The following definitions shall apply in this Standard:
Accessible: available for unobstructed viewing, touching, examination, or operation through normal user operated controls without the need to dismantle, climb, move objects, or any other action that could result in damage to property or injury to people.
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.
Adversely affect: To constitute, or potentially constitute, a negative or destructive impact.
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.
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.
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.
Component: a physical part that comprises part of a home’s system (e.g., a floor beam is a component of the overall floor system)
Condition: The visible and conspicuous state of being of an object.
Condominium unit: an individually registered property that is subject to articles of incorporation or bylaws as well as provincial or territorial laws or local bylaws that define the unit boundaries and the components of the property that are the sole responsibility of a unit owner.
Correction: Something that is substituted or proposed for what is incorrect, deficient, unsafe, or a defect.
Cosmetic defect: An irregularity or imperfection in something, which could be corrected, but is not required.
Crawlspace: The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the lowest floor’s structural component.
Decorative: Ornamental; not required for the operation of essential systems or components of a home.
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.
Determine: To arrive at an opinion or conclusion pursuant to examination.
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.
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.
Enter: To go into an area to observe visible components.
Evaluate: To assess the systems, structures and/or components of a property.
Evidence: (noun form) That which tends to prove or disprove something; something that makes plain or clear; ground for belief; proof.
Examine: To visually look (see inspect).
Foundation: The base upon which the structure or wall rests, usually masonry, concrete or stone, and generally partially underground.
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.
Functional: Performing, or able to perform, a function.
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.
Guard: a protective barrier, with or without openings through it, that is around openings in floors or at the open sides of stairs, landings, balconies, mezzanines, galleries, raised walkways, or other locations to prevent accidental falls from one level to another.
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.
Home inspector: a consultant who is a generalist with broad skills and knowledge of the residential built environment and engaged to determine the condition of the systems and components of a home at the time of the inspection in accordance with this Standard, and to provide recommendations to the client for further action, remediation, or improvement, where appropriate.
Identify: To notice and report.
Indication (noun form): That which serves to point out, show, or make known the present existence of something under certain conditions.
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.
Inspected property: The readily accessible areas of the buildings, site, items, components and systems included in the inspection.
Inspection report: A written communication (possibly including images) of any material defects observed during the inspection.
Inspector: One who performs a real estate inspection.
Installed: Attached or connected such that the installed item requires a tool for removal.
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.
Non-invasive: not causing disturbance or damage upon inspection.
Normal operating control: the operation of a system or component in the same manner that a homeowner would be expected to (e.g., adjusting a thermostat or turning on a light switch).
Observe: To visually notice.
Operation: use of normal operating controls.
Permanently installed: items that are fixtures and not intended to be moved to another location, and items that are considered essential for a home to function.
Probing: inspection of an item by hand or by using a tool to determine condition and performance.
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.
Recreational facilities: Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, tennis courts, playground equipment, and other exercise, entertainment and athletic facilities.
Report: (verb form) To express, communicate or provide information in writing; give a written account of. (See also inspection report.)
Representative sample: an unbiased subset that accurately reflects the whole.
Residential property: Four or fewer residential units.
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.
Safety glazing: Tempered glass, laminated glass, or rigid plastic.
Shut down: Turned off, unplugged, inactive, not in service, not operational, etc.
Structural component: A component that supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads).
System: an overall set of material components used together to perform a particular function in a home.
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.
Townhouse — an individually owned dwelling with its own entrance and exit that is similar to several adjacent dwellings in a multi-unit structure whose units are connected by common walls.
1) Townhouses often have multiple floors and comprise a continuous foundation and roof across the structure, but can also have individual facades, staggered setbacks, and variations in height and yard size.
2) Also known as a row house or town home.
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.
Verify: To confirm or substantiate.
Weathertightness: proof against wind and rain.
The following abbreviations shall apply in this Standard:
PCBI —I polychlorinated biphenyl
HVACI —I heating, ventilation, air conditioning