Understanding Your Home Inspection
by Orillia Home Inspector
Many Professional Home Inspector’s do not comment of their regions Building Code which is understandable if they have no training in that area. In the Orillia area for instance our local college is pumping out Home Inspector’s with Part 9 courses in Building Envelope and Structure. As far as education in the Building Code this would be equivalent to completing Grade 1 and 2 of Public School, a far cry from graduation. If you don’t know the whole building code then you are unable to determine if the building you are inspecting meets the minimum building requirements set out by the Building Code Act so that leaves the Monkey See, Monkey Do method of education. I personally see the results of this method of training every day and receive countless phone calls from bewildered and scared home sellers wanting clarification on this or that wild statement make during a home inspection by these cowboys armed with a part time diploma and no real practical experience.
The Building Code Act states that: no person shall construct or demolish or cause a building to be constructed or demolished in a municipality unless a permit has been issued therefore by the Chief Building Official. The Building Code Act also defines construct to mean the doing of anything in the erection, installation, extension, material alteration or repair of a building which also includes installation of a building unit fabricated or moved from elsewhere.
Each major phase of construction must be inspected by our Building Officials to make certain the work conforms to the Building Code, the building permit and the approved plans. The mandatory inspections required for your project will be indicated on the permit. Inspections do not happen automatically. It is your responsibility to ensure that either you or your contractor contacts the city to request an inspection at least 24 hours before work proceeds from one inspection stage to the next. Failure to have inspections performed may result in having to uncover and expose work for inspection or the commencement of legal action. Allow 48 hrs notice for an inspection as specified by the building code.
Many Home Inspectors have very little training in their respective building code requirements, which can sometimes lead to them giving out misleading information. One item I am constantly hearing from clients is the home inspector who tells prospective buyers that there is a problem with insulation, deck construction or electrical GFCI outlets. What these poorly trained individuals fail to realize is that a building only has to meet the building code requirements of when it was built and not the current code requirements that they have recently learned in their two week home inspectors course. Basically the only time a building has to be updated is when there is a Change of Use or Occupancy or the Building comes under the Retrofit Section of the Fire Code for example. For those persons with little of no training a Building Permit would be required for any renovation or addition to a structure and all the requirements would then be addressed prior to Building Permit being issued. A comment made by a rookie inspector, to one of my clients, that her attic insulation was inadequate was totally misleading as the requirement for her home was only R-19 and he made a statement that it should be R-32 at a minimum. So here we have a situation where this “home inspector” is commenting on insulation which is not based on fact or requirements but rather on his personal opinion based on his limited training. So if you are selling your home and are presented with a list of items the buyers want changed or improved, call your local Professional Home Inspector if you are in doubt about any of the requests. Any Professional Home Inspector will give you Free advice over the phone and you can then protect yourself from needless expenses you may incur from a Poor Home Inspection.
A building permit is required for any new building greater than 10m (108 ft), any addition to an existing building, any material alterations to an existing building which effects: the structural design of the building; mechanical; electrical; plumbing services (no limit on size of building); fire separations; exiting; fire protection systems; and the use of buildings or parts thereof.
If your Building Official finds that some work does not conform to the approved plans, he or she will advise (and, possibly, provide written notice) that the situation is to be remedied. If the violation is serious, a stop work order may be posted until the problem is resolved. Another inspection may be necessary before work is resumed.
Learn more about Commercial Building Inspections. Stop by Roger Frost’s site where you can find out all about the Orillia Home Inspector and what a Professional Home Inspector can do for you.