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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 Queebc 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 sixth 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.

→ Download The 2020 inspection program (in french).

 

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.

How the technical rating is calculated

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

  • 90% is awarded for the average of the technical ratings from each inspection
  • 10% is awarded for the best practices incorporated into the project

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.

*GCR takes into account contractor collaboration in correcting incidents of non-compliance found on site or in providing required documentation (collaboration rating). A maximum of 10 points can be subtracted from the total technical rating used to establish the Cote Qualité GCR.

 

Risk scale

GCR uses a risk scale as part of its work of assigning technical ratings to projects.

The risk scale has five levels. Level 1 improves a project’s technical rating, level 2 has no negative impact by default and levels 3, 4 and 5 affect the technical aspect of GCR inspection reports.

Level 1 – Best practices

Best practices are not a requirement of code or standards but instead represent added value for buyers. Contractors that apply one or more of these practices that contain more stringent requirements than those in force can receive additional points for projects that have been subject to at least one inspection.

Level 2 – 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 that “d’ici la fin de la construction, veuillez[…].” Each level 2 observation will receive follow-up.

→ This flowchart outlines how inspectors handle preventive notifications (in french).

Level 3 – Low risk

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.

Level 4 – Average risk

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 4.

Level 5 – High risk

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 work up to code

  • 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/fire)

  • There is a likelihood that someone will be exposed to unacceptable risk of injury caused by an accident or fire.
  • There is an unacceptable risk of damage or loss of use due to structural failure.

 

→ This chart shows how the technical rating is established.

 

AA technical rating

A contractor that wants to maintain or obtain a AA technical rating must meet the three following 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 with GCR is 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.

→ Contractor classification chart.

Inspection target

In the chart below, the percentages represent the number of inspections that the contractor should expect, based on the number of units registered annually (the number of inspections will be rounded up).

Some units can be subject to more than one visit, based on the contractor’s production, the type of material used, and the risks incurred by the project. GCR reserves the right to exceed this target based on its risk management. Any additional inspections will be at no charge to the contractor and are included in the risk management costs.

GCR intends to inspect every contractor at least once a year, on one site at minimum, no matter the contractor’s Cote Qualité GCR.

 

COTE QUALITÉ GCR INSPECTION TARGETS
AA 20 %
A 30 %
B 40 %
C 60 %
D 100 %
N 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.).

 

Inspection steps

Inspections can be conducted at any one of the five steps identified below. Each step represents a level of progress made on the work and, for each one of them, a value is established based on elements that can be observed based on risk management and the progress made.

VALUES ASSIGNED BASED ON THE STATE OF PROGRESS OF THE WORK
Progress Inspection value
Foundation 0,5
Frame 1,0
Water and air tighness 1,5
Exterior finish 1,5
Interior finish 1,0

To assign or renew a Cote Qualité GCR, the contractor must be subject to inspections that add up to three points.

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.

Inspection: three types of intervention

In the interest of improving the quality of residential construction, identifying defects and poor workmanship, and ensuring corrections if need be, GCR carries out three different types of intervention: plan inspections, site inspections and follow-up inspections.

More than one inspection can be carried out on the same project, depending on:

  • The risks associated with the contractor
  • The type of construction
  • The materials and technology used
  • The time of year in which the work was performed
  • The location and region where the construction takes place

Elements of construction to be verified at each of the steps are the elements set out in the construction plans, as well as what can be observed and accessed at the time of the site and what obligations are set out in the contract.

 

Plan inspection

The plan inspection is a crucial step in GCR risk management. It allows for preventive action to be taken by analyzing the elements of construction to be verified and identifying situations before construction begins, reducing the risk of incidents of non‑compliance on site. GCR can also request architectural plans for residential buildings subject to the Architects Act, CQLR c A‑21.

 

Site inspection

During site inspections, inspectors verify the quality of construction based on the state of progress of the work. Any incidents of non-compliance observed 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.

 

Follow-up inspection

Follow-up inspections can be carried out when GCR deems it necessary. Reasons for follow-up inspections include:

  • The risk associated with an incident of non-compliance found on site is deemed abnormally high.
  • The proof documenting corrections made to incidents of non-compliance is deemed insufficient.
  • It is necessary to verify the contractor’s corrections.
  • There is a lack of collaboration and follow-up from the contractor.
  • When needed

Additionally, under certain conditions and depending on the number of inspections to be planned, GCR may take into account inspections carried out by other professionals and under other programs. A blower door test, professional reports for LEED construction or Novoclimat 2.0 or attestations by professionals that construction is compliant could be sufficient and reduce the number of inspections that GCR must conduct.

 

Elements to be verified on site

Elements to be verified are distributed across a risk scale based on the level of risk that they represent, how often they are found to be non-compliant and the seriousness of the non‑compliance.

→ Full list of elements to be verified on site (in french).

Follow-ups to inspection reports

When incidents of non-compliance are found on site, technical professionals tasked with follow-up ensure that the contractor corrects the incidents of non-compliance.

Incidents of non-compliance found must be corrected within 10 days of the inspection report being sent.

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

Log of issues

GCR keeps an updated log of elements in site inspections that are frequently found to be 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 2019:

1. Fire separations – continuity and non‑permeability

2.Wood frames and woodwork construction

3.Exterior finish

4.Air and vapour barriers

5.Flashings

6.Thermal resistance of building elements

7.Plumbing systems

8.Masonry surface

9.Stairs, guardrails and handrails

10.Ventilation systems

 

Data sheets

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

→ Browse our data sheets here (in french).

Technical focuses

GCR pays special attention to efforts to reduce the most common problems found on sites, as well as to reducing frequently encountered issues identified in claims.

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

Contractors should focus on:

  • Cracking of wood floors
  • Water seeping in from a flat roof
  • Issues caused by the building being set below grade
  • Water seeping into rooms located beneath balconies
  • Issues caused by inadequate finishing of drywall and joints
  • Poor waterproofing of showers
  • Cracked joints or ceramic tiling
  • Deficiencies related to stairs, guardrails and handrails
  • Issues related to a failure to comply with the manufacturer’s requirements for exterior finishes
  • Problems with masonry construction
  • Condensation on windows
  • Deficiencies related to electrical work
  • Issues caused by poor execution of millwork and joinery
  • Water seeping in from thresholds
  • Problems related to plumbing work and fixtures

 

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.

→ List of best practices.

Multi-unit project held in divided co-ownership

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, as need be.

Finally, GCR carries out systematic plan inspections in situations where plans are required under section 87 of the regulation.

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
  • Mauricie
  • Québec
  • Chaudière-Appalaches

 

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

  • Montérégie
  • Montréal
  • Laval
  • Laurentides
  • Lanaudière
  • Outaouais
  • Abitibi-Témiscamingue
  • Nord-du-Québec
  • Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean
  • Côte-Nord
  • Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine

 

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.

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