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Home Inspectors

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 12 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who will produce detailed guidance for home inspectors; to what extent inspectors will be required to investigate problems encountered during an inspection; whether it will be sufficient for a home inspection report to say that a specific problem will require further investigation; and whether inspectors will be required to investigate (a) for (i) radon gas, (ii) mining and other subsidence, (iii) asbestos and (iv) party wall and other boundary disputes and (b) common services and structures in blocks of flats. (75416)

The home condition report (HCR) will be based on a mid-range inspection, similar to the homebuyers survey currently available on the market. home inspectors will be required to complete the HCR in accordance with the inspection and reporting requirements published by the Department of Communities and Local Government on 14 June 2006. Home inspectors will decide condition ratings by applying their knowledge of building construction and should only recommend further investigation where they suspect the existence of defects that are concealed or cannot be identified within the scope of a visual inspection. Home inspectors will therefore be expected to reach a conclusion about defects in most cases, but when this is not possible, for example when the defect needs specialist advice, the inspector may recommend a further investigation.

The home inspectors will report on the following:

whether the property is located in an area where naturally occurring radon gas is emitted from the ground;

whether it is located in a mining area;

whether they have seen asbestos-containing materials, or suspect such materials are present, which may be a risk (this is not a specialist asbestos inspection, however);

whether there are any party wall matters brought to the Inspector's attention by the seller.

For flats, the HCR will cover in detail the main walls, windows and the roof of the flat itself along with the shared access to the flat. General information will be provided about the remainder of the outside and shared parts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether home inspectors will be assigned to work in specific areas. (83279)

The work that home inspectors undertake, and the location, will be a matter for them or for the companies that employ them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to compensate individuals and companies for money spent on training home inspectors in the expectation that home condition surveys would be made mandatory. (88315)

The Government’s policy is that mandatory Home Condition Reports (HCRs) remain on the table if the industry fails to make a success of the roll-out of HCRs. We will promote the voluntary take-up of HCRs, and have allocated £4 million to support their take-up and testing of Home Information Packs. Therefore Home Inspectors will still be needed and job opportunities for Home Inspectors remain for those who have undertaken training. Moreover, the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates for private rented properties will further enhance these opportunities.