The Function and Value of a Home Inspector

It’s unlikely you would ever buy a car without first taking it for a test drive. Hiring the services of a trained and professional home inspector is like taking your future home for a test drive – where the inspector will ideally identify any issues or deficiencies in the property before you commit to the largest purchase of your life.

A properly trained and licensed home inspector will successfully seek out existing and potential problems in a property using the various tools and systems at their disposal – locating issues that you simply won’t be able to find on your own. The training and certification of home inspectors in British Columbia is overseen by Consumer Protection BC, the regulator of a variety of industries as well as specific consumer transactions within the province.

To become a licensed home inspector (and always ensure the home inspector you hire is fully licensed and certified) an individual must successfully complete a rigorous six step process – beginning with an in-depth educational regime. The candidate must complete a full 150 hours of formal training, exploring construction issues ranging from roofing and chimneys to plumbing, electrical and all other interior and exterior systems.

Once they have satisfactorily navigated the educational portion of their program they are required to take and pass a detailed and designated exam from one of four different examination-hosting bodies. These include the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia, the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors CAHPI(BC), the Canadian National Association of Certified Home Inspectors or the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors.

Assuming the future home inspector passes their exam with a satisfactory mark they are then required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of practical on the job training, working alongside of a Consumer Protection BC approved home inspector to ensure meet the basic practical training requirement.

This step is followed by the agency receiving a formal letter of recommendation from an approved home inspector that states the candidate has demonstrated they have a sufficient level of skills, education, ability and knowledge to successfully perform a quality home inspection for a client.

The candidate then has to arrange with a Consumer Protection BC-approved evaluator to accompany them during a real-world home inspection. This allows the evaluator to gauge the candidate’s professional skillset and abilities during an actual inspection. A ‘Peer Recommendation Letter’ will then be completed by the evaluator if the candidate successfully passes this detailed assessment.

Once that rigorous step is completed the candidate is required by law to obtain Errors & Omissions Insurance (E&O) and Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL) with a minimum of $1 million limit / aggregate coverage for both E&O and CGL. This is only a minimum, as many inspectors are insured above this level. Only after all of these steps have been completed and the proper forms and letters submitted will the candidate become licensed and able to open their business.

Hiring a home inspector will typically cost a few hundred dollars, but when compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars a home in the Nanaimo area might cost, for many the investment in this professional level service is well worth the price.