FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Fort Huachuca's certified military housing inspectors, in partnership with Mountain Vista Communities' quality inspectors, ensure service members and their families move into a clean and functional home every time.

"Service members and their families deserve a quality home to come home to," said Jay Franklin, a certified military housing inspector with the Directorate of Public Works' Housing Services Office (HSO).

HSO has four certified military housing inspectors responsible for ensuring the life, health and safety standards are met in each residence before new occupants move into the home. Two of these inspectors recently completed the Certified Military Housing Inspector (CMHI) course taught at Fort Drum, New York in September.

Jay Franklin and Joanne M. Prince attended the five-day course designed for personnel involved in the management of both government housing facilities and private sector inspections. While there they learned the necessary skills and tools to successfully inspect to meet Department of Defense criteria. They also learned how to identify and manage the sustainment, renovation and modernization workloads of military housing facilities.

"During the certification training, I learned the importance of conducting a concise, quality home inspection," Prince said. "Trained inspectors all conducting an assessment in the same way, with the same thoroughness is important for quality standards.

"Service members and their families are entitled to and expect quality housing. Having certified military housing inspectors ensures that we meet and hopefully surpass that expectation."
The CMHI course also provided the inspectors with a greater understanding of inspection principles for existing or newly constructed facilities, both the private sector and governmental.

"This is important because we want to ensure service members and their families have access to quality homes, whether they live on or off the installation," said Prince who is primarily responsible for conducting inspections of homes and apartments off the installation.

The certification training educated inspectors on the various aspects of construction from site work to final acceptance, change of occupancy maintenance requirements and management of contract vehicles in a military setting.

Franklin said this training gave him the tools to expertly inspect maintenance projects, homes and new construction.

"It's helped me become a better inspector," he said. "By using a more deliberate approach to a housing inspection we can focus on the life, health and safety checks each time."

An HSO-certified military housing inspector performs a compliance walk through each house with a Mountain Vista quality inspector prior to occupancy by a new family.

"We're looking to ensure all the components of the house are safe and in working order, such as smoke detectors, doors, locks, faucets, windows and blinds and garage door sensors," Franklin said. "We use the same approach with paint, water leaks and light bulbs."

Ricky Richter, MVC quality inspector, said he's looking for the same things when he walks through with the HSO inspector.

"You can never have enough eyes to verify if the house is ready for residents," Richter said. "By the time I walk through with Jay, MVC technicians and cleaners have already been through and have taken care of the items on the punch list. Then I show up with all the tools and materials I might need in case we find something else when we're walking through the house."

As HSO and MVC inspectors methodically walk through the interior and around the exterior of the home checking for functionality and cleanliness, sometimes they might identify a minor correction that can be made on the spot, like a door latch strike plate that won't allow the door to latch and just needs to be screwed in a little tighter or a light bulb has burned out and needs to be replaced.

After the house has passed this inspection, another MVC quality inspector follows to complete the final touches to ready the home for its new family and conduct a move-in inspection with the prospective resident.