Bill Mullen in Dec REM Magazine Guest Column: Certification for home inspectors

Bill Mullen
Dec 18, 2006

By Bill Mullen

In the mid-1970s, a few savvy entrepreneurs began offering a new service to prospective home buyers. The practitioner would inspect the house being sold and report on its conditions for a small fee. In time, the few grew to be many and a need arose for rules, regulations, and standards, in order to garner professional credibility with consumers.

The problem was – and still is – that anyone could simply print up some business cards, and call themselves a home inspector. In an effort to enhance the credibility of the profession and instill confidence in the public eye, the home inspection associations then operating in Canada created a “qualifications set” for home inspectors that required education, training, and a set of professional standards and ethics to follow. Now the public had somewhere to turn when looking for a “qualified” home inspector they could trust.

While this was a logical step in the evolution of the profession, it did not solve all the problems. Home inspectors were not (and are still not) required to become members of a professional association in order to practice. Each regional association developed its own set of rules and regulations, which differed from province to province. The media, which focused on sensational home inspection misadventure stories, mostly ignored these professional associations.

During the past decade, there has been a proliferation of pseudo-professional organizations and groups posing as legitimate professional home inspection associations. These groups profit from certifying home inspectors, and often require little to no education or experience. This has led to a rash of “certified” practitioners who lack any meaningful credentials. Thankfully, that’s changing.

What home buyers need most is a reliable source of trustworthy, competent, qualified home inspection professionals. Until now, however, there has been no consistent national standard in Canada for the home inspection industry. About 10 years ago, the Canadian government, with the co-operation of several home inspection associations, franchises, educators, and practitioners, decided that something drastic needed to be done on a large scale. Two federal government agencies, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), funded a number of focus groups and studies to determine the extent of the problems and investigate ways to correct them. This became known as “The National Initiative for Canadian Home Inspectors.”

The general consensus at the time was that the only valid way to ensure consistency and fairness would be for all associations, individual inspectors, franchises and multi-inspector firms to agree on a “job description” for the profession. A steering committee with representatives from many corners was formed, the Canadian Home Inspectors and Building Officials (CHIBO). Several meetings and a couple of years later, the National Occupational Standards (NOS) was created and ratified by all stakeholders in 2001.

Those involved in this initiative also realized that the success of a project of this magnitude demanded that one umbrella organization should administer the program uniformly instead of many smaller groups reaching for different targets. This decision led to the creation of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI). In 2002, CAHPI was incorporated and tasked with a goal of guiding and administering the certification process.
A process was set up to formal evaluate and certify applicants as competent professionals by CAHPI’s national certification body, which was named the National Certification Authority (NCA).

The certification model for Canadian home inspectors became a reality in late 2005, when the federal Minister of Housing announced that CAHPI would be “The voice of the Canadian home inspection industry,” and would be given the mandate to administer the certification model fairly and equally among Canadian home inspectors, including members and non-members.

Practitioners could now learn what the requirements were for them to become legitimate, credible home inspectors. The requirements are not onerous or impossible, but they have enough rigour to be defended easily, and they are based on actual occupational standards that were developed through thousands of hours of study and debate.

The National Certification Authority conducted a pilot project during the first part of 2006 in which more than 100 inspectors from all parts of Canada participated. Their background qualifications were assessed and all were subjected to a test inspection with peer review.

The NCA hired professional consultants to ensure all documents and processes follow accepted guidelines. The NCA also appointed experienced inspectors and members of the public to serve as project coordinator, chief examiner, registrar, and as members of the National Certification and Accreditation Councils. Many more experienced inspectors have been trained to serve as examiners for the test inspections. (Samir Bachir, a CREA past-president, and Laura Leyser, OREA past-president now serve on two of the councils.)

The aim of the pilot project was to identify any problems with the model and the process. It also helped the NCA to determine the actual costs needed to accredit courses and to certify practitioners. The pilot project has just been completed. CAHPI and the NCA are now inviting all Canadian home inspectors, both members and non-members, to apply to become National Certificate Holders. The goal is to have 200 to 500 National Certificate Holders by the end of 2006 and many more in subsequent years until most competent Canadian home inspectors become “National Certificate Holders.”

For more information, contact CAHPI at 1-888-748-2244 or](

Bill Mullen is a Registered Home Inspector (RHI) who has operated Bluewater Home Inspection in Sarnia, Ont. for 14 years. He is a member of ASHI and CAHPI-Ontario. He has served on many committees and boards, including three years as national president of CAHPI. He is now the immediate past president of CAHPI and national certification project co-ordinator.

Roy Cooke

Thanks Roy!

GREAT article, Bill; explains things very nicely. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and prosperous new year and are not too discouraged by the handful of nay sayers here. Most of us understand the purpose of and need for national certification and welcome this raising of the bar for our profession here in Canada. It will enhance our professional credibility with the public, for sure, and hopefully protect them from inspectors who have no education or proper training.

And keep in mind that just because your supporters here are silent doesn’t mean you don’t have any. This forum is not a free and open board in that anyone who does not tow the party line dictated by three or four people will suffer viscious attacks and ridicule. For instance, just watch the nature of the replies follow this post, as those nay sayers try to teach me for daring to say anything positive to you or about the NCP.



Nice to see you are easily brainwashed. This is nothing but another propoganda piece put out none other then the spin master himself Bill Mullen.

Again 500 inspectors by the end of 2006? NOT!

Also there are many relevent documents that anyone outside of CAHPI have not been entitled to see.

So Norm before you pontificate that there are many who silently support this program you should be sure of all the facts!

Thanks Dave Bottoms aka Norm Smith.

See Bill, just as I said. Took him less than ten minutes to launch his attack.


"given the mandate to administer the certification model fairly and equally among Canadian home inspectors, including members and non-members. "
**Thanks for our morning laugh Bill.


Why are there real estate agents sitting on the councils. There should be total seperation between the industries.

Well, we wouldn’t want to blow a deal for the poor agent by being to thorough in our inspections right?

I agree Gerry. This was one of my points that seemed to get Bill’s back up.

LOL :o :o :o

Those “few savvy entrepreneurs” want to control the whole inspection industry in Canada now.

I take that quote as meaning that ALL unlicenced self regulating bodies encompass that comment?

Which franchises have accepted or agreed to comply? Has Amerispec supported this? Has P2P accepted this? Has ACCISS accepted this? Has Grassroots accepted this? Et ceteras.

All stakeholders?

Announced CAHPI would be the voice? So an announcement as opposed to legislation? Is announcement the same as endorsement? Is an endorsement the same as legislation?

I thought it was 140 inspectors who have thus far completed the TIPR or so I was told after being called a liar? Hmmmm. Number fudging again, similar to the 5000 inspectors who would ALL be certified by 2007? Ooooops. :slight_smile:

OOOOOoooooops well I guess that quota has fallen short. :frowning:

Most competent home inspectors? So far the numbers are telling a different tale.

Just my take on the printed word.

Now Norm maybe you could offer your esteemed opinions on the matter and provide further questions and commentary. You came up short on first critique of the article. :wink:


Lets see. You said, “I thought it was 140 inspectors who have thus far completed the TIPR or so I was told after being called a liar? Hmmmm. Number fudging again.”

But Bill’s statement was: “The National Certification Authority conducted a pilot project during the first part of 2006 in which more than 100 inspectors from all parts of Canada participated.”

Now I admit I’m no mathmatician like you, but doesn’t “140 inspectors” equate to Bill’s comment that “more than 100 inspectors from all parts of Canada participated”? Bill stated there were more than 100 inspectors, and last I checked, 140 is more than 100.

For someone who was kicked off the OAHI DPPC (their ethics committe), banned from two Canadian forums, lies about his credentials on his web site, and suggests a woman on this forum deserves to be battered, you seem overly concerned about the semantics of Bill’s comment, wouldn’t you say?

Imagine if people on this forum held you to the same high ethical standards you hold Bill and others. You’d probably find yourself burned at the stake. You should be thankful everyone here is so willing to turn a blind eye to all your obvious transgressions.



Are you now filling in for Bill as spokesperson? Sure looks that way. Nice try!
Try and stay on topic, I know its difficult big guy.

You called into question Bill’s comment that “more than” 100 inspectors have participated in the pilot project. The logic behind your statement is flawed, much like most of the stuff you write. I’m simply pointing that out to you and everyone else.



You are right for once. Bills comment about “more than” could mean 101, 105, 110, participants, but as Bill has already said the number was 140! So you are right Bills logic is flawed! Not only that Bill admitted out of the 140 many had failed. This logically leads one to believe that the numbers are not accurate at all.

Thanks for pointing it out Dave.

At least we can agree on one thing. I’m right and you are, as per usual, wrong.


Yes I agree Bills logic is flawed much like yours. Thanks for proving my point. You are always so receptive to having your flawed logic pointed out to you.

Glad to see you are beginning to understand the situation and the problem with Bill and number quoting. :wink:

Thanks Dave.

I wish you’d make up your mind already. You said I was right and I wholeheartedly agree with you. Bill said there were more than 100 inspectors, which jives with the figure of 140 inspectors. Lets end it there.

There’s really no sense in you making any more of a fool of yourself, now is there?


It looks like you have much information regarding the National certification .
I and others sure would like you to share some of this information with us .
Thanks in advace for your cooperation .

Roy Cooke

Are you sure, Roy? I mean, based on the embarrassingly childish display I’ve witnessed on this forum over the past week, the LAST thing anyone seems to want is information on the national certification program. I think all you guys REALLY want is someone to scrap with and/or an excuse to gripe and complain ad nauseam. Any time anyone provides you with solid information, you all go into a frenzy about it.

The funniest part is where you guys viciously attack Bill and when he says one little thing in defense, everyone’s aghast by his “offensive and unnecessary” comments. On the other hand, when Ray suggests a woman here deserves to be battered, those same easily offended people don’t have a word to say about it. Wow. Glad none of you live in my neighborhood. I’d be afraid to let my wife or daughter walk the streets alone.

Seems to me that Bill came here to fill you in on the NCP and you guys couldn’t remain civil long enough to get the info you wanted. Now who’s fault is that?