And So It Begins

Home is where their start is
House inspectors earn credentials by examining the real thing

David Lea
Local News - Monday, October 30, 2006 @ 07:00

A residence on Aylmer Crescent was visited by a number of home inspectors over the weekend - but not because it is for sale.

The bungalow is serving as a test house for home inspectors wishing to become nationally certified.

Cam Allen, who operates a home inspection business and is co-ordinating the certification program for eastern Ontario, said the test house is part of an effort by the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors to give the home-inspection industry some much-needed regulation.

“It’s long overdue,” Allen said.

“Right now, in all seriousness, it is a joke.”

Allen said current regulations allow practically anyone wielding a flashlight to masquerade as a home inspector but he believes this certification program will change that.

“You would take your [test] inspection. You would be allowed so much time to complete it and then file it with the examiner on site,” he said.

"You then go in front of a panel and this panel quizzes you for two hours. It’s basically a verbal examination.

Are you capable of explaining what you know to the customer?"

Inspectors undergoing the test do not have to wait long to find out the results.
“You’re graded right there in front of two examiners,” Allen said.

Examiner Brian Callaghan explained what the inspectors will be tested on.

“We, as examiners, came here last night, went through the whole house to find not only defects but a group of major defects that we would consider to be items that an inspector in this industry should be able to find,” he said.

Callaghan said there are 11 major problems within the test house and if a home inspector fails to find all of them, they will not be certified.

“Structural issues, there are some concerns with the electrical system,” Callaghan said.

“I don’t want to be too specific because there are a number of inspectors standing around. I don’t want to give them the answers.”

Derek McCauley, the president of the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association, supported the project in more ways than one by offering his home for use as the test house.

“I volunteered my house to be the test house. You know, a 30-year-old bungalow has got some issues,” he said.

McCauley said his house was chosen not because it was falling apart but because it was normal.

“We didn’t want to use a house that has too many issues. It’s not a set-up; it’s just an average, everyday, lived-in] home,” he said.

Claude Lawrenson is the chief examiner who determines if an inspector succeeds or fails. Besides the test, he conducts a background review of those seeking certification.

“We take a look at prior experience. Have they had a pretty good record with consumers and things like that,” he said.

One the weekend, about 10 home inspectors were tested as part of an effort that goes way beyond Kingston.

“It’s a national initiative,” said Paul Wilson, president of the Home Inspectors Institute.

“The input came from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and they basically wanted the inspection industry to get their act together and come out with one set of uniform standards.”

Wilson admits that home inspectors will not be required to take these tests, but believes people will make the right choice when presented with a home inspector who is certified and one who is not. “I think the public is going to select someone who is a member of an association that has been professionally trained. I think we have an edge on the non-aligned members,” he said.

Allen said this program will soon affect every homeowner in Canada as the program will be in place on a national level next year.

“The real estate community already has a working agreement with [the inspectors’ association] saying that we will tie our recommendations to your system,” he said.

Callaghan said making sure people know what problems are present with the homes they buy is the real purpose of this new system.

“When people buy houses, these are the kind of things that they want to know, to make informed decisions,” he said.



Couldnt you find a bigger font? Relax and bring it down.

How often is the “test house” moved to a new location?

Do you think they would move it to Alberta or maybe NWT.

Every TIPR session - its only good for one day! So far we have held this in virtually every province, and the established procedure requires a different house. To date we have had great cooperation with the real estate comunity and an examiner in the general area on this.

We have put approximately 140 applicants including examiners through this process. The pilot started in Montreal, its been west and east and the final under the pilot project was held last week-end in Kingston Ontario.

George - I certainly would denounce that Mr. Allen made any money on this. In fact I would venture to say - like all examiners and applicants it costs them money. I would also commend Mr. Allen for graciously acting as the house-sitter all day, plus helping to arrange this venue.

He certainly made things a lot less tasking by his hard work and support for one and all.

On the issue of TIPR’s in Alberta - there have been sessions in Calgary and Edmonton to date, and tentative plans for Red Deer and other venues in the future. Regarding NWT - none - so far.

I have tried wherever possible to attend each session, or have had involvement in each and every one.


It’s O.K. if Mr. Allen made some money on this,personally I don’t have problem with it.

How so?

Isn’t that restriction of trade, given the fact that CAHP is a self regulating body and strictly voluntary membership, and has certified itself with no accountability to other than itself? It has no government charter therefore it can’t mandate anything. How can the Realtor solely recommend one association over that of another, if both associations are turning out qualified inspectors? Is that attitude serving the best interest of the purchasers via the realtor? After all agents are in a better position to weed out the “garbage” perhaps more so than the associations. As we all know if you are Certified you will be judged by your clients and referrals because of your presentation, people skills, and non alarmist attitude, not necessarily by your pedigree. :wink:

Obviously some back ground reviews go deeper than others. :slight_smile: :wink:

Interesting, Claude that you see no conflict of interest with the real estate boards being in bed with the process. Is this how you will guarantee that “approved” inspectors grab a greater share of the business?

As far as making money is concerned, this was supposed to be a “clean” operation. So if the cam allens of this organization are not making money on it then where exactly is the money going?

Oh, I forgot. No accountability.

Sorry about the size of the font in the original. I was posting from a wireless system I found along the highway and sort of lost track of the “pasted” font size.

Fortunately, from the number of calls I have recieved from agents and several area brokers, they feel that because of the principal involved and his well known character, nobody seems to be taking this issue very seriously.


Part of the problem appears to be with Claude. The buck stops with him, after all he is Chief Examiner and oversees those he has alluded to in the Whig article. It would also appear that the BOD and others involved with management are protecting their own interests and those of friends, come hell or high water.

Btw, is Cam a contributor or writer for the Whig?

The President of OAHI has stated the following indicating to OAHI members that their directors on the BOD CAHPI think it wise to do the following.

Why would a self regulating body not want to change the by-laws by special meeting? Why not just change things cause we are telling you its good for you! This type of thinking is what has been the problem. There should be no fear of calling a Special Meeting because that is the democratic way to do things, not by autocratic rule! Follow the by-laws, open the dicussion, open the information, we don’t believe you. These are the same people hiding financial info and minutes from the members! Do you really trust them to do the right thing? Can you trust them to do the right thing?

My gut feeling is to call a Special Meeting and lay the cards on the table, thats what I think.

140 including examiners? That only leaves approximately 4850 inspectors to go. This elite group of national certificate holders are sure to be very busy.

Elite Group? Is that an Oxymoron? :slight_smile:

I think you may be right Raymond.

That’s if they all passed the test. How many of these inspectors got to go home with a passing grade?

Rumour has it no one has failed. At least the ones that are buddies of the Test Inspectors. :wink: Elite Group! :wink:

First I would not take everything written, stated or rumoured as gospel truth. In reading the article there are parts unfortunately misquoted once again by the media. Sound familiar?

Case in point - no person is officially told about passing or failing until the TIPR is completed and more so after a recommendation is put forward to the NCA for their review. The official announcement does not come from the Chief Examiner or any of the Examiners, but from the NCA armed with a report about the results of the TIPR, and the background review. Not some old boys club - grandfathering scenario that some would rather see. It’s called professional accountability to your “peers”. And even by members sitting on the committee that are non-inspectors - other proven professionals.

So it is simply rumour to assume or conclude that every applicant passed. That is as far stretch from the truth for any person advertising that they are now a national certificate holder at this point in time is doing so without official NCA endorsement. Simply because the only persons reviewed and approved are the current group of examiners.

Some people do follow the rules, regardless of rumours to try to persuade some people otherwise. There is a process - it is established and it must be followed to the letter.

Perhaps another case in point - is weeding out those that may pose a risk to the public such as information about a OAHI/NACHI member with a criminal record. Whose to blame? There are much bigger issues at stake here.

Next, does working with realtors really pose a conflict of interest? Perhaps that is a question best answered by Nick? Afterall, he has background in that area, so perhaps he can shed his point of view on working with realtors. From my point of view - don’t home inspectors work with them to varying degrees virtually every day. So really who is sleeping with whom?

Certainly in all fairness many realtors are concerned about the current market flooded with home inspectors of a variety of shapes, sizes, persuasions and differences, and influences including some that are downright incompetent and ethically challenged. Fortunately there are many more that prove their professionalism and value in the real estate transaction. But currently I hope that we can agree that it is extremely confusing to consumer of services by all the claims and puffery made by inspectors about who really is the best.

Yes, sounds like a great idea Claude. Let’s set up a board of the good old boys and go around telling inspectors who have been in the business successfully for years that their work experience is of no value because “the board” says so. Sounds darned fair to me!

If you cannot recognize the conflict of interest in having the head of a local real estate board loan his house and services to a private, unelected, self appointed group of inspectors so that they can make the decision (s) noted above then you are a part of the problem. We don’t need Nick to spell it out for us. Or at least most of us don’t.

First I would not take everything written, stated or rumoured as gospel truth. In reading the article there are parts unfortunately misquoted once again by the media. Sound familiar?

Case in point - no person is officially told about passing or failing until the TIPR is completed and more so after a recommendation is put forward to the NCA for their review. The official announcement does not come from the Chief Examiner or any of the Examiners, but from the NCA armed with a report about the results of the TIPR, and the background review. quote]

Here is the news paper posting.
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Claude says. " First I would not take everything written, stated or rumoured as gospel truth… "
Very Interesting I do believe this has been posted many times on this BB.
Thanks for reminding us .
Roy Cooke