New Home Construction Inspections
Independent 3rd Party Home Inspections
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 passed the quality control inspections of the builder and may have been inspected several times by the city Building Inspector, but a third party inspection is still important! Information about the building process and real estate transaction will explain why.
A lot is riding on your purchase and you want to get it right, with minimum problems down the road. A little money spent now may prevent costly outlays to make needed repairs in the future, 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 include numerous people who collectively work together to get the house built. The days of the Builder actually building the house are pretty much over. The Builder now 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.
Your Builder may tell you that they do not allow third party inspectors. If they attempt to use this argument to control the transaction, we strongly recommend you pursue purchasing a house from another Builder. Why wouldn’t the builder want a 3rd set of eyes looking at the Quality of what they are building? Regardless of what their company “allows”, you have rights as a consumer under Federal Law to inspect your purchase. Builders and Supervisors may employ a third party Home Inspection Company as an independent firm that they use to inspect all of their client’s homes. This could obviously be a conflict of interest for the buyer. Some Builders will even use “independent inspection companies” that are simply the builders’ employees acting as third party inspectors.
Builders may “allow” you to have your own inspector, but then contend they are under no obligation to fix anything mentioned in your inspector’s report. If the issues observed in the report are obvious code violations, your builder is obligated by the laws of the State of Arizona to bring these items into compliance. Builders are notorious for playing scheduling games and typically fail to give you any adequate notice of readiness for inspection and upgrades. The builder may inform you the home is ready to be inspected at a particular phase when in fact, it is not. 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 which will incur additional fees, you may simply decide to forego the inspections and rely solely upon the Builder and Municipal Building Inspector.
Major cut-backs in today’s economy have decreased the number of city inspectors. City inspectors are responsible for enforcing codes, not quality. If your city inspector has to look at 5 pre-slab sites, 7 framing inspections, 4 plumbing inspections and 27 roofs today, he definitely won’t have the time to pull out a ladder, climb each roof, inspect every piece of flashing or even take a quick look at major areas of concern. Do you think it might be possible that some city inspectors never even get out of their trucks? Alati’s Inspection Services has your best interests at heart! Alati’s Inspection Service is looking for code compliance and quality; we’ve got your back!
New Construction 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 four separate milestone events. These inspections evaluate the quality, workmanship and execution of the design and construction. The Four-Phase Construction Inspection includes four separate inspections that are scheduled at precise times during the construction process. It is critical that the client and the builder coordinate each of these inspections to ensure that all inspected systems and components will be visible on the day of the inspection and that the inspection does not delay the construction process.
The milestone events are:
- Rough Framing Phase: Framing layout, connections, materials and execution)
- Utility Rough-In Phase: Utility Layout, coordination of utilities, sizing, materials and execution (Optional)
- Pre-Drywall or Dry-in Phase: Insulation, utility connections, coordination of utilities, appliance and cabinetry (Optional)
- Final Walkthrough: Punch list development
The pre-slab inspection is completed once the foundation has been laid-out and the forms are in place per the approved building plans. Additionally, the trenches for the sewer and water distribution system (if copper) have been dug and the rough plumbing installed and water tested. The pre-slab inspection must be completed prior to covering up the rough plumbing.
- Plot Plan and Dimensions of Foundation
- Foundation and Footings
- Rough Plumbing
- Water Pressure
- Rough Grading and Drainage
The Framing Inspection is completed once the project is “dried-in.” This is when the roof sheathing and tar paper have been installed and, in the case of a tile roof, the tiles have been stacked on the roof. The interior of the project is now protected from the weather and the rough plumbing and electrical can begin. It will typically take a few weeks to two months or more between the pre-slab and framing inspections.
- All Systems or Components Not Reported on in Prior Inspection
- Foundation and Footings
- Floor Structure (if applicable)
- Attachment of Exterior Walls to Foundation
- Interior and Exterior Wall Structure
- Chimney and Fireplace Installations (if applicable)
- Window and Door Installation and Flashing
- Attachment of Walls to Roof Structure
- Roof Structure
The pre-drywall inspection is completed just prior to the installation of the drywall. All rough electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) should be completed at this point. All subcontractors’ work will have been checked and follow-up visits completed. This is one of the most critical inspections as, all construction to this point will be covered and will no longer be visible. It will typically take from a few weeks to two months or more between the framing and pre-drywall inspections.
- All Systems and Components Not Reported on in Prior Inspections (if visible)
- Rough Plumbing – Water Distribution and Sewer
- Rough Electrical – Main Electrical Panel and Branch Circuits
- HVAC Installation and Ductwork
- Fire Stop and Fire Blocking
- Chimney and Fireplace Installations (if applicable)
- Attic Ventilation and Insulation
- Exterior Wall Cladding
Final Walk-Through Inspection
The Final Walk-Through Inspection is a full Arizona Certified Home Inspection and is typically performed the day of, or just prior to closing. This is the first opportunity to fully verify ALL functions of the home with the utilities turned on. This is also a critical time for the builder, and many issues will be addressed in the final days and hours leading up to closing.
We encourage you to notify your builder that you have scheduled a Final Walk-Through Inspection by an independent inspector, and ensure that all construction work has been completed prior to setting the date for the Final Walk-Through Inspection.
Please Note: Our Final Walk-Through Inspection does not replace your normal walk-through with the builder’s representative, but adds to the builder’s walk-through and may identify construction defects or other reasons for concern that the builder’s representative may have missed.
Two-Phase Construction Inspection
The Two-Phase Construction Inspection includes two separate inspections that are schedule at a precise time during the construction process. It is critical that the client and builder coordinate the pre-drywall inspection to ensure all inspected systems and components will be visible on the day of the inspection and that subcontracts have completed all work. Additionally, we will report on those systems and components (that are visible), which would have been inspected during a Four-Phase Inspection (pre-slab and framing inspections).