Lloyd Howell, P.E.
8 Reasons for Inspecting a Newly-Constructed Home
Occasionally, I am asked if a new home needs to be inspected. Certainly, the Builder will say there's little need for an inspection and the realtor may, or may not, encourage an inspection depending on whose interests they have in mind. Yes, some things may be covered by warranty, but others are not. Moreover, the hassles of getting a contractor who has moved on to come back and complete work is something better dealt with prior to closing.
Here are just a few findings (minor and major) from recent inspections of new properties. Of course, most new homes will have 'check list' items, but a good many also have one or more serious deficiencies.
#1 All the grout in the shower stalls crumbled when rubbed (wrong mix).
#2 The a/c contractor did not provide return ductwork from the habitable space back to his air handler (which was left
sucking air from the basement).
#3 The a/c contractor did not provide the required secondary drain line (for the attic air handler) which serves as a backup
when the primary line fails, so as to prevent condensate from overflowing and damaging a ceiling. Neither did he
install air filters in the attic air handlers.
#4 The damproofing contractor had done a poor job of sealing the foundation wall against moisture penetration. Pools of
water were found on basement floor and the basement walls were damp (Home was visited just after a rainfall.)
#5 The plumber had drastically overcut a double joist under the whirlpool tub to install his piping (and hadn’t yet
re-sheetrocked the ceiling). In another house the plumber left open vent lines in the attic instead of running them through
the roof, as required.
#6 The electrician had installed his grounding conductor (important to prevent electric shock) to the well pump piping
which transitioned to plastic piping (which does not conduct electricity) before entering the ground, thus leaving
the electric system with inadequate grounding.
#7 The irrigation contractor had not installed the Code required backflow device which provides a necessary safeguard
against possible chemical or contaminant flow into the drinking water.
#8 There was improper fencing and non-compliant gates around a swimming pool - a life safety issue. (The Town
inspectors must have blinked.)