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Our governing body is the Structural Pest Control Board, a division of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. California State laws regarding Termite Reports are found in the Structural Pest Control Act. The “Act” governs all aspects of “Structural Pest Control” operations in California and the “Board” enforces these laws. The Act includes sections related to Termite Reports found in the Business and Professions Codes [see sections 8516-8519] and the California Code of Regulations [see sections 1990-1996.2].
The official title of a Termite Report is a “Wood Destroying Pests and Organisms Inspection Report” as it includes all wood destroying organisms and not just termites. In a nutshell, a Termite Inspection Report should disclose ALL visible evidence of; wood destroying pest infestations; wood destroying fungus infection; wood members damaged by wood destroying organisms; and conditions deemed likely to lead to wood destroying organisms. The report should also define what portions of the structure inspected were not visible and/or accessible for inspection. Further Inspection should be recommended when the inaccessible area is a portion of a structure that should normally be accessible or if the inspector sees visible evidence of problems on the surface of an inaccessible area. An inspector, by experience, may also recommend opening Inaccessible Areas that commonly conceal hidden problems.
A thorough inspector will attempt to inspect all portions of the structure which are safely and physically accessible. The determination of “safe” and “accessible” will vary from inspector to inspector for a variety of reasons. Portions of the structure which an inspector does not consider safe or is not physically accessible must be clearly defined in the written report. At KEY, the substructure areas are considered accessible if there in 12 inches clearances between the soil and floor joists. At any point where framing or other obstructions do not allow 12 inches clearance to access a portion of the substructure, that area is deemed inaccessible and further inspection is recommended. Attic spaces are generally inspected where there is 36 inches clearance or more to allow for crawling on our hands and knees. Limitations such as low clearances, ductwork and diagonal framing render portions of the attic inaccessible. Further inspection may be recommended where portions of attic space would be physically accessible if an alternate access opening were installed. Attic spaces above an attached garage are often inaccessible as they are separated from the main attic space by roof framing.
Most companies routinely separate their report findings into “section one”, “section two” and “further inspection” categories. This separation is not required by law unless requested by the consumer. However, separated reports are usually issued without such a request to accommodate the Real Estate and Lending industries. Section One items will include findings of active infestation, infection and their damages. Section Two items will include findings of conditions which are deemed likely to lead to infestation or infection if not corrected. Items listed as Unknown Further Inspection will include recommendations for further inspection of an inaccessible area. This may be as simple as removing excessive storage to allow for inspection, installing an access opening, or removal of wall coverings or decking to expose inaccessible wood framing. Only Section One items need to be completed to obtain a “Certification” for lending purposes. Keep in mind, a Certification only applies to the “visible and accessible areas inspected.”