Home & Building InspectionsHome & Building Inspections
- Resale Homes
- New Homes
- Renovated Homes
- Condominium Apartments
- Multiple Dwellings or Mixed Use Buildings
- Commercial Properties
- Historic Properties
- Building Condition Assessments - Institutional
The goal of our home inspection is to identify conditions that affect a Buyer's decision to buy or not buy a property, to advise the significance of these conditions and provide recommendations, including priority of repairs and cost estimates.
Our inspection methodology follows the ASHI and OAHI guidelines for identifying the major systems and needed repairs, but Guardian goes the extra step by focusing on the Buyer’s intended use of the property and concerns. Buyers should attend the inspection to discuss their intensions, ask questions and gain the best insight into their planned purchase.
The goal of our report is to provide precise and concise information that needs no explanation, answers our client’s questions and can be understood by a reader who was not present at the inspection. Our reports include prioritized recommendations specific to the property.
Typical inspection time is 2-3 hours plus 3/4-1.5 hours of reporting, depending on the building size and complexity, the issues identified and the client’s concerns.
Selling a Resale Home
Many Sellers arrange a pre-purchase inspection to identify deficiencies and upcoming repairs that typically concern prospective Buyers. A pre-purchase inspection can help a Seller discover and make repairs before listing the property for sale, or disclose the property conditions and avoid renegotiation if a Buyer’s home inspection later identifies deficiencies that were not previously disclosed. The inspection is performed in the same manner as an inspection performed for a Buyer.
Our goal is to provide a precise and concise report, which can be passed on to prospective Buyers and their agents. We are seldom asked for clarification and know that our reports are easy to understand.
Buyers of new houses expect no repair costs in the first few years. They assume municipal building inspections will catch any significant problems and that the Ontario New Home Warranty Program (TARION) will cover any repair costs. Buyers may not realize that the warranty excludes some of the most common complaints, such as normal shrinkage. (See TARION Performance Guidelines from their web site) Many builders will not repair defects such as foundation cracks until they actually leak. It is clearly to the buyer's advantage to identify all deficiencies as early as possible.
Guardian's new home inspections are focused on identifying visible defects in material and workmanship that may not be apparent to the new owner. Many of these defects relate to failure to meet building codes or standards. Guardian's inspections cannot however confirm compliance to codes and standards, as we were not present during all phases of construction.
In the case of new houses purchased from a plan, Guardian's pre-delivery inspection (PDI) report can also help a Buyer identify incomplete and deficient items just prior to possession, when the Buyer is asked to inspect the new home and sign the Certificate of Completion and Possession. Following possession, the builder can claim that common defects were the result of shrinkage, minor settlement, or the new owner’s damage, which are specifically excluded from the warranty coverage.
An inspection performed before the end of the first 30 days is another opportunity to identify construction related deficiencies. The advantage of this inspection is that the builder cannot restrict the time on site and the new owner has had a chance to live in the house and operate the systems.
The end of the first year of possession is generally the last opportunity to identify construction deficiencies, other than water penetration and mechanical equipment (2 years) and structural adequacy (7 years). Builders are not obligated to repair conditions that are reported after the end of the warranty period. Guardian also performs pre-delivery (PDI) new home inspections for Buyers of Condominium Apartments.
Buyers of completed new homes cannot be assured that the builder will correct deficiencies to the buyer's satisfaction, unless details are specified in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. The deficiencies specified in Guardian's pre-purchase inspection report can help the Buyer provide a list of incomplete and deficient items for completion before the time the buyer assumes possession. Buyers of new houses from builder/owners that do not have TARION coverage may have limited recourse to the builder and should obtain legal advice regarding warranty clauses.
New homebuyers have a unique opportunity during the first year of occupancy to identify drafts, missing insulation and other comfort issues during cold winter conditions. Guardian’s thermography can best document these complaints, but only during similar cold conditions when these conditions would be experienced.
Buyers of recently renovated homes have the impressions that everything looks new and will perform the same as a new home. The first question for the builder/renovator is what building and electrical permits were issued for the work performed. If work was not performed with permits, then there is no assurance that construction meets the minimum legal requirements. We frequently inspect such homes and caution our clients that there is an increased risk of undetected defects and substandard construction. Our inspections cannot provide a substitute for an inspection that should be conducted by an authority having jurisdiction. Buyers should also note that even if work is performed with a building permit, that only the renovated portions must meet the current requirements. Such homes may for example have areas without modern insulation levels, which can result in uneven thermal comfort.
Condominium Apartment Buyers are purchasing the apartment interior finishes as well as a share in the ongoing maintenance of the building or complex. The state of repair of the building or complex and the pending repair costs are often more significant that the repair costs within the apartment unit, but cannot be addressed by our inspection. Buyers should thus review the status certificate building report and make inquiries with other owners to find out about the pending repairs of the building or complex.
Guardian’s inspections of apartment interiors include all accessible components including the inside portions abutting common elements such as windows, ceilings and walls, but does not include common elements. The time required to inspect a condominium apartment is usually less than a single dwelling house, and our rates are accordingly reduced.
Guardian also performs pre-delivery (PDI) new home inspections for Buyers of Condominium Apartments.
Buyers of multiple dwelling buildings should be concerned with mandatory retroactive standards, as well as the same issues as resale homes, as described above. All multiple dwelling properties must meet the Ontario Fire Code requirements for fire separations, exits, and smoke alarms. The specific requirements depend on the number of dwelling units, building size, etc. Guardian's inspections can only identify the general compliance issues, rather than provide a substitute for a certificate of compliance from the Fire Department, since the Fire Code is subject to interpretation by the local Fire Department. Multiple dwelling buildings must also meet rental property standards, which are enforced by the municipality.
Commercial properties are subject to similar issues as resale houses. The goal of our commercial inspections is to identify conditions that typically affect a buyer's decision to buy or not buy a property, to advise the significance of these conditions and provide recommendations, including priority of repairs and cost estimates for budgeting. The focus is the Buyer’s intended use and it is important that the Buyer attend the inspection.
Historic properties typically have a historic designation that limits changes to the exterior façade and other elements. Inspecting a historic resale property requires a more detailed examination of the façade and exterior property elements as well as consideration of the Buyer’s intensions. Guardian’s experience with historic properties includes several hundred property condition assessments for conservation authorities.
Building owners often require an independent assessment of the current state of repair for budget purposes. Guardian clients for Building Condition Assessments include private businesses, non-profit organizations, faith communities, conservation authorities and government land trusts. Inspections are customized to meet our client’s specific requirements.