61-30.810Standards of Practice, Exterior Components

    61-30.811Standards of Practice, Site Conditions that Affect the Structure

    61-30.812Standards of Practice, General Limitations, and Exclusions

    PURPOSE AND EFFECT: The purpose and effect of the proposed rules is to implement the regulations for Home Inspectors, enacted in Chapter 468, Part XV, Florida Statutes.

    SUMMARY: The proposed rules address the licensing and regulation of home inspectors in Florida under Section 468.83, F.S.

    SUMMARY OF STATEMENT OF ESTIMATED REGULATORY COSTS: The agency has determined that these rules will not have an adverse impact on small business or likely increase directly or indirectly regulatory costs in excess of $200,000 in the aggregate within one year after the implementation of the rule. A SERC has not been prepared by the agency. The agency has determined that the proposed rules are not expected to require legislative ratification based on the statement of estimated regulatory costs or if no SERC is required, the information expressly relied upon and described herein: The Department conducted an analysis of the proposed rules’ potential economic impact and determined that they did not exceed any of the criteria established in Section 120.541(2)(a), F.S. Any person who wishes to provide information regarding the statement of estimated regulatory costs, or to provide a proposal for a lower cost regulatory alternative must do so in writing within 21 days of this notice.

    OTHER RULES INCORPORATING THIS RULE: None

    EFFECT ON THOSE OTHER RULES: None

    RULEMAKING AUTHORITY: 455.02(2), 455.2035, 455.213(6), 455.217(1)(d), 455.219(1),(2), 455.224(2), 455.225(3), 455.227(3), 455.235(1), 455.271(2),(3),(6)(b),(7),(8), 455.2123, 455.2124(2), 455.2177(1)(d), 455.2178(5),455.2179(1),(3), 455.2273, 468.832, 468.8312(1), 468.8313(4),(6), 468.8314, 468.8315(2), 468.8316(1),(2), 468.8317(2),(3), 468.8319, 468.832, 468.8325 FS.

    LAW IMPLEMENTED: 455.02, 455.212, 455.213, 455.217, 455.219, 455.224, 455.225, 455.227, 455.235, 455.271, 455.2124, 455.2177, 455.2178, 455.2179, 455.2273, 468.8311, 468.8312, 468.8313, 468.8314, 468.8315, 468.8316, 468.8317, 468.8319, 468.832, 468.8325 FS.

    IF REQUESTED WITHIN 21 DAYS OF THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE, A HEARING WILL BE SCHEDULED AND ANNOUNCED IN THE FAW.

    THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE PROPOSED RULE IS: Richard Morrison, Executive Director, Home Inspector Licensing Unit, 1940 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, (850)487-1395

     

    THE FULL TEXT OF THE PROPOSED RULES IS:

     

    61-30.101 Definitions.

    As used in this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:

    (1) Additional Evaluation: Examination and analysis by a qualified professional engineer, contractor, tradesman or service technician beyond that provided by the home inspection.

    (2) 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.

    (3) Architectural Service: Any practice involving the art and science of building design for construction of any structure or groupings of structures and the use of space within and surrounding the structures or the design for construction, including but not specifically limited to, schematic design, design development, preparation of construction contract documents, and administration of the construction contract.

    (4) Automatic Safety Controls: Devices designed and installed to protect systems and components from unsafe conditions.

    (5) Component: A part of a system.

    (6) Continuing Education Course: A course related to the practice of home inspection. Sales presentations of home inspection products shall not qualify as continuing education courses.

    (7) Continuing Education Provider: An entity and any of its agents approved by the department to engage in providing continuing education courses as required by Chapter 61-30, F.A.C.

    (8) Course Instructor: Any person approved by the department to conduct training for a department approved course. The instructor’s curriculum vitae must demonstrate particular education, knowledge, experience or skill which sets the applicant apart from those he or she will instruct.

    (9) Decorative: Ornamental; not required for the operation of the essential systems and components of a home.

    (10) Describe: To distinguish a system or component by its type or other observed significant characteristics; to distinguish it from other systems or components.

    (11) 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 homeowner maintenance.

    (12) Directly Supervise: To direct and exercise control over the activities of a person by being physically present at the job site.

    (13) Engineering Services: Any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, material and engineering services to such professional service or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design and supervision of construction for the purpose of assuring compliance with the specifications and design, in conjunction with structures, buildings, machines, equipment, works or processes.

    (14) Household Appliances: Ranges, cook-tops, built-in dishwashers, food waste disposers, garage door openers, built-in ovens, built-in microwave ovens, refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, built-in trash compactors, ceiling fans or whole-house fans.

    (15) Inspect: To examine readily accessible systems and components of a home in accordance with these Standards of Practice, using normal operating controls and opening readily openable access panels

    (16) Installed: Attached such that removal requires tools.

    (17) Normal operating controls: Devices such as thermostats, switches or valves intended to be operated by the homeowner.

    (18) Prelicensure Education Course: An initial course of study approved by the department which provides the educational experience required to certify an individual for licensure as a home inspector pursuant to Rule 61-30.102, F.A.C. and Section 468.8313, F.S. Each course of study must be offered as a single course by a single course provider.

    (19) Prelicensure Education Provider: An entity and any of its agents approved by the department to engage in providing prelicensure education courses as required by this chapter.

    (20) Readily Accessible: Available for visual inspection without requiring dismantling or destructive means to gain access, moving of items including but not limited to, furniture, personal property, stored items, clothing, wall or floor covering, or debris dismantling, or any action which will likely involve risk to persons or property. For the purposes of this definition, readily accessible includes taking apart or opening a device normally taken apart or opened during the course of normal and routine home maintenance, including opening electrical panels.

    (21) 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.

    (22) Recreational Facilities: Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, exercise, entertainment, athletic, playground or other similar equipment and associated accessories.

    (23) Report: To communicate in writing.

    (24) Representative Number: One component per room for multiple similar interior components such as window and electric outlets; one component on each side of the home for multiple similar exterior components.

    (25) Roof Drainage Systems: Components used to carry water off a roof and away from a home.

    (26) Service Life: Service life is the expected lifetime, or the acceptable period of use in service of a particular system or component. It is the time that any manufactured item can be expected to be “serviceable,” providing proper maintenance has taken place over the period concerned. Service life may vary from region to region, and inspection to inspection based on the home being inspected and the professional opinion and findings of the inspector.

    (27) Shut Down: A state in which a system or component cannot be operated by normal operating controls.

    (28) Significantly Deficient: Not operating in the manner in which the system or component was designed to operate, not capable of performing its intended function, or creates a significant risk of personal injury during normal, day-to-day use.

    (29) Solid Fuel Burning Appliances: A hearth and fire chamber or similar prepared place in which a fire may be built and which 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.

    (30) Structural Component: A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads).

    (31) System: A combination of interacting or interdependent components, assembled to carry out one or more functions.

    (32) Technically Exhaustive: An investigation that involves dismantling; the extensive use of advanced techniques, measurements, instruments, testing, calculations, or other means.

    (33) Training Day: The equivalent of 8 hours (an hour being no less than 50 minutes of instruction) including breaks and lunch.

    (34) Under-floor Crawl Space: The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the floor.

    (35) Unsafe: A condition in a readily accessible, installed system or component which is judged to be a significant risk of personal injury during normal, day-to-day use. The risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation or a change in accepted residential construction standards.

    (36) Wiring Methods: Identification of electrical conductors or wires by their general type, such as “non-metallic sheathed cable” (“Romex”), “armored cable” (“bx”) or “knob and tube”, etc.

    Rulemaking Authority 455.2035, 455.2178(5), 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 455.2178, 455.2179, 468.8311, 468.8313(3) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.103 Examination.

    Any person desiring initial licensure by examination as a home inspector must pass one of the written examinations approved by the department. The department approves the following written examinations:

    (1) The National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE) approved by the department and given by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI). Applicants must achieve a passing grade pursuant to the requirements of the NHIE, Sections 455.217 and 468.8313(4), F.S.

    (2) Any other examination approved by the department for the purposes of examination under Section 468.8313, F.S.

    (3) The fees for examination and re-examination shall be determined by the vendor and paid by the applicant directly to the vendor providing the examination for licensure.

    Rulemaking Authority 455.2035, 455.217(1)(d), 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 455.217, 468.8313 FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.402 Continuing Education Requirements for Biennial Renewal.

    (1) Prior to the expiration of each biennial licensure period, and as a condition for renewal of the home inspector license, each person licensed pursuant to Chapter 468, Part XV, Florida Statutes, shall complete a minimum of fourteen (14) hours of continuing education which shall include, at a minimum, all of the following subjects as they relate to the practice of home inspection:

    (a) A minimum of twelve (12) hours of instruction regarding home inspection services of the components of a home, including the limited visual examination of the following readily accessible installed systems and components of a home for the purposes of providing a written report of the condition of the home:

    1. The structure,

    2. Electrical system,

    3. HVAC system,

    4. Roof covering,

    5. Plumbing system,

    6. Interior components,

    7. Exterior components, and

    8. Site conditions that affect the structure.

    The twelve hours may include department approved continuing education courses approved by the Construction Industry License Board, the Board of Professional Engineering, the Board of Architecture and Interior Design, the Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board, or the Electrical Contractors’ Licensing Board.

    (f) A minimum of two (2) hours of instruction regarding hurricane mitigation training, which shall include training on completion of the Uniform Mitigation Verification Form and instruction regarding:

    1. Roof deck attachment;

    2. Secondary roof water barrier;

    3. Roof covering, gable end bracing;

    4. Reinforce roof-to-wall connection;

    5. Opening protection;

    6. Exterior doors; or

    7. Other hurricane mitigation methods.

    (2) A licensee who is an instructor may obtain continuing education credits in the amount of the credits allowed for that course or seminar for his/her first presentation of such course or seminar presentation.

    (3) No licensee may claim credit until after the credit has been earned by that licensee.

    (4) Licensees need not comply with continuing education requirements prior to the licensee’s first full renewal cycle.

    Rulemaking Authority, 455.2035, 468.8315, 468.8316, 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 455.2124, 468.8315, 468.8316 FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.502 Provider Requirements, Prelicensure and Continuing Education.

    (1) The course provider shall not offer any courses if the provider status is expired or under discipline.

    (2) The department retains the right and authority to audit and/or monitor programs and review records and course materials given by any provider approved pursuant to this rule. The department shall reject individual programs given by a provider if the provider disseminates any false or misleading information in connection with the educational programs, or if the provider fails to conform to and abide by the rules of the department.

    (3) If the provider status is revoked by the department, the provider cannot reapply to be registered as a provider for two years from the date of the Final Order revoking the registration.

    (4) To maintain status as a prelicensure or continuing education provider, the provider must:

    (a) Require each licensee to complete the entire course or seminar in order to receive credit for the course.

    (b) Provide the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) provider number on all course advertisements.

    (c) Furnish each licensee with an individual certificate of attendance that contains the licensee’s name, the licensee’s license number, provider name, provider number, course name, course number, date of the course completion and the total number of hours successfully complete in each subject.

    (d) Maintain all records for four (4) years, available for inspection by the department or the department’s designee.

    (e) Report one education credit for each hour of classroom or interactive distance learning instruction. An “hour of classroom or interactive distance learning instruction” requires no less than fifty (50) minutes of instruction or participation.

    (f) Any changes in the course provider name, address or telephone number must be submitted in writing to the department within 30 days of such change.

    (5) To maintain status as a continuing education provider, the provider must also:

    (a) Electronically report continuing education course attendance records in compliance with Section 455.2178, F.S. The provider is required to resolve reporting conflicts with the licensee by the expiration date of the training course.

    (b) Allow the department’s designee to have access to information concerning courses or seminars conducted by the provider for continuing education credit in order to audit or monitor the information.

    Rulemaking Authority, 455.2035, 468.8313, 468.8316, 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented, 455.2178, 455.2179, 468.8313, 468.8316 FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.503 Course Approval, Prelicensure and Continuing Education.

    (1) Prelicensure and continuing education courses shall be valid for purposes of the licensure and continuing education requirement only if such courses have received approval from the department before the course is offered.

    (2) The department shall approve education courses for two years from the date approved when the following requirements are met:

    (a) Application for courses must be submitted using the Home Inspector Course Application, form number DBPR HI 0404, “Education Course Application”, effective July 2012, adopted and incorporated herein by reference. The form may be obtained by contacting the department at the following address: Home Inspection Licensing Program, 1940 N. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0783 or at _____________.

    (b) The course provider shall submit to the department the following for course approval before the course is offered: an application, a detailed course outline describing the course’s content and subject matter, and a written statement that explains in detail how the course relates to the practice of home inspection.

    (c) The application shall include the total number of classroom or interactive distance learning hours, the course syllabus, and the name and qualifications of all instructors.

    (3) A course provider making application to offer interactive distance learning must submit documents indicating the following:

    (a) The means by which the course will demonstrate interactivity between the student and course provider, which promotes student involvement, and demonstrates that the course measures learning and addresses comprehension of content at regular intervals.

    (b) The means by which the course provider is able to monitor student enrollment, participation and course completion.

    (c) The means by which the course provider will be able to satisfactorily demonstrate that stated course hours are consistent with the actual hours spent by each student to complete the course.

    (d) The means by which the provider will assure qualified instructor(s) will be available to answer questions and provide students with necessary support during the course.

    (e) That the student will be required to complete a statement at the beginning and end of the course that indicates that he/she personally completed each module/session of instruction.

    (f) The means by which the course provider will verify student identification.

    (4) Continuing education courses must address home inspection subjects and shall not involve the promotion or sale of any products.

    (5) Any substantive changes made to approved courses, which shall include instructor changes, must be approved by the department before the changed course can be offered. Course approval shall be rescinded by the department if such notification is not made or the changes fail to otherwise conform to this rule.

    (6) Course approvals shall be automatically rescinded if the provider status expires or is rescinded by disciplinary action.

    (7) Instructors

    (a) To demonstrate the education and/or experience necessary to instruct home inspectors for continuing education credit, instructors must submit a resume and be approved by the department to teach the course, or parts of a course, to which the instructor is assigned.

    (b) No home inspector or provider who is under disciplinary restrictions pursuant to any order of the department may conduct continuing education. Upon receipt of notice that an instructor is under discipline, the provider shall, within seven (7) days, write to the Home Inspection Licensing Program and confirm that the instructor is no longer instructing any course or seminar offered by the provider.

    (c) Upon a change of instructors, the provider shall submit the credentials of the new instructor to the department for approval.

    Rulemaking Authority 455.2035, 455.213(6) 468.8313(3) 468.8316, 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 455.213(6), 455.2177(4), 455.2178, 455.2179 , 468.8313, 468.8316 FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.602 Disciplinary Guidelines.

    (1) Whenever the department finds a licensee in violation of a provision of Chapter 455 or 468, Part XV, F.S., the following Disciplinary Guidelines shall be followed:

    Statutory Violation

    Description of Violation

    Penalty Range for First Violation.

    Penalty Range for Subsequent Violation.

    468.832 (1)(a)

    Violation of any provision of Chapter 468, Part XV or 455.227(1)F.S.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, or suspension.

    Fine up to $5000, plus probation, suspension, revocation.

    468.832 (1)(b)

    Attempting to procure a license by bribery or fraudulent misrepresentations.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, revocation, or denial of license.

    Fine up to $5000, plus probation, suspension, revocation, denial of license.

    468.832 (1)(c )

    or

    455.227(1)(f)

    Having a license to practice home inspection services revoked, suspended, denied or acted against in another state, territory or country.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000 plus reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation.

    468.832 (1)(d)

    or

    455.227(1)(c)

    Being convicted, found guilty, pleading nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction that directly relates to the practice or ability to practice home inspection services.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus revocation.

    468.832 (1)(e)

    or

    455.227(1)(l)

    Making or filing a report or record the licensee knows to be false, willfully failing to file a record or report required by state or federal law, willfully impeding or obstructing such filing.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus revocation.

    468.832 (1)(f)

    Advertising goods or services in a manner that is fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading in form or content.

    Fine up to $1000 plus reprimand, probation, or suspension.

    Fine up to $5000 ; plus reprimand, probation, suspension, pevocation.

    468.832 (1)(g)

    Engaging in fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetence or misconduct in the practice of home inspection services.

    Fine up to $5000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, revocation.

    468.832 (1)(h)

    Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensed home inspector; violating any provision of this chapter, a rule of the department, or a lawful order of the department previously entered in a disciplinary hearing; or failing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena of the department.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, or suspension.

    Fine up to $5000, plus probation, suspension, revocation.

    468.832 (1)(i)

    Practicing on a revoked, suspended, inactive or delinquent license.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus probation, suspension, revocation.

    455.227(1)(a)

    Making false, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading representations in or related to the practice of the licensee’s profession.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, or suspension.

    Fine up to $5000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, revocation.

    455.227(1)(b)

    Intentionally violating any rule adopted by the department.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, or suspension.

    Fine up to $5000, plus suspension, revocation.

    455.227(1)(g)

    Having been found civilly liable for knowingly filing a false report or complaint with the department against another licensee.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, or probation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus suspension, revocation.

    455.227(1)(h)

    Attempting to obtain, obtaining or renewing a license to practice by bribery or fraudulent misrepresentation or through an error of the department.

    Fine up to $1000; Plus Reprimand, Probation, Suspension, or Revocation.

    Fine up to $5000; plus probation, suspension, revocation.

    455.227(1)(i)

    Failing to report to the department any person who the licensee knows is in violation of Chapter 455, the chapter regulating the alleged violator, or the rules of the department

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand.

    Fine up to $5000, plus probation, suspension, revocation.

     

    455.227(1)(j)

    Aid, assist, procure, employ or advise an unlicensed person or entity to practice profession contrary to Chapter 468, Part XV, or 455, or rules of the department.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus suspension, revocation.

    455.227(1)(k)

    Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensee.

    Fine up to $5000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus suspension, revocation.

    455.227(1)(m)

    Making deceptive, untrue or fraudulent representations in or related to the practice of the licensee’s profession.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus revocation, denial of license.

    455.227(1)(n)

    Exercise influence on client for improper financial gain of licensee or third party.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, revocation.

    455.227(1)(o)

    Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope of a license.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus suspension.

    455.227(1)(p)

    Delegating or contracting for the performance of professional responsibilities by a person when the licensee delegating or contracting for performance knows or has reason to know, such person is not qualified by training, experience, and authorization when required to perform them.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus suspension, revocation.

    455.227(1)(q)

    Violating any provision of Chapter 468, Part XV, or 455, rules of the department or any lawful order of the department.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation.

    Fine up to $2500, plus probation, suspension.

    455.227(1)(r)

    Improperly interfering with an investigation, inspection or disciplinary proceeding.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, probation, suspension, or denial of licensure.

    Fine up to $1000, plus suspension, revocation, denial of licensure.

    455.227(1)(t)

    Failing to report in writing to the department within 30 days after the licensee is convicted of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction.

    Fine up to $1000, plus reprimand, suspension, or revocation.

    Fine up to $5000, plus revocation.

     

    (2) Additional Conditions which may be imposed through a final order:

    (a) Licensee is placed on probation for a period of time as determined by the department;

    (b) Failure to comply with any provision of an order shall result in the filing of a new complaint and if the licensee is found to be in violation, the license will be suspended until the licensee is compliant;

    (c) The licensee shall demonstrate compliance with all the conditions of the Final Order, prior to the lifting of probation;

    (d) Licensee shall complete additional continuing education courses of a specified type, as set forth by the Final Order, not to exceed more than 24 hours of continuning education courses;

    (e) Licensee shall, as specified in the Final Order, provide quarterly reports setting forth the number and type of home inspections conducted, provide copies of completed home inspection reports, and any other documentation determined by the Department to be necessary for the monitoring of the licensee.

    (3) Aggravating/Mitigating Circumstances: The existence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances, as set forth below, will permit deviation from the guidelines upon clear and convincing evidence.

    (a) Aggravating circumstances; circumstances which may justify deviating from the disciplinary guidelines include, but are not limited to:

    1. History of previous violations of the practice act or the rules promulgated thereunder;

    2. The magnitude and scope of the project and the damage inflicted upon the public;

    3. Evidence of violations of professional practice acts in other jurisdictions which resulted in discipline by the regulatory authority;

    4. Failure to attempt to correct the violation by the licensee;

    5. Any other relevant aggravating circumstances.

    (b) Mitigating circumstances; circumstances which may justify deviating from the disciplinary guidelines include, but are not limited to:

    1. In cases of negligence, the minor nature of the project in question and the lack of danger to the public health, safety or welfare which resulted;

    2. Lack of previous disciplinary history in this or any other jurisdiction wherein the licensee practices or has practiced;

    3. Restitution of any damages suffered by the licensee’s client;

    4. Remedial steps taken by the licensee to avoid similar violations in the future;

    5. Attempts by the licensee to correct the violation.;

    6. Any other relevant mitigating circumstances.

    Rulemaking Authority 455.2035, 455.227(3), 455.2273, 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 455.227, 455.2273, 468.832, 468.8319 FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.603 Notice of Noncompliance.

    (1) As an alternative to the provisions of Section 455.225(3)(a), F.S., the department shall provide a licensee with a notice of noncompliance for an initial offense of a minor violation in any instance in which it is reasonable to assume that the licensee is unaware of the rule or statutory obligation or is unclear as to how to comply with it.

    (2) Failure to provide a copy of the home inspector’s license and disclosure of the scope and exclusions of a home inspection prior to contracting for or commencing a home inspection, in violation of 486.8321 constitutes as a minor violation for which a notice of non-compliance may be issued.

    (3) This designation of violations as minor for the purposes of Section 455.225(3), F.S., is limited to initial violations in which corrective action is commenced within 15 days of the department's issuance of a notice of noncompliance. The violation must be corrected within 15 days. If it cannot be corrected within 15 days, then corrective action must be commenced within 15 days and the licensee must move with due diligence to complete the corrective action. A violation which continues past that period shall no longer be deemed a minor violation and shall be treated as a citation offense, pursuant to Rule 61-30.604, F.A.C. Violations of this section, except as provided herein, shall be handled in accordance with the standard disciplinary guidelines. Nothing provided in this section shall restrict the department from seeking full prosecution in such instances where aggravating circumstances are present, which would preclude a minor violation dismissal.

    Rulemaking Authority 455.225(3) FS. Law Implemented 455.225, 468.832, 468.8319, 120, 695(1) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.604 Citations.

    (1) The following violations may be resolved by the issuance of a citation pursuant to Section 455.224, F.S., and Chapter 61-30, F.A.C.:

    Violation

    Fine

    (a) Practice by an individual with an inactive or delinquent license in violation of Section 468.832(1)(i), F.S.

     

    $1,000.00

     

    (b) Failure to commence corrective action within 15 days of the department’s issuance of a notice of noncompliance or where the offense is other than the initial one in violation of Rule 61-30.603, F.A.C.

     

     

    $500.00

    (c) Failure to provide a copy of the dislosure of the scope and exclusions of a home inspection prior to contracting for or commencing a home inspection in violation of Section 468.8321, F.S.

     

     

    $1,000.00

    (d) Failure to maintain at least $300,000 general liability insurance coverage in violation of Section 468.8322, F.S.

     

     

    $1,000.00

    (2) In addition to the penalties specified above, the department may recover the costs of investigation associated with the citation.

    (3) Citations shall be issued pursuant to this rule where no harm to consumers results from the violation.

    Rulemaking Authority 455.2035, 455.224(2), 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 455.224, 468.832, 468.8321, 468.8322 FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.605 Mediation.

    The following alleged violations may be resolved by mediation using the procedure adopted by the department pursuant to Section 455.2235, F.S.:

    (1) Section 468.832(1)(g), F.S., Committing fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetency or misconduct in the practice of home inspection related services.

    (2) Section 468.832(1)(h), F.S., Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensed home inspector.

    Rulemaking Authority 455.2035, 455.2235(1) FS. Law Implemented 455.2235 FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.801 Standards of Practice, General.

    (1) Home inspections performed to these Standards of Practice are intended to provide the client with information regarding the overall condition of installed systems and components of the home based on observation of the visible and apparent condition of the structure and components at the time of the home inspection and to report on the presence of any material defects. A home inspection does not include the prediction of future conditions.

    (2) These standards shall not be construed as limiting the scope of the inspection process in those areas where the inspector is qualified and/or has special knowledge.

    (3) The inspector shall inspect readily accessible, installed systems and components of homes listed in these Standards of Practice by using normal operating controls and opening readily operable access panels. Where multiple instances of the same component exist, a representative number shall be inspected.

    (4) The inspector shall inspect and report as required by Section 468.8323, F.S., when required by these standards, systems or components by their type and/or significant characteristics.

    (5) If not self-evident to the client at the time of inspection, the inspector shall give a reason why, in his or her opinion, the system or component was reported as significantly deficient or near the end of its service life.

    (6) The inspector shall make recommendations for correction and/or monitoring, or further evaluation of the deficiencies that the inspector observed.

    (7) These Standards of Practice do not limit inspectors from:

    (a) Including other inspection services, in addition to those required by these Standards of Practice;

    (b) Specifying repairs, provided the inspector is appropriately qualified.

    (c) Excluding systems and components from the inspection if agreed upon in writing by the inspector and client.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.802 Standards of Practice, Structure.

    (1) Structural system and components include the following:

    (a) Foundation;

    (b) Floor structure;

    (c) Wall structure;

    (d) Ceiling structure;

    (e) Roof structure;

    (f) Posts;

    (g) Beams;

    (h) Columns;

    (j) Joists;

    (k) Rafters;

    (l) Trusses;

    (m) Other framing, and

    (n) Ventilation of attics and structural supports.

    (2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible structural systems and components by probing structural components where deterioration is visible or suspected or where clear indications of possible deterioration exist. Probing is not required when, in the opinion of the inspector, probing would only further damage any area already identified as defective or where no deterioration is visible or presumed to exist.

    (3) The inspector is not required to enter or traverse any under-floor crawl space or attic, if in the opinion of the inspector:

    (a) An unsafe or unsanitary condition exists;

    (b) Enter areas in which inadequate clearance exists to allow the inspector safe entry or traversing;

    (c) The potential exists to cause damage to insulation, ductwork, other components or stored items.

    (4) The inspector is not required to provide any engineering or architectural services or offer an opinion as to the adequacy of any structural system or component.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.803 Standards of Practice, Electrical Systems.

    (1) Electrical systems and components include the following:

    (a) Service entrance conductors, drip loop, cables, and raceways;

    (b) Main service equipment and main disconnects;

    (c) Service grounding;

    (d) Interior components of main service panels and sub panels;

    (e) Conductors;

    (f) Over current protection devices;

    (g) Readily accessible installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles;

    (h) Ground fault circuit interrupters;

    (i) Amperage and voltage rating of electrical service;

    (j) Main disconnect(s);

    (k) Methods or types of wiring;

    (l) Smoke detectors;

    (m) Carbon monoxide detectors.

    (n) Arc fault circuit interrupters.

    (2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessibly electrical systems and components.

    (3) The inspector is not required to inspect:

    (a) Remote control devices;

    (b) Security alarm systems and components;

    (c) Low voltage wiring, systems and components, ancillary wiring and systems and components not a part of the primary electrical power distribution system;

    (d) Generators, photovoltaic solar collectors or battery or electrical storage devices and associated equipment.

    (4) The inspector is not required to:

    (a) Measure amperage, voltage or impedance;

    (b) Perform a load calculation;

    (c) Insert any tool, probe, or device into any electrical component;

    (d) Determine the accuracy of circuit labeling.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325, FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j), FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.804 Standards of Practice, HVAC Systems.

    (1) HVAC systems and components include heating and air conditioning systems and components and HVAC distribution systems and components:

    (2) Heating and air conditioning systems and components:

    (a) The heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and components include the following:

    1. Installed heating equipment;

    2. Fuel storage and fuel distribution systems;

    3. Vent systems, flues, and chimneys;

    4. Ductwork and air distribution components;

    5. Mechanical ventilation systems.

    6. Heating system energy source(s);

    7. Heating system capacity in BTUs or kilowatts;

    (b) The inspector shall inspect all readily accessible heating and air conditioning systems and components.

    (c) The inspector is not required to inspect:

    1. Interiors of flues or chimneys which are not readily accessible;

    2. Heat exchangers;

    3. Humidifiers or dehumidifiers;

    4. Electronic air filters, sanitizers, or UV lights;

    5. Solar space heating systems.

    (3) HVAC distribution systems and components:

    (a) The heating and air conditioning (HVAC) distribution systems and components include the following:

    1. Energy source;

    2. Cooling method by its distinguishing characteristics;

    3. The presence of condensate over flow warning/shutoff devices.

    (b) The inspector shall inspect readily accessible HVAC distribution systems.

    (c) With regards to HVAC distribution systems, the inspector is not required to inspect:

    1. Electronic air filters, sanitizers, or UV lights;

    2. Humidistats;

    3. Automatic HVAC zoned systems, dampers, controls, that are not readily accessible;

    4. Removable window air conditioning systems.

    (3) The inspector is not required to:

    (a) Determine heat supply adequacy or distribution balance;

    (b) Operate heat pump systems when ambient temperatures pose the potential for damage to the air

    conditioning system;

    (c) Determine cooling supply adequacy, distribution balance or indoor air quality;

    (d) Operate the air conditioning system when ambient temperatures pose the potential for damage to the air conditioning system.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.805 Standards of Practice, Roof Covering.

    (1) Roof covering systems and components include the following:

    (a) Roofing materials;

    (b) Flashings;

    (c) Skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations;

    (d) Roof drainage systems;

    (e) Ventilation of attics and structural supports; and

    (f) Insulation of attics.

    (2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessibly roof covering systems and components.

    (3) The inspector is not required to inspect:

    (a) Components or systems that are not readily accessible;

    (b) Antenna or other installed accessories;

    (c ) Interiors of flues or chimneys which are not readily accessible.

    (4) The inspector is not required to walk on the roof surface when, in the opinion of the inspector, the following conditions exist:

    (a) Roof slope is excessive to safely walk on;

    (b) There is no safe access to the roof;

    (c) Climatic conditions render the roof unsafe to walk on;

    (d) Condition of the roofing material or roof decking renders the roof unsafe to walk on;

    (e) Walking on the roof may cause damage to the roof covering materials;

    (f) Walking will place any liability or danger to the homeowner or other representatives involved in the home inspection process.

    (5) The inspector is not required to disturb insulation.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.806 Standards of Practice, Plumbing System.

    (1) Plumbing systems and components include the following:

    (a) Interior water supply piping and distribution systems including all fixtures, faucets, and components;

    (b) Drain, waste and vent systems, including all plumbing fixtures;

    (c) Water heating equipment;

    (d) Vent systems, flues, and chimneys;

    (e) Drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping;

    (f) Materials used for water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping;

    (g) Water heating equipment including the energy source; and

    (h) Main water and main fuel shut-off valves.

    (2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessibly plumbing systems and components.

    (3) The inspector is not required to inspect:

    (a) Wells or water storage related equipment;

    (b) Water conditioning systems;

    (c) Solar water heating systems;

    (d) Fire sprinkler systems;

    (e) Private waste disposal systems;

    (g) Irrigation system(s).

    (4) The inspector is not required to:

    (a) Test shower pans, tub and shower surround for leakage;

    (b) Operate safety valves or shut-off valves.

    (c) Determine whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private;

    (d) Determine the quantity or quality of the water supply, or if the function flow at the time of the inspection or thereafter will meet the client’s needs.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.807 Standards of Practice, Interior Components.

    (1) The interior components that shall be inspected include the following:

    (a) Interior walls, ceilings, and floors;

    (b) Steps, stairways, and railings;

    (c) Countertops and representative number of installed cabinets;

    (d) Garage doors and garage door operators;

    (e) Interior and exterior Doors and windows and their operating locks and latches or other opening mechanisms;

    (f) Insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces;

    (g) Fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances;

    (h) Vent systems, flues, and chimneys;

    (i) Household appliances.

    (2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessibly plumbing systems and components. When inspecting doors and windows, the inspector may inspect a representative number of doors and windows. The inspector shall inspect household appliances for normal operation – using normal operating controls to activate a primary function.

    (3) The inspector is not required to inspect:

    (a) Paint, wallpaper, window treatments, and other specialty finish treatments;

    (b) Carpeting;

    (c) Window treatments;

    (d) Central vacuum systems;

    (e) Recreational facilities.

    (f) Fire screens and doors, if not permanently attached;

    (g) Seals and gaskets on fireplaces;

    (h) Automatic fuel feed devices;

    (i) Mantles and fireplace surrounds;

    (j) Combustion make-up air devices;

    (k) Heat distribution assists whether gravity controlled or fan assisted in fireplaces.

    (4) The inspector is not required to:

    (a) Open or operate any windows or doors and access covers that are permanently or temporarily secured by mechanical means, are painted shut, or are blocked by stored items or furniture;

    (b) Open or operate any windows or doors or access covers that are permanently or temporarily secured by mechanical means, are painted shut, or are blocked by stored items or furniture;

    (c) Ignite or extinguish fires;

    (d) Light gas fireplaces or heaters, or other unlit pilot light devices;

    (e) Determine draft characteristics for fireplaces and chimneys;

    (f) Move fireplace inserts or stoves or firebox contents.

    (g) Disturb insulation;

    (h) Activate any system or appliance that is shut down, disconnected, or otherwise rendered inoperable;

    (i) Operate or evaluate any system, component or appliance that does not respond to normal user controls;

    (j) Operate any gas appliance that requires the manual lighting of a pilot light or burner device;

    (k) Operate any system, appliance or feature that requires the use of special codes, keys, combinations, or devices or where user manual reference is required;

    (l) Operate any system, component, or appliance where in the opinion of the inspector, damage may occur;

    (m) Determine thermostat(s) calibration, adequacy of heating elements, operate or evaluate self cleaning cycles, door seals, indicator lights, timers, clocks or timed features, defrost cycles or frost free features, or other specialist features as it applies to the appliance device;

    (n) Determine leakage from microwaves ovens;

    (o) Determine the presence or operation of back draft damper devices in exhaust devices;

    (p) Move any appliance;

    (q) Confirm operation of every control or feature of a system or appliance.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.810 Standards of Practice, Exterior Components.

    (1) Exterior systems and components include the following:

    (a) Exterior wall cladding, flashing and trim;

    (b) All exterior doors;

    (c) Attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings;

    (d) Eaves, soffits and fascias where accessible from the ground level;

    (e) Walkways, patios, and driveways leading to the dwelling entrances;

    (f) Exterior siding/cladding;

    (g Ventilation of attics and foundation areas.

    (2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessibly exterior systems and components.

    (3) The inspector is not required to inspect:

    (a) Window and door screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal or protective accessories and devices;

    (b) Fences;

    (c) Geological, geotechnical or hydrological conditions;

    (d) Recreational facilities;

    (e) Outbuildings;

    (f) Swimming pools, seawalls, break-walls, boat lifts and / or docks;

    (g) Erosion control and earth stabilization measures.

    (4) The inspector is not required to move furniture, appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools, stored items, wall decorations, floor covering, clothing or any items that block the view and access to components or structures.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.811 Standards of Practice, Site Conditions that Affect the Structure.

    (1)Site conditions that affect the structure include the following:

    (a)Vegetation;

    (b) Grading;

    (e)Surface drainage; and

    (f)Retaining walls on the property when any of these are likely to adversely affect the structure.

    (2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessibly site conditions that affect the structure.

    (3) The inspector is not required to inspect:

    (a) Geological, geotechnical or hydrological site conditions;

    (b) Erosion control and earth stabilization measures.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    61-30.812 Standards of Practice, General Limitations and Exclusions.

    (1) General limitations for inspections:

    (a) Inspections are visual, non-invasive only and are not technically exhaustive.

    (b) Inspections are subjective and rely upon the inspector’s opinion, judgment, training, and experience.

    (2) Home inspectors are not required to perform any action or make any determination unless specifically stated in these Standards of Practice. Inspectors are not required to:

    (a) Determine the condition of systems or components which are not readily accessible;

    (b) Offer or give warranties or guarantees of any kind;

    (c) Operate:

    1. Any system or component which is shut down or otherwise inoperable or could cause damage;

    2. Any system or component which does not respond to normal operating controls;

    3. Shut-off valves of any type;

    4. Automatic safety controls, valves or devices of any type;

    (d) Enter:

    1. Any area which will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property or its systems or components. This situation shall be noted in the home inspection report;

    2. The under-floor crawl space or attics which are not readily accessible. This situation shall be noted in the home inspection report;

    (e) Inspect:

    1. Systems or components which are not installed or readily accessible;

    2. Installed decorative items;

    3. Systems or components located in areas that are not entered in accordance with these Standards of Practice;

    4. Detached structures other than garages and carports;

    5. Common elements or common areas in multi-unit housing, such as condominium properties or cooperative housing;

    (f) Perform any procedure or operation which will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property or its systems or components. This situation shall be noted in the home inspection report;

    (g) Describe or report on any system or component that is not included in these Standards and was not inspected;

    (h) Move furniture, appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools, stored items, personal belongings, wall or floor decorations, floor covering, suspended ceilings, clothing, debris, soil, snow, ice or any items or material that blocks view and/or access to areas, components or structures. This situation will be noted in the home inspection report.

    (3) Home Inspectors shall not practice beyond the scope of their license as a home inspector. The following actions are beyond the scope of a Home Inspector License:

    (a) Identifying concealed conditions or latent defects;

    (b) Determining:

    1. The strength, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of any system or component;

    2. The causes of any condition or deficiency;

    3. The methods, materials, or costs of corrections;

    4. Future conditions including, but not limited to, failure of systems and components;

    5. The suitability of the property for any specialized use;

    6. Compliance with regulatory requirements (codes, regulations, laws, ordinances, etc.), manufacturer specifications, installation procedures or instructions;

    7. The market value of the property or its marketability;

    8. The advisability of the purchase of the property;

    9. The presence of potentially hazardous plants or animals including, but not limited to wood destroying organisms or diseases harmful to humans;

    10. The presence of any environmental hazards including, but not limited to fungi, molds, toxins, carcinogens, noise, and contaminants in soil, water, and air;

    11. The effectiveness of any system installed or methods utilized to control or remove suspected hazardous substances;

    12. The operating costs of systems or components;

    13. The acoustical properties of any system or component;

    14. Conditions that might affect the ability to obtain insurance and/or the price of insurance;

    15. The calibration of measuring devices including timers, clocks, thermostats, and gauges;

    16. The integrity of thermal glass seals;

    17. The presence of manufacturers’ defects in any product, material, component, equipment, or system, or information related to recall notices;

    18. Installation conformance to manufacturers’ instructions for any product, component, element, device, or system;

    (c) Offering to:

    1. Perform any act or service contrary to law;

    2. Perform engineering/architectural services;

    3. Perform work in any trade or any professional service other than home inspection, unless licensed to do so;

    (d) Inspecting:

    1. Underground items including, but not limited to underground storage tanks or other indications of their presence, whether abandoned or active;

    2. Recreational facilities;

    (e) Dismantling any system or component, except as explicitly required by these Standards of Practice;

    (f) Utilizing special instruments, tools, or measuring devices of any kind to measure moisture, humidity, water or air volume, water or air flow, water potability, air quality, temperature, voltage, amperage, electrical grounding, polarity, and continuity, VOC’s, microwaves, electromagnetic fields, and other similar kinds of conditions or activities;

    (g) Operating equipment, appliances, or devices on more than one cycle, zone, or phase or operate any device, appliance, system, or equipment which in the opinion of the inspector may fail during the act of inspection; and

    (h) Providing any information from any source regarding property ownership, property boundaries, liens, outstanding loans, code violations, reports of hazardous materials, manufacturers’ recalls, Consumer Protection Agency bulletins, and other similar kinds of public information.

    Rulemaking Authority 468.8325 FS. Law Implemented 468.8323, 468.832(1)(j) FS. HistoryNew_________.

     

    NAME OF PERSON ORIGINATING PROPOSED RULE: Richard Morrison, Executive Director, Home Inspector Licensing Unit, 1940 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, (850)487-1395

    NAME OF SUPERVISOR OR PERSON WHO APPROVED THE PROPOSED RULE: Ken Lawson, Secretary, Department of Business and Professional Regulation

    DATE PROPOSED RULE APPROVED BY AGENCY HEAD: December 19, 2012

    DATE THE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE DEVELOPMENT PUBLISHED IN FAW: March 9, 2012

    1

     

Document Information

Comments Open:
1/10/2013
Summary:
The proposed rules address the licensing and regulation of home inspectors in Florida under Section 468.83, F.S.
Purpose:
The purpose and effect of the proposed rules is to implement the regulations for Home Inspectors, enacted in Chapter 468, Part XV, Florida Statutes.
Rulemaking Authority:
455.02(2), 455.2035, 455.213(6), 455.217(1)(d), 455.219(1),(2), 455.224(2), 455.225(3), 455.227(3), 455.235(1), 455.271(2),(3),(6)(b),(7),(8), 455.2123, 455.2124(2), 455.2177(1)(d), 455.2178(5),455.2179(1),(3), 455.2273, 468.832, 468.8312(1), 468.8313(4),(6), 468.8314, 468.8315(2), 468.8316(1),(2), 468.8317(2),(3), 468.8319, 468.832, 468.8325 F.S.
Law:
455.02, 455.212, 455.213, 455.217, 455.219, 455.224, 455.225, 455.227, 455.235, 455.271, 455.2124, 455.2177, 455.2178, 455.2179, 455.2273, 468.8311, 468.8312, 468.8313, 468.8314, 468.8315, 468.8316, 468.8317, 468.8319, 468.832, 468.8325 F.S.
Contact:
Richard Morrison, Executive Director, Home Inspector Licensing Unit, 1940 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, (850) 487-1395
Related Rules: (15)
61-30.101. Definitions
61-30.103. Examination
61-30.402.
61-30.502. Provider Requirements, Prelicensure and Continuing Education
61-30.503. Course Approval, Prelicensure and Continuing Education
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