New Home Inspection
Advantage provides our clients with a New Construction Inspection.
They are conducted during the construction process and are intended to identify oversights, omissions, work not conforming to generally accepted standards and practices. New construction inspections are just as important as an inspection for a pre-owned home.
New construction inspections are quite honestly more valuable to the new home buyer than inspections performed on older homes, since virtually 100% of the defects and problems are usually addressed and repaired for the new home owner / buyer at no cost, by the builder, with no further negotiations necessary. The main goal is to insure that you get everything you expect and deserve from your builder, prior to moving in, instead of fighting with the warranty department after the fact.
New construction inspections are aimed exclusively on the identification of defects, and are often performed during the various phases of the structures construction process. A phase inspection involves various site visits and inspection or evaluation of the work in progress as the different phases of the home are completed, and is usually required for the bank which is financing the purchase / project. The three most common construction inspections are the foundation inspection, the pre-sheetrock inspection and of course, the final inspection. Inspections of the grading, footings, plumbing, electrical wiring and duct installations, roof structure, roofing surface and framing are all typically included.
Inspections are continually conducted on a project from the initial foundation inspection through to the final inspection where the required Certificate of Occupancy or TCO is issued. A private home inspector can be much more thorough with a new construction home inspection, and the county/city inspector cannot get into the general quality issues during his inspection. Meeting the minimum standards does not ensure quality, because workmanship is never a factor in code inspections.
Phases to a New Home Inspection (3 site visits)
With some complicated foundations, you should have an engineer look over the construction as it progresses. In all other cases, a licensed inspector can certainly do the job. Usually, city inspectors are expected to do a layout inspection, making sure the foundation does not overlap the building lines. Whether or not you are in a city requires this would need to be looked into. Ask for a copy of the “forms survey”, assuming the builder has one. If a forms survey has not been done, carefully assess and precisely measure from the property lines. If there is any doubt about whether the structure encroaches over the building lines, have a professional survey done before proceeding. In addition to the layout, the inspector will verify the steel content, depth of footings, post tension cables, as well as other parts of the new foundation.
Most builders invite the client to do a walk through after framing is complete, HVAC and plumbing rough-ins, and electrical wiring are all complete. This is a great time to look at your outlet locations and window / door placements. Make sure that any new alterations to the plans have been identified and addressed, by the sub contractors.
While you check layout items, your home inspector can take a closer look at the construction. His report may include: broken plumbing, improper or inadequate flashing, damaged, cut or bowed studs, insufficient bracing, beams that over-span their load bearing capacity, A/C ducts that are damaged, etc. These items are easy to fix at this point, prior to sheetrock installation.
It is not realistic to expect everything to check out perfectly. Just about every builder in every price range will have some punch list items to correct, both from the city and the third party home inspector. Advise your builder that you will provide him with the report as soon as it becomes available to you, so that he can address the items before any walls are closed up.
You will need to have all of the utilities on in order to properly complete this inspection. Normally, the builder requests a “walk-thru” inspection with you when the house is substantially complete. If utilities are on, you could schedule your inspector at this time. You can focus on paint and touch up items, while your inspector conducts a more thorough inspection, checking for leaks, non functional outlets, final grading of the lot, flashing problems, appliance operation, voids in mortar, etc.
Eventually you will sell your home, and the buyer will likely have it inspected. Some of the items the inspector finds may seem minor today, but these minor issues may come up later in your buyer’s home inspection if they are not corrected. It is in your best interest to have everything done properly from the start. If there are items that cannot be fixed before the closing, and you cannot postpone the closing, have the builder sign a written list of the items to be repaired, replaced or completed in a timely manner.
Building a new construction home can be an very exciting and rewarding experience. A new home can deliver to your likes and expectations. It is a difficult project and a very large investment of time, money and heart. The support, advice and information that you will gain from a third party inspection will be without a doubt, invaluable. Do not leave out this most important step in the building process. It will be well worth your investment.