In a previous article, I wrote about the home inspection training course at Bellingham Technical College. Click on the logo below to visit the BTC website.
This is a state approved course and provides students with the mandatory 120 hours of classroom fundamentals training in the profession of home inspection.
The second element of training that is state mandated, for anyone entering the field of home inspection after September 1, 2009, is 40 hours of approved field training. That field training must include a minimum of five home inspections and five reports that meet the state standards. In the past, as the process was being implemented, that field training had to be supervised by an experienced home inspector. Soon that will change to require supervision by a licensed home inspector. At Bellingham Technical College all instructors have passed their exams and are, or soon will be, licensed.
The average BTC home inspection student is about 45 years of age and has been in the building trades. Most of the students are male, but we have had women in the class and we have had any number of former builders, carpenters, roofers, remodelers and even a licensed electrician and an HVAC technician. In many cases these individuals are entering the field for a change of pace, but they still want to use the skills they have developed in past careers.
Below are photos taken during a recent field inspection. The field inspections must be completed to meet the state standards and that includes students crawling crawl spaces, and traversing attics and roofs when it is safe to do so. Below is a student checking the condition of a metal flashing.
The exterior of a home is one area where problems are often found. In this case, the inspector is going behind the vegetation -- an inspection concern in and of itself -- in order to see the condition of the wood trim, the siding and a flashing.
Below, we have a student in the process of doing the crawl space inspection. With the number of conducive conditions and wood destroying organisms that might be found in our wet climate, this is one of the most important of all inspections at any home -- even new homes often have standing water below.
In the third part of this series, coming up, I will tell you more about the "after class support" that is available to BTC students. This includes instructors helping former students with identifying inspection concerns, troubleshooting and after the class online practice tests and materials that help prepare students for mandatory exams.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspections
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