six plex

I recently got a call from a lady wishing for me to inspect the six plex she wishes to buy in my area. I had to turn her down due to the fact that I can only inspect up to 4 unit complexes. She tells me that she is unable to find anyone that can do it for her. What extra training would be required to inspect this and does anyone have any other thoughts on this.
Aulden Reid

Aulden Why the limit to four? I’ve done up to eight. The real problem was keeping each unit’s comments stright and not mixing then up when writing the report. Does it have central heating? I can not think of anything else that would make extra training necessary.

due to the regulations by the government for more strict codes and fire restrictions such as sprinklers etc. I also thought that we were only allowed to inspect up to 4 units (Nachi or did I here that from Caphi)

The only restriction I am aware of was my E & O Insurance limiting my coverage to six units.
I limit myself to inspections that I feel comfident in doing. For me it’s a question of having the experience and knowledge to do it right.


Why not take on the job, but put a disclaimer into your contract stating that you are not insured, and the inspection is done with that understanding and as such your liability is restricted to the fee paid for the inspection. And bring that clause to the attention of the client before the start of inspection.

What is the difference between a 6 unit building and/or inspecting 6 individual condo/apartrment units?

A some point the insurance company qualifys this as commercial and not all E&O’s will write commercial, and if they do it is a seperate policy. It all boils down to $$$$$$


Is the limitation imposed by your E&O Carrier?

Do 4 units one week and 2 units another

Do it on 6 different reports


Take a picture of the front door number as you enter the unit to separate your photos for easy identification later.

Make a simple worksheet (I used Excel) of defects commonly found in the rooms of a typical multi-family unit. I do bath(s), kitchen, bedrooms, common rooms, HVAC and electrical panel. In my bath and kitchen area of the sheet I have a place to check off GFCI’s. In the bedroom and common room sections I have a place to check yes or no to smoke detectors. I scribble comments as needed if I don’t have a prewritten defect that I need to call. It is faster to circle defects on a paper sheet as you go thru interiors than to use software programs. I made a one page paper inspection sheet for multi-family and stored the template in my computer.

All units will have pretty similar defects. I get home with one paper worksheet for each unit and set of photos for each unit interior. At the office I do one unit in my software and then cut and paste and rename the additional units. I then quickly edit the cut and pasted units to match my worksheets.

I do a report section on building exterior and parking facilities and then short reports on each unit interior. In a general note I detail any typical construction details or finishes common to the units to prevent having to list this dreck in every interior report.

This method gets me thru the units quickly with the minimum tenant disruption. My data is separated well so I don’t confuse units later while doing the report. It gives me the flexibility to decide later whether to prepare one report or report by unit type or separate buildings.

It takes me about as long as a typical home inspection to cover the exterior and first unit in a complex. The balance of the units are very quick because I know the layout and where the common defects are located.

If the complex more than I can handle in the time allowed by the client or manager, I take another inspector and have him use my paper worksheet to help me get the unit interiors wrapped up. I can do the report from his photos and worksheets.

I sometimes go a day early and do most of the exterior, roof parking and exterior mechanical stuff if there are time constraints.

Most E & O covers occasional (less that 10%) commercial inspection work. Check with you carrier.

Unless the structure is old or there are other construction concerns, I charge my normal inspection fee for the exterior and 1 unit. I charge about $100 per unit thereafter for 1 or 2 bedrooms units if the construction and floorplan is nearly identical unit to unit. An experienced inspector partner and I recently did a 40 year old complex with 6 buildings and 26 units in about 12 hours on site and 1 and 1/2 days to process the report.

If you decide you want to expand to this type of work, and believe you have the inspection experience to handle it, it can really build your income over a years time. You will probably have almost no competition in your market.

If you are concerned about experience and qualifications, go to the website for the International Code Council ( and consider the residential inspector certification program that they offer for becoming a Residential Combination Inspector.

Thanks guys for your input into this situation. I am a little nervous of the back lash of missing something, especially some special code requirment that I have never heard of. I have not yet obtained E&O insurance as I haven’t found a provider that will sell it to me. One tells me I need two years experience and another tells me I need to be a member of Caphi. Either way I feel I could point out a lot of things to this lady from my 20 years of experience in the reno field and my industrial Arts training. Nonetheless the fear of litigation is ever present in my mind. Today wouldn’t be a good day to loose my house.


Thats interesting that an insurance provider would require you to be a member of CAHPI, because in Ontario some insurance providers will not touch members of an association because historically association members have had the most claims and frequency.

Ray The insurance company that insures technologists in Alberta refuses to insure those ASET members that do home inspections.

Thanks Vern, that is interesting. I wonder why that would be?