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Brits Have Fears About "Cowboy" Home Inspectors


hausdok
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Hi Kurt,

Well, the article doesn't give any background so I probably should have put it in context.

The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) guy, Brewer, and other Chartered Surveyors have ruled the roost for hundreds of years in Britain when it comes to having someone examine a home you are going to buy and telling you what shape it's in. I think the best description of one of these guys is sort of an Engineer Lite, throw in a Code Inspector, some Builder and a dash or two of Appraiser and shake well. They don't just inspect new homes, they can do the valuation comps and calculations as well and make structural calls and specify/supervise work that we'd normally refer to an engineer.

Well, whoever dreamed up this law also dreamed up the need for a completely "new" (at least for the UK) professional - that of home inspector - and they've estimated that to keep pace with the amount of sales without stalling the market they'll need at least 12,500 inspectors and have put out a call urging folks to get into the profession. They've been recruiting in schools and colleges, looking at outgoing military and are even urging RICS guys with construction related backgrounds (many RICS guys do other types of surveys unrelated to home sales or construction) to get into the field.

However, instead of allowing someone to one day just hang out a shingle and call him/herself a home inspector, they've made it a law that everyone who becomes a home inspector must have a certain amount of education and prove he/she is capable of doing the job before they'll certify them as qualified and allow them to open up shop. They've put a vetting system in place that examines the background and credentials of anyone who wants to get into the business - even the RICS guys - which ticked them off to no end because they feel that they should be grandfathered.

They've put in place certain minimum education requirements and have set up standards of practice for the home inspection profession that specify what will be inspected and what won't (They've even come up with a mandatory report form that is very similar to those used by most inspectors here.) and what must be reported - something that the RICS guys never had to be encumbered with - and they've put in place college curriculums that are putting these folks in school 12 hours a day, 5 - 6 days a week for 3 years to train them and ensure they are up to speed.

The RICS guys are also not happy about the fact that they are given a chance to challenge an exam to qualify and if they fail it they must themselves attend the training. I read an article a few months back where they interviewed a lady who'd been through the training. She's beem a chartered surveyor for many years and is now a senior RICS officer. She found the training very thorough and extremely challenging and admitted after she'd been through it that she'd learned a lot.

So, what's up with the article? The RICS guys are spouting off because they're afraid of losing business and stature to a bunch of new guys that someone just dreamed up one day and they're miffed (and more than a little insulted) that anyone would question their qualifications to do home inspections or force them to prove that they have the requisite knowledge of homes before they can be certified and authorized to do it.

So, they've resorted to fear mongering. They've joined with many in the real estate and lending communities that are bemoaning the "cowboy" home inspectors and predicting that they'll be incompetent, will produce reports that are pap or, since they're being hired and paid by sellers, will whitewash homes so that they'll sell. Never mind that doing so will be punishable by loss of business license, arrest and possible imprisonment - it's good theater to make people believe that.

Like I said, there are some interesting parallels there. There's also IMO an organizational model there that we here in this country should look at. You see, no matter how loud someone squawks about the new home inspection profession over there, if it survives it will have begun on solider footing than our's did over here.

In the UK they are recruiting young people who aren't yet into the job market, as well as seasoned professionals interested in the field. Instead of the profession being top-heavy with folks backing into the business from another profession somewhat late in life, these young folks will be the profession and will mold it with the next 40+ years in mind, unlike here where most are only looking forward maybe 20 to 25 years and couldn't care less about the direction the profession is going or the fact that in some ways it's practically been co-opted by special interests.

It's going to be very interesting to watch how this thing unfolds over there.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

M.

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Hi Again,

This is a November 9th article picked up from an Australian construction industry site, AzoBuild.com that sort of provides an understanding of where the certifying authorities in U.K. are at.

OT - OF!!!

M.

November 9, 2005

Home Inspectors Will Be Rigorously Trained Professionals

The Government's recent announcement on Home Information Packs has received a mixed response in the press. Among concerns about the Packs, which all those selling their homes will be required to provide from 2007, was the question of whether the Home Inspectors compiling the required Home Condition Reports would be sufficiently qualified.

But according to Chris Broadbent, Director of the Assessment Centre at BRE, 'Home Inspectors will be skilled professionals who have gone through a rigorous programme of training and assessment. Their training will be quality controlled by two levels of verification and they will sit a final exam before being awarded the Diploma in Home Inspection. They will then prepare and deliver Home Condition Reports under a third party certification scheme.'

BRE is currently training and assessing an increasing number of Home Inspectors, both experienced practitioners and new entrants, to be ready for the introduction of Home Information Packs.

'As a leading Assessment Centre for the delivery of the Diploma in Home Inspection,' says Chris Broadbent,' BRE is committed to the highest standards of training and assessment for its candidates. We are confident that candidates successfully completing this programme, will have all the necessary expertise to deliver high quality Home Condition Reports that sellers, buyers and lenders can rely on.'

To become licensed, a Home Inspector must achieve a Level 4 Vocational Qualification through an assessment of competence by practical demonstration of the skills required, and a comprehensive examination. This applies to both experienced surveyors and to new entrants to the profession. The vocational qualification is being delivered through approved Assessment Centres, of which BRE is one, working to a well established national system of standards setting and quality audit. Once licensed, the Home Inspector will operate under a third party certification scheme, and will maintain clearly defined standards of conduct, undertake continuing professional development and have suitable insurance in force.

'The Home Condition Report will be prepared under strict conditions of engagement to produce a report that all involved parties can have confidence in,' says Broadbent, 'and which will allow a buyer to make an offer on a house in the full knowledge of its condition.'

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Hi Again,

Well, it looks like the UK isn't the only place where folks were exploring the idea of mandatory seller's inspections. Our neighbors to the north apparently explored it as well when the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation did a little bit of research into the idea. Check this out.

There are some interesting findings there. What do you think - would mandatory seller's inspections be a boon or a bane for the profession here?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well Al,

that's just it. The folks being quoted in the article are R.I.C.S. guys. To be an inspector there, one will have to either already be a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, and then attend special abreviated training directed at what's to be inspected, standard of practice, report programs, etc., in order to ensure consistency in reporting, or, if one is a greenhorn, who's not a R.I.C.S. member and has no experience, one must attend and pay for nearly 3 years of schooling on home inspection topics and then sit for an exam, to receive the national diploma, before being able to practice in the profession.

The RICS guys are the one's making the stink mostly. They don't want to have to go through the training and sit an exam because they think they should be above all of that. So, really, they're just doing what people do - stewing about anything that they don't want to do.

Saw an article by a R.I.C.S. guy once. He'd been hired to evaluate a home and his article was all about the "noxious" vegetation that had been growing on the customer's property and how it was so invasive that it would kill everything else in the garden.

Hmmm.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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