As builders and aspiring homeowners know, 2021 was a challenging year for new residential construction projects. Supply chain problems, labor shortages, rising material costs (particularly with lumber), and other factors saddled the industry with significant burdens that stretched production timelines and caused budgets to balloon. What will 2022 look like in terms of new home construction? Well, that depends on whom you believe. Some experts predict a continuation of issues that reined in this segment of the market, while others forecast an uptick in the number of newly built homes as supply chain issues get resolved and building costs return to more reasonable levels. Like everything else during these unpredictable times, we’ll just have to wait and see.
If you have your heart set on building your own dream home this year rather wading into what might be a brutally competitive seller’s market in the months ahead, the team at A-Pro wants to remind you that it’s a smart idea to hire a certified home inspector to make sure your home is being built to the highest standards during each phase of construction. That’s what you’ll receive with the New Home Construction Phase Inspection Program. For a small investment, this series of third-party inspections can possibly save you major expenses (and serious headaches) in the event that defects are found during construction rather than after the home is complete—when fixes can be much more time-consuming, disruptive, costly, and problematic.
But wait, you say: I’ve hired the most highly respected residential contractor in town. Why would I need someone else to check their workmanship? A good question. Here are a few reasons why having a New Home Construction Phase Inspection is a wise move:
- Even the best contractors can make mistakes and overlook flaws. It’s indisputable—nobody’s perfect. This simple truth gets amplified when you consider the thousands of components and endless decisions that go into building a new home. Having an unbiased professional onsite making sure you’re getting what you paid for is invaluable, even if it’s just to confirm that your contractor has, in fact, done a stellar job. Remember, it’s your house, your investment, and your peace of mind at stake.
- As mentioned above, allowing an inspector to check the home during construction (prior to pouring the foundation, backfilling, and hanging drywall) can head off issues that won’t be visible once the house is complete.
- It could be argued that a contractor may be more attentive to the project knowing that someone else who understands the process will be verifying the work.
Here’s what the program entails:
Concrete Slab: In the initial phase, the foundation is inspected after exterior walls are finished and plumbing rough-ins installed, but prior to pouring of the concrete slab. The inspector can verify things such as width and depth of footings; connections and placement of beams, tension cables, etc.; and correct pipe and sleeve measurements.
Basement: This is performed after walls are poured but before backfilling.
Crawlspace: The crawlspace is checked after the foundation is poured but before backfilling and framing.
Usually performed three days before hanging drywall or installation of other wall covering, this phase allows the home inspector to visually check electrical, plumbing, HVAC, framing systems and more. Among other components, your inspector can check wiring and junction box placement; notching of floor joists; placement of plumbing pipes; wall studs; framing fasteners and connectors; missing, warped, or damaged framing members; placement of heating/cooling ducts and registers; and whether there are enough properly spaced electrical outlets per room.
Final Home Inspection
Once the building process is complete, the inspector will perform a foundation-to-roof 500-point home inspection (similar to pre-listing inspections performed for sellers and inspections for potential homebuyers). A report documenting any problems, with color photos, will be delivered to the client, who can address any issues with the builder prior to closing.
Walk-Through Inspection: Also before closing, you may choose to contract your A-Pro inspector to accompany you and the builder on the final walk-through of the home to ensure that all agreed-upon repairs and improvements have been completed satisfactorily.
It is highly recommended to maintain excellent communication with your builder to make sure they understand these inspections will be taking place and that they should not to proceed with building phases (e.g., pouring the foundation, hanging drywall) until these inspections have been completed. Establishing penciled-in dates with your builder for each phase inspection is also a good idea.