Termite Inspection (WDO) Findings

Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) inspections are often times a large component in the real estate transaction. The WDO industry, unlike the home inspection industry, is regulated by a branch of the Department of Agriculture called the Structural Pest Control Board (SPCB). The reason for this board is to protect the consumer and the environment- since the pest control industry often uses potentially harmful chemicals when treating common pests and wood destroying organisms. That is another topic for another day though- today we will be discussing findings and how to decipher them.

Findings are areas on a property that an inspector has discovered something wrong. It can range from a leaking sink to a loose toilette to termite infestation to dry rot. Inspectors will then categorize these findings based on criteria set forth by the SPCB. The guidelines are as follows:

Section 1: This means active infestation- termite/ beetle/carpenter ant activity and/or dry rot have been identified as present.

Section 2: These are findings that are “conducive conditions,” basically items that if not corrected, can or will eventually lead to a section 1 finding.

Section 3: Section 3 findings are the LEAST conclusive initially. These are the findings that are calling for a further inspection of an area of the property. This can range from something as simple as a garage packed full of moving boxes to something as complex as a curious water stain in a kitchen ceiling that just happens to be directly below a second story shower.

Knowing this the industry standard is to use a series of numbers and letters to identify findings on a report. Numbers range from 1-5. Here are the number representations:

  1. Subterranean termites
  2. Drywood termites and Wood Boring Beetles
  3. Dry Rot and/ or wood fungus
  4. Other findings- these are typically section 2 findings
  5. Further Inspection (Pay attention to these!!!)

On an inspection diagram, you will typically find what we refer to as icons on a diagram, they will correlate with a property based off of a foundation.  The Icon will be represented by a number (1-5) followed by a letter (typically A-Z, but can go higher such as AA or NN). In the body or the report, you will find the same icon followed by a description of the finding and a recommendation (or two) for correcting the finding. For real estate purposes, it is very common for section 1 items to either be corrected or credits are negotiated between buyer and seller for future repairs. It is paramount during negotiations to pay attention to further inspection items- buyers and sellers can avoid confusion and/ or frustration down the road by making sure that all questions (Further Inspection) items are fully understood.

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