New HUD rule requires International Code Council certified inspectors for certain homes with FHA-insured mortgages

What you need to know

On July 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a new rule, published in the Federal Register (Docket No. FR-5457-F02) that streamlines the inspection requirements for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family mortgage insurance by eliminating the regulations for the FHA Inspector Roster. This final rule becomes effective August 2, 2018, and requires that lenders offering FHA-backed mortgages use International Code Council (ICC) certified inspectors in certain instances.

The HUD regulation requires the use of ICC-certified Residential Combination Inspectors (RCI) or Combination Inspectors (CI) inspectors for new construction as well as structural repairs and renovations of existing properties where the local jurisdiction does not provide building code enforcement and requisite documentation. These ICC inspectors are certified in residential building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical disciplines.

The new rule recognizes the sufficiency and quality of inspections carried out by International Code Council certified RCIs and CIs. The Code Council’s certification program is the oldest, largest and most prestigious credentialing program for construction code administration and enforcement professionals in the U.S. ICC certification examinations are maintained to the highest standards and include continuous review by committees of experienced industry professionals. As a result, FHA acknowledges there is no longer a need to maintain and administer its own standardization process for inspectors.

For current HUD roster list members who want to get ICC-certified and code professionals interested in inspections opportunities under this new HUD process

To obtain an RCI, an inspector must hold certifications as a Residential Building Inspector, Residential Electrical Inspector, Residential Mechanical Inspector and Residential Plumbing Inspector. To become a CI, an inspector must hold these same four residential certifications as well as their four commercial equivalents. Each certification may be obtained by passing the applicable exam, which can be found within ICC’s Exam Catalog. To locate an exam, please select “National Certification” under “Type,” and “Residential Inspector” or “Commercial Inspector” under “Category/Trade.” In selecting an exam, please choose the exam covering the code edition applicable in your jurisdiction.

Candidates can take most exams online at their convenience — 24/7, 365 days a year — at work, home or any secure location through the Proctored Remote Online Testing Option (PRONTO). Each exam can take between two and three-and-a-half hours, and results are available immediately. Each exam costs $209. All exams are open book and reference material is listed alongside each exam on ICC’s website.

The Learning Center at ICC offers classroom, online, web-session and virtual training opportunities specific to the RCI and CI designations. Publications including, but not limited to I-Codes, study companions, Flashcards, code commentaries, and textbooks may also be helpful study tools and are available through the ICC Store at www.shop.iccsafe.org.  The Exam Catalog includes links to sample exam questions and frequently asked questions about the examination process. Upon successfully passing the necessary exams to hold a CI or RCI, the designation will be recognized under ICC’s publicly searchable certification roster.

CI and RCI certifications are good for three years. Expiration dates for CI and RCI certifications are listed on an inspector’s myICC account or at https://www.iccsafe.org/verify. Renewals require the accrual of sufficient Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Renewal applications can be submitted online or in hard copy. Online submittals are processed immediately; paper applications are processed within 4-6 weeks. Reinstatements are still possible even where a certification is not renewed by the expiration date so long as the sufficient number of CEUs have been accrued. Click here for additional information on the renewal process.

For more information on how to achieve an ICC Combination Certification Designation,  click here.

For additional information regarding examinations, study materials, and renewals please contact:

ICC’s Assessment Center: askac@iccsafe.org or 1-888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233) ext. 5524.

ICC’s Learning Center: learn@iccsafe.org or 1-888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233) ext. 33821.

Certification Renewals (Mary Barnett): mbarnett@iccsafe.org or 888-ICC-SAFE ext. 3219.

For FHA lenders and developers who want to find an ICC-certified inspector

You can search for RCI or CI certified professionals by location here.

For additional information regarding CI and RCI certifications please contact ICC’s Assessment Center: askac@iccsafe.org or 1-888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233) ext. 5524.