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What are the features of a good building inspection report?

#Building inspectors

Last update : 2023-03-03 15:31:56

Few would deny the relevance and usefulness of a home inspection, particularly in the context of a property sale. But whether it is a pre-purchase inspection or any other type, it is not complete without the accompanying report. 

Indeed, the inspection report is just as important as the visual examination itself, because this document contains all the information noted by the building inspector during their visit to the property.

But do you know what makes up a good inspection report? In particular, the contractor must comply with the standards of practice of their profession, such as those of the Association des Inspecteurs en Bâtiments du Québec (AIBQ). A quality inspection report will also have the following four features.

The 4 features of a quality building inspection report

Inspection en bâtiment: les caractéristiques d'un bon rapport

1. The inspection report contains a description of the inspected elements

First of all, it is important that the report written by the expert mentions and describes each of the elements that were inspected during their visit. The description of these elements should not only explain what kind it is, but also specify its condition and current state.

In the event that defects are detected during the visual examination, these will obviously have to be noted in the report to inform the customer. If no defect is detected, the inspector must still mention it in the report in order to offer the most complete overview possible.

The purpose of the report is to allow the buyer or the owner to know exactly the condition of the building: which components need to be replaced and for what reason, which elements are in excellent condition, what requires further examination, etc. The description of the components and their condition must therefore be as exhaustive as possible.

The important information in a inspection report

2. The inspection report contains detailed explanations

A good inspection report should contain an abundance of details, both in terms of the components and the steps taken by the inspector. He must clearly indicate what was accessible or not in the property at the time of their visit. They must also specify which elements were not visible on site during their visit.

So, if an external element was not accessible due to dense vegetation, the inspection report should include details on this and explain the reason why the inspector was unable to access it. Similarly, if part of the foundation was not visible, a diligent inspector will note where they could not conduct the examination (e.g. on the left side, at the back of the house).

A quality inspection report even mentions the weather conditions at the time of the inspection. These can have an impact on the analysis carried out, by not allowing the inspector access to certain areas of the property or to correctly assess the risks associated with certain elements.

For example, an inspection carried out in the summer, following an abnormally hot and dry period, could have an impact on the results. On the other hand, an inspection carried out in winter could prevent the inspector from having access to the roof due to a build-up of snow and ice on the shingles.

It is important that the inspection report leaves no doubt about what was inspected in the property and under what conditions the examination was done. A report that is too vague could create confusion that could complicate proceedings in the event of a dispute.

Inspection report : what to look for in a good document

3. The explanations of the inspection report are clear and in plain language

A detailed report is good. But still it is necessary that it is understandable. A report stuffed with technical terms will certainly look impressive, but it will not help you understand the building’s condition and may create some ambiguity.

A good inspection report must therefore be both clear and in plain language, so that those who consult it can understand everything in it, even if they are not professionals in the field. A document written in too specialized jargon is of no benefit, especially in case of litigation. 

4. The inspection report contains pictures

The description of the components and elements inspected may be thorough and detailed, but it will never be as revealing as a picture. It is for this reason that a quality report will include photos that the building inspector will have taken at the time of their visual examination.

For even greater accuracy, the inspector can add arrows to the images, comments or use any other strategy to explain the observed facts as clearly as possible.

Professional building inspection

The importance of a professional building inspection report

No matter under what circumstances the building inspection is carried out, the accompanying report can have a major impact on your real estate plans. In particular, it can allow you to organize your renovation plans or renegotiate a purchase offer you have made. If necessary, the building inspector's report can help you resolve a dispute and avoid possible legal action.

Indeed, if a problem arises after the purchase of a home or a hidden defect is discovered by the new owner, the inspection report can be of great help in establishing the responsibility of each of the parties involved. That is why it is essential that this document be complete, detailed and clear at the same time, so that there is no doubt about the state of the home at the time of transfer.

Of course, producing a detailed report takes longer than a short document, but it is the duty of your inspector to provide you with a complete inspection report. Do not hesitate to compare several building inspectors in your area before choosing the expert with whom you will do business. Check out our tips for finding a good building inspector to help you make a decision.

Also, check out some of our articles to know more about building inspection:

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