InterNACHI's Sewer Scope Inspection Standards of Practice

1. Definitions and Scope

1.1.  A sewer scope inspection is a video inspection of the lateral sewer line (referred to by plumbing codes as the “building sewer”) from the house at or near the foundation to the municipality’s or HOA’s tap or septic tank, performed for a fee.  The purpose of a sewer scope is to discover and report defects that are visible in the lateral sewer line that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector, as defined by these Standards; the scope will typically also identify the material used for the lateral sewer line. The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.

1.2.  A material defect is 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, in itself, a material defect.

1.3.  A sewer scope inspection report shall identify, in written format, defects within the system and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. Inspection reports may include additional comments and recommendations.

The sewer scope inspection report will outline and define the portions of the sewer line that were inspected and indicate any areas that were not inspected, the reason they were not inspected, and general statements of what is commonly included and excluded during the sewer scope inspection.

2. Limitations, Exceptions & Exclusions

2.1.  Limitations

  1. A sewer scope inspection is not technically exhaustive.
  2. A sewer scope inspection will not identify concealed or latent defects. 
  3. This Standards of Practice applies to properties with four or fewer residential units.


2.2.   Exceptions

  1. The sewer scope inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions.
  2. The sewer scope inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.

2.3.  Exclusions 

The inspector is not required to:

  1. remove or pull toilets to access the main or lateral sewer line.
  2. move any personal items or other obstructions, such as, but not limited to:  throw rugs, carpeting, wall coverings, boxes, furniture, ceiling tiles, window coverings, equipment, plants, ice, debris, snow, or anything else that might restrict the sewer scope inspection.
  3. climb a roof to access a sewer vent pipe if deemed unsafe by the inspector.
  4. enter or access any area or do anything that may, in the inspector's opinion, be unsafe or dangerous to him/herself or others, or damage property.
  5. enter crawlspaces or other areas that may be unsafe or not readily accessible.
  6. locate and/or mark any defect observed in the sewer scope video.
  7. provide the length of the main or lateral sewer line to the municipality’s or HOA’s tap or septic tank.
  8. scope or inspect underfloor or in-house portions of the building drain or sewer system.
  9. give correction, replacement or repair cost estimates.

3. Standards of Practice 

3.1. Sewer Scope Inspection

1. The sewer scope inspector will inspect and video-record:

  1. the main or exterior lateral sewer line from a proper cleanout or roof vent stack;
  2. record the entire video and provide the video to the client as either an online link or a physical copy;
  3. document any and all defects observed in the video inspection; and
  4. if a cleanout is not visible or accessible, the inspector will note that in the report.

2. When possible, the sewer scope inspector shall describe:

  1. the type of lateral sewer line or pipe materials.

3. The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

  1. the presence of visible cracks;
  2. the presence of any observed plant or tree root intrusion;
  3. the presence of any offset over ¼-inch;
  4. the presence of over 1 inch of standing water;
  5. the presence of a blockage or restriction;
  6. the presence of a crushed line or pipe;
  7. the presence of a broken line or pipe;
  8. the presence of a separated or disconnected line or pipe;
  9. the presence of excessive rust or scale;
  10. the presence of an excessive amount of grease;
  11. the presence of deteriorated concrete;
  12. the presence of an egg-shaped line;
  13. the presence of a collapsed line or pipe; and
  14. the presence of delamination or deterioration. 

4. The inspector is not required to:

  1. identify the presence of Orangeburg or Bermico (bituminous fiber pipe).
  2. identify the presence of asbestos cement or Transite pipe. 


Authored by James D Krumm, Owner
IM-Inspector Mentoring and Training, LLC