NSPIRE Inspection Tool: What’s changing?

Posted On: March 14, 2023

As you already know, NSPIRE is the highly anticipated new inspection tool to be launched by HUD. It aims to increase the standards and efficiency of property inspections for affordable housing. Dan Gould of The Inspection Group spoke today about the upcoming NSPIRE launch at the SAHMA Alabama/Mississippi Conference. Here are some of the key takeaways from his presentation and an overview of what you can expect with the new NSPIRE inspection tool.

Key Features of NSPIRE Inspection Tool

  • HUD plans to launch NSPIRE in October.
  • Salesforce will develop the software as an app that can be used on a tablet. One significant advantage of this new inspection tool is that HUD can schedule inspections 28 days out using the app. Property managers can use the app to pre-submit required documents, proof of remediation of defects (within 24 hours or 30 days as required), and submit appeals.
  • The NSPIRE inspection tool will provide an increased sample size and focus on areas of “heavy tenant traffic,” which will carry more weight than locked common areas.
  • He says NSPIRE will also place a heavy emphasis on fire doors, which Gould recommends never altering.
  • Inspectors will also pay close attention to mold and mildew, possibly using moisture meters or infrared cameras, according to Gould.
  • Inspectors will test every electrical outlet they can easily access using a device.
  • Smoke detectors must be within NFPA 72 standards.
  • CO detectors are a requirement
  • HUD may also add lead paint visual assessment training as a requirement for inspectors.
According to Gould:
NSPIRE Inspection Tool
Carbon monoxide detectors are a requirement.
Inspectors may use moisture meters or infrared cameras to detect mold/mildew.
NSPIRE inspection tool
Inspectors will test every accessible electrical outlet.

Gould told maintenance teams NSPIRE will have three inspection areas versus the current five.

  • “Outdoors:” The site and building
  • “Interior:” Building systems and common areas
  • “Units are still units.”

Health and Safety issues will be included in each standard. Points will be as follows:

  • 25 for outside
  • 25 for inside
  • 50 for units

Gould also discussed the timeframe for repairs with the NSPIRE inspection tool.

  • There will be a timeframe to complete most noted defects within 24 hours or 30 days.
  • Gould says many of the items listed appear to be “code-driven.”

NSPIRE 2.2 does not list the following as defects or findings, according to Gould:

  • non-security fences
  • pools and pool fences
  • overgrown vegetation/penetration unless it’s partially blocking walkway or ramp
  • refuse area
  • generator run-up records
  • graffiti made with chalk

However, he says NSPIRE 2.2 does include the following as defects:

  • expired disposable fire extinguishers
  • guard rails for porch pads of a certain height
  • structural systems like posts and beams.

Other items that were not previously required but will be included in NSPIRE 2.2 are:

  • CO detectors
  • Possible lead paint
  • Grab bars
  • bed bugs
  • garage doors

Implementation and Impact

Gould says once HUD completes the final version of the NSPIRE inspection tool and develops the scoring system, it will be printed in the Federal Register. He believes the announcement will come three to six months before it becomes effective and doubts HUD will make the deadline of October 1st.

Properties that were accepted and enrolled in the NSPIRE Demo that have not had a REAC since 2019, will receive a scored NSPIRE inspection in 2023 unless they opted out by the March 1 deadline.

Gould warns property maintenance teams that changing to NSPIRE standards too early will cause them to fail their REAC inspections. He advises property managers to wait until NSPIRE is in the Federal Register and official before making any changes. The only exception is the installation of CO detectors, which are now standard.

NSPIRE will significantly change the inspection process for affordable housing properties. With proper preparation and attention to detail, affordable housing properties can successfully transition to the new NSPIRE inspection tool and continue to provide safe and comfortable housing for their residents.


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