One Of The Required Steps

Inspections and the Building Code

One of the now required steps in purchasing a home, whether a detached single family home or a condominium is the dreaded home inspection. This process can be nerve wracking for buyers, especially first-time buyers who may not have grown up fixing things or building things except Minecraft palaces and forts. Buyers are led to believe they can find a perfect house that needs no work and will never need maintenance.

This precept is bound to lead to disappointment. A good home inspector will help a less sophisticated buyer revise their expectations when it comes to home ownership. First, an inspector will contextualize the house as to its age, location, and environmental impacts. Secondly, the inspector will help the buyer understand the house as a system, starting with the chimney cap and following through the drain in the basement floor. Along the way, the inspector will assess the building envelope, including the roof, the outer cladding, the windows, and the foundation.

The main enemy of house integrity is water. Whether penetrating through the roof, through failed window seals, behind siding or stucco or seeping through cracks in the foundation, nothing will destroy a house faster than leaks. Even if the buyer knows nothing about house construction, most have heard the word ‘Code’, as in the phrase ‘built to code.’ What this means is that the home has been built to legislated standards as outlined in the Provincial Building Code. In addition, during construction the house is periodically inspected by Provincial Building Code Inspectors. We can find stamps and labels that these inspectors have left behind as proof of their visits.

Unfortunately building codes change over time as problems are discovered and solutions put in place. The other force changing building codes is improving construction materials and techniques. Sealed double pane glass windows have largely replaced the wooden double hung windows found in older homes. 

 Next issue; How code changes affect the home inspection.


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Doug Bowman

Certified home inspector, condominium document analyst and Realtor. More than 10 years experience in general real estate.


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