A Closer Look Home Inspection Service provides New Construction Home Inspection that is designed to help individuals purchasing new residential construction to get a home with the fewest possible problems. No home is perfect, but providing 3rd party inspections at different phases can result in a home that is better built and more energy efficient.
The New Construction Home Inspection includes all the items in the Structural / Mechanical Home Inspection as well as close inspection of cabinets, fit and finish items around the house and operation of all windows. The inspection also includes select references to the International Residential Code (IRC) and Texas Residential Construction Commission Performance Standards to help resolve any dispute about the need for a repair on a newly constructed house. The foundation and framing inspection reports are delivered via email only. The punch list inspection report is delivered onsite and/or via email.
New construction home inspection services are available for:
- Foundation pre-pour
- Punch out inspections before closing on the house
- Elevational Survey to establish a base reference for future foundation movement
- 11-Month Warranty Inspection
A newly constructed home incorporates many of the latest technology and newest designs in home construction. Everything is brand new and ready for you to move in when you sign the closing papers. The house may have met or past the quality control inspections of the builder and may have been inspected several times by the city Building Inspector. So why does it need a third party inspection?
This is a common question that can be best answered with some information about the building process and real estate transaction. A lot is riding on your purchase and you want to get it right with a minimum of problems down the road. A little money spent now may prevent costly outlays to make needed repairs after you live in the house a few years or go to sell your home to another buyer.
The Builder is someone who purchases one or more lots in the development to build houses to sell. The Builder may actually be numerous people who collectively work together to get the house built. The days of a Builder actually building the house are pretty much over. Now the Builder assigns a Supervisor who will oversee the construction of several houses in the subdivision. The actual construction of the house is performed by various trade persons who are often the lowest bid Contractor for that job. The Supervisor coordinates the construction between the Contractors and may know very little about the construction trade.
In the February 2004 issue of Journal of Light Construction, the Chairman of the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation states, “Builders large and small, their bottom lines increasingly defined by speed and volume rather than quality and craftsmanship, are churning out second-rate structures by unsupervised subcontractors using unskilled, untrained laborers. Rampant code violations go undetected because individuals charged with conducting inspections are unqualified or corrupt or, sadly, both, or are simply overwhelmed by their workload.”
The article also found “a systematic lack of quality control by builders who are producing too many homes too fast, with not enough trained workers and inadequate oversight.” Similar articles can be found in other publications like the January 2004 issue of Consumer Reports “House wrecked” and local newspapers. Please review these articles for more information.
Your Builder may tell you that they do not allow 3rd party inspectors. If they attempt to use this argument to control the transaction, then we strongly recommend that you pursue purchasing a house from another Builder. Regardless what their company “allows” you have a rights as a consumer under Federal Law to inspect your purchase. Builders and Supervisor may employ a 3rd party Home Inspection Company as an independent firm that inspects all of their houses for their clients. This could be a blatant and obvious conflict of interest. Some Builders will even use “independent inspection companies” that are simply the builders’ employees being paid by the builder to act as third-party inspectors.
Builders may use the tactic of allowing you to have your own inspector, but contend that they are under no obligation to fix anything mentioned in his or her report. If the issues observed in the report are obvious code violations, your builder is obligated by the laws of the State of Texas to bring these items into compliance. Builders are notorious for playing a scheduling game where he fails to give you any or adequate notice of readiness for inspection and upgrades.
The builder may inform you that the home is ready to be inspected at a particular phase when it is actually not ready. Your inspector will be unable to perform the full inspection for that particular phase and will still charge you for the trip. After a couple of incomplete phase inspections that can incur additional fees, you may simply decide to forego the inspections and rely solely upon the Builder and Municipal Building Inspector.
Builders are registered by the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC). There are no training, education or testing requirements to becoming a Builder. All you need to do is fill out the application and send in the $125 fee and you can be a builder also. Someone who knows nothing about construction, building codes or manufacturer’s installation instructions may be supervising the construction of your new house. This is a significant concern when the quality of the construction is an issue.
The TRCC has a dispute resolution process that provides an inspection and arbitrational process to resolve construction problems between the builder and buyer. The TRCC has published Performance Standards that determine the acceptable quality of the construction of the house. These Standards are available by following the above link. The entire process is designed to keep problems out of a court of law. It is important that everything be address up front in the process before closing.
The Real Estate Sales Agent or Broker are professionals who represent their clients’ interest during the negotiation and transaction process during a real estate transaction. They may have considerable knowledge and experience about the real estate market and industry that can increase the value of the purchase. They are licensed and regulated by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and subject to laws, regulations and ethical conduct rules that are designed to protect the public. In comparison, the Sales Agent in the Builders office may not be licensed, regulated or bound by TREC or a Code of Ethics. It is important that all communications with the Builder be in writing.
The Professional Home Inspector is a 3rd party specialist who is licensed and regulated by TREC. A Real Estate Inspector is someone in training for their Professional Inspector’s license. There are published Standards of Practice that dictate what is to be covered in the typical home inspection. The Home Inspector may have special knowledge and tools that are used to evaluate the condition of property at the time of the transaction.
They are limited by conditions of the property and access to different areas of the house while performing their visual inspection. For example, a Framing Inspection on a new house would provide visible to the interior section of a wall. These are components that would not be visible at any later point in time. If you catch problems before the wall is closed up and you can improve the energy efficiency of the house and prevent structural problems that could cause cosmetic damage later.
A new construction home inspection is intended to provide a review of the building systems as they are constructed. A phased construction inspection will visually examine the building under construction at three to five separate milestone events. These inspections evaluate the quality, workmanship and execution of the design and construction. The milestone events are:
Foundation layout, footings, perimeter walls, rebar, supports and materials
Rough Framing Phase
Framing layout, connections, materials and execution
Utility Rough-In Phase
Utility Layout, coordination of utilities, sizing, materials and execution (Optional)
Insulation, utility connections, coordination of utilities, appliance and cabinetry (Optional)
Punch list development