Often a client will call, stop me in a store parking lot, or wait for me to come out to my truck while I’m doing an inspection, and ask me “do I think they should spend the money on a home inspection for a newly built home. After all, shouldn’t a brand new home be perfect? I have just one word for them, and this is yes!!!
I have seen manufacturer warranties potentially voided, due to incorrect installation, of roofs, Hardie board siding, windows and HVAC systems.
In addition to my regular home inspection practice, I do "phase inspections" For clients who are purchasing a custom built home it is wise to hire an inspector to act as their advocate to make sure the quality of construction is the best possible. Home inspectors who participate in the construction process help prevent costly mistakes for the home owner.
I have seen many a new home that looks good cosmetically. But when you start really looking at the quality of the construction, that is when it can get really scary.
I have found everything from major gas leaks in the attic, to dryer vents that have separated “this sounds like a minor item, but according to CPSC there are over 15,000 fires per year attributed to dryers and their venting”, to improper nailing of the framing/roofing, and this list does go on.
Common items that I find include incomplete electrical systems, incomplete plumbing, gutters that are incorrectly installed, missing roofing components, fireplaces that are incomplete and many others. Weather it be a nationwide well know builder to a local builder, the reasons construction problems occur vary from inadvertent omissions to just plain bad construction practices. The building of a new home is a complex choreography of many subcontractors. Each subcontractor is dependent on everyone doing their jobs in a given time frame. When there are delays the scheduling of the subcontractors quickly becomes a nightmare. Subcontractors may be working on many homes at one time and without careful coordination inadvertent deviations/oversights occur. An experienced home inspector will find these problems and help reduce the headaches of the buyer before they purchase the home.
I also help you understand your new home and its systems. I like to explain ARC fault breakers and their purpose and show the new home owner where to reset circuit breakers for various systems like the garage or outdoor electrical outlets. I inform the new home owner on what to expect in the first year. For example, it is typical to have a few nail pops here and there as the home settles. I point out areas of the yard where settling may occur and how to prevent drainage issues. The builder also may offer a home warranty and I set a date to remind the new home owner when their warranty is about to expire. I would not count on the builder to remind you when your warranty is about to expire, some builders are counting on a short memory. I offer the service of doing a follow up inspection to find specific issues that the builder should address when servicing the home warranty before it expires. In many cases I uncover warranty issues which cost more to resolve than the cost of the follow up inspection and I like to save my clients money.
Hiring an experienced home inspector to complete a diligent inspection of your newly constructed home is a wise decision. Be informed about your new home and make a successful transition. A home inspector who works for your best interests will find those oversights that may affect your pocket book and your family’s safety.
The typical sequence of a residential phased new construction inspection consists of three parts or phases:
To be performed just prior to the placement of concrete.
Review engineer's drawings (Foundation).
"I am continuously surprised that inspectors that do 3 phased inspections, cannot or do not read the Engineers blue prints I can and do"
To be performed following issuance of framing, plumbing and electrical rough-in green tags and just prior to the placement of insulation and drywall.
To be performed immediately prior to your final walk-through with your builder. The Final Inspection includes all of the items in our Existing Home Inspection plus:
It is essential that you have your home inspected prior to the end of the initial one-year warranty period for several reasons. If you did not have the house inspected prior to purchasing it the reason for this inspection should by now be blatantly obvious. Even if you had the home inspected at the three stages of construction mentioned above, your builder may not have made all of the repairs required based upon those inspection reports. In addition, systems or materials may have failed during the ensuing eleven months.