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Inspection

As a neutral and independent non-profit organization, Garantie de construction résidentielle (GCR) administers the guarantee plan for new residential buildings throughout Quebec and provides coverage for buyers of new homes.

Inspection structure

Under section 68 of the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings, GCR must establish an inspection program including the various steps in construction of a building.

This program is in line with the goals of the Policy on inspection, which aims to ensure quality construction, prevent defects and poor workmanship, and reduce potential claims. The policy is an additional tool for GCR to work toward its vision of guaranteeing quality construction for satisfied beneficiaries.

GCR is proud to present the eight edition of its inspection program, which focuses once more on risk prevention and management. The program encourages contractors to adopt best practices and helps to improve construction quality.

NOTE : The inspection program for 2022 included a plan for 2022 and 2023. That is why it was decided to maintain it for 2023. Remember that the inspection program provides that 100% of new homes will be inspected in 2023.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

→ Download The 2022 inspection program.

GCR has an inspection department full of passionate and qualified people who work to ensure quality construction, prevent defects and poor workmanship, and reduce potential claims.

Based on their site visits, GCR inspectors create inspection reports and send them to contractors. Upon receiving an inspection report, the contractor is given some time to take corrective action toward incidents of non-compliance that were found.

Take a look at all the different tools that the GCR Inspection Department uses to achieve its objectives.

Two types of inspections

Starting in 2023, for the first time since the mandatory guarantee plan was set up in 1999, 100% of newly built dwellings that are subject to an inspection will be inspected. In 2022, 80% will be inspected. To achieve this, two types of inspections will be conducted. Note that a project may be inspected more than once, depending on the following factors:

  • Risks associated with the contractor
  • Type of construction
  • Materials and technology used
  • Time of year
  • Project location and region

360° Inspection

During site inspections, inspectors verify the quality of construction. 360° inspections verify all of the accessible elements on the list of elements to be verified on site, approved by the RBQ, at each project stage. The elements of construction that are verified are the elements set out in the construction plans, as well as what can be observed and accessed at the time of the site inspection, taking into account the obligations set out in the contract.

Any incidents of non-compliance observed by the inspector must be mentioned on site to the contractor or its representative, as well as in the inspection report, which will be sent to the contractor within three working days.

 

Targeted Inspection

In contrast with the 360° inspection, targeted inspections focus on specific elements, as the name implies. Targeted inspections may be called for in the following circumstances:

  • An issue is frequently brought up in consumer claims, so GCR visits sites to determine whether they have
    this problem.
  • GCR frequently observes an issue that affects the quality of construction and wishes to have this problem corrected.
  • GCR has discovered an on-site issue and is visiting other sites to determine whether they also have this problem.

Targeted inspections are carried out to support contractors and have no direct impact on the Cote Qualité GCR score. GCR will, however, need to follow up on any incidents of non-compliance that were observed on site and noted in the inspection report in order to ensure that the issues have been resolved.

In consideration of project risk levels and in accordance with the inspection policy, GCR will consider inspections performed by other parties and under other programs. GCR will also consider quality controls performed for the CAN/CSA-A277 standard and Novoclimat inspection reports for Select Group builders with a 100% certification rate.

 

Overview

Directly impacts the
Cote Qualité GCR
score
Based on the list
of elements to be
verified on site
Inspection report
issued
May require
follow-up from
the contractor
360 INSPECTION Yes Yes Yes Yes
TARGETED INSPECTION No Partially Yes Yes

 

For more information about 360 inspection vs targeted inspection, watch this video:

Inspection target

All units built in Quebec will be subject to inspection starting in 2023, and 80% of them in 2022. This refers to both 360° inspections and targeted inspections. The table below shows the minimum percent of a contractor’s projects that will be subject to a 360° inspection, based on the company’s Cote Qualité GCR.

 

 

Cote Qualité GCR Rating Minimum target for 360 inspection
AA 91 and up 20%
A 81 to 90 30%
B 71 to 80 40%
C 45 to 70 60%
D Under 45 100%
N Not scored 100%

 

 

Risk management fees

These fees are collected upon unit registration and are based on the contractor’s Cote Qualité GCR. They include the costs of inspection, expertise, analysis and a variety of tests (soil, sulfide levels, etc.).

Application of the Construction Code

The Construction Code (chapter B-1.1, r. 2) is applied by GCR to dwellings subject to the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings (chapter B-1.1, r. 8) in accordance with the scope of application of the Section l to articles 1.01 to 1.04.

To learn more about the application of the Building Code and its exemptions, consult the following page: Application of the Building Code (in french only).

All condos will be subject to a 360° Inspection

GCR’s risk management mandates a minimum number of inspections that must be conducted for projects held in divided co-ownership:

  • Multi-unit project with two floors: minimum of two inspections
  • Multi-unit project with three floors: minimum of three inspections
  • Multi-unit project with four floors: minimum of four inspections

In these circumstances, it is possible that the number of inspections may exceed the initially planned inspection target.

In the course of these inspections, GCR may evaluate new elements built since the last visit and follow up on incidents of non-compliance found during previous inspections when necessary.

Finally, GCR carries out systematic plan inspections in situations where plans are required under section 87 of the Regulation. For the sake of prevention, when a registration application is filed for a multi-unit project, inspections will be scheduled so that plans can be verified before construction begins.

How the technical rating is calculated

The technical rating is determined in direct relation to the quality of the construction built. Each project subject to a 360° inspection receives an average technical rating, broken down into 100 points:

  • 90% for the average of the technical ratings from each inspection
  • 10% for the best practices incorporated into the project (see section 10).

Upon completion of construction, an average technical rating is assigned to the project based on the scores received during inspections and the best practices incorporated. The average of the technical ratings from projects counts for 50% of the Cote Qualité GCR.

For example, a project that was subject to two inspections that received ratings of 75 and 73 would have an average rating of 74 out of 90. If it incorporated three best practices, 6 points would be added to its technical rating, which would bring it to a total of 80 points. Therefore, the contractor’s technical rating would be 80.

Remember that targeted inspections have no impact on the technical rating.

* GCR takes into account the collaboration of contractors in correcting non-conformities noted on site or in providing the required documentation (collaboration rating). A maximum of 10 points may be subtracted from the total technical score used to establish the Cote Qualité GCR.

 

Risk Scale

When a 360° inspection or targeted inspection takes place, the GCR inspector may observe incidents of non-compliance. The contractor is required to correct these, as detailed in the section below. Such incidents of non-compliance and preventive notifications are recorded in an inspection report that will be sent to the contractor within three working days. In this section, we will explain the types of observations that the report might include.

 

Preventive notification

Following a site inspection, and based on information provided by the contractor, its representative or a subcontractor, it may seem likely that certain elements that have yet to be carried out will contain deficiencies. After informing the contractor about which methods are compliant, the inspector will take preventive measures to ensure that work is done correctly by pointing out the issue in the inspection report and stating “by completion of construction, please…”

This level also includes issues that concern the project designer, in order to allow the designer to review the plans, find an alternate solution or method of correction, or explain the reasons for their design choice.

GCR will follow up on every observation made at this level. When the work or expected responses are inadequate, points may be deducted based on the risk level associated with the element in question (level 3, 4 or 5 on the risk scale).

Low-risk incident of non-compliance (level 3)

If incidents of non-compliance are observed in a site inspection with regard to a regulation, code in force, standard or trade practices, and these incidents meet the analysis criteria for risk level A or B, they are considered to be level 3.

Average-risk incident of non-compliance (level 4).

If incidents of non-compliance are observed in a site inspection with regard to a regulation, code in force, standard or trade practices, and these incidents meet the analysis criteria for risk level A and B, they are considered to be level 4.

High-risk incident of non-complliance (level 5)

If incidents of non-compliance are observed in a site inspection with regard to a regulation, code in force, standard or trade practices, and these incidents meet the analysis criteria for risk level C, they are automatically considered to be level 5.

 

Risk analysis criteria

Observations are automatically considered to be level 3, 4 or 5 in an inspection report based on the following criteria:

A – Potential consumer impacts

  • The element identified could be subject to a potential claim.
  • The work is worth less than it costs.
  • The element identified could cause deterioration likely to pose a health risk if the situation is not addressed.
  • The building’s durability could be affected.

B – Potential costs or consequences associated with bringing

  • The costs that will result from the situation or from bringing work up to code are unreasonable.
  • Work will be complicated and necessitate challenging alternatives.

C – Potential safety risks (use/structure/mould)

  • There is a likelihood that someone will be exposed to unacceptable risk of injury caused by an accident, fire, drainage problems or problems with building performance.
  • There is an unacceptable risk of damage or loss due to structural failure, drainage problems or problems with building performance.

 

→ Consult the technical rating methodology.

 

Conditions for an AA Technical rating

A contractor that wants to maintain or obtain an AA technical rating must meet the following three criteria:

  • Demonstrate that at least one best practice has been applied for each project inspected
  • Obtain an average of at least 91 points on inspection reports
  • Lose no collaboration points

Cote Qualité GCR

Every contractor accredited by GCR will be assigned a Cote Qualité GCR. This score is assigned by assessing financial ratios, customer satisfaction and the quality of buildings constructed. Contractors who have not yet received a technical assessment are temporarily given a score of N (not scored).

The Cote Qualité GCR helps ensure fair risk management for all accredited contractors.

→ Consult the contractor classification table

Role of inspection professionals

In the interest of improving the quality of construction in Quebec, Garantie de construction résidentielle offers the services of experts to contribute to the quality of residential construction in Quebec.

→ The role of each of the inspection professionals explained in detail.

Correction of non-compliance observed in inspection

Incidents of non-compliance must be corrected

When incidents of non-compliance are observed on site during a 360° or targeted inspection, the contractor must perform corrective work within 10 working days of the inspection report being sent. Technical professionals tasked with follow-up will ensure that this work is done.

To allow for adequate follow-up, GCR requires a detailed description of the work and one of the following:

  • Photographic evidence of corrections
  • Video evidence
  • An attestation from a professionnal

If there is no compelling evidence that can be used to assess the corrective work, the technical professional may need to conduct a follow-up visit.

→ More details on the Follow-up with incidents of non-compliance found on site.

Incidents of non-conformity most often found in inspections

GCR keeps an updated log of elements in site inspections that are frequently found to bem non-compliant with regulations, codes, standards and best practices. The Log of issues is
updated by GCR every year.

Here is the list of the ten recurring issues listed for 2021:

  1. Structure: wood frames and woodwork construction
  2. Fire safety: fire separations and firebreaks
  3. Building envelope: air and vapour barriers
  4. Building envelope: thermal bridges and resistance
  5. Electricity
  6. Doors and windows
  7. Weather protection: secondary protection plan
  8. Flashings
  9. Exterior finish
  10. Plumbing

Data sheets

GCR provides to contractors data sheets to illustrate solutions to these or other problems identified by our Technical Department.

→ To consult all our data sheets.[in french]

Technical focuses

In 2020, GCR was proud to launch a project that it had been working on for some years now: the Colonne vertébrale de GCR. This revolutionary new tool for guarantee plans enables GCR to precisely identify and classify consumer claims. GCR will now be better placed than ever to identify the underlying causes of the issues most frequentlyn identified in claims, and therefore to ensure that our inspection work closely reflects common consumer claims. The Colonne vertébrale de GCR provides statistical information that will help GCR to identify specific subjects to address with targeted inspections.

Accordingly, GCR has created a list of 15 subjects that deserve special attention, due to both the high costs associated with corrective work for defects and how often issues are reported.

This list is not exhaustive. GCR may intervene regarding other issues as well, but recommends that contractors should focus on:

  • Masonry: mortar and element installation
  • Installation, fastening and stability of exterior stars and railings
  • Installation of doors and windows
  • Qualité of concrete work: balconies, stairs, retaining walls and slabs on grade
  • Roofing joint flashings
  • Doors and windows : materials and finish
  • Installation of hardwood floors
  • Cracking of grout joints between tiles
  • Roofing: ventilation of roof spaces
  • Sealing of exterior finishes
  • Foundation drainage
  • Watertighness of foundation walls
  • Fire protection: firewall sealing
  • Flashings for openings on light exterior finishes
  • Roof structure: notches and bracing

 

Best practices

Best practices concern elements that are not a requirement of code or standards but instead represent added value for buyers.

Contractors can receive additional project points for applying best practices, which have more stringent requirements than those in force, on projects subject to an inspection. Best practices may be observed as part of targeted or 360° inspections.

→ List of best practices.

Inspection planning

Through inspection planning follow-ups over the phone or by email, contractors can help GCR keep track of changes on site. Inspection planning takes inspection targets into consideration, which are based on the contractor’s Cote Qualité GCR, work progress and the type of construction (complexity, non-conventional materials, etc.).

→ Detailed description of inspection planning.

To contact the inspection planning  : Planification@GarantieGCR.com

514 657-2333 ou 1 855 657-2333, poste 141

  • Estrie
  • Centre-du-Québec
  • Québec
  • Chaudière-Appalaches
  • Montérégie
  • Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean
  • Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine

 

514 657-2333 ou 1 855 657-2333, poste 178

  • Montréal
  • Laval
  • Laurentides
  • Lanaudière
  • Mauricie
  • Outaouais
  • Abitibi-Témiscamingue
  • Nord-du-Québec
  • Côte-Nord

 

Useful info

Contractors can expect to be contacted by GCR at least 48 hours before an inspector’s visit. Contractors must confirm at that time that they or a site supervisor will be present.

 

For more information about our planning of inspections, watch this video:

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