From Inspected to Inspector

From inspected to inspector

**By Chantelle Bowles
Times Reporter
**Mar 25 2007

It is no secret that Langley’s real estate market is booming and many people are looking to buy in the area.

But what happens when a family, who has already spent a lot of money on the house, has to spend even more fixing a problem an unregulated home inspector missed?

That is what happened to Doug Brown of Brown and Associates. Five years ago, Brown was looking to purchase a house when he hired an unlicensed home inspector.

As Brown went through the house, he saw some questionable things and asked the inspector, to which the response was that there wasn’t a problem. It was this experience that prompted him to start his own home inspection agency.

“I thought I could do a better job for the customer,” said Brown.
He went online to search about how to become a home inspector. He found that one way to get certification is to take an online test, which he said he passed with flying colours. But he thought it was too easy and looked for something else.

Brown, a Langley resident, has been in the industry for three years. Before that he had spent 30 years in the construction industry, spending most of that time making sure that all systems and its components were in working order, trouble shooting and manufacturing.

Brown was schooled at the Carson-Dunlop Home Inspection Training program, which is recognized as the top training centre in Canada and the United States for home inspectors.

He described it as a rough and tough but regimented program that covers everything. At the end of the course there are two days of exams. He had to get 85 per cent or more on to pass.

It is also recommended that inspectors continually update their education, which Brown is currently doing at BCIT.

That isn’t the only accreditation that Brown holds. He is also Wood Energy Transfer Technology (WETT) certified, meaning that he can inspect wood burning appliances. A wood burning appliance is the only item in a home that isn’t grandfathered.

That means that, if there is one in a home someone is looking to purchase, it must be looked at by a licensed WETT inspector before an insurance company will insure the home.

When inspecting a home, there are many things that Brown must look at. These include the life expectancy of appliances and systems, checking to see that the components of those systems are in working order, looking for any mould or if the house needs a new roof.

“There is no pass or fail,” said Brown.

Brown is also licensed to inspect the indoor air quality of a home, meaning he investigates to see if there are any chemicals or biological toxins that may aggravate someone with health conditions such as emphysema.

He said that one of the worst contributors to bad air quality is ladies’ make-up. He usually recommends that women store their make-up in a Tupperware container when they’re not using it. He also said that the scented sprays are quite bad.

“If you have a smell, find out what it is. Don’t cover it up.”

Brown said that it is very important that someone calls to have a certified home inspector look over the house before they buy it.

He added that it allows the customer to make an informed decision about their home, helps them budget for any potential problems they may face down the road and gives ideas how to maintain and keep the home in working order.

**Brown has some tips to anyone who is looking to hire a home inspector. **
He said to ask the inspector if they are associated with a “nation-wide professional organization such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAPHI), or the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI).” Both of these organizations hold high ethical standards that must be followed by all of the inspectors affiliated with them.

He also recommends asking if the inspector has Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance, a very expensive insurance that not all inspectors carry.
The insurance will covers anything that the inspector may have missed during the inspection, up to about $1 million in value.

Brown’s inspection company isn’t limited to pre-purchasing residential inspections. He also performs pre-listing inspections, year end warranty and new home deficiency inspections, pre-renovation inspections, grow-op inspections and commercial inspections for pre-purchasing or pre-leasing.
Brown takes pride in the fact that his own company is all about customer service.

He tells all of his clients that he is available 24 hours a day for phone consultations or if they have a question a couple of years after the initial inspection, he will help free of charge.

He gives detailed narrative reports to his clients rather than just a simple checklist.

Brown likes to make sure that he spends time with the client during the inspection, going over every detail and making sure that they understand everything.

“I owe a duty to the clients. They’re hiring me to do a job for them and I have to make sure I do it right. Doug Brown can be reached by telephone: 604-533-1132 or fax: 604-533-2453 or e-mail at His website is