there are good builders in Canada, there are also marginal builders
and poor builders in Canada. Currently Canadians have no reliable,
objective means of knowing who the good builders are. To further
exacerbate the problem, Canadians have more consumer protection for a
$40 toaster purchased in a department store than they do when
purchasing a newly built home.
purchase of a home is the largest investment made by most Canadians.
It should not be a gamble due to construction defects and inadequate
new home warranties. Many Canadians are living in homes that do not
meet the minimum health and safety standards of the building codes as
these codes are often not being enforced by municipal inspectors
during construction. Often homeowners will not speak up about
the problems due to the litigious nature of many builders and the
fear of negatively influencing their own home’s resale
value. Frequently home insurance policies exclude claims that
result from defective construction.
you are considering purchasing a new home, or a resale home, it is
important to take your time and undertake considerable research
before you make your purchase.
protection in Canada is primarily a provincial responsibility. Many
are of the view that when Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
(CMHC), a major federal Crown corporation, discontinued home
inspections in the mid-1980s, the quality of home construction in
Canada deteriorated significantly. Some now refer to it as
“disposable” housing. The worst Canadian housing
disaster emerged in the 1990s in British Columbia with the “leaky
condo” crisis, which continues to this day. Canadian for
Properly Built Homes (CPBH) hears regularly from Canadians from coast
to coast about serious construction defects (ranging from Building
Code violations involving cracked foundations, insufficient heat, and
leaking roofs – and virtually everything else in between).
CPBH also hears from many of these new home purchasers that their
builder is unresponsive, the home warranty inadequate, and
politicians/government bureaucrats who, when asked by the home
purchaser for help in resolving these issues, typically simply point
to another level of government or another ministry. Tragically, far
too many Canadians, when faced with this situation, decide that they
have no alternative than to “patch and run” – that
is, selling their home with the construction defects to the next
unsuspecting purchaser, without disclosing the construction defects.
“Patch and run” puts the true condition of all listed
real estate into question. Further, the Canadian home inspection
industry continues to be in turmoil due to qualification issues,
despite CMHC’s involvement with - and funding to - that
continues to refer to “quality housing” in Canada,
however, when asked, CMHC officials advised CPBH that it does not
have a measure of housing quality. The Harper federal government
appears to be disinterested in these serious construction defects,
the inadequate consumer protection, “patch and run”,and CMHC's unwillingness to develop and implement a measure of housing quality.
some government officials encourage litigation as the means for
consumers to resolve these issues, CPBH disagrees. Litigation is not
the answer: Most Canadians do not have the financial or emotional
strength to endure what is typically a very expensive, lengthy,
stressful law suit against deep pockets, with no guarantee of the
result. The answer is for government officials to ensure that the
home is properly built at the outset, and, given that perfection is
not possible, government officials must also ensure that there is an
effective, adequate new home warranty provided with each new home.
Canadians need - and deserve - no less!