Prior construction experience is a great asset - either in renovation, construction, or trade-related experience such as electrician, plumber etc. - or as a quantity surveyor, construction estimator, trades coordinator, or as a professional architect or engineer.
An architect or an engineer is not automatically a good home inspector. These are disciplines that deal with very specialized and specific areas of buildings, whereas professional home inspectors are generalists, observing and understanding all the components in a building - and the relationships between different components and component systems.
The general categories are:
* foundations, basements and structures
* insects, vermin and decay
* central heating systems, including heat loss/gain
* space heating, including fireplaces, wood stoves & chimneys
* central air conditioning
* roofing systems
* exteriors, including landscaping
* interiors, including insulation and ventilation
* environmental and safety issues
With or without prior experience, the prospective home inspector usually starts by reading about, and getting involved with the parts of the house he or she is not already familiar with.
There have been until recently, only a few private (and very expensive) schools of home inspection, and the content is frequently lacking. One way to start preliminary evaluation of a career in home inspection might be with a correspondence course.
Larger inspection companies will generally teach prospective inspectors how to inspect a house, but they won’t teach you “about" the house; you'll have to learn that yourself.
Community Colleges offer a wide range of evening classes in trade-related topics, and recently some colleges have started to offer courses in the field of home inspection.
The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI) has developed some training programs, primarily in the area of defect recognition, and groups such as Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT Inc. ) offer wood energy technical training.
Most associations provide prior learning assessments, to help applicants determine which courses of study may be required, prior to attaining applicant or candidate status. In addition to any courses of study and possibly company training and/or apprenticeship, a number of fee-paid inspections, a review of the inspector's reporting methods and formal examinations, generally must be completed before applying for full membership in a professional association.
There may be a requirement to write a preliminary exam, before one can be covered by association-sponsored insurance programs during training or appreticeship.
Some knowledge of the following will also be beneficial:
* real estate and real estate law as is pertains to the transaction
* wells, septic systems, municipal water and sewer systems, general infrastructure
* inter-personal communications, correspondence and report writing
* computerized applications, basic telecommunications
Home inspectors, whether working independently or dispatched by a larger company, require some form of telephone service, record keeping and follow-up service in conjuction with performing inspections. Inspectors usually have their own vehicles, and purchase their own tools, test equipment, cell phones, pagers etc. Personal liability insurance, errors and ommisions insurance, and disabilty/income security are usually the responsibilty of the individual.
1. A conscientious effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this material. Electrospec Home Inspections will not assume liability for its use. Date of latest modification is noted at bottom of page. 2. Professional Association requirements may change from time to time. Check with each professional organization before making specific plans. 3. Information contained on these pages is not intended to solicit services, affiliations or applications for employment, or to offer any training or apprenticeship.
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario, Canada since 1994. Visit http://www.allaroundthehouse.com to learn more about home inspections.
"The Home Reference Book"
You can probably find a home inspection for a little less than what we ask, but you probably won't find the Home Reference Book. A $60 value, this solutions-oriented reference tool comes free with every inspection we perform.
It's the first tool you should have around the house!