New Alberta building inspector regulation!

Sun, 29 May by Ken MacAulay

Buying a new home or condo is probably one of the most demanding purchase’s a person will make. It requires one to use experts from a variety of fields to ensure and back up their decision. A new home buyer requires the help of a realtor to find and show them a variety of houses and make recommendations, many need a bank to help them with a mortgage, and most will opt to get the home inspected.
As it currently stand’s, the weak link in that chain is the home inspector. Though the realtor and bank will try to help a buyer make the right decision, inspectors are the ones called upon to ensure the structural sanctity of the building. On the whole, they are good, honest, and hard working people with previous experience in the construction industry. In Alberta, there are a number of groups who will license and back up an inspector, the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors, Alberta Chapter for instance. When using a registered home inspector, a new buyer is most likely going to be okay. There is very little chance that they will get a bad recommendation.
However, there are two problems that occur in the Alberta home inspection industry. The first is that there is no requirement saying that an inspector needs to be licensed. Just about anyone can call themselves a “home inspector” without any experience, know how, or understanding, with no real way for a client to verify their credentials. The second is that their claims are not backed up. Even if someone is the most certified and experienced tradesperson, they can still make a mistake. If they do, there is no way to be compensated for their error.
The good news is, this will change on September 1, 2011 when new legislation, passed by the provincial government goes into effect. The government will enforce licensing agreements which require an inspector to have successfully completed training from a sanctioned education institution, as well as pass a test administered by the province. It set’s out clear guidelines on what needs to be included in an inspection, ensuring nothing is accidentally. missed. And lastly, most importantly, it requires that inspection firms hold omission insurance which is to be be paid out in the case of a mistake. If for instance, the flooring in a condo was not placed on properly, and was missed by the inspection, a new homeowner will be able to claim the repairs against the firm’s insurance, covering the costs of the repair.
This is very good news for Albertans. Though our building code still needs to be re-worked to come more in-line with the rest of Canada, this is a very good first step. By giving people the power to make informed decisions, builders will be forced into constructing better homes, which serves a very similar function.

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