By Paul Gulletson

As a Realtor, you understand better than most how stressful the home-buying experience can be. Home buyers are faced with sometimes overwhelming decisions about location, size and design – and then there’s the question of price. A new home purchase is a major financial obligation for the average Canadian.

As you help your clients navigate this journey, one of the steps they will face along the way is the question of a home inspection. A proper home inspection can help them to better understand the condition of a home and whether there are any significant deficiencies that could result in unexpected, costly repairs. It helps ensure they go into a home-buying decision with their eyes open.



Until now, though, there hasn’t been a consistent set of minimum requirements for Canadian home inspectors to follow or for home buyers to compare services. One home inspector might take 45 minutes to inspect a home while another might take four hours. A home inspection in one province could be very different from one in another province. These discrepancies can lead to wide variations in the amount of risk taken on by home buyers and home inspectors alike.

But in March, things changed. CSA Group announced a new standard on home inspection called CAN/CSA A770. The standard was developed by a balanced committee that included home inspectors, Realtors, consumer groups, government and other stakeholders, and it is designed to protect both consumers and home inspectors. The standard is voluntary, but it provides a consistent set of rules that help define expectations for home buyers and help inspectors provide a reliable level of service to clients on an even playing field.

As the first accredited consensus standard for home inspection in Canada, CAN/CSA A770 includes baseline requirements for the systems and components in and around a home that need to be inspected, and the conditions and deficiencies that need to be identified. It also outlines general inspection methods and minimum requirements for inspection reports. What is most important is it gives inspectors a unifying benchmark and home buyers a means to compare service providers.

The draft standard received more than 5,000 comments during its 60-day public review period. The strong public response clearly demonstrates the potential impact of this standard. The feedback from the public review process was carefully reviewed and considered by the committee before the standard was finalized.

Several home inspector associations in Canada already have training and licensing programs in place. It is our hope that existing training and accreditation programs will be updated to reflect the requirements of this new standard. Your clients should be able to compare and choose an inspector who is offering a home inspection in compliance with the standard. It’s a win-win: home inspectors will be able to better define what a home inspection does and does not include while buyers will have confidence that an inspector is following an accredited, nationally recognized standard.

CSA Group is offering the standard for free public view. Click here and create a login for the CSA Communities to read the standard.

Paul Gulletson has been a project manager for Built Environment standards at CSA Group since 2011. He manages a portfolio of technical committees comprised of experts from industry and government that develop standards for construction and civil infrastructure. Working with a diverse group of stakeholders and technical experts from across Canada and the U.S., he facilitates CSA’s accredited consensus process to develop standards, including CAN/CSA A770 - Home Inspection.

4 COMMENTS

  1. There are only two places in Canada where you can find “licensed” home inspectors – BC and Alberta.

    Also, the CSA standards (from what I’ve seen of them) are based on CAHPI/NACHI standards for the most part. Both are “accredited consensus standard for home inspection in Canada” [and North America]; CSA aren’t the first ones to put out standards like the article suggests.

    “A home inspection in one province could be very different from one in another province.” – If your home inspector isn’t following CAHPI/NACHI Standards of Practice, you’re going to have a bad day. These have been the standards for the last 30 years or so…

    “home inspectors will be able to better define what a home inspection does and does not include while buyers will have confidence that an inspector is following an accredited, nationally recognized standard.” – A real home inspector already does this, and there are already national standards in place.

    “Home Inspection Definition: The process by which an inspector visually examines the readily accessible systems and components of a building and which describes those systems and components in accordance with these [CAHPI] National Standards of Practice.”

    Raymond Wand, you mentioned that there’s a $50 fee to view these standards? That’s ridiculous.

    I provide the CAHPI standard of practices to all my clients – for free, as it should be – to help protect the consumer and help the consumer understand what they should be expecting from a home inspection.

    If you’d like to read the CAHPI standards, you can read them here: https://avelarhomeinspection.biz/standards-of-practice/

  2. I assume CSA didn’t want to mention that in order to see that new improved standard you have to pay $50!

    This whole cost to view stumps me. How is the consumer the benefactor
    when they can’t even see the standards or know what the standards
    involve without paying! There is no comparison of apples to apples as
    there is now with the standards, which are free to view.

    And as an inspector why would I choose the CSA version when it has not been tested in the courts as the current versions have been?

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