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Some in the home construction industry are slowly realizing the benefits of hiring a third-party company to inspect new homes as they are being built to discover construction defects early enough in the construction to repair at a fraction of the cost of what it costs to repair once the home is completed and the new homeowner moved in. But this is far from common practice.
Most builders rely solely upon their superintendents to supervise work done by their subcontractors and they expect the city building inspectors to discover code violations. Worse yet, City Building inspectors are overloaded and are not given the time to inspect every home they way everyone would like. Unfortunately, these builders are not encouraging the new home buyer to hire their own inspector to check the home during construction or when the home is complete and ready to close escrow.
Inspecting new homes under construction using "progress," "phase" or "stage" inspections could help ferret out defects that might otherwise become hidden and latent in completed construction - only to reveal themselves years down the road.
Phase inspections are conducted - not when the home is completed, as is the case with most existing or resale home inspections - but during critical stages or phases of construction before the foundation is poured, before framing, wiring and plumbing are covered over by drywall, and before flooring, roofing and final coverings (stucco, siding, etc.) are installed, as well as when the home is completed.
Hiring a structural engineer to be on site to inspect the home at critical points in construction, depending upon how often he or she conducts inspections, may cost a couple hundred dollars more than the typical final inspection done by a home inspector after the home is built, but the pay off could save tens of thousands of dollars.
Some local home builders are hiring third-party building inspectors to produce a better quality home and some do allow buyers to bring in inspectors during construction. Contact Sam for a list of home builders in our area who maintain exemplary quality standards and hire third-party inspectors to catch problems during the building of the home when it is inexpensive to correct them.
The home builders' association says it has been working closely with ASHI to partner on inspection standards for new homes and the California Real Estate Inspectors Association (CREIA) is encouraging all new home buyers to hire an inspector with a special designation - CREIA New Construction Specialist - CNCS. The CNCS designation assures the buyer the inspector has a thorough knowledge of International Code Council building codes, the model building codes for the nation designed to produce sound, safe and quality construction.
The builder, not the city building inspector, has to take responsibility for delivering a quality built home that meets all building codes and is defect free.
When it comes to the vast majority of new homes built in the nation, new home inspectors are either hired by the builder or brought in by the new home buyer only after the home is complete. Single-site custom home buyers and buyers purchasing homes in small developments stand the best chance of sending a home inspector to the building site before their home is complete - preferably before the slab is poured and then at the electrical/plumbing and options inspection before drywall is installed.
NOTE FROM SAM:
In the event you are thinking about building your next home, contact Sam to help you select builders in the area with excellent reputations for building quality homes and providing "in phase" inspections during construction and excellent after purchase customer service.
Even the best builders and city building inspectors can only check and catch so much. Sam will also recommend structural engineers and home inspectors to conduct "in phase" construction inspections and provide you a report that you and I can take to the builder construction supervisor for correction before the defect(s) are covered and left to be discovered after you move into your new home when the cost of repair will be much higher.
Sam's knowledge of the building process will save you money in the purchase negotiations, upgrade selections, loan program selection, and future problem avoidance. Building a new home can be fun and exciting or nerve-racking and stressful. Build with confidence. Contact Sam today.