This step is a crucial element for public safety. The inspector's role is to conduct a visual inspection and inform you of the state of the property. The inspector is required to inform you when something does not work, must be replaced, or is unsafe. The inspector must also advise you of any repairs that need to be made to the property. Currently there is no mandatory certification for home inspectors, nor does the law require them to take training courses or pass exams.
However, for your information and protection certain standards have been established. You can consult:
1) the standards established by the Quebec Association of Building Inspectors (AIBQ) which provide minimum guidelines for inspections and inspection reports by visiting the AIBQ website.
2) the "Professional practise standards for the inspection of residential buildings" document by visiting Inspection préachat at www.inspectionpreachat.org (French only). This publication is the collaboration of several experts from the building profession aimed at informing the public about the nature and scope of a warrant for a building inspection as well as the rules governing professionals who provide these services to the public.
Review my recommendations below to help choose an inspector who's right for you.
- Make sure to work with a professional (if a member of the Quebec Association of Building Inspectors), and get references from your family or real estate broker;
- The inspection report should include advice on the quality of the construction and maintenance of the house as well as recommendations for necessary repairs and their associated costs;
- Make sure to ask your inspector any questions you may have before signing a contract. Even if you are not a building expert you still have the right to form your own opinion.
Here are some question guidelines:
- Ask about the inspector's experience in the field of construction, and how long he or she has been doing inspections.
- Has the inspector attended training or hold any certifications?
- What is included in the inspection report?
- Are there any required tests or verifications that may result in additional costs?
- How much does the inspection cost?
- How long will the inspection take?
- Ask if you can be present during the inspection (highly recommended). You can judge the inspector's knowledge and quality of work evaluating every angle of the property for yourself.
- Is the inspector part of an association and have insurance?
- The time line for receiving the inspection report.
In general, an evaluation should cover the following:
- Foundation (if visible)
- Doors and windows
- Roofing and exterior walls (if visible)
- Plumbing and electricity (visible parts)
- Heating and air conditioning
- Ceilings, walls, and floors
- Insulation (visible parts)
- Septic system, wells, sewer lines (if inspector is qualified)
- Other buildings (e.g., a detached garage)
- Land, including steps taken to remove runoff from buildings, slopes, and natural vegetation
- General advice regarding the buildings' structural integrity
- Common areas (in the case of a co-ownership property or cooperative)
Source: Homebuying Step by Step, CMHC