This past week I completed a 7,000 sq ft estate home inspection in British Properties, West Vancouver. The asking price was $7 million. Yes I know it’s Canadian dollarettes as opposed to the mighty US dollar, but nonetheless a significant purchase price.
Property highlights - three stories, high ceilings, on a lake, large patio and terraces, 5 bedrooms, 5 fireplaces, 8 bathrooms, elevator, hydronic in-floor hot water heating, heated driveway, AC, HRV, spa, marble flooring.
For estate properties I will consider using a more commercial inspection approach, that is, using a team of experts, rather than just one inspector. As a professional engineer I know my limits as to time, safety and expertise. My ultimate responsibility is the building, to be fair and balanced with the condition assessment and it’s imperative to seek additional resources to accomplish the task when required.
In this case I needed a flat roofing specialist with two sets of ladders to reach the upper roof. A heating and ventilation contractor was called upon to look at a 25 year old interconnected system, which had portions of the system turned off. (I must digress here because the mechanical system was truely ‘elegant’ for its time and is worth describing...The AC unit had a one-pass municipal water-cooled compressor circuit, with no external or remote condenser, extremely wasteful by modern standards. The HRV had one of the supply ducts fitted with a cold water coil for zone air cooling. The hot water tank was heated by an internal heat exchanger from the natural gas boiler. The other boiler for the driveway in-slab heating was non-functional.) Even though not mentioned by the buyer, upon review of the MLS listing I noted the 3 storey elevator. I included the elevator inspector as part of the team in the proposal.
In the USA and Canada we have home inspection standards and guidelines, legislated by government authorities or by industry associations. These are however minimum standards only. Estates property inspections are complex and require a thoughtful approach to what has to be accomplished in an inspection and how it can best be done.
In this case the inspection proposal was issued to the buyer, accepted and completed successfully using the team approach.