I’m James Tillapaugh, Licensed Home Inspector.
I’ve always wanted to be a home inspector. I just didn’t realize it until I’d tried just about everything else. My dad was a master carpenter and contractor, so building was in my genes. By the age of 14, I was already helping him renovate homes all across Victoria, as well as work on the endless project that was our own house.
Dad and I did it all. From door and window installation to electrical wiring to even restoring an old fishing trawler together. Along the way, I developed a flair for the small details. Millwork was a favorite. I’d pour myself into the cutting, gluing, and nailing with an artist’s focus, obsessing over the tiniest gaps in corner joints. My friends think I’m OCD; I like to think I’m just taking pride in my work.
I’m such a do-it-yourselfer that I started cutting my own hair. And my buddies and my brothers. I became a carpenter-barber.
Barbering took over full-time when I got an amazing opportunity to buy my own shop. The reality was that barbering was much more lucrative than carpentry. For that reason it became the practical path (a sort of accidental path that chose me). Spending less time in construction began to eat away at me and I missed it. I’m an avid reader and researcher, always trying to stay on top of the newest construction trends, and I found myself conversing about it with the builders that came into my barber shop. I knew I had to get back to the business.
So I started studying for my home inspection license. At the same time I decided to supplement my construction skills with some in-depth training from BCIT in Building Science . I couldn’t believe how much has changed in the last 5 years, let alone the last couple of decades. New research is showing that many of the old tried and true techniques are no longer valid. Here in Victoria, concerns over seismic hazards and water penetration in particular have caused a complete rewrite of the building code. And energy efficiency is becoming a crucial factor for all our homes, new and old.
Recently, I bought the 1912 craftsman home that’s been in my family for three generations. It’s been my renovation playground for the last few years. When I walk around it, I can see the work of my grandfather (who I never even met), my father, and myself. It’s a nice feeling to know this house has good bones, that the materials are durable, and the structure is sound. I hope one day that you can have the same peace of mind with your own home. Let me know if I can help.