NSPIRE News: November 24, 2020
Comparing UPCS and NSPIRE

UPCS vs NSPIRE. UPCS: Established 1998, 5 inspectable areas, deficiency levels 1-3, asset preservation focus. NSPIRE: resident-focused, 3 inspection types, CTQs, rationales, 3 inspectable areas, different deficiency types.

“What’s the difference between UPCS and NSPIRE?”

As HUD develops the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE), stakeholders have asked this question more than any other. NSPIRE is the result of a wholesale review of HUD’s inspection programs, and represents significant change in standards, processes, and procedures, including scoring. Furthermore, NSPIRE is built around a customer-focused design and begins with resident health and safety in mind. As we compare UPCS and NSPIRE, here are some of the most notable differences between them.



HUD first implemented Uniform Physical Condition Standards in 1998. UPCS focused on asset preservation within HUD’s extensive public housing portfolio.

NSPIRE is purposefully designed to focus on resident health and safety while addressing the changes in HUD’s portfolio, including the increase in the number of Multifamily properties and tenant and project-based vouchers.

Prior to NSPIRE, HUD relied primarily on two sets of standards – UPCS and the Housing Quality Standards. Over time, this created complexities and inefficiencies within the inspection process.

NSPIRE is one standard for all programs. It streamlines inspections, increases efficiency, and creates a single expectation of housing quality across programs.

Under UPCS, the appearance of the property and certain inspectable items could have substantial impact on the inspection score.

Under NSPIRE, inspections focus on the most important thing: resident health and safety. Furthermore, properties with poor unit conditions will not be able to pass inspection.

Preparing for NSPIRE

NSPIRE represents a fundamental shift in HUD's approach to inspection protocols. This makes an apples-to-apples comparison difficult. HUD has prepared many resources to help property owners prepare for the change, however. These include:

  • NSPIRE Standards: a full list of the NSPIRE standards. Each downloadable PDF details citable deficiencies, correction times, and other pertinent information.
  • NSPIRE Concept: what NSPIRE is and what are its goals.

For a full list of available resources, visit the NSPIRE Resources page on HUD.gov.

More NSPIRE News and Events »