Building a house is both exciting and daunting – the process, regardless of your starting point (pre-slab to final stage) requires many parties working together to achieve your end goal. But it’s new, so why get it inspected in the first place?
The Thought Behind the New Construction Inspection
Throughout the years, we have seen a decline in the quality of new builds as the economy has recessed and fluctuated and builders have attempted to keep control over their budgets. Now more than ever homeowners are experiencing higher repair costs within the first few years of living in their brand new home. While many builders strive to build a good house, the dozens of subcontractors & trades in and out may not meet such high expectations. We recommend hiring an unbiased, trained professional to oversee the construction process that serves one party alone: YOU!
Many purchasers of new construction houses mistakenly believe that buying a new home exonerates the need to have an inspection performed. But consider this – new automobiles must pass stringent quality control checks before they are placed on the market to sell. Shouldn’t your house and investment meet the same tests? And shouldn’t these tests be analyzed by someone other than the seller ie. builder? If your house is subject to issues after closing, it will be solely at the discretion of the builder and/or warranty company to resolve claims to your satisfaction. For these reasons and many more, we have developed a four-phase process to assist our clients with quality control and deficiency protection.
With each phase the inspector generates a written report for you and your builder to review- our office staff and inspection team are ready and available to assist all parties in making the proper corrections and appointments in a timely manner. It is our goal to work for you and with the builder to build your dream home!
Phase 1 – Pre-Pour Inspection
Slab inspections are performed within 24-48 hours prior to the slab pour. The inspection is a visual observation of the formwork, plumbing, reinforcement, moisture barrier and any other permanent materials that may be embedded in the concrete before permanency occurs.
We inspect the elevation of the finish floor for adequacy in order to prevent future grading and drainage problem, which can cause many major defects such as moisture intrusion damage and increased termite risk. Slab thickness is also important but sometimes not achieved because too much fill was provided within the pour area. Slab thickness is also checked at this time. To take full advantage of this inspection service we strongly recommend you have the design drawings and builder’s engineering document available for the inspector. Re-inspection of repairs are available for this service but must be performed prior to concrete pour.
Phase 2 – Frame Inspection
Framing inspections are performed within 48-72 hours prior to drywall installation. The inspection is a room to room examination of the building shell to determine the soundness of the structural and mechanical workmanship. This inspection is especially revealing and cost effective as it allows the inspector to see the “insides” of the house.
The inspection will include a review of all structural and framing components, electrical/plumbing/mechanical rough outs, attic ventilation & roofing systems, and special attention to the external shell with emphasis placed on moisture intrusion problems. This is often the most lengthy report with common deficiencies including unsecured walls, defective lumber, missing sheer walls, improperly nailed wall sheathing or siding, missing flashings, inadequately secured or altered trusses, poor workmanship in the framework, missing beams, improperly installed components, inadequately sealed windows, missing roof vents and pinched electrical wires due to framework.
Phase 3 – Final Inspection
Our “final” inspection is carried out just prior to your final walk though with the builder. All fixtures and finishes should be in place, electricity and water on, and the house cleaned and ready for closing. We check all the systems including: structure, exterior, roof, floors, ceilings, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, appliances etc.
You will receive your computer generated report the same day as the inspection which will greatly prepare you for your walk through and provide you with formal documentation of items needing repair.
Phase 4 – New Home Builder’s Warranty Inspection, *11th Month
The warranty inspection is the buyer’s “last chance” inspection before the 1 year warranty offered by the builder expires. Allow a professional inspector to create your laundry list of defects for the builder’s warranty company to ensure nothing is missed on this important review. Don’t fall into the common trap of thinking this is the only time to inspect- we have a long list of clients that went this route in the past and have seen it all: lack of builder response with reasonable warranty repair requests (after all, the builder moved this inventory and was paid a year ago – pre-closing they are still held financially hostage by the homebuyer), construction crews making repairs with occupants in the home (versus correcting issues pre-closing when the house is still an actual construction site) and companies leaving the state or going out of business prior to the one year mark…. why not avoid these headaches and inspect from the beginning?
We recommend having our inspector come out at the 11th month to create the warranty report- this gives you a month to contact, negotiate and request repairs through the builder’s warranty program. Your inspector is experienced in dealing with these programs and can assist you as needed through this process.