November 19, 2010

The Immense Value of New Construction Inspections

Filed under: Property Inspection — Chuck @ 10:00 am

Most consumers associate building inspections with previously owned properties because they correctly assume that the purpose of a buyer’s ordered general home inspection is to ferret out any existing conditions or potential problems that might detract from the value of the home. Those include such things as repairs needed to ensure safety or comply with the local building codes, obvious mistakes or oversights in the construction of the home, inadequate components such are electrical wiring circuits and breakers or HVAC units, or the replacement of faulty appliances. Inspectors are also routinely hired to check for the presence of harmful pests such as termites and other wood boring insects or do perform specialized inspections to determine whether there might be any environmental hazards to worry about such as asbestos insulation or siding, radon gas, or harmful mold.

But what many people do not realize is that these kinds of inspections are also important for those who are buying brand new construction – including everything from custom-built single family homes to newly constructed condominiums, urban lofts, golfing community townhomes, and beach houses. In fact no buyer should enter into a final purchase agreement without first having their new home carefully inspected by a licensed and certified home inspector. Lots of consumers take it for granted that because the building is brand new it will be in mint condition and that everything will work flawlessly and dependably.
Organizations like the Better Business Bureau are well aware of the value of final inspections prior to closing on a new home. Every year thousands of buyers who failed to take advantage of the services and expertise of an inspector wind up dissatisfied with their new dwelling. Instead of moving in and enjoying themselves they often wind up in a protracted legal tussle trying to force builders to make repairs or remedy problems – and of course that kind of experience can completely spoil the thrill and luxury of buying a new home.

Common Oversights
Inspectors have reported all sorts of problems related to new construction – and those range from safety hazards like incomplete or improperly designed fireplaces to gutters or landscapes that do not drain properly. Sometimes there will be incomplete plumbing in one tiny section of the plumbing system, for instance, or the subflooring or decking beneath the roof will be inadequate. Those kinds of the issues are soon covered up and may not be discovered by the homeowner until they have done all sorts of unseen damage. But it is understandable that mistakes sometimes do happen on a construction site. Many different contractors and subcontractors are working at the same time, and all of them are under pressure to meet deadlines and benchmarks. They may also be simultaneously working on several different homes that look a lot alike – and when that happens it can be easy to confuse the blueprints or keep track of exactly what was done and not yet done on each particular job site.

Construction Phase Inspections
In some cases there are actually more problems with new construction homes than there are with existing homes, because while homeowners are living within their properties they have an opportunity to see how everything functions and uncover any flaws that are then addressed and fixed. In the case of new construction there is really no chance to learn the true condition of the home until everything is said and done – unless of course one takes the prudent approach of hiring an inspector. Ideally the inspector should be called in during each stage or phase the ongoing construction project, because it is much easier to remedy problems before the house is completed. If interior plumbing or wiring is not correct, for example, it can be a rather simple system to fix before the interior walls and ceilings are put into place. But once you arrive at the late stages of construction the repair of any major system can require invasive procedures like ripping out sheet rock or pulling out cabinetry.

General versus Comprehensive Inspections
Inspectors also need to have access in order to see exactly what is going on and perform their tests and evaluations, so bringing an inspector on board early in the process is often less expensive for the home buyer. The inspector can accomplish a great deal more with a general visual inspection while the house is being built. A more comprehensive type of home inspection will cost the buyer a great deal more and will likely require some kinds of invasive procedures.
Nobody wants to begin drilling holes or removing sections of their brand new model home, so it is highly recommended that inspectors be used to perform general visual inspections during each critical phase of the whole building schedule.

Of course if the house construction is already completed a qualified inspector can still do an excellent job of inspecting the home prior to closing, and these general visual inspections can identify many serious problems. After finishing this kind of inspection and getting the report, the homeowner then still has the option of ordering a more comprehensive inspection if it is warranted and necessary or recommended by the inspector who performs the general inspection.

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