Glossary of Terms

InterNACHI’s Glossary of Terms

Effective March 2018

InterNachi Logo
Accessible
In the opinion of the inspector, can be approached or entered safely, without difficulty, fear or danger.
Activate
To turn on, supply power, or enable systems, equipment or devices to become active by normal operating controls. Examples include turning on the gas or water supply valves to the fixtures an appliance and activating electrical breakers or fuses.
Adversely Affect
To constitute, or potential constitute, a negative or destructive impact.
Alarm System
Warning devices, installed o freestanding, including, but not limited to: carbon-monoxide detectors, flue gas and other spillage detectors, security equipment, ejector pumps, and smoke alarms.
Appliance
A household device operated by the use of electricity or gas. Not included in this definition are components covered under central heating, central cooling or plumbing.
Architectural Service
Any practice involving the art and science of building design for construction of any structure or grouping of structures, and the use of space within and surrounding the structures or the design, design development, preparation of construction contract documents, and administration of the construction contract.
Component
A permanently installed or attached fixture, element or part of a system.
Condition
The visible and conspicuous state of being of an object.
Correction
Something that is substituted or proposed for what is incorrect, deficient, unsafe, or a defect.
Cosmetic Defect
An irregularity or imperfection in something, which could be corrected, but is not required.
Crawlspace
The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the lowest floor’s structural component.
Decorative
Ornamental; not required for the operation of essential systems or components of a home.
Describe
To report in writing on a system or component by its type or other observed characteristics in order to distinguish it from other components used for the same purpose.
Determine
To arrive at an opinion or conclusion pursuant to examination.
Dismantle
To open, take apart or remove any component, device or piece that would not typically be opened, taken apart or removed by an ordinary occupant.
Engineering Service
Any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience, and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences 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 and/or processes.
Enter
To go into an area to observe visible components.
Evaluate
To assess the systems, structures and/or components of a property.
Evidence
That which tends to prove or disprove something; something that makes plain or clear; grounds for belief; proof.
Examine
To visually look (see inspect).
Foundation
The base upon which the structure or wall rests, usually masonry, concrete or stone, and generally partially underground.
Function
The action for which an item, component or system is specially fitted or used, or for which an item, component or system exists; to be in action or perform a task.
Functional
Performing, or able to perform, a function.
 Functional Defects
A lack of or an abnormality in something that is necessary for normal and proper functioning and operation, and, therefore, requires further evaluation and correction.
General Home Inspection
The process by which an inspector visually examines the readily accessible systems and components of a home and operates those systems and components utilizing this Standards of Practice as a guideline.
Home Inspection:
See general home inspection.
Household Appliances:
Kitchen and laundry appliances, room air conditioners, and similar appliances.
Identify
To notice and report.
Indication
That which serves to point out, show, or make known the present existence of something under certain conditions.
Inspect
To examine readily accessible systems and components safely, using normal operating controls, and accessing readily accessible areas, in accordance with this Standards of Practice.
Inspected Property
The readily accessible areas of the buildings, site, items, components and systems included in the inspection.
Inspection Report
A written communication (possibly including images) of any material defects observed during the inspection.
Inspector
One who performs a real estate inspection.
Installed
Attached or connected such that the installed item requires a tool for removal.
Material Defect
A specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at, or beyond the end of its normal, useful life is not a material defect.
Normal Operating Controls
Describes the method by which certain devices (such as thermostats) can be operated by ordinary occupants, as they require no specialized skill or knowledge.
Observe
To visually notice.
Operate
To cause systems to function or turn on with normal operating controls.
Readily Accessible
A system or component that, in the judgment of the inspector, is capable of being safely observed without the removal of obstacles, detachment or disengagement of connecting or securing devices, or other unsafe or difficult procedures to gain access.
Recreational Facilities
Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, tennis courts, playground equipment, and other exercise, entertainment and athletic facilities.
Report
(verb form): To express, communicate or provide information in writing; give a written account of. (See also inspection report.)
Representative Number
A number enough to serve as a typical or characteristic example of the item(s) inspected.
Residential Property
Four or fewer residential units.
Residential Unit
A home; a single unit providing complete and independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
Safety Glazing
Tempered glass, laminated glass, or rigid plastic.
Shut Down
Turned off, unplugged, inactive, not in service, not operational, etc.
Structural Component
A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads).
System
An assembly of various components which function.
Technically Exhaustive
A comprehensive and detailed examination beyond the scope of a real estate home inspection that would involve or include, but would not be limited to: dismantling, specialized knowledge or training, special equipment, measurements, calculations, testing, research, analysis, or other means.
Unsafe
In the inspector’s opinion, a condition of an area, system, component or procedure that is judged to be a significant risk of 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.
Verify
To confirm or substantiate.