Barrie Home Inspection Tips

Home Maintenance Advice from a Professional Home Inspector

Home Inspections and the Building Code

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 Barrie 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 wild cowboys armed with a part time diploma and no real practical experience.

Drawings are reviewed to ensure your project will conform to the Zoning By-law. Zoning requirements specify the uses permitted within a particular area and contain regulations governing such things as building setbacks, height and lot coverage. You should contact a Zoning Plan Examiner to determine the specific requirements for your building addition or alteration. The examiner requires your street address, lot number and registered plan number to establish the zoning requirements. This information can be found by checking your tax bill.

The building permit is the document granting legal permission to start construction. No work can start until the building permit is issued; this is normally no longer than a one-week process for residential building additions and alterations, depending upon the information submitted. For other types of buildings, the process time will depend on the nature of the work as well as the information submitted. For example, two weeks is the normal processing time for new single detached dwellings.

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.

The Building Code regulates the construction of new buildings, additions, material alterations, and changes in use within existing buildings.  Part 10 of the Ontario Building Code specifically address what has to be upgraded and what items may be addressed at a lower level of compliance when compared to today’s Building Code.  The Barrie Home Inspector is a Certified Building Code Official and is proficient in Part 9 and Part 3 of the Ontario Building Code.

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.

2 Comments

  1. I understand that a home inspector with certifications under their belt would cost more, but is it worth it in this kind of scenario?

    “So if you are selling your home and are presented with a list of items the buyers want changed or improved, call your local …”

  2. Hello Jim, You typically get what you pay for. Home Inspection is the hottest job in this area. There were only about 12 inspectors when I started, now there are over 200. Quality v.s. Quantity.

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