Frequently Asked Questions
How do I schedule an inspection?
Inspections are generally performed between 9:00-12:00 noon and 1:00 -4:00 pm during the week. We try to be flexible to meet your schedule and provide late afternoon inspections when there is sufficient daylight. Weekend appointments are available by special arrangement. We can be reached by telephone at 416-440-0062 between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm. Or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your rates?
Our inspection fees are based on time required to inspect and report. We charge $450 (plus HST) for inspections up to 3.0 hours. A $75 (plus HST) surcharge applies for each additional half hour. A travel premium applies for properties located north of Richmond Hill, east of Ajax and west of Mississauga. (Rate in effect January 2013). Fees may be adjusted for small properties such as condominium apartments or when less time is required.
What are your qualifications and experience?
All inspections are performed by Terry Carson, the owner of Guardian Home Inspectors® Inc. He has performed over 10,000 fee paid inspections since 1984.
Terry is a Registered Home Inspector (RHI) of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (Certificate # 001), an ASHI Certified Inspector of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), a National Certificate Holder of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors and a Certified Engineering Technologist with the Ontario Association of Certified Technicians and Technologists. He is a Building Science Specialist in Ontario (BSSO) with the Ontario Building Envelope Council and is a Licensed Master Electrician in Ontario. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Western Ontario. He is an ASNT Level 3 trained thermographer, holds certificates in water restoration and mold remediation from IICRC, in addition to numerous programs completed in building science, energy efficiency, radon testing, indoor air quality and industrial hygiene.
Terry has been instrumental in development of standards, education and examinations for home inspectors in North America. He served as Chair of the Exam Committee of the American Society of Home Inspectors, Chair of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors Board of Examiners, Discipline and Professional Practices and Technical Committees, as well as serving on numerous committees and task forces of ASHI, CAHPI and OAHI. He developed the insurance qualification exam for Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors. He is largely responsible for development of the original curriculum for the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors and the Defect Recognition and Reporting Course, including standard of care issues.
Who gets a copy of the report?
We only provide a copy of the report to the client or their representative. We do not provide copies to any other parties as the information is provided on a confidential basis to the client only. We will however clarify any report comments provided to other parties, should they call, if it appears that the information conveyed from our report has been misunderstood or misrepresented. We are also professionally obliged to report any life-threatening hazards to the occupants and appropriate public authority.
When is the report delivered?
The report is provided at the end of the Inspection if there is sufficient time on site, or generally within hours by email as a PDF file.
Who should pay for repairs for conditions discovered during the inspection?
Clients generally understand that every property is subject to normal wear, and that they should be prepared to pay for conditions that were obvious, or of which they were advised before the inspection. Clients are however justifiably concerned by conditions they did not expect, and may request price abatement. In most cases we suggest that repairs be conducted by the client after possession to ensure the work is performed to their standard, rather than a quick fix provided by some Sellers. The exception is where there is a safety or deteriorating condition that needs immediate repair, or where the work requires an inspection permit, such as an electrical service and the client can be assured that the work was properly completed and inspected.
Does the inspection cover building code compliance?
No-We cannot confirm code compliance, which would attest that proper materials, installation and other referenced manufacturer's requirements were met. Issues related to compliance should be discussed with the public official from the authority having jurisdiction. In our experience, most buildings fail to meet all required code and other compliance requirements. We however strive to judge existing and new buildings based on the implied performance objectives of the various codes. In general, old buildings need not be upgraded to current standards, except where retroactive requirements apply or there is renovation.
Will the inspector climb on the roof?
We strive to view roofs to confirm general roof conditions, and access the roof when conditions are safe and the roof is not clearly visible from the ground. A decision will be made at the time of inspection.
Do you inspect for termites, UFFI, mould, asbestos, lead, environmental hazards and other concealed conditions?
No- these conditions are generally concealed and may not be detected. For this reason they are excluded from the scope of the inspection. We do not want our clients to believe that such conditions do not exist because we have not found them. We would be pleased to discuss these concerns and refer appropriate specialists for further investigation. We suggest that properties in known termite areas have a separate termite inspection and the Seller and neighbours be asked if they are aware of termites or other concealed conditions such as UFFI.
It should be noted that conditions where there is biological contamination, which includes infestations and mould growth may change rapidly. We have experience with visible traces of termites and mold removed prior to an inspection, only to reappear a short time later.
In the case of UFFI, we can provide a separate inspection for UFFI, including making holes in wall and ceiling cavities, but require that the client accept the risk that UFFI might not be detected. UFFI was typically installed between 1976 and 1981. A limited number of Retrofoam installations were performed in recent years. It was frequently installed in only a small portion of the building. Only a person who owned or was familiar with the property from this time can provide a warranty that UFFI is not present, since the installation holes may be covered over or difficult to detect. We usually find traces of UFFI in cases where it has been installed, but later removed. Such traces are not significant, but the stigma of its presence often remains.
In the case of asbestos, there are many building products that may include asbestos, including some manufactured today. The concern is that there be no friable (loose fibers that become airborne) materials that may adversely affect occupants, or workers in the case of demolition. Clients concerned about asbestos should have a separate inspection performed by specialists, but we caution that such inspections may only focus on identifying certain types of installations.
What if I have questions after the inspection?
Please call us if you have any questions about the report, or if conditions have changed after the inspection.
What happens if the inspector misses a problem?
It is important to remember that our task is reporting observable property conditions at the time of inspection. Our goal is helping our clients assess and reduce risk. It's simply not possible to detect hidden (latent) problems. For this reason, we cannot assume any risks of our client, nor provide any form of insurance against future repairs and costs.
In cases where conditions change after the inspection, we would be pleased to reattend at the property to help our client assess and resolve the problem cost effectively. We have often seen cases where our client experiences a leak and then calls a repair contractor who suggests an expensive waterproofing repair, and we reattend to discover a downspout that became disconnected after the inspection.
Clients often become upset that all problems cannot be discovered during the inspection and blame the inspector. In most cases, conditions beyond the control of the client and inspector change after the inspection. We suggest that the client revisit the property just before the closing of the transaction and if an unusual problem is discovered, just call us.
Are you insured?
We carry Errors and omissions coverage as required by the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors to cover situations where an error on our part results in injury or significant damage to the building. This insurance does not protect the client against hidden defects such as leaks, furnace replacement, hidden damage or other unforeseen events, nor if we miss a problem as can happen due to limited access, weather events, furnishings, recent finishes and erroneous information provided by the Seller.
What is your relationship with real estate agents?
We work completely at arms length from real estate agents and others who may have an interest in the real estate transaction or property. We do receive many agent referrals, but do not offer nor receive any form of incentive or benefit from referrals. It simply is not ethical, nor in the client's best interest. We are fortunate to receive referrals from a group of dedicated real estate professionals, with whom we share similar high standards of client care and ethical performance. We bend over backwards to help agents meet schedule deadlines. We are however not afraid to report conditions as they are, be the messenger of bad news, or occasionally be blamed for blowing the deal. We know that our loyal referring real estate agents are grateful when we find significant problems, but they also trust our judgment, honesty and service to their clients.
Are you a member of the OAHI, CAHPI and ASHI?
Yes. Terry was in fact the founding President of the OAHI in 1986, spearheaded passage of the OAHI Act in 1994 (North America's first professional self- regulation legislation), and has served on the OAHI board of directors and technical committees. He belongs to CAHPI, through the OAHI, authored the CAHPI insurance qualification exam and participated on its technical committees. Terry qualified with ASHI as a certified inspector in 1987, won the ASHI Member of the Year award in 1989, and chaired the ASHI membership qualification exam committee in 1994.