Home Inspections are not designed to be ‘perfect’ and there are many limitations to a home inspection including:
- Time – A home inspection is an opinion of the home in a limited time period. In fact, the industry expects that a professional home inspection on a single family home can be completed by a inspector in 3 hours.
- Readily Visible – Inspectors can only see what their eyes can see. Defects hidden behind occupant belongings, behind vegetation, intentionally concealed by sellers, or even the home itself may prevent observation of what later may seem to be an ‘obvious’ defect.
- Cannot Cause Damage – Inspectors cannot cause damage to a home they are inspecting. This limits the type of materials we can walk on, where we can put ladders, and we cannot risk moving occupants things in case we break something. Certainly, we can’t put holes in any walls or start using tools to disassemble equipment.
- Inspector Safety – Our inspectors have to put safety first. Slippery roofs, uneven ladder support, wind, animal droppings/urine, and other safety considerations may limit an inspectors observations.
- Not Insurance – A home inspection report is not insurance and inspectors do not offer any type of warranty or guarantee on the home. Insurance is designed to protect the insured in the event of unforeseen circumstances and would typically require a deductible be paid to access compensation. A home inspection is an opinion of a home, based on a time limited, non-destructive, readily-visible observation of the home systems and basic response to operator controls.
Scope of Inspection – All HIABC member inspectors are required to follow a Scope of Inspection. This purpose of this Scope is to establish a minimum, uniform standard for Home Inspectors Association home and property inspector members. This Scope is embedded in your contract between you and your inspector. If you feel let down by your inspector and want to discuss a complaint, this Scope will come up early and often in the conversation as it is the scope of work (or job description) you agreed to with the inspector. Scope of Inspection
If you feel let down by your inspector, we recommend the following steps:
Making a complaint is often an emotional experience for both you and the inspector. You may feel you were let down by your inspection, and your inspector will likely be caught off guard by your complaint and may instinctively react by taking the complaint personally. As the person initiating the complaint, try to set the tone early as friendly, professional, factual, and reasonable.
Be ready to communicate specifically what the concern is and the conditions as to how you discovered the issue. Make an appointment for the inspector to revisit your property. Following the revisit, they will review their inspection report to the Scope of Inspection, as well as photos and notes of the initial inspection to address your concern. The outcome could be:
- The inspector reviews the report and discovers they did in fact communicate something related to the problem. Sometimes this has manifested itself differently since the inspection (e.g. a leak under a sink upstairs in the report is now a stain on the ceiling downstairs)
- The defect reported is outside the Scope of the Inspection (e.g. major appliances are not covered under the Scope of Inspection).
- There was a limitation on the day of the inspection that may have impeded the inspectors ability to observe the defect under different circumstances (e.g. it is difficult to predict if a gutter leaks when inspected on a dry sunny day)
- The inspectors information says the defect was not present or readily visible during the inspection (e.g. you see a leak stain in the ceiling now, but the inspector has a picture of the room with no leak stain)
- The source of the deficiency was working properly at the time of the inspection (the inspector cannot predict occupant damage or system malfunctions that happen after an inspection)
- The inspector confirms there were signs of a defect that were not in the inspection report (they missed it)
At any time, you may ask the HIABC Executive Director for assistance: Call Helene Barton 1.800.610.5665
The Home Inspectors Association BC (HIABC) has full time staff and a 1-800 number you can call if you have any questions or concerns about our members or about home inspections in general. If you have a complaint about an inspection or require any advice on resolving an issue, HIABC’s Executive Director can provide expert assistance and will work with both you and the Inspector to resolve the matter.
Be prepared to discuss the merits of your concern, the circumstances of your concern, and the response from your inspector. You will be asked to provide any correspondence and documentation of your concern.