Prospective home owners rejoice, the cloud of confusion is soon to lift off the industry regulations governing home inspection in B.C.
Clearing up the bureaucratic boondoggle has been on Christy Clark’s agenda since she was elected.
On Jan. 15 the government will sit down with an advisory committee made up of representatives from B.C. Housing, as well as the two bigger home inspection agencies in B.C., the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (B.C. chapter) and Applied Science Technologist and Technicians of B.C., and others.
The goal is to improve the 2009 home inspector regulations overseen by Consumer Protection B.C., which aren’t strong enough, says
executive director Helene Barton of CAHPI’s B.C. office in Kelowna.
“The 2009 regulations were a start but Consumer Protection also approved other associations for licensing in B.C. and in turn not all organizations are following the policies and the regulations of the industry,” Barton said.
“Now they’ll insure everyone is under the same standard so if you hire someone, it won’t matter which of the four associations they’re from.”
Barton hopes to see the updated rules and regulations in place by April 1.
While the decades long scenario is nearly under control in B.C. it’s still up in the air in other provinces.
Alberta is considering the Canadian Standards Association’s scrupulous CSA-A770, which demands an inspection so thorough it would take 16 to 32 hours, likely costing buyers more than $1,000 in labour.
“In B.C. we’re 110 per cent against (CSA-A770), it’s a non-starter,” Barton said.
And it’s not just Canada, as the lack of home inspection regulation is a rampant across North America, says Ontario home inspector Bruce McClure. His book Buy Or Run tries to answer the question of who really controls the home inspection industry in North America?
“Alberta, in frustration, turned to CSA and said ‘write us a legislation for home inspections,” McClure explained. “That was tabled in September for a public input period, and the document is so far over the top so it doesn’t make sense, home inspectors across the country are up in arms.”
The other problem McClure pokes fun at, but also wants to see dealt with (and which exists in B.C) is the impressive sounding credentials used by home inspectors which mean very little.
“If you’re a registered home inspector it means you’re a member of CAHPI with 200-plus home inspections, and around 500 hours of education, peer reviewed by fellow inspectors. Or you could be a certified master home inspector, which demands a $1,000 fee but with hardly any experience. Which sounds more impressive?,” McClure asks.
Lost in the context of regulating the industry, of course, is ending the conflict of interest that comes with real estate agents using a ‘thumbs up’ home inspector.
“There are a lot of good home inspectors out there, but this is a floundering industry in need of regulation.”