You are Building Your New Dream Home!
Who Has Your Back?
- Why Have Your Own New Home Inspection?
- Plan and Specification Review
- Foundation Inspection
- Predrywall Inspection
- Final Inspection
Why Have Your Own New Home Inspection?
Relying only on government inspectors to find defects is not a good plan. These inspectors are often overworked, and can spend only a few minutes at each home looking for major safety and structural defects. In addition, government inspectors are, by law, limited to enforcing the minimum standards required by the local building code. Defects that could adversely affect your Dream Home often go unnoticed and uncorrected because of the limited time and the limited scope of government inspections. Ask yourself: Do you want to rely only on overworked government inspectors when your Dream Home is on the line?
We specialize in new home inspection. We wrote the national standard of practice for predrywall inspection. We teach the national training course for predrywall inspectors. We are among the most qualified inspectors in North America to inspect your new home while it is being built. We are a licensed contractor, certified building code inspector, and author of books about the International Residential Code. We act as your in-house quality assurance department by carefully inspecting your Dream Home at critical stages of construction. Discovering problems early is the best and least expensive way to correct them.
Plan and Specification Review
Poor communication is one of the most serious problems facing both home buyers and home builders. Are your plans and specifications accurate and detailed enough so that you understand what you are buying and the builder understands what to deliver? We apply our extensive experience in construction, accounting, and project management to help improve communication between you and your builder. We can recommend improvements and clarifications to the plans and specifications that can help guide the project toward successful completion, and maybe save some money as well. Changes during construction often cause substantial delays and cost increases.
When this inspection occurs depends on the foundation type and the wishes of our client. There may be one or more foundation inspections. For slab-on-grade or slab-on-stem wall construction, this inspection occurs just before the builder pours the concrete floor. For crawlspace construction, this inspection occurs before the builder pours the footings. For basement construction, this inspection may occur at the footings stage (as in crawlspace construction), before the builder pours the basement walls, before the builder pours the basement floor, or at any or all of these stages.
We require a set of foundation, plumbing, and electrical plans to perform a foundation inspection. Production builders rarely allow inspectors access to these plans, so we usually do not recommend this inspection for homes built by production builders.
A predrywall inspection is the most important inspection a home will ever have. These inspections are sometimes called a framing inspection. After the drywall is installed, many important components and systems are concealed from view forever. Problems are common. These problems can adversely affect the cost to operate and maintain the home, and can adversely affect the health and safety of your family.
Experience shows that larger and more complex homes usually have more problems, and more serious problems, than smaller homes. Experience also shows that two story homes usually have more problems than one story homes, and that homes on basement foundations have more problems than homes on slab-on-grade foundations.
The predrywall inspection occurs just before the builder installs insulation and drywall. The basic framed structure of the home is complete. All rough plumbing and gas piping, electrical cables, and heating and air conditioning ducts and attic-mounted equipment have been installed. Most windows and some doors are usually, but not always, installed.
All homes should have a predrywall inspection if for no other reason than to provide peace of mind that an experienced professional who works for you has carefully inspected the home. Don’t let your right to this important inspection lapse.
We conduct our predrywall inspections according to the ASHI Standard of Professional Practice for Residential Predrywall Inspections.
Final New Home Inspection
The ideal time for the final new home inspection is a few days before your scheduled walk-through with the builder. This allows us to complete the inspection, issue the inspection report to you (and to the builder if you wish), and discuss the findings and recommendations before you meet with the builder. This way, both you and your builder are prepared to discuss the inspection findings during your walk-through.
Some clients ask us to attend the builder walk-through with them. We are happy to do so if it is in addition to our regular final new home inspection; however, most builders prefer that we not be present at the walk-through. We understand and we agree with the builder. The final walk-through is the builder’s opportunity to explain the “care and feeding” of your new home, and it is your opportunity to create the punch list of (usually) cosmetic issues. We are always available to discuss our findings and recommendations with you and the builder, so our attendance at the walk-through adds little value.
So that we may conduct a full and complete final new home inspection, gas (if any), electricity, and water should be connected and functioning before the inspection. Appliances such as the water heater and the heating and air conditioning system should also be functioning.
During the final new home inspection, we inspect for any damage that may have occurred since the predrywall inspection. We test the operation of systems, such as hot water, electrical, and air conditioning. We inspect for the proper amount of visible attic insulation and we inspect the overall condition of your Dream Home.
If we performed a predrywall inspection, you may wish to have us perform a one-year builder warranty inspection instead of a final new home inspection. If you have had a good relationship with the builder, and if the issues found during predrywall inspection were minor, it may be more cost-effective to skip the final new home inspection and have a one-year builder warranty inspection instead.