Prospective homebuyers looking to avoid costly surprises may be relieved to learn that the Quebec Association of Building Inspectors is tightening its standards on Jan. 1.
Although there is no mandatory certification process or legislated requirement for home inspectors to take certain courses or pass any test, those who wish to be members of the QABI must ensure their home inspections meet the new minimum requirements, which QABI president Albert Arduini claims are the strictest in North America.
“Anybody can get business cards printed up that say ‘home inspector,’ even if they know absolutely nothing about inspecting homes,” said Arduini, adding his organization has been lobbying the provincial government for years to bring in a licensing system for inspectors.
Arduini estimates there are 500 home inspectors in the province, 200 of whom are members in good standing of the QABI. Although some inspectors are engineers or architects who belong to their own professional orders, many have no affiliation whatsoever.
QABI standards of practice had not been revised in 15 years, Arduini said, and in that time homeowners have become more demanding and litigious.
“There have been a number of lawsuits against inspectors in the past 10 years or so, and we learn from each judgment,” Arduini said.
Changes to the professional standards will require a QABI member to:
- Provide a more comprehensive, detailed and user-friendly report.
- Specify whether the house has smoke detectors.
- Describe safety hazards such as loose handrails or unsafe swimming pool access.
- Provide photos, a service agreement, declarations by the seller and other relevant documents.
- Report any visible sign of water infiltration and use a humidity detector to confirm or discount infiltration in suspected trouble spots.
The standards apply to inspections of buildings up to three storeys, up to 6,000 square feet in area, and that are at least 60-per- cent residential occupancy.
To check whether a home inspector belongs to the QABI, and to consult the association’s revised Standards of Practice, go to www.aibq.qc.ca. (The document is in French. An English version of the new Standards of Practise document is expected to be online by Oct. 31).
These “revisions” to the SOP are going to ensure a quality home inspection?