NEW CONSTRUCTION INSPECTIONS MADE BY A PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTOR
If you are buying a new construction home, model or have contracted to have a new home built, you have probably meticulously picked the builder based on other homes they have completed. Whether in a sub-division, gated neighborhood or planned community, builders usually have numerous homes constructed or under development. But unless the buyers of those homes have conducted first a phase home inspection and then a completed new construction inspection, from a qualified home inspection service, you will not know the true nature of the work performed by your contractor and the sub-contractors they have hired. In some cases, many new construction buyers purchase new homes and have relatively few problems that develop, but some are not has fortunate and have numerous problems with the finished construction. These unfortunate cases of poorly installed or defective products used, could have been avoided with a home inspection, detecting issues that were missed by the county inspectors or never even reviewed. But many new home buyers place their trust in the contractor hired and don’t feel they need an independent home inspection completed before taking position of the house. Building a new home is an expensive, extremely difficult and complex endeavor who success many times is left up to chance and luck. The problems that can arise are almost as numerous as the individual parties involved, from architects, electricians, plumbers, roofing and HVAC contractors, to the different sub-contractors who usually construct, finish and complete the building project.
Many of these construction partners work at the same time on different elements of the construction and unless you have a diligent overseer, usually the general contractor inspecting their performance as the work proceeds, things can be constructed or installed improperly. Many of these workers are unsupervised, poorly trained and shifted from one construction project to another. Some tasks are started by one person only to be completed by another. Many construction defects happen by accident but some are intentional, with workers taking short-cuts for completing work faster or the use of cheaper laborers. Unfortunately, the home owner is the one party that suffers the consequences, no one else does, unless the defects and errors are detected and rectified.
Most general contractors have good intensions but it is almost impossible to complete a building project of this magnitude without something being missed or improperly tested or installed. Many times, the actual products used like lighting fixtures, electrical outlets, plumbing supplies, such as facets, tub lines, shower heads, even fireplace inserts can be improperly installed to the untrained eye. That is where having a certified home and new construction inspection service company like Gray Home Inspections can protect you, the home buyer.
Inspection services offered for each phase of the construction process:
With a Phase Inspection, one accomplished during construction, finding such problems early and having them itemized and corrected will not only put the builder on notice but will help ensure that the work going forward is done appropriately and up to code. Having a home inspector on hand, especially when proper oversight wasn’t, is an invaluable tool for home buyers to feel confident that their home will be constructed properly. Most new home buyers believe that a local municipal building inspector has their back and will protect their interest by inspecting different phases of the home like foundations, roofs, electrical and mechanical installations. But many of these governmental employees are overworked and underpaid. At Gray Home Inspections we see it all the time. Inspectors having to perform 30 inspections a day in different parts of the county. They don’t have the time and in some cases the inclination to spend a lot of time on one particular home. Show up, review the permit, sign it and make a general inspection is usually the case believing the contractor has everything under control but that is not always the case. Unfortunately, building inspectors don’t have to pay for the mistakes made by contractors and their independent employees, the new home buyer does. Our Gray Phase Inspections, start by evaluating the current progress of a construction project at different phases or stages of completion. Our arrival onsite, at several, scheduled, and critical phases of construction, like the pre-slab, framing stage, pre-drywall installation and pre-closing, which allows us to see exactly what is behind the walls, before the general construction is finished. This is an invaluable tool to detect problems with the structure and materials used and installed, before the final builder’s walkthrough.
At Gray Inspections we know that new home buyer’s interests are best served by completing a New Construction Inspection performed as the home is being finished or in its final stages of construction. New home purchases are a considerable investment that we believe needs to be protected, as we are sure most buyers do. But many new home buyers are so caught up in the emotion and the excitement of the moment, that taking a prudent step to ensure all is well is not their most important concern. We believe it make sense to learn as much about the quality of the workmanship put into a home, for a relatively small cost, as possible before signing off on the project.
Contractors, even with the best processes and intentions, can still miss mistakes or not detect defects in construction that an independent 3rd party inspection could reveal. Our unbiased professional home inspections evaluate the condition of the property by reviewing the accessible components, installed electrical and mechanical systems searching for issues that might have been inadvertently overlooked by the builder. We want to ensure that the condition of the completed project is move in ready and that all systems are properly working and trouble free. If a defect is found, it gives the builder an opportunity to have repairs or even improvements made before the buyer takes possession of the house.
Now that you have had a chance to live in your new home, for a limited period of time, it might not be evident that a possible prevailing issue of a structural nature or even a mechanical component is looming in your near or not so distant future. Builders, like 12 month or 1-year warrantees set on new home construction for many reasons. First, certain building or mechanical issues will become apparent with use over a 1-year period and can be easily remedied. Second, having a fixed 12-month warranty limits the wear and tear occupants can inflict on a home. But third and most importantly, contractors believe new construction homes should have a limited guarantee that the structure was constructed correctly and that the components used were of durable quality and will last. Limiting their legal and financial exposure, if something were to fail, is of great concern to them.
Nobody buys a home expecting that the structure will fall apart after only a year’s use. Mortgages are offered at 15, 20, and 30-year intervals, so hopefully the home and its components will live through to the fullest extent of the mortgage. But sometimes a structural defect, silent and slow water leak or maybe a drainage issue will not show up in the limited timeframes set by contractors. Sometimes certain components will fail over time if improperly manufactured or installed. But how much time is needed and when are these issues the contractors responsibilities or yours. This is why it is important to consider having an 11-Month Inspection completed on the readily accessible areas of the home, crawl space, installed ductwork, mechanical systems such as HVAC units, plumbing and roofing systems etc. to determine if all is well. At Gray Home Inspections we carefully inspect for any structural component defects, looming mechanical failures or safety issues that might exist without the available evidence present. Making sure something was done right the first time is critical if limited and arbitrary warrantees are placed on the house as a whole. We also use advanced technology including, aerial drone photography, infrared thermography, moisture meters and imaging to determine if inaccessible areas have pending issues.
Our Certified Professional Inspectors (CPI)® are committed to ensuring that you understand the condition of your property inside and out before coming off your builders 12-month warranty.
At Gray Home Inspections we have advanced training in testing equipment that determines home and HVAC duct air leakage. The time to evaluate a newly constructed home for improperly sealed windows, doors, and air ducts is before they become occupied. Measuring a home's performance can save a buyer significant money on utilities and having an energy-efficient home is the desire of most modern builders and buyers. New Construction homes must meet or exceed Energy Code Standards set to determine the amount of air leak the home will emit.
Air and Duct Leakage Tests
Lower energy usage is not only a cost-saving but is a byproduct of properly sealed doors and windows in a home. At Gray Home Inspections we have professional tests that can measure a home’s air leakage performance.
Duct Pressure Test
A duct pressure test actually measures the amount of air leakage in the duct system and the air handler. Again, this test in primarily used in new construction homes to ensure the ventilation system meets Energy Code requirements. During the test, the covering of all registers/vents is required and we attach our duct testing fan and manometer to the central return unit. Duct leakage is then calculated based on the square footage area of the home that the system heats and cools. If the home does not come up to standards, we then pressurize the entire ventilation system and with the use of a smoke pen find the leaks. Sealing then takes place in order to ensure maximum efficiency in the air handling output and return.
Blower Door Test
A blower door test is a diagnostic procedure that identifies air leakage or airtightness in a home. This test actually simulates a 20-mile per hour wind that pulls air out of the home, which lowers the air pressure inside. The outside air pressure flows back in through all unsealed openings. The test is designed to measure air entering through gaps and cracks, or other voids in the structure. The blower door test quantifies the amount of air leakage based on the volume of the home. There is a recommended airflow standard set.