How to Read the NSPIRE Standards

A collection of tools aligned to shape a silhouette of a house.Do you understand how to read the NSPIRE Standards?

Each standard is organized into two sections that present key components of an inspectable element under the NSPIRE program. The front matter at the beginning of the standard describes attributes of the inspectable item and summarizes the defects that are citable as deficiencies. The second section provides further detail on each applicable deficiency by its inspectable location(s).

You can view and download HUD’s Standards Template Guide which provides an overview of how the NSPIRE standards are structured. The guide describes each section of the NSPIRE standard and lists all the rationale codes and descriptions.

Front Matter

The front matter provides high-level information about the standard, including terminology related to the inspectable item and any clarifications or exceptions. Clicking on the name of the inspectable item, listed at the top of the page, will open your email client so that you can easily submit feedback about the standard. You’ll also see the version number for the standard and the publishing date at the top.

Within the front matter, you’ll find the following summary of information:

Title: States the title of the standard

Version: States the version of the standard (e.g., V1.3)

Date Published: Lists the date the version of the standard was published (e.g., 7/31/20)

Definition: Defines the standard

Purpose: States the function, use, or purpose the item serves in the built environment, if applicable (i.e., if the standard refers to an item)

Name Variants: Lists other possible names that refer to the item

Common Materials: Lists the most common materials that make up the item (e.g., wood, metal)

Common Components: Lists the most common components that make up the item (e.g., shower head, faucet, drain)


Unit: The box is selected if the applicable inspectable area is within the unit,

Inside: The box is selected if the applicable inspectable area is within the interior area, but not the unit itself (e.g., common areas)

Outside: The box is selected if the applicable inspectable area is outside the dwelling

More Information: States additional information that is relevant to the item


After the front matter, the standard presents each deficiency in order with its name and location indicated at the top of each page. Within each deficiency and/or deficiency location you will find the following information. Bear in mind that some standards may only list one deficiency, while others will have multiple deficiencies.

Deficiency # – Location: States the name and location of the deficiency applicable to the standard corresponding to the numbered deficiency list on the previous page

Deficiency Criteria: Lists the criteria needed to be considered for the deficiency

Health and Safety Determination: States the health and safety determination applicable to the deficiency (e.g., standard, life-threatening, etc.) Briefly describes the health and safety determination, depending on whether it is standard, life-threatening, severe non-life-threatening, or nonapplicable based on function and operability or condition and appearance

Correction Timeframe: Lists the timeframe for correction (e.g., 30 days, 24 hours)

HCV – Correction Timeframe: Lists the timeframe for correction under the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program


Code: Lists the rationale code applicable to the deficiency (see Appendix A)

Category: Lists the category of the applicable rationale code (e.g., health, safety, sanitary, privacy, etc.)

Type: Lists whether the rationale is direct or indirect with respect to its effect

Description: Provides a description for the rationale code listed

Explanation: Provides an explanation as to why the selected rationale applies to the deficiency

Inspection Process: Describes the process for inspecting the deficiency

Observation: States how to observe the deficiency

Request for Help: States when to ask for assistance regarding the deficiency (e.g., if a test button is over 8 feet high)

Action: States the action needed to be taken when the deficiency is observed

More Information: Lists any additional information needed for evaluating the deficiency

Tools or Equipment:

Required: Lists tools or equipment that is required when evaluating the deficiency

Useful: Lists tools or equipment that is useful when evaluating the deficiency

Rationale Codes and Descriptions

Under NSPIRE, all deficiencies are critical and must tie back to a rationale, which is a clear and concise explanation of the potential risk a defect presents. Rationales provide more information to inspectors, property owners, managers, maintenance personnel, and residents as to why a specific deficiency is being inspected for.

Here is a list of deficiency rationales, their codes, and descriptions:






Condition could affect resident’s mental, or physical, or psychological state.



Resident could be injured because of this condition – see HHRS Appendix B, 4 clauses.



Special sub-set of health hazards related to hygiene. Resident cannot clean or dispose of waste or does not have clean drinking water.



Resident cannot control access to unit or property because of this condition.



Condition limits the resident’s reasonable expectation of privacy in their dwelling.


Usability or Operability of Fixtures

Because of this condition, the resident is unable to use certain fixtures, features, or appliances, which are reasonably assumed to be part of their rent.


Increased Monetary Impact to Resident

Resident would incur additional costs because of this condition.


Corrective Maintenance

It is reasonable to expect a tenant to report this deficiency, and for facilities management to prioritize a work order response to fix that deficiency.


Routine Maintenance

It is reasonable to expect that this deficiency would be identified through routine daily observations and facilities management would prioritize work orders to fix this deficiency.


Preventative Maintenance

This defect indicates that a property is not following preventative maintenance practices for the item or equipment. *This only applies to items that would normally have preventive maintenance plans.


Capital Cost

This defect, on its own, is significant enough to be a capital cost to repair.


Increased Monetary Impact to HUD

HUD would incur additional costs due to this condition (e.g., such as energy inefficiency).



This condition indicates potential structural failure of the building or a load-bearing component *May be linked to safety depending on location.


Market Appeal

If this defect occurs, HUD or the property would suffer reputational harm *This defect is highly subjective. *This is applicable only in areas that can be seen by the public – either from the public way or as visitors to the property.

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