What Is The Purpose Of A Building Inspection?
1. Reveal the condition of the system on the day of the inspection.
2. Predict the performance over the next few years.
3. Explain the operation, maintenance requirements, and costs of the systems.
What Does An Inspection Cover?
There are nine building systems typically covered by an inspection which are as follows.
ROOFINGSloped and flat roof membranes,
flashings, and chimneys.
EXTERIORThe building envelope, lot grading,
retaining walls, garages etc.
HEATINGFurnaces and boilers, natural gas,
oil, electricity and propane fuels.
STRUCTUREFoundations, floors, walls
and attic structure.
PLUMBINGSupply, waste and venting,
AIR CONDITIONINGCentral and independent systems.
INSULATION / VENTILATIONTypes and amount, air and vapour barriers,
ELECTRICALCopper, aluminum and knob and tube wiring,
electrical panels and fixtures
INTERIORSStairs, railings, fireplaces, fire safety,
doors, windows, etc.
New Home Warranty Issues
Who is responsible?
Builders have specific responsibilities under the Tarion program that extend for a period of up to seven years.
In general terms these are:
We are often asked to comment on who is responsible for a specific repair. We will often have an opinion about who should be responsible, but the responsibility to decide is in the hands of the Realtor and the client (home purchaser).
Purchasers of newer homes should understand that we can find many issues in newer homes, but the builder may not be responsible if the warranty period has lapsed.
One Year Items
Internal cosmetic defects due to construction: nail pops, cracks, etc.
Tarion has very specific guidelines as to the size and frequency of defects.
Two Year Items
All mechanical systems installed by the builder.
Water penetration of any kind: plumbing related or through the building envelope.
Seven Year Items
Major structural defects in the building.
This category is often mis-quoted by all parties as coverage for non-structural issues.
This is intended to cover non-performance of the structure; that is to say movement or failure beyond a reasonable guideline.
Ongoing movement is of course covered, as this is very serious.
We carry referral insurance that indemnifies a Realtor when referring us to their clients.
We feel that this is a modest investment on our part to help you feel comfortable with us and our service.
If you do not feel comfortable referring only one name, we ask only that you include us in your list of two or three.
The insurance industry is certainly complicating the home buying process! We have run into many insurance concerns in the post 9/11 insurance world. Unfortunately, the list of issues is a moving target, so the possibility of new issues arising is ever present.
First among these is the issue of knob and tube wiring. The short answer is: if the house has it, it’s not insurable. The longer answer is that minor amounts may be acceptable to certain insurers, at certain times of the year. We recommend a call to the purchasers insurance broker immediately. We will include the cost of removal and replacement in our report.
Another electrical issue is 60 Amp services. This size of service was typical in houses prior to 1960. They can be overloaded with modern electrical requirements. Expect any insurer to require a service upgrade within a few months of ownership change.
Aluminum wiring typically needs to be updated within a few months of ownership change. Aluminum wiring was used primarily from 1969 to 1977. If found, expect the outlets, switches and wire nuts to need updating. We inspect roughly 150 aluminum wired house per year. The vast majority require updating.
Oil tanks are another common insurance issue. The risk is leakage and contamination of the environment around the tank. Tanks inside the house must typically be newer than 20 years, and underground storage tanks will typically not be insurable, even if they are currently in use. Abandoned tanks should be removed.
Galvanized steel supply piping is currently uninsurable. Supply piping is under pressure, and steel eventually corrodes, so the flood risk associated with old galvanized steel piping is one which no insurer wishes to assume. Immediate replacement will be recommended when we find this.
Some siding materials have been insurance concerns in the past. These are typically a fire insurance issue, as they were very combustible. Insulbrick is an example of this.
We Work With You
Our promise to you is that we will fairly and accurately represent the house to you and your clients. We will provide after inspection service via phone, email or in person as is required to ensure that your clients are satisfied and comfortable with their purchase decision.
Our inspectors are members of the Professional Engineers of Ontario and the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors. We carry appropriate Errors and Omissions insurance. We value our professional status, and respect yours. We will not stray into areas that are not considered technical: price, neighbourhood issues, etc.
As a result of our engineering backgrounds we are able to offer you and your clients more information about the home than most home inspectors. If there are questions outside of normal home inspectors qualifications, you can feel free to contact us for more information.