7 Questions with John M.
Q: How does your industry background transfer to the home inspections training industry?
Following serving in the United States Marine Corps, I transitioned to the commercial and industrial sector of HVAC. I have never worked exclusively in the residential sector, and in fact most of the experience I have in HVAC is in the commercial and industrial sector. Whether a residential home or a massive cold storage warehouse; the goal of HVAC is to keep a tempered and conditioned climate while operating in the most efficient and safest manner possible.
Once a home is built and all inspections complete, the HVAC system is arguably one of the major components which requires continual maintenance. A roof is replaced every 20 - 30 years, an electrical service rarely upgraded, plumbing fixtures are long term, and unless an addition is planned; the walls and foundation of a structure are seldom touched. The heating and air conditioning typically required annual maintenance to varying extent.
We rely on the HVAC system to provide us with comfort, healthy air to breath, and to protect the rest of the home and investments within. Without heat; the plumbing will freeze, and without proper condition and humidity: our possessions will be damaged and the structure itself may fail. I have been exposed to many issues new homeowners have encountered with their HVAC system after taking possession of which could have easily been avoided with proper inspection and or a little bit of customer education.
Many people moving into a home for the first time, or perhaps a person moving from natural gas to oil heat in a home do not understand their new system. A home inspector can provide a wealth of knowledge to this new owner, and can likely save them money both from decreased service calls or increased efficiency through education.
Q: What made you want to get involved with the Canadian Institute of Home Inspectors?
I thoroughly enjoy sharing the trade that I am passionate about with students and peers alike. Every day at my place of employment; I learn something new and spend a portion of the day reading and learning about equipment and systems I work on. Whether it is during a service call on an unfamiliar piece of equipment or at night trying to understand something that I saw during the day; I yearn to learn. Likewise, I frequently speak to peers about problems or interesting scenarios I have seen or that they encounter.
In addition to working as a contractor, I am fortunate enough to educate students at various levels. From basic gas fitting and refrigeration to more advanced students completing their apprenticeships, I truly enjoy mentoring and sharing my experiences. Teaching others often teaches me something new and reinforces the knowledge I already have.
A co-worker informed me about the Canadian Institute of Home Inspectors creating a new Canadian focused home inspector training program. I was excited to have the opportunity to contribute to educating a new group of individuals who work to educate home buyers as well as improve the safety and efficiency of homes. I am also excited about the opportunity to network with a new group of experts in the home inspection industry.
Q: What are the challenges of putting together a national home inspector training program such as the one created by the Canadian Institute of Home Inspectors?
I feel that anytime you try to address a broad audience that is broad not only in geography with varying codes and installation techniques, but broad in experience and education: it can be difficult to engage everyone. When you spend much of your life working in one geographical area, it’s easy to forget that other areas face different challenges and therefore use different equipment and different techniques. Thus during the creation of the module, the aim was to balance general information from across Canada without focusing in one province or municipality while avoiding missing pertinent information for the reader.
Q: What was the most enjoyable part for you with your contribution to the development of the Canadian Institute of Home Inspectors.
The most rewarding part of this opportunity to contribute to the development of the Canadian Institute of Home Inspectors learning modules was sharing my knowledge and experience with others. I work very hard not only as a technician, but also as an instructor to educate. As a technician; I educate my clients and as an instructor, I educate a diverse audience of peers and also aspiring students. Writing a module was a new experience for me and I truly believe that I have learned a great deal and hopefully have helped and will continue to help others.
I am also looking forward to the opportunity to present the material in person and to have the opportunity to converse with all the people involved in this project to help further refine more appropriate topics and sections that require it.
Q: If you could solve one trades related issue in Canada, what would it be?
While Canada has one of the greatest apprenticeship processes in the world, it still suffers in some ways. I feel the original intent of an apprenticeship was to mentor the younger tradesman. In today’s fast paced and very expensive world, it is difficult for a company to provide the daily one-on-one interaction of a journeyman and apprentice. With more complex equipment and ever-changing technology, I feel mentorship is even more critical.
I would also like to see the government revisit the idea of creating a red seal apprenticeship for the gas fitting industry. Currently each province regulates their own training and accreditation and I feel that with a more uniform standard, this will allow for ease of trades professionals transferring their experience across Canada while keeping the public out of harm’s way.
Q: What do you feel makes an effective training program for home inspections?
Although I am not that involved with the home inspection community, I feel that one of the greatest shortcomings in any industry is a lack of standardization and unification. I respect the Canadian Institute of Home Inspectors for creating a standardize training resource specifically focused on our Canadian market. Training in any field is imperative, especially one that is constantly changing and so diverse. A home inspector, just as an HVAC technician, can work for many years and still not even begin to see everything. Training and networking within an industry is essential for success.
Q: Do you believe that the material written in the Canadian Institute of Home Inspectors is done in such a way that while comprehensive; it is not restrictive to an individual with limited trades experience?
I do feel the information I have provided as well as the information that I have read during the process of developing this module speaks to a broad range of experience levels and exposure. Once again, you can never see and know everything. Having resources available to learn from and having the drive to learn is essential but depends upon a strong base foundation of knowledge which I believe this publication provides.