Inspector shortage

Councillor raises new home building code concerns amid inspector shortage

The City of Ottawa is suffering from a shortage of building code inspectors, raising concerns about the quality of new homes built in the city’s rapidly expanding suburbs.

The city needs eight more building inspectors to fill existing vacancies, which amount to about 10 per cent of the team of people whose job it is to make sure all new buildings in Ottawa are safe.
Coun. Stephen Blais was surprised to learn about the shortage after raising concerns about an east-end subdivision where building code violations were missed by city inspectors.

He said he wouldn’t be so concerned if it had only happened once or twice, but it’s an ongoing problem.

“When that issue is replicated throughout the entirety of the subdivision, that’s a problem,” Blais said.

“It needs to be dealt with.”

He heard from a constituent earlier that morning who has been dealing with a building code violation that still hasn’t been addressed.

The city does have a claims process for homes not properly inspected for building code issues, but Blais said it should never get to the point where violations are going undetected because of a lack of experienced inspectors.

Shortage is province wide
But the city has tried several times to fill the vacancies, according to planning general manager Steve Willis. He said the city is simply feeling the effects of a province-wide shortage that hit about five years ago.

The city had a relatively full roster of inspectors during amalgamation in 2001, but now that those workers are retiring there are fewer people to replace them. The city salary ranges from $48,990 for an intern to $86,258 for an experienced inspector.

“It requires a lot of on-the-job experience so that you know what you’re seeing when you go into a building,” Willis said.

“It’s really necessary that people have internship opportunities and get the experience on the job.”

Last year alone the inspectors dealt with a massive building boom of new homes, the Gatineau floods, the Rideau Street sinkhole and a number of 2017 events that needed building inspectors.

“Every time there’s a major issue like that building inspectors get pulled in,” Willis said.

The city is working with Algonquin College to try to provide more onsite opportunities for students.

The other challenge is getting people to consider doing building code inspections as a career, because those that do are in high demand across Ontario, Willis said.

Thanks for the reminder Robert I know of two who are trying to get trained to Be a building inspector .

Go for it Robert. It should be a piece of cake to land one of those positions for someone with your qualifications. Make us all proud!!

If anyone can do it, Robert certainly can! I agree with Jeffrey: go for it Robert!

Sign up Robert .

Robert is from Montreal and the shortage is in Ottawa; a bit of a long commute I would say.

Morning everyone. So Happy to see Roy Cook’s Canadian Home Inspectors open section getting posts by some of NACHI’s prominent home inspectors. You guys are the best!

This Canadian inspectors open section is truly important for the inspector community.
I started this thread for several reasons.
1: I heard Ontario inspectors are having a hard time getting work and competition is making fees competitive.
2: This would be an opportune moment for collaboration between InterNACHI and City Counselors.

Idea. Len Inkster should reach out to Nick Gromicko to start a pilot study.
A: Can home InterNACHI inspectors fill ‘any gaps’ inspecting new residential buildings.
B: Can InterNACHI home inspectors become AHJ with additional training.
This would save comminities money.

I brought this idea up in front of the honorable Jean Marc Fournier, then provincial justice minister for the QPL during Quebec’s Condo Commission inquiries in 2012. The idea, a collaboration between InterNACHI and new construction.

Question. How many new home inspectors never achieve their overall goal of becoming an independent home inspection business? Untapped potential. A good fit for the right candidates.

As for myself. I have subscribed to the ICC and NBCC for 3 consecutive years. I have the most recent Quebec building and electric code cycle.
In all honestly, I rarely reference code anymore. I limit my liable.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. Truly.
You guys are the best!
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First one must consider the mandatory Ontario Building code courses required, along with some evidence of at least college level technical education. Check out the requirements to actually get hired, since they can be a challenge. One of the toughest courses is the “Legal” course. Approximately 50% failure rate.

In our College School of Engineering , I often taught 3 code courses, and would find opportunities to recommend that some students consider becoming a municipal building inspector. I know a good number that did, but even an old class mate of mine that was a city building inspector indicated there’s a lot of “gray hairs heading to retirement”.

On another note when things get real busy, it was not often that in a subdivision that only 1 or 2 of the builders houses got inspected, so it was not difficult for me to get a call from an unhappy new home owner to inspect their house with problems.

In Brighton they hired a plumber and he is doing various Inspections and getting trained by our building inspector as he goes .