Proper credentials and background in building key
BY SHELL BUSEY, THE PROVINCE
Buying residential or commercial real estate is a serious venture with some potentially significant risks. Selecting
the right property inspector can greatly reduce the associated risks, and the following information will help you
understand the process.
What qualifications should an inspector have?
Check the inspector's credentials. A "certified inspector" with the designation CPI or CHI signifies that he or she is
certified under a government act and recognized by the courts and other professional bodies. There are two
bodies that regulate home inspectors in B.C.: the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors (B.C.) and
the Applied Sciences Technologists & Technicians of B.C.
A background in the building industry, as well as in the inspection field, is an asset. If you have not built or repaired
it, how can you inspect it?
A qualified inspector is required to have a good working knowledge of:
- building envelopes
- structural components
- plumbing systems
- heating systems
- electrical systems
- hazardous materials, i.e., asbestosrelated items such as Zonolite insulation
The inspector needs to understand how all the components listed above function and how they work together as a
system. The ability to communicate this information to the client is also important.
An experienced, perceptive inspector should notice design defects and signs of structural or component
deficiencies (including unprofessional workmanship). Followup information from the inspector should include the
"how to or who to" make the necessary corrections.
Accepting a referral for an inspector through your realtor is not something I recommend. Make certain the
inspector is working in your interest. Realtor/ inspector relationships are a cause for concern within our industry.
As of March 31, 2009, all inspectors in B.C. need to be licensed under the Consumer Protection B.C.
How much should a house inspection cost?
It can cost thousands of dollars to sell an average Vancouver house, yet people are sometimes surprised at a
$500 to $600 fee to inspect the same property.
The inspection of an average 2,500-square-foot house by a qualified inspector should cost around $400 to $600.
The inspection should include a detailed written report complete with pictures in electronic form and a
walkthrough with the client. There should also be time for followup discussion. Allow five to six hours for a
Bottom line: The purchase of your home is one of the biggest financial commitments you will ever make. Do your
homework, ask the right questions and do not base your selection of a property inspector on price alone.