Alberta home inspectors warn proposed national standards will send the cost of a home inspection soaring in the province if approved.
The proposed new rules — drafted by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and open to public review until mid-December — could hike the cost of a home inspection from $400 to $600 today to as much as $1,800 given the additional time required, raising the likelihood consumers will forgo the procedure before buying a home, the provincial group said.
“Our concerns really are the fact that these standards go way beyond what a home inspection is in that it is a visual, non-invasive, not-technically exhaustive inspection,” said Alan Fisher, president of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors of Alberta, which represents about 150 inspectors in the province. “It’s basically a snapshot of the condition of the house. But they take it to a level that is well beyond that.
“Our concern is that it’s going to drive up the cost because the time to do that is going to now be in the magnitude of three to four times what we’re doing now.”
Fisher said the home inspection industry has developed its own set of standards during the past 20 to 30 years through experience and that the draft rules were developed by a committee largely without professional input.
Service Alberta spokesperson Calli Stromner said Alberta and British Columbia are the only two Canadian jurisdictions that regulate home inspectors. Alberta has specific rules for home inspectors and home inspection businesses, including mandatory licensing requirements.
“From Alberta’s perspective, buying a home is the largest purchase a family can make. Having a home inspection completed to a uniform standard is an important first step to making an informed decision about that purchase,” Stromner said, adding the CSA first approached the provinces and territories in 2012 about creating a uniform standard for all home inspections in Canada.
Allison Hawkins, of the CSA Group, said there is no national standard on home inspections and requests to develop standards come from a variety of sources. She said the draft Standard CSA A770 Home Inspection is intended to establish the systems and components that are to be inspected as part of a home inspection. In addition, it sets out the minimum extent to which a home is required to be inspected, as well as methods to be used.
Alan Tennant, chief executive for the Calgary Real Estate Board, said he doesn’t think the proposed new standards will have an impact on the city’s housing market.
“This is early days of a fairly lengthy process. It’s my understanding that there could be a few other steps involved before any of this comes to be,” he said.
“I have a lot of confidence that Service Alberta will facilitate a fair bit of interaction and a lot of feedback. The reality is there’s both a buyer and a seller in the transaction and an overzealous home inspection doesn’t serve everybody well.”