It goes without saying that when assessing the cost of inspection services, there is a cost-to-benefit ratio to consider based on finances available, but there is also a minimum level of service which everyone should consider. The following services are strongly recommended:
Phase I: Slab Inspection
Formwork, plumbing, reinforcement, termite treatment, moisture barrier and any other material to be embedded in the concrete are inspected while visible.
Typical elements inspected include:
- Excavations, clearing and fill material.
- Footers and foundation walls, steel reinforcement and framework.
- Slab thickness and debris in pour area.
- Visible plumbing and drainage systems.
- Vapor barrier and termite treatments.
Phase II: Pre Drywall Inspection
Inspection of the building shell before the application of finishes enables us to examine in detail the visible structural elements of the home. The entire house is inspected on a room by room basis. All accessible trusses are viewed for compliance with design engineering documents, including on-site truss repairs where contract documents are available.
- Electrical and plumbing fixtures
- Support beams
- Roof venting
- Hurricane resistance
Where deficiencies are found, recommendations for repair and upgrading are made. A typed report with photographs is provided.
Phase III: Final (or Punch Out List) Inspection
The final inspection is carried out prior to closing when all fixtures and finishes are in place and electricity and water are turned on. All systems are checked, including structure, exterior, roof, floors, ceilings, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, appliances etc. Common findings include:
- Missing roof insulation
- Inadequately sealed windows and stucco details
- Poorly installed vinyl soffits, fascias and eave drip
- Air conditioning duct leakage / installation
- Poor yard drainage / grading
- Uncut roof vent openings
- Improper circuit breaker protection
- Damaged or improperly installed roof coverings
- Missing flashings
This is probably the most common and most important inspection requested by homeowners of newly-constructed homes. This is the last chance to discover any defects before you take on ownership! Don’t get stuck with a lemon because you fall under the common misconception of, “It’s brand new, home inspections are for older homes.” Home building should never be compared to the manufacturing process. When you purchase a new car, you can rest assured that the electric windows were installed correctly and are working. Construction is much different. With so many variables in the construction of a home, it is not possible to guarantee that every part of the jigsaw puzzle was assembled correctly or functioning properly. Builders can miss a number of issues during the construction process simply because they are not on site 100% of the time or because the contractor undoes the previous contractor’s work!
The inspector at this stage will spend many hours analyzing your home and its various components. Remembering that new construction inspectors are much different than those qualified for existing home inspections, your choice of inspector here may be the difference between assessing up to 45-50% to 75-85% of your risk.
Experienced inspectors with construction experience and code knowledge will report on much more than inexperienced and/or new inspectors, hands down.
Phase IV: One Year Warranty Inspection
An End of Builder’s Warranty Inspection should take place before the end of your one or two-year builder’s warranty expires.
Experience tells us that most major construction defects go unnoticed for 3-5 years, but in most cases, telltale signs were present for years before. At the end of your 1-2 year warranty, telltale signs will or hopefully will now be visible to the trained eye. This is what you should be paying for when purchasing a one year warranty inspection! If left unnoticed, these clues to potential defects could cost many thousands of dollars to remedy down line.
Most homeowners shy away from this inspection without thinking it through only because of the expense. The unfortunate ones are reminded of their erroneous decisions some time after their warranty has expired or even worse, when they come to sell their home.
In today’s market, warranty claims and expenses are a major concern for all builders. Experienced builders know that a professionally inspected home can cost more to finish out than one not inspected and many builders not only recommend this service but also welcome these services as additional oversight to minimize their future warranty claims. For homeowners, these inspections may provide an unintentional extended builders’ warranty, if the professional inspector notes telltale signs that may not be showing enough to warrant repair or review at the time of the warranty expiration.
It is for this reason you SHOULD NOT forfeit this opportunity. It is a small price to pay to ensure the warranty claims are paid for through the builder’s warranty program and not by you.