AHIB has received questions regarding Inspector membership in referral groups such as Business Network International (BNI). At the July 14, 2017, AHIB meeting it was determined that membership by an Arkansas Home Inspector in a referral group such as Business Network International (BNI), or other similar groups, is a Code of Ethics violation pursuant to AHIB Code of Ethics 402.1:
Inspectors shall avoid conflicts of interest or activities that compromise, or appear to compromise, professional independence, objectivity, or inspection integrity.
This is regardless of membership fee being paid to be part of such a group.
It should also be noted that 402.1.C also prohibits Inspectors from directly or indirectly compensating realty agents, or other parties having a financial interest in closing or settlement of real estate transactions, for the referral of inspections or for inclusion on a list of recommended inspectors, preferred providers, or similar arrangements.
Note: Marketing and referral groups is intended to refer to groups that suggest or require that members of their groups preferentially refer to other group members. This would compromise professional independence and objectivity. Membership in networking or business groups that do not suggest or require preferential referral to other group members or any sort of exclusivity of referrals does not appear to be an ethics violation as long as the group does not also create a paid preferred provider or similar list used by lenders, agents, or other parties having a financial interest in the closing or settlement of real estate transactions.