Another One in BC


Couple’s house is ‘sinking’
By Vikki Hopes - Abbotsford News

Published: February 12, 2010 2:00 PM
Updated: February 12, 2010 2:52 PM

Angela Bushman places a battery on her kitchen floor, and it rolls with just a small nudge.

She opens the fridge and, without pulling on the handle, the door flings open.

Bedroom doors, wedged open with rocks, shut when the rocks are removed.

This is not the work of a ghostly presence; it’s the result of a home that is “sinking” and needs to have the foundation lifted and stabilized.

The problem is that Bushman and her common-law husband, Phil Gallant, bought the 30-year-old Abbotsford home in August 2007, and a home inspector did not catch the problem.

They are now looking at a bill of $40,000 to $50,000 just to lift the home, not including repairs of any damage that will be caused by performing the work.

“The longer we wait, the more damage that’s going to be done,” Gallant said.

This is the couple’s first home, which they purchased because it had everything they needed. Their son Tyler, 4, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and will eventually require a wheelchair.

The McKenzie Road home is one level and is wheelchair-accessible. It also has three bedrooms, which enables Gallant’s 12-year-old daughter to stay with them when she’s not with her mom.

Prior to purchasing the home, they hired a home inspection company, which was on a list supplied to them by their realtor. The company was licensed, even though it was not required at the time. (See sidebar about new licensing requirements.)

Gallant, 29, said the only problems the inspector pointed out were minor. He said they were told that small cracks in the walls and foundation were normal settling for a 30-year-old house.

Their purchase price was $303,000.

Over time, the cracks became wider, and the couple noticed the south side of their home was sloping. They called a contractor to find out why.

In their crawlspace, he discovered evidence that someone had tried to previously jack up the house. Shims had been put in place to fill gaps in the foundation.

These issues were in plain view and not something a home inspector should have missed, Gallant said.

The contractor gave them a quote to repair the damage, and the couple called another contractor for a second opinion. He told them the same thing.

They have consulted a lawyer, who told them they have grounds for a lawsuit, but they can’t afford the fees.

“It’s frustrating … We thought we’d get this (house) and it just needed inside work,” said Bushman, 34.

They said they will now most likely sell the home, factoring in the repair costs to the new buyers, and renting a house until they can save enough to buy another one.

“It just roasts me, to put it politely,” Gallant said.

How about that ?!? I thought that licensing was supposed to stop all that? Go figure! ;):smiley:

Licensing will never stop bad inspections, but its the best system we have to date to regulate inspectors.

From what I read on this and other Forums that does not seem to be the case .
I would love to have some evidence showing us how licensing has improved our industry.

Licensing does not improve our industry, it just regulates home inspectors and hopefully removes the ones that just hang out a shingle and say they are home inspectors

No it’s not.

The best system to regulate inspectors is a free market.

Believe me, if the lawyer felt confident that he could win a settlement there would be no “fees” and he would take the case on a contingency, collecting 30% from what he recovers.

Evidence that the house had previously been raised is NOT a material defect, is it? I have found shims under beams and posts in brand new construction.

More than likely, the wise inspector was not insured and the attorney did not want to take the chance of losing money.

There are “bad inspectors” and then there are good inspectors who sometimes miss things. Licensing has no way of distinguishing between them…and has no way of preventing either.

Licensing solves nothing.

There is no such evidence…but there is evidence to the contrary.

In 1995, a government controlled agency (the Ohio Real Estate Commission) conducted a study of six midwestern American states…three that were licensed and three that were not.

Among their findings are the facts that the quality of home inspections and the quality of home inspectors did not improve within the state after licensing was initiated…and that there was no recordable difference in the quality of inspections and inspectors between licensed and unlicensed states.

Licensing is simply a way to mandate students to attend the schools that licensing proponents own, to require students to pay for and take tests that profit the licensing proponents who own the tests, and for uninformed inspectors to attempt to legislate their competition out of business.

That is all.

If anything, licensing creates a false sense of professionalism where none exists. Here in FL beginning this summer, once someone has done 120 hours of training, takes a test that you can buy the questions to practice or sit thru a class that will “teach the test” anyone can become a FL licensed home inspector. The public hires said “licensed” inspector thinking they are getting a professionally trained individual when in fact it may be a beginning novice with enough money and time to pass rudimentary requirements with little or no practical experience. Barbers are licensed here as well but I can guarantee you I can go get a ****ty haircut in less than 20 mins going in any direction from my front door. Just another huge misconception the public has that has been perpetuated by the State whose job it is to collect money for the licenses.

Worth repeating:

Note in many of these recent cases making headlines the inspection was performed prior to licensing. So why blame licensing?

It was a poorly conducted home inspection. The fact still remains that home inspectors can miss the mark, and more than often most of these cases are based on substantial defects that have a huge financial impact on the industry, as well as the parties involved.

Even field testing has proven on average that between 15 to 18% of home inspectors fail to meet even an 80% accuracy rate on reporting significant defects. Not looking for perfection - but setting a benchmark to pass at even 80%.

The test data also indicates that the years of experience or number of inspections performed also cannot be a reliable indicator of the inspectors accuracy rate.

Licensing only helps establish a minimum level of acceptability for meeting the requirement to be licensed to practice - plain and simple.

Licensing backfired in BC at first, steering consumers away from the very best certified inspectors and forcing them to pick from mostly unqualified licensed inspectors. It really harmed (financially and physically) a lot of consumers initially.

I re-read all the posts, None is “blaming” licensing, but pointing out that licensing is not the panacea either as is more often than not the spin being put on its’ implementation.

Licensing only helps establish a minimum level of acceptability for meeting the requirement to be licensed to practice - plain and simple.
Yes it makes sense


A licensed home inspector is no more likely over an unlicensed inspector to catch a defect…than a licensed fisherman is over an unlicensed fisherman to catch a fish.

It does not protect the consumer, it does not provide for a better inspector or a better inspection, and it does not ensure quality or competency.

The lies that are told to get bills passed must stop…and when they are, I assure you, fewer laws will be passed.

"Licensing will never stop bad inspections, but its the best system we have to date to regulate inspectors."

Allen if you and your organization truly believe that then you are a part of the problem and will never be part of the solution. And the solution is coming.

Teamsters are no solution. When is this grand event supposed to be coming anyway?

Licensing will be a way to remove bad inspectors from the field. Without licensing, bad inspectors can continue as no one has jurisdiction over them and until they are sued out of business, they will continue to work. When a bad inspector is suspended and continues to work or an unlicensed HI works, they can be taken down by law!

Can you give your thoughts why as you say the teamsters are no solution.
. I have looked at PACHI,OAHI,CAHPI,AND PHPIO different names but seemed to me to be the same game .
Just possible many new ideas and use the best from the rest might be a great way to go .
I do appreciate what the other associations have done but about 6 years ago they stalled and have to me just been spinning their wheels ever since .

Unions are only good for one purpose…collective bargaining.

Those who form unions do so to increase their power at the table with management, requiring that collective bargaining laws that recognize their rights at the table are observed.

Superficially, unions can somewhat control what their members do…but not well. Union leaders are elected from the rank and file and have various levels of control and … like everything else in society … 80% of the participation comes from 20% of the members. The rest just carry union ID cards and pay their dues.

Incompetency at one’s job is not, by law, a reason for union dismissal. The union is required, by law, to represent all of its members equally and provide for their job security.

In application, I think that the high expectations of what a union will do will not be achieved.

Remember that union recruiters will say whatever they must in order to get the union voted in and collect the dues. After that, you will never see or hear from them again.

(“Superficially, unions can somewhat control what their members do…but not well. Union leaders are elected from the rank and file and have various levels of control and … like everything else in society … 80% of the participation comes from 20% of the members. The rest just carry union ID cards and pay their dues.”)

Gee thats pretty good and a lot more participation then I see in most of the Home Inspection associations .
Time will tell how well this industry does in the future .
At this time it looks to me like improvement is badly needed.

So why are unions being controlled more and more by and through government? Look at what happen to college teachers in Ontario. So much for even collective bargaining when all it takes is the government to “impose” terms and “conditions” through an “act” that favours one side.

So much for that belief of true independence…many promises - no delivery!