Limited Scope Inspection of Residential Properties

This standard has been moved to the archive section to prevent misuse.

It is not and was not intended to be used as a replacement for a residential home inspection performed to industry recognised standards.

This standard was designed for use by the Insurance and Finance sector to allow them, along with other material information in their realm to make a decision on the condition of the home with respect to offering insurance or finance cover.

It has come to the attention of the Association that some inspectors are being requested to provide this standard as a replacement to the OntarioACHI mandated CAN/CSA A770-16 standard.

The limited scope inspection standard DOES NOT provide the same level of detail or protection to a buyer and should NOT be used by Inspectors performing inspections that are to be used as part of the real estate transaction between buyers and sellers.

We strongly caution consumers and realtors that using this standard in place of the industry standard places you at risk.

Table of Contents

1. Definitions and scope
2. Limitations, Exceptions & Exclusions
3. Standards of Practice

3.1. Roof
    3.2. Foundation
    3.3. HVAC
    3.4. Plumbing
    3.5. Electrical
5.  Prevention of misinterpretation
4. Glossary of Terms

1. Definitions and Scope

1.1. A limited scope home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of parts a residential dwelling, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify observed material defects within a limited selection of components of said dwelling. Components may include any combination of mechanical, structural, electrical, plumbing, or other essential systems or portions of the home, as identified and agreed to by the Client and Inspector, prior to the inspection process.

***IMPORTANT***
THIS IS A PARTIAL SCOPE INSPECTION AND NOT ALL OF THE COMPONENTS IN A FULL-SCOPE HOME INSPECTION WILL BE COVERED.

  1. A limited scope home inspection is intended primarily for insurance or finance purposes.
  2. A limited scope home inspection can be used to assist in the valuation and insurability of a dwelling based on the visible conditions of major components .
  3. A limited scope home inspection is not meant as a replacement for an industry recognised standards based home inspection
  4. A limited scope home inspection is based on observations of the visible and apparent condition of the inspected components on the date of the inspection, and not the prediction of future conditions.
  5. A limited scope home inspection will not reveal every concern that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the day of the inspection.

1.2. A material defect is a condition of a residential real property, or any portion of it, that would have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the real property, or that involves an unreasonable risk to people on the property. The fact that a structural element, system or subsystem is near, at or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, by itself, a material defect.

1.3. An inspection report shall describe and identify, in written format, the inspected systems, structures and components of the dwelling, and shall identify material defects observed. Inspection reports may contain recommendations regarding conditions reported or recommendations for correction, monitoring or further evaluation by professionals, but this is not required.

1.4 Terms used in the document

1. MUST This word, or the terms “REQUIRED” or “SHALL“, mean that the definition is an absolute requirement of the specification.
2. MUST NOT This phrase, or the phrases “WILL NOT” and “SHALL NOT“, mean that the definition is an absolute prohibition of the specification.
3. SHOULD This word, or the adjective “RECOMMENDED“, mean that there may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances to ignore a particular item, but the full implications must be understood and carefully weighed before choosing a different course.
4. SHOULD NOT This phrase, or the phrase “NOT RECOMMENDED” mean that there may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances when the particular behavior is acceptable or even useful, but the full implications should be understood and the case carefully weighed before implementing any behavior described with this label.
5. MAY This word, or the adjective “OPTIONAL” or term “NOT REQUIRED” mean that an item is optional and is based upon the decision of the Inspector at the time of the inspection, this decision being influenced by weather conditions, training, skills or risk to property or individual persons or groups of persons. This list is not exhaustive.

2. Limitations, Exceptions & Exclusions

2.1. Limitations:

  1. An inspection is not technically exhaustive.
  2. An inspection will not identify concealed or latent defects.
  3. An inspection will not deal with aesthetic concerns or what could be deemed matters of taste, cosmetic defects, etc.
  4. An inspection will not determine the suitability of the property for any use.
  5. An inspection does not determine the market value of the property or its marketability.
  6. An inspection does not determine the insurability of the property.
  7. An inspection does not determine the advisability or inadvisability of the purchase of the inspected property.
  8. An inspection does not determine the life expectancy of the property or any components or systems therein.
  9. An inspection does not include items not permanently installed.
  10. These Standards of Practice apply only to homes with four or fewer dwelling units.

2.2. Exclusions:

I. The inspector WILL NOT determine:

  1. property boundary lines or encroachments.
  2. the condition of any component or system that is not readily accessible.
  3. the service life expectancy of any component or system.
  4. the size, capacity, BTU, performance or efficiency of any component or system.
  5. the cause or reason of any condition.
  6. the cause for the need of repair or replacement of any system or component.
  7. future conditions.
  8. compliance with codes or regulations.
  9. the presence of evidence of rodents, animals or insects.
  10. the presence of mold, mildew, fungus or toxic drywall.
  11. the presence of airborne hazards.
  12. the presence of birds.
  13. the presence of other flora or fauna.
  14. the air quality.
  15. the existence of asbestos.
  16. the existence of environmental hazards.
  17. the existence of electromagnetic fields.
  18. the presence of hazardous materials including, but not limited to, the presence of lead in paint.
  19. any hazardous waste conditions.
  20. any manufacturers’ recalls or conformance with manufacturer installation, or any information included for consumer protection purposes.
  21. operating costs of systems.
  22. replacement or repair cost estimates.
  23. the acoustical properties of any systems.
  24. estimates of the cost to operate any given system.

II. The inspector is WILL NOT operate:

  1. any system that is shut down.
  2. any system that does not function properly.
  3. or evaluate low-voltage electrical systems such as, but not limited to:
    • 1. phone lines;
    • 2. cable lines;
    • 3. satellite dishes;
    • 4. antennae;
    • 5. lights; or
    • 6. remote controls.
  4. any system that does not turn on with the use of normal operating controls.
  5. any shut-off valves or manual stop valves.
  6. any electrical disconnect or over-current protection devices.
  7. any alarm systems.
  8. moisture meters, gas detectors or similar equipment.

III. The inspector WILL NOT:

  1. move any personal items or other obstructions, such as, but not limited to:
    • throw rugs;
    • furniture;
    • floor or wall coverings;
    • ceiling tiles;
    • window coverings;
    • equipment;
    • plants;
    • ice;
    • debris;
    • snow;
    • water;
    • dirt;
    • foliage; or
    • pets.
  2. dismantle, open or uncover any system or component.
  3. enter or access any area that may, in the opinion of the inspector, be unsafe.
  4. enter crawlspaces or other areas that are unsafe or not readily accessible.
  5. inspect underground items, such as, but not limited to, underground storage tanks or other indications of their presence, whether abandoned or actively used.
  6. do anything which, in the inspector’s opinion, is likely to be unsafe or dangerous to the inspector or others, or damage property, such as, but not limited to: walking on roof surfaces, climbing ladders, entering attic spaces, or negotiating with pets.
  7. inspect decorative items.
  8. inspect common elements or areas in multi-unit housing.
  9. inspect intercoms, speaker systems, radio-controlled security devices, or lawn irrigation systems.
  10. offer guarantees or warranties.
  11. offer or perform any engineering services.
  12. offer or perform any trade or professional service other than home inspection.
  13. research the history of the property, report on its potential for alteration, modification, extendibility or suitability for a specific or proposed use for occupancy.
  14. determine the age of construction or installation of any system structure or component of a building, or differentiate between original construction and subsequent additions, improvements, renovations or replacements.
  15. determine the insurability of a property.
  16. perform or offer Phase 1 environmental audits.
  17. open and close doors or windows;
  18. inspect the walls, ceilings, steps, stairways and railings;
  19. inspect garage doors and garage door openers by operating using the installed automatic door control;
  20. inspect central vacuum systems.
  21. inspect for safety glazing.
  22. inspect security systems or components.
  23. evaluate the fastening of countertops, cabinets, sink tops or fixtures.
  24. move furniture, stored items, or any coverings, such as carpets or rugs, in order to inspect the concealed floor structure.
  25. move suspended-ceiling tiles.
  26. inspect or move any household appliances.
  27. inspect or operate equipment housed in the garage, except as otherwise noted.
  28. verify or certify proper operation of any pressure-activated auto-reverse or related safety feature of a garage door.
  29. operate or evaluate any security bar release and opening mechanisms, whether interior or exterior, including their compliance with local, state or federal standards.
  30. operate any system, appliance or component that requires the use of special keys, codes, combinations or devices.
  31. operate or evaluate self-cleaning oven cycles, tilt guards/latches, or signal lights.
  32. inspect microwave ovens or test leakage from microwave ovens.
  33. operate or examine any sauna, steam-generating equipment, kiln, toaster, ice maker, coffee maker, can opener, bread warmer, blender, instant hot-water dispenser, or other small, ancillary devices.
  34. inspect elevators.
  35. inspect remote controls.
  36. inspect appliances.
  37. inspect items not permanently installed.
  38. discover firewall compromises.
  39. inspect pools, spas, recreational or stand-alone equipment.
  40. come into contact with any pool or spa water in order to determine the system’s structure or components.
  41. determine the adequacy of whirlpool or spa jets, water force, or bubble effect.
  42. determine the structural integrity or leakage of a pool or spa.
  43. inspect any system or component which is not included in these Standards

3. Standards of Practice

3.1. Roof

I. The inspector SHALL inspect from ground level or from readily accessible panels, doors or stairs:

  1. the roof covering/materials;
  2. the gutters;
  3. the downspouts;
  4. the vents, flashing, skylights, chimney and other roof penetrations; and
  5. the general structure of the interior of the roof.
  6. and report on any visible defect observed at the time of the inspection of these components inspected

II. The inspector WILL NOT:

  1. walk on any pitched roof surface.
  2. predict the service life expectancy.
  3. inspect underground downspout diverter drainage pipes.
  4. remove snow, ice, debris or other conditions that prohibit the observation of the roof surfaces.
  5. move insulation.
  6. inspect antennae, satellite dishes, lightning arresters, de-icing equipment, or similar attachments.
  7. walk on any roof areas that appear, in the opinion of the inspector, to be unsafe.
  8. walk on any roof areas if it might, in the opinion of the inspector, cause damage.
  9. perform a water test.
  10. warrant or certify the roof.
  11. inspect or report on insulation;
  12. inspect or report on the presence of attic ventilation;
  13. inspect or report on mechanical ventilation systems;
  14. enter the attic or any unfinished spaces.
  15. move, touch or disturb insulation.
  16. move, touch or disturb vapor retarders.
  17. break or otherwise damage the surface finish or weather seal on or around access panels or covers.
  18. identify the composition or exact R-value of insulation material.
  19. activate thermostatically operated fans. determine the types of materials used in insulation or wrapping of pipes, ducts, jackets, boilers or wiring.
  20. determine the adequacy of ventilation.
  21. confirm proper fastening or installation of any roof-covering material.
  22. inspect exterior wall-covering material, flashing and trim, exterior doors, decks, stoops, steps, driveways, walkways, stairs, porches, railings, eaves, soffits and fascias, windows, doors,  the vegetation, surface drainage, and retaining walls;
  23. inspect or operate screens, storm windows, shutters, awnings, fences, outbuildings, or exterior accent lighting.
  24. inspect items, including window and door flashing, that are not visible or readily accessible from the ground.
  25. inspect or identify geological, Geo-technical, hydrological or soil conditions.
  26. inspect recreational facilities or playground equipment.
  27. inspect seawalls, break-walls or docks.
  28. inspect erosion-control or earth-stabilization measures.
  29. inspect for safety-type glass.
  30. inspect underground utilities.
  31. inspect underground items.
  32. inspect wells or springs.
  33. inspect solar, wind or geothermal systems.
  34. inspect swimming pools or spas.
  35. inspect waste water treatment systems, septic systems or cesspools.
  36. inspect irrigation or sprinkler systems.
  37. inspect drain-fields or dry wells.
  38. determine the integrity of multiple-pane window glazing or thermal window seals.
  39. inspect any damaged glass.

III. The inspector SHALL inspect provide photographs of each component inspected regardless of the condition

3.2. Foundation

I. The inspector SHALL inspect:

  1. the foundation and visible structural components;
  2. and report any present conditions or clear indications of active water penetration;  for wood in contact with or near soil;
  3. and report any general indications of foundation movement, such as, but not limited to: sheetrock cracks, brick cracks, out-of-square, and floor slopes;
  4. and report on any cutting, notching and boring of framing members that may present a structural or safety concern.

II. The inspector WILL NOT:

  1. enter any crawlspaces
  2. move stored items or debris.
  3. operate sump pumps with inaccessible floats.
  4. identify size, spacing, span, location or determine adequacy of foundation bolting, bracing, joists, joist spans or support systems.
  5. provide any engineering or architectural service.
  6. report on the adequacy of any structural system or component.

III. The inspector SHALL inspect provide photographs of each component inspected regardless of the condition

3.3. HVAC

I. The inspector SHALL inspect:

  1. the heating systems, using normal operating controls, and describe the energy source and heating method;
  2. the central cooling equipment using normal operating controls.
  3. and report as in need of repair HVAC systems that do not operate;
  4. and report if the HVAC systems are deemed inaccessible.

II. The inspector WILL NOT:

  1. inspect or evaluate the interior of flues or chimneys, fire chambers, heat exchangers, combustion air systems, fresh air intakes, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, electronic air filters, geothermal systems, or solar heating systems.
  2. inspect fuel tanks or underground or concealed fuel supply systems.
  3. determine the uniformity, temperature, flow, balance, distribution, size, capacity, BTU, or supply adequacy of the heating system.
  4. light or ignite pilot flames.
  5. activate heating, heat pump systems or other heating systems when ambient temperatures or other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or may damage the equipment.
  6. override electronic thermostats.
  7. evaluate fuel quality.
  8. verify thermostat calibration, heat anticipation, or automatic setbacks, timers, programs or clocks.
  9. determine the uniformity, temperature, flow, balance, distribution, size, capacity, BTU, or supply adequacy of the cooling system.
  10. inspect window units, through-wall units, or electronic air filters.
  11. operate the furnace if the air conditioning system has been operating immediately prior to, or during the inspection other than as part of the inspection.
  12. operate cooling equipment or systems if the exterior temperature is below 65° Fahrenheit, or when other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or may damage the equipment.
  13. inspect or determine thermostat calibration, cooling anticipation, or automatic setbacks or clocks.
  14. examine electrical current, coolant fluids or gases, or coolant leakage
  15. inspect any fireplace, hearth extensions and other permanently installed fireplace components;
  16. inspect fireplace flue or vent system.
  17. inspect the interior of chimneys or flues, fire doors or screens, seals or gaskets, or mantels.
  18. determine the need for a chimney sweep.
  19. operate gas fireplace inserts.
  20. light pilot flames.
  21. determine the appropriateness of any installation.
  22. inspect automatic fuel-feed devices.
  23. inspect combustion and/or make-up air devices.
  24. inspect heat-distribution assists, whether gravity-controlled or fan-assisted.
  25. ignite or extinguish fires.
  26. determine the adequacy of drafts or draft characteristics.
  27. move fireplace inserts, stoves or firebox contents.
  28. perform a smoke test.
  29. dismantle or remove any component.
  30. perform a National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA)-style inspection.
  31. perform a Phase I fireplace and chimney inspection..

III. The inspector SHALL inspect provide photographs of each component inspected regardless of the condition

3.4. Plumbing

I. The inspector SHALL:

  1. determine and report whether the water supply is public or private;
  2. verify the presence and identify the location of the main water shut-off valve;
  3. inspect the water heating equipment, including venting connections, energy source supply system, and seismic bracing, and verify the presence or absence of temperature-pressure relief valves and/or Watts 210 valves;
  4. inspect the drain, waste and vent systems in all fixtures;
  5. describe any visible fuel-storage systems;
  6. inspect the drainage sump pumps, and test pumps with accessible floats;
  7. inspect and describe the location of the main water supply and main fuel shut-off valves.
  8. and report on any visible defect observed at the time of the inspection of these components inspected

II. The inspector WILL NOT:

  1. inspect toilets for proper operation;
  2. water-test sinks, tubs and showers for functional drainage;
  3. inspect the interior water supply, including all fixtures and faucets;
  4. inspect for deficiencies in the water supply;
  5. inspect for deficiencies in installation of hot and cold water faucets;
  6. inspect for any mechanical drain stops that are missing or do not operate; 
  7. inspect for evidence that toilets are damaged, have loose connections to the floor, leak, or have tank components that do not operate;
  8. light or ignite pilot flames.
  9. determine the size, temperature, age, life expectancy or adequacy of the water heater.
  10. inspect the interior of flues or chimneys, combustion air systems, water softener or filtering systems, well pumps or tanks, safety or shut-off valves, floor drains, lawn sprinkler systems, or fire sprinkler systems.
  11. determine the exact flow rate, volume, pressure, temperature or adequacy of the water supply.
  12. determine the water quality, potability or reliability of the water supply or source.
  13. open sealed plumbing access panels.
  14. inspect clothes washing machines or their connections.
  15. operate any valve.
  16. test shower pans, tub and shower surrounds or enclosures for leakage.
  17. evaluate the compliance with conservation, energy, or building standards, or the proper design or sizing of any water, waste or venting components, fixtures or piping.
  18. determine the effectiveness of anti-siphon, back-flow prevention or drain-stop devices.
  19. determine whether there are sufficient cleanouts for effective cleaning of drains.
  20. evaluate fuel storage tanks or supply systems.
  21. inspect wast water treatment systems.
  22. inspect water treatment systems or water filters.
  23. inspect water storage tanks, pressure pumps or bladder tanks.
  24. evaluate wait-time to obtain hot water at fixtures, or perform testing of any kind to water heater elements.
  25. evaluate or determine the adequacy of combustion air.
  26. test, operate, open or close safety controls, manual stop valves and/or temperature or pressure-relief valves.
  27. examine ancillary systems or components, such as, but not limited to, those related to solar water heating and hot water circulation.
  28. determine the existence or condition of polybutylene plumbing.

III. The inspector SHALL inspect provide photographs of each component inspected regardless of the condition

3.5. Electrical

I. The inspector SHALL inspect:

  1. the service drop/lateral;
  2. the meter socket enclosures;
  3. the means for disconnecting the service main;
  4. and describe the service disconnect amperage rating, if labeled;
  5. panelboards and over-current devices (breakers and fuses);
  6. and report on any unused circuit breaker panel openings that are not filled;
  7. the service grounding and bonding;
  8. and report the presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring, if readily visible;
  9. the service entrance conductors and the condition of the conductor insulation;
  10. and report the absence of smoke and CO detectors; and
  11. service entrance cables, and report as in need of repair deficiencies in the integrity of the insulation, drip loop, or separation of conductors at weatherheads and clearances from grade and rooftops.

II. The inspector WILL NOT:

  1. inspect switches, lighting fixtures and receptacles, including receptacles observed and deemed to be arc-fault circuit interrupter or AFCI-protected;
  2. inspect ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacles and circuit breakers observed and deemed to be GFCIs using a GFCI tester;
  3. report on any receptacles, switches, missing covers
  4. inspect for evidence of arcing or excessive heat at the receptacle, switch or fitting;
  5. insert any tool, probe or device into the main panelboard, sub-panels, distribution panelboards, or electrical fixtures.
  6. operate electrical systems that are shut down.
  7. remove panelboard cabinet covers or dead fronts, if they are not readily accessible.
  8. operate or re-set over-current protection devices or overload devices.
  9. operate non-accessible smoke detectors.
  10. measure or determine the amperage or voltage of the main service equipment, if not visibly labeled.
  11. inspect the fire and alarm system or components.
  12. inspect the ancillary wiring or remote control devices.
  13. activate any electrical systems or branch circuits that are not energized.
  14. inspect low-voltage systems, electrical de-icing tapes, swimming pool wiring, or any time-controlled devices.
  15. verify the service ground.
  16. inspect private or emergency electrical supply sources, including, but not limited to: generators, windmills, photovoltaic solar collectors, or battery or electrical storage facility.
  17. inspect spark or lightning arrestors.
  18. inspect or test de-icing equipment.
  19. conduct voltage-drop calculations.
  20. determine the accuracy of labeling.
  21. inspect exterior accent lighting.

III. The inspector SHALL inspect provide photographs of each component inspected regardless of the condition

4.  Prevention of misinterpretation

On occasions, homeowners may request a limited scope inspection, prior to listing, to enable them to identify defects with major components of the home.  This is a valid request.  A Limited scope inspection report will provide a homeowner with the information they need, on the major components, to allow them to make repairs prior to listing.

It is important, however, that a Home Inspector providing such a service does not create a situation where a potential buyer misconstrues a Limited Scope Inspection, performed for a homeowner prior to listing as a pre-listing Home Inspection carried out in compliance with the Canadian Standards Authority CAN/CSAA770-16 standard.

Clear and concise information should be provided by the inspector as to the limitations of the limited scope inspection with instructions that this information should be forwarded to any listing realtor.

Any failure to follow this process could result in a situation where Buyers are led to believe the Home has been fully inspected prior to listing, when in fact it hasn’t

5. Glossary of Terms

  1. accessible: In the opinion of the inspector, can be approached or entered safely, without difficulty, fear or danger.
  2. activate: To turn on, supply power, or enable systems, equipment or devices to become active by normal operating controls. Examples include turning on the gas or water supply valves to the fixtures and appliances, and activating electrical breakers or fuses.
  3. adversely affect: To constitute, or potentially constitute, a negative or destructive impact.
  4. alarm system: Warning devices, installed or freestanding, including, but not limited to: carbon-monoxide detectors, flue gas and other spillage detectors, security equipment, ejector pumps, and smoke alarms.
  5. appliance: A household device operated by the use of electricity or gas. Not included in this definition are components covered under central heating, central cooling or plumbing.
  6. architectural service: Any practice involving the art and science of building design for construction of any structure or grouping of structures, and the use of space within and surrounding the structures or the design, design development, preparation of construction contract documents, and administration of the construction contract.
  7. component: A permanently installed or attached fixture, element or part of a system.
  8. condition: The visible and conspicuous state of being of an object.
  9. correction: Something that is substituted or proposed for what is incorrect, deficient, unsafe, or a defect.
  10. cosmetic defect: An irregularity or imperfection in something, which could be corrected, but is not required.
  11. crawlspace: The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the lowest floor’s structural component.
  12. decorative: Ornamental; not required for the operation of essential systems or components of a home.
  13. describe: To report in writing a system or component by its type or other observed characteristics in order to distinguish it from other components used for the same purpose.
  14. determine: To arrive at an opinion or conclusion pursuant to examination.
  15. dismantle: To open, take apart or remove any component, device or piece that would not typically be opened, taken apart or removed by an ordinary occupant.
  16. engineering service: Any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience, and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such professional service or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design and supervision of construction for the purpose of assuring compliance with the specifications and design, in conjunction with structures, buildings, machines, equipment, works and/or processes.
  17. enter: To go into an area to observe visible components.
  18. evaluate: To assess the systems, structures and/or components of a property.
  19. evidence: (noun form) That which tends to prove or disprove something; something that makes plain or clear; ground for belief; proof.
  20. examine: To visually look (see inspect).
  21. foundation: The base upon which the structure or wall rests, usually masonry, concrete or stone, and generally partially underground.
  22. function: The action for which an item, component or system is specially fitted or used, or for which an item, component or system exists; to be in action or perform a task.
  23. functional: Performing, or able to perform, a function.
  24. functional defect: A lack of or an abnormality in something that is necessary for normal and proper functioning and operation, and, therefore, requires further evaluation and correction.
  25. general home inspection: The process by which an inspector visually examines the readily accessible systems and components of a home and operates those systems and components utilizing these Standards of Practice as a guideline.
  26. home inspection: See general home inspection.
  27. household appliances: Kitchen and laundry appliances, room air conditioners, and similar appliances.
  28. identify: To notice and report.
  29. indication (noun form): That which serves to point out, show, or make known the present existence of something under certain conditions.
  30. inspect: To examine readily accessible systems and components safely, using normal operating controls, and accessing readily accessible areas, in accordance with these Standards of Practice.
  31. inspected property: The readily accessible areas of the buildings, site, items, components and systems included in the inspection.
  32. inspection report: A written communication (possibly including images) of any material defects observed during the inspection.
  33. inspector: One who performs a real estate inspection.
  34. installed: Attached or connected such that the installed item requires a tool for removal.
  35. material defect: A specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.
  36. normal operating controls: Describes the method by which certain devices (such as thermostats) can be operated by ordinary occupants, as they require no specialized skill or knowledge.
  37. observe: To visually notice.
  38. operate: To cause systems to function or turn on with normal operating controls.
  39. readily accessible: A system or component that, in the judgment of the inspector, is capable of being safely observed without the removal of obstacles, detachment or disengagement of connecting or securing devices, or other unsafe or difficult procedures to gain access.
  40. recreational facilities: Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, tennis courts, playground equipment, and other exercise, entertainment and athletic facilities.
  41. report: (verb form) To express, communicate or provide information in writing; give a written account of. (See also inspection report.)
  42. representative number: A number sufficient to serve as a typical or characteristic example of the item(s) inspected.
  43. residential property: Four or fewer residential units.
  44. residential unit: A home; a single unit providing complete and independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
  45. safety glazing: Tempered glass, laminated glass, or rigid plastic.
  46. shut down: Turned off, unplugged, inactive, not in service, not operational, etc.
  47. structural component: A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads).
  48. system: An assembly of various components which function as a whole.
  49. technically exhaustive: A comprehensive and detailed examination beyond the scope of a real estate home inspection that would involve or include, but would not be limited to: dismantling, specialized knowledge or training, special equipment, measurements, calculations, testing, research, analysis, or other means.
  50. unsafe: In the inspector’s opinion, a condition of an area, system, component or procedure that is judged to be a significant risk of injury during normal, day-to-day use. The risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation, or a change in accepted residential construction standards.
  51. verify: To confirm or substantiate.

Important Note to Inspectors 
(updated 19th June, 2017)

While a limited scope inspection may prove to be useful for re-inspections or second-opinions it should not be used in place of a full professional Residential Home Inspection.  While your contract with your client may indicate you are performing a Home Inspection that does not comply with the recognised standards, you will still be held to the same duty of care. 

For example: If as part of a limited scope Home Inspection, as a professional Home Inspector, you view a component with a material defect that would be identified as part of a standards-based home inspection, you are duty bound to report it.  This would be the case even if the component with the defect WAS NOT in the scope of the limited scope inspection.   

We recommend Inspectors view the reasons why Limited Scope Inspections should not be used to replace a full home inspection here and here

If as part of your interaction with Realtors you are requested to perform a Limited Scope Inspection of a Residential Property for the purposes of listing or purchasing, we remind you that it is your professional duty to decline.  Realtors SHOULD NOT be asking for this form of inspection for their clients.

We have been in contact with all the Real Estate Board in Ontario, as well as the Ontario Real Estate Association, the Real Estate Council of Ontario and both the Ministry and Minister for Government and Consumer Services to advise them of the concern of Realtors requesting this form of inspection and why they shouldn’t.

Any inspector who is approached by a Realtor asking for this form of Inspection, declining to perform the inspection and subsequently not being referred to client should log the incident here.

We will be collating the statistics and presenting them to the MGCS and RECO for corrective action.