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  1. #1
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    Default New Home Inspections

    I'm headed into my first new home inspection and was wondering if anyone had any advice on new-home specific things to be mindful of. Thanks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    While I check this in every home, its especially important in new homes.
    1. Hot water to a toilet.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Jack,
    Just wanted to clarify...
    You are making sure the toilet has a cold line running to it in stead of a hot? I've read of mixing valves installed to keep the (otherwise) cold flush tank from sweating too much in a warm house but it seems pretty far out unless you're flushing the toilet every 5 minutes.


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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    I haven't seen any with mixing valves, but I have seen a bunch that were connected to the HOT pipes.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    The main problems I find in new homes are problems with the HVAC systems. Be sure to check them closely for air balance issues.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Electrical - GFCI's wired wrong, remote panel with the bonding screw left in.
    Plumbing - Hot/cold reversed, check for a drain before you turn a tap , loose vent stack in the attic from lack of followup after the roof goes on
    Attic - exhaust vents not completely installed for same reason, gaps in insulation
    Roof - exposed nails, nails not fully hammered down, incorrect overhang, loose ridge cap
    Kitchen Range Hood - no front baffle plate so it blows out the front instead of up the vent pipe, or a baffle plate installed but no duct work so it can't suck or blow, or the knockout left in so it can't suck or blow
    Doors, Windows out of plumb, loose hardware.
    Trim cut off but the ends not painted
    The list goes on.

    I'm exaggerating, but those are some typical bloopers to watch for.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    look at it as if you were buying it, and what would you accept or not being that it is a new home. look at things like if you were going to live there and what you need to do to be able to live there comfortablely. then look at it like an inspector and look at the fine details as to what is and is not right. older homes have stood the test of time. new homes are yet to be broken in and given the lived in test. people who have lived in a home know more about the squeaks and bumps but a new home is something which so many have worked on but no one has lived the big picture.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    All the wood scraps hidden under the vapor barrier by lazy builders, usually stashed in the hole where the water service enters / sewer exits under the footing, plugs left in the tops of the plumbing vents at the roof, vents on air gap not pointed towards the kitchen sink just in case it's blocked when cycling the dishwasher......

    Last edited by Jim Hintz; 07-15-2011 at 01:01 AM. Reason: add words

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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    I generally tend to be tougher on new homes, they should be perfect, right? So the usual things you discount because of wear & tear shouldn't be there. Also, when thinking about code issues (not that I'm doing a code inspection), at least you don't have to wonder if somthing was permited in 19??. It should meet the current code. As others have said, look for things that were just forgotten (A/C drain not connected, light switch doesn't work, etc.) These are things that get fixed in a house that has been lived in but may not have been discovered yet in a new house. I had one new house where a 4x8 section of the roof sheathing was missing, the roofer just forgot that section.
    David Edenburn


  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Luc V. L. View Post
    I'm headed into my first new home inspection and was wondering if anyone had any advice on new-home specific things to be mindful of. Thanks.
    I don't understand the question. But the answer to that would be ...... everything of course.

    You should not be doing new home inspections unless of course it is a pre closing inspection. If it is a phase inspection and you are asking that question you need to at the least take a phase inspection course. Wide open walls or an open hole in the ground with all those funny metal things running around in the hole need to be known about. What is inside a wall is far different than look at a dripping faucet. You have to know what the plumbing should look like inside those walls and what may be wrong with it.

    If you are going to do a phase inspection and not just a pre closing, as in everything is finished, then you need to refer it to a fellow inspector.


  11. #11
    Guy D Brand Sr's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Luc V. L. View Post
    I'm headed into my first new home inspection and was wondering if anyone had any advice on new-home specific things to be mindful of. Thanks.
    I inspected a re-built home a couple months ago (it had burned to the slab). I did a standard detailed inspection and picked up everything that was not done to typical building practices and codes I could see. The item that has been a deffeciency a couple of times on new HVAC system is the A/C not being charged, or charged enough to give the proper degree differential. Anyway, just be thorough and you will have done your job.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Luc V. L. View Post
    I'm headed into my first new home inspection and was wondering if anyone had any advice on new-home specific things to be mindful of. Thanks.

    Think about code issues. Here in Vegas building code inspectors will not go on roofs, open panels, and the list goes on. When I right up code issues builders say it passed inspection. My answer to that is lets bring the building inspector back and show them what I found. That usually gets things fixed right. Just remember to inspect any home new or exsisting like your going to live in it. Inspect everything and anything. also take lots of pictures and videos of anything that moves or makes noise.

    Jerry Di Giovanni

    Last edited by Jerry DiGiovanni; 07-15-2011 at 10:35 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Thanks for the feedback. The head builder of the home was present for the inspection and tailed me like a shadow. He was insistent on filtering my comments to the realtor, made repeated & loud self proclamations to be a "detail guy" and called the subs responsible for the components in question as soon as there was any issue (called the plumber 4 times). All in all not bad though.

    Ted, you're right that it's just another home in the grand scheme of things. Same process, same criteria. I try and do my best to be mindful of particular things when heading into inspections. Like refreshing myself on PB piping in middle aged mobile homes, asbestos insulation in old homes, little stuff like that. It's not automatic until it is practiced over and over and i'm new.

    John you're like a laser man: 4 of your suggested bloopers were blooped upon.


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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Next time, tell the builder to get lost, in a diplomatic way. "Sorry but this is confidential info until I've met with my client". I get 2-3 hours in the house before the client arrives so it's easier for me to get the builder to come later, after I've gone over the issues a bit with the buyer. A lot of it is cosmetic surgery. Quite often, I'm gone before the builder gets involved, so it's up to the two realtors to hash it out. That's the ideal to shoot for.

    I had a badly scratched floor on my new condo job this AM. All from the appliance installers being ignorant. Can't refinish it, so it's new flooring, please.

    BTW, glad the list helped.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Just because it is new don't assume it won't have problems. I used to charge less for a new home inspections, boy what a mistake, I spent just as much time and found just as much wrong as a regular house. The item I call out the most on is blown in insulation, they use to add a little so that when it settled in a year they still had what they paid for, but most don't do that anymore so when it settles in a year they are now below the code level.
    Quote Originally Posted by Luc V. L. View Post
    I'm headed into my first new home inspection and was wondering if anyone had any advice on new-home specific things to be mindful of. Thanks.



  16. #16
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Barr View Post
    Just because it is new don't assume it won't have problems. I used to charge less for a new home inspections, boy what a mistake, I spent just as much time and found just as much wrong as a regular house. The item I call out the most on is blown in insulation, they use to add a little so that when it settled in a year they still had what they paid for, but most don't do that anymore so when it settles in a year they are now below the code level.
    Good idea to check the bottom of those handy little insulation depth gauges they staple to the trusses - have found some in the past where the installers folded the bottom 3-4 inches to cheat the builder / general on the job. It turns out to be quite a savings in a 300-400 house plat.


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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I haven't seen any with mixing valves, but I have seen a bunch that were connected to the HOT pipes.
    This is my Moby Dick. I keep looking for it, but haven't found one yet. One of these days I will find one. I don't get a lot of new construction inspections, so my odds aren't as good as someone in a larger area.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  18. #18
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Check all floor drains and shower drains. They love to leave the plugs in the drains. See lots of new homes with no insulation in the attics as well. One of my favorites is the appliaces are partially connected. So the home owner moves in, turns on the washing machine and the drain line is not connected and the floor drain is plugged Expect a call if that happens


  19. #19
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Be sure all the insulation has been installed and not just where the code inspector can see; same goes for vapor barriers and deck hangers ect. Check to see if the hot water goes to all the fixtures some time the plumbing installer doesn't adjust the supply valves correctly. Just a few additional areas where to be cautious, but don't think a new home inspections will be easy; there are just as many problems to find. Good luck?!


  20. #20
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    The knock out plug in the disposal may not have been removed before the dishwasher drain was attached.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  21. #21
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    Talking Re: New Home Inspections

    I would think if the home has been finaled by the local AHJ it should be perfect?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  22. #22
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    I would think if the home has been finaled by the local AHJ it should be perfect?
    Not even close to perfect.

    AHJ inspectors do not operate appliances, electrical systems (their inspections are done to allow power to be turned on, rarely are their inspections after power is already on), and all kinds of other reasons, not the least of which is ...

    ... (what I explain to builders, contractors, and owners more often than I would care to count) "code is the minimum standard, code is the crappiest you are legally allowed to build it, which means that passing a code inspection only means that 'it was built the crappiest legally allowed', so ... what does NOT passing a code inspection mean? (said with a smile and a wink)"



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    EC Jerry, I was being totally facetious in stating if a house has been passed by the local jurisdiction it must be perfect. Perhaps I should have added a smiley? I’ve conducted city building department educational training for years, sat on their oral boards evaluating candidates for a position with the city/ county, and taught building codes classes too many for more than 14 years. I have also found that the individual ability of both jurisdictional and home inspectors varied from outstanding, to good, bad, and barely competent.

    Personally during my 60 years of construction experience I never saw a jurisdictional inspector crawl under a house and they don’t carry ladders in their city/ county vehicles and seldom if ever go on roofs. What they do have during busy times is rigid time constraints during TOT and when the construction industry is really cooking they cannot take the time to perform what I believe are thorough inspections. In the old days middle to large jurisdictions had inspectors who where former journeyman carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC guys, but that has changed dramatically in that many are now graduates of special community college building inspection programs where they learn the codes, but lack the real life experience only learned by being in the trades.

    As EC Jerry said “building to code is building to a barely minimum standard” and I agree whole heartedly with that.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  24. #24
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    EC Jerry, I was being totally facetious in stating if a house has been passed by the local jurisdiction it must be perfect. Perhaps I should have added a smiley?
    I was aware of that, but ... I wanted to make sure that all who read this board, which includes homeowners and other non-inspectors, also knew that.

    I’ve conducted city building department educational training for years, sat on their oral boards evaluating candidates for a position with the city/ county, and taught building codes classes too many for more than 14 years. I have also found that the individual ability of both jurisdictional and home inspectors varied from outstanding, to good, bad, and barely competent.

    Personally during my 60 years of construction experience I never saw a jurisdictional inspector crawl under a house[/quote]

    There is no need to for new construction, all that should be visible during construction as it progresses along, but, on remodels ... those bring up some uncommon conditions for the code inspector - and you would be correct in those cases.

    and they don’t carry ladders in their city/ county vehicles and seldom if ever go on roofs.
    I did ... until June 16, 2011 ... which is when the OSHA exemption for fall protection on residential construction was withdrawn. Now, I can only go up as high as 6 feet (standing level of my feet) without fall protection. That allows me to stand on a ladder and look at roofs on single story houses, but puts the two and three story roofs off-limits. The various building officials are discussing how to address this issue and a few jurisdictions are buying the fall protection equipment - but they still have the 'first man up, last man down' problem of who is going to hook up, and unhook, the fall protection ... if not that inspector. My jurisdiction, and most others, have decided (so far) to not go the fall protection route and to require the contractors to provide an affidavit stating that all was done correctly, sign and have it notarized (as though any contractor will say they didn't do it correctly ).

    What they do have during busy times is rigid time constraints during TOT and when the construction industry is really cooking they cannot take the time to perform what I believe are thorough inspections.
    I fully agree with that.

    As EC Jerry said “building to code is building to a barely minimum standard” and I agree whole heartedly with that.
    Actually, I said it more colorful than that, that is just to plain vanilla for me.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  25. #25
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I was aware of that, but ... I wanted to make sure that all who read this board, which includes homeowners and other non-inspectors, also knew that.

    I’ve conducted city building department educational training for years, sat on their oral boards evaluating candidates for a position with the city/ county, and taught building codes classes too many for more than 14 years. I have also found that the individual ability of both jurisdictional and home inspectors varied from outstanding, to good, bad, and barely competent.

    Personally during my 60 years of construction experience I never saw a jurisdictional inspector crawl under a house
    There is no need to for new construction, all that should be visible during construction as it progresses along, but, on remodels ... those bring up some uncommon conditions for the code inspector - and you would be correct in those cases.



    I did ... until June 16, 2011 ... which is when the OSHA exemption for fall protection on residential construction was withdrawn. Now, I can only go up as high as 6 feet (standing level of my feet) without fall protection. That allows me to stand on a ladder and look at roofs on single story houses, but puts the two and three story roofs off-limits. The various building officials are discussing how to address this issue and a few jurisdictions are buying the fall protection equipment - but they still have the 'first man up, last man down' problem of who is going to hook up, and unhook, the fall protection ... if not that inspector. My jurisdiction, and most others, have decided (so far) to not go the fall protection route and to require the contractors to provide an affidavit stating that all was done correctly, sign and have it notarized (as though any contractor will say they didn't do it correctly ).



    I fully agree with that.



    Actually, I said it more colorful than that, that is just to plain vanilla for me. [/quote]


    So this is for the county/city you work for or .... all new construction requirements


  26. #26
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    So this is for the county/city you work for or .... all new construction requirements
    Yes, that is correct.

    Today I went out to do a framing inspection on a 3 story house, no stairs, elevator not in yet (of course), and no fall protection guard rails around the balconies along the front and rear at each floor, no fall protection guard rails around the stair or elevator openings ... you get the picture - so there was no inspection.

    I was also there to do a roof dry-in inspection and explained that he would need to provided a notarized affidavit stating it was done correctly, then joked that we all know that really means diddly-squat, that such a letter will not really mean it was done correctly, nor would it protect him, or protect his buyer, but it would protect us (the Town) as the contractor is liable for doing all work correctly and to code 'even if no inspections were ever made'.

    Kind of like on the house before where that builder has to get several letters from his engineer to address things which were not 'quite right', that the engineer's letter covers it, the engineer 'buys it', but how many times has any engineer *really* had to 'buy it' with their insurance - I know of a few, but VERY few.

    On a side note, for those who find the roof tie-offs on the new roofs in their areas, did you know the angle of side-to-side travel is limited to not much (as I recall it was only a 12-15 degree swing to each side of an anchor, and keep mind that the further you are off center of the anchor, the further the fall will be if you lose your footing), and that many (most?) of those tie-offs need to be placed 8 feet apart maximum to keep that side-to-side travel from any given tie-off down to within the limited angle?

    Installing one single tie-off on a roof does not cut the mustard, you need to read up on the ones you find, but the ones I saw in the training class were limited to being spaced 8 feet apart maximum and being placed within 4 feet of the end of a roof.

    There are other systems which allows for more freedom of movement, but the cost goes up as does the complexity of the system and it use.

    Any way, enough babble about fall protection ... but it IS going to raise the cost of construction and roofing/re-roofing.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  27. #27
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of home inspectors walk a tile roof during their inspections?

    Most common statements heard from listing RE agents;
    1) "All work was done with permits."
    2) "All work was done by a licensed contractor(s)."
    3) "That condition is grandfathered."

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  28. #28
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    "The code is a floor to build up from." We all say it, we all mean it (at least I do). But in all the inspections I've done, the only time I have seen the code significantly exceeded is when the builder was building the house for himself. Usually those are draw inspections since a good builder doesn't need me to come in and tell him his job. The bad builders hire someone else to build their own house.


  29. #29
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    It would be interesting to know what percentage of home inspectors walk a tile roof during their inspections?

    Most common statements heard from listing RE agents;
    1) "All work was done with permits."
    2) "All work was done by a licensed contractor(s)."
    3) "That condition is grandfathered."
    I have never had the pleasure of inspecting a tile roof. I have inspected several slate roofs and I did not walk on them for fear of damaging the brittle slate and sliding off the roof simultaneously


  30. #30
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    It would be interesting to know what percentage of home inspectors walk a tile roof during their inspections?
    When I was inspecting in South Florida, probably 98% of the houses I inspected had tile roofs, and I walked every one of them I could get on.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  31. #31
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    I only walk tile roofs after I have determined what is under them and that the tiles are secured in some way. I don't walk tile roofs on which the tiles are just stacked but not secured.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  32. #32
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    It would be interesting to know what percentage of home inspectors walk a tile roof during their inspections?

    Most common statements heard from listing RE agents;
    1) "All work was done with permits."
    2) "All work was done by a licensed contractor(s)."
    3) "That condition is grandfathered."
    Along with, "The seller is a contractor so you won't find anything wrong."


  33. #33
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    Default Re: New Home Inspections

    A bit late to chime in on this thread, but I have a few pertinent (and interesting) comments.

    On a $600,000, brand new home inspection I did for a buyer in SW Colorado a few years ago, the builder arrived early to let me into the place. As he was leaving after a quick walk-through together, I'll always remember his comment--"Don't waste too much time on your inspection, because you won't find anything." I should have asked him to put some serious money on it, as the list below is just a partial.

    1. Dozens of shiners on the architectural roof shingles, along with some incorrect (as in missing) valley flashing.

    2. Hot air run to kitchen register at rear patio door totally disconnected (dead-ended several feet short of register, in the crawl space).

    3. Rear deck that had so many serious errors, I didn't know where to begin. Including such things as interior posts not aligned with concrete Sonotube footings (worst one cantilevered half over the edge), 2 x 4 joist hangers used for 2 x 8 joists, and ledger board attached with barely enough nails (no through-bolts) to hold its own weight.

    A few days after the inpection, I get the dreaded, "reamed me a new one," realtor phone call. She had the nerve to chastise me for almost costing her a large commision (her clients bought the place anyway, after some pleading on her part, and them requesting corrections to everything I had found), and questioned my being so critical of the "area's best home builder."

    Another case of no more referrals from a realtor, as I was rapidly developing a reputation as a "deal-breaker." And which I'm convinced led to my closing the business after just 10 months time and not nearly enough clients.


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