Prospective buyers of a building do not always understand the importance of a pre-purchase inspection. Although the latter is not mandatory under the law, it can avoid many worries for new owners by reassuring them as to their choice to buy or not the property coveted.
Essence of pre-purchase inspection
The pre-purchase inspection consists of a visual inspection of the systems and major components of the building. Its purpose is to evaluate the general condition of the building and to determine major defects.
This inspection includes a visual examination of the following: the interior of the building, the envelope, the roof, the visible structure (foundations, floors, ceilings, walls, columns, etc.), insulation, building mechanics (heating, electricity, plumbing, ventilation, etc.) and exterior landscaping.
Whether for a pre-purchase inspection of a residential, commercial or industrial building, you will obtain a detailed written report mentioning the deficiencies observed visually, recommendations for corrective work to be done, photos and diagrams.
The pre-purchase inspection therefore concerns the general condition of the visible components of the building on the day of the visit. It's not about no inspection of compliance with various codes or standards. It's a visual inspection and not an expertise.
In his pre-purchase report, the inspector will indicate if there is expertise to do and with which specialist in the field (engineer, plumber, electrician, etc.). A building expertise is necessary in case of particular problems such as air infiltration, mold, water infiltration, condensation on windows, foundation slump, non-functional French drain, etc. This is a more in-depth step than visual inspection.
Law and pre-purchase inspection
The Quebec Civil Code contains no provision requiring a buyer to use the services of a pre-purchase inspector. Nevertheless, even if the pre-purchase inspection is not mandatory in Quebec, it is strongly recommended, as it facilitates legal recourse if there is a discovery of a hidden defect.
However, the legislator has Quebec Civil Code, a legal warranty of the seller that aims to protect potential buyers hidden defects. In order for this guarantee to be presented to the courts, in the event of a hidden defect, the purchaser must demonstrate that he has, before the purchase, acted with prudence and diligence.