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North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Musings of chief inspector and president of SENWI House Inspections

Monday, November 19, 2012

Depreciation Reports - Choose the providing company wisely

Back in May I discussed my concerns regarding the lack of training and building science knowledge I feel most Strata Property Mangers posses.  At the end of the article I mentioned that Bill 8 of the Strata Property Act may be the solution we need in order to ensure Strata councils have the information they need to properly maintain their buildings in the future.

Well, it looks like this wish was a bit too premature as Bill 8 will not be the magic bullet I and many others were hoping for.  You see, Bill 8 does not limit who can provide the Depreciation Study and what qualifications they require.  You do not even need to be an engineer and there are now organizations and individuals clambering over each other to cash in on this new windfall.  One organization in particular has even gone so far as to create a new ‘certification’ (Reserve Fund Analysts – RRFA) targeted at its home inspectors to provide opportunities in this field of work.  This new direction was one of several factors that helped cement my decision to leave the organization.  It has become clear to me that it was no longer about “protecting the public” and was more about increasing membership and their ability to make money.

Depreciation studies are crucial planning tools for Strata that require input from many disciplines (engineers, plumbers, electricians, roofers, etc.), but specifically should be organized and presented by Professional Engineers with a focus on Building Science.  There is no way a home inspector should ever be providing this type of service.  They just do not have the right skill set and experience to do so and the limited number of courses that organizations are requiring their home or property inspectors to complete before becoming ‘certified’ just does not get them there.  If it did, the individual would have a P. Eng. and MASc designation and would be performing the Studies under these Professional designations and not a CPI or RRFA.

When choosing a firm to represent your Strata’s best interest, choose wisely.  I only recommend the best firms to my clients and advise that this is not an area to try to go cheap.  The information and maintenance instructions given out by firms like RDH, Morrison Hershfield, or Read Jones Christoffersen when completing their Depreciation Studies is well worth the investment and will usually save you money in the long run. 

Isn’t the financial future of your Strata worth hiring a Pro?

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