Back in 2009, B.C. lead the way by becoming the first province in Canada to require that home inspectors be licensed. The vehicle used to do so was administered by Consumer Protection B.C. Many regard the intent in 2009 as a good move, but one that could have been enacted better. What wasn’t implemented was a uniform system of requirements for skills and training. Home inspectors are licensed by being a qualified member of one of four different organizations, and each one of those organizations has been operating to different standards. So, the push is on for uniform requirements for skills and training for the four industry associations that represent home inspectors.
As you can imagine, there is a ton at stake when buying a home, and home inspectors and their reports have become a big part of the home buying process. The home-buying public requires improved confidence that the inspector that they hire has the right knowledge and training to perform a home inspection competently. Not having set standards puts home buyers in a risky position especially when they rely on the information that's provided from a home inspector that may have not have the skillset that reaches the bar, and that's the scary part right now.
Right now Consumer Protection B.C. advises that prospective buyers compare the four different organizations themselves to determine suitability for their own needs.
Many home inspectors in B.C. believe that the best organization to inspect under is The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors of British Columbia (CAHPI BC). As a member, we abide by a Standards of Practice that regulate the items that are required to be inspected in a home and how they are to be inspected and reported on. CAHPI (BC) has worked very, very hard to ensure every home buyer in BC receives a competent and accurately conducted home inspection by its membership for over 20 years now, and our Standards of Practice are the best and considered the “Gold Standard” that the home inspection industry has to offer. They are consistent and proven coast to coast and across borders, and designed to give the best assessment of the condition of a home as possible.
Tighter regulations are not going to stop home inspection related complaints entirely. There will be consumers who feel they have suffered a wrong or have expectations that may be unrealistic or outside of their inspection. Home buyers should perform their own due diligence to learn to read their inspection contract before signing and read the Standards of Practice closely before the inspection so they know what to anticipate from their inspector.
With another opportunity at changing the regulations that home inspectors are licensed under, the opportunity for the industry is to get it right. The speculation is that there may be a power struggle brewing amongst the four organizations, but from a CAHPI (BC) member standpoint (the largest and nationally recognized institution for Canadian home inspectors), I’m looking forward to seeing improved industry guidelines so that it is possible for all home inspectors to operate at a higher level of competency. We know that good home inspectors support the proposed legislation. That in itself, should tell you it's a good thing when the professionals themselves who are being policed are actually supporting change.
Home inspection industry representatives, including Helene Barton, executive director of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (B.C.), have begun consultations with the other interested parties to create a system to give buyers improved confidence. The industry consultations are a result of a mandate from Premier Christy Clark to Housing Minister Rich Coleman shortly after the election. CAHPI (BC) members look forward to an improved consistent system designed to give consumers the utmost confidence as they make embark on the biggest purchases of their lives.
Castanet, July 22, 2013