NEW BUILD PHASE INSPECTIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Why Should I Have a New Houston Area House Inspected?  Have You Ever Viewed A New Home Using Infrared Technology?  You Would Be Amazed What Thermal Imaging Reveals, Even On New Homes.  We offer free home Thermal Imaging as part of our complete home inspection
pricing.

Many people mistakenly believe that they don’t need an inspection on a new house in the Houston area. The misconception is understandable because as consumers we have been conditioned to believe that consumer products of all types will be delivered without defects. Unfortunately this is not true, especially in the new construction market.  For the information gained from an inspection by The Home Inspector, our report will represent the smartest money spent on your home.

Home buyers of newly constructed homes may not be aware they may have an inspection clause included with their new home contract. Fact is, a new home buyer can greatly benefit from using a professional home inspector during the construction and completion of their new home.  We offer a full array of inspection services from a complete new home construction phase inspections to just the final (closing) inspection.  Although, you will benefit greatly from the final inspection, nothing can take the place of a full phased inspection process from pre-slab, pre-sheet rock to the final phase.

Many people ask; “Why does a newly constructed home need an inspection?” “Isn’t a newly constructed home perfect and safe?” Some people assume that the builder and contractors are overseen by state or local government officials and that the local town or the city building inspector checks the house out. This is true to some degree, however, few if any municipal inspectors spend anywhere near enough time in the home to fully check it out. Further, there could be problems with the home that are not necessarily code violations, yet have serious consequences for the new home owner. Ask any private home inspector about the deficiencies and safety issues discovered in newly constructed homes.
 

We are often told by new home buyers "The home builder has a third party inspector who inspects all the necessary phases of the home building process or the famous one-liner "The builder says why waste your money on an independent home inspector, we have our own inspector that checks our houses for you."  The keywords to focus on is "Our own inspector that inspects our houses for you."  Focus even further on the phrase "our inspector who inspects our houses".  I don't know about you, but OUR DOES NOT EQUAL YOU!  In other words, OUR means they are hired by the builder, are paid by the builder and therefore work directly for the home builder.  Who benefits from these home inspections, you guessed it, the builder and not you the home buyer.

Hire your own independent home inspector, we work outside of the influence of the home builder, that's right we work for you and only you looking out for your best interest.

Quality control programs in new construction vary widely in the field and many contractors do it by the seat of their pants if at all. Most builders require that their superintendents have only a Bachelors degree in any field, Accounting will do.  They usually get away with this because they have learned from experience what kind of mistakes are going to show up as a problem during the warranty period. As a result there are likely to be hidden defects that will show up later in the life of the house, after the builder warranty has expired.

Houston Homeowners often encounter these problems after the first year or two not knowing they are related to construction error. For instance, brick veneer is installed on about 90% of the new houses built in this area. Most people do not realize that brick is not waterproof. To compensate for this, construction standards, including the building codes, require a drainage plane behind the brick along with flashing and weep holes that will guide any water that penetrates the brick, back to the outside.

Unfortunately I rarely see brick veneer installed with all of the required flashing. As a result water may enter the interior wall and ceiling space and cause all kinds of problems including damage to walls, ceilings and floors and issues with mold, mildew and fungus.

Again, most homeowners don’t realize that the problems they see even 5 or 6 years after they move in are the result of code violations. It has also been my experience that a large percentage of the problems I find during the inspection of a 5 to 10 year old house are the result of builder errors.

What Are The Most Common Home Construction Defects?

Improper grading of the soil around the house resulting in wet moldy crawl spaces
Flashing missing from brick veneer on the home's roof
Improperly installed and adjusted safety equipment on garage door openers
Improperly installed appliances
Improperly installed attic ladders
Missing fire blocking
Improper wiring in the panel
Electrical wiring not properly secured and protected.
Loose electrical receptacles
HVAC ducts loose and blowing conditioned air into the crawl space or attic.
Structural deficiencies in the roof construction
The builder was required to have inspections performed by city inspectors, Won't This Protect Me?

Unfortunately the protection afford by the official inspection departments is limited. City inspectors are stretched very thin, they may perform 15-20 inspections a day and can only spend a few minutes at a construction site during a few visits at specific phases of construction.

Code enforcement is about as effective as speed enforcement is on our highways. Think about how many times have you been stopped for speeding compared to the number of times in your life you have exceeded the speed limit. Think about how many speed related accidents there are on the highways. Consider also that the builders know exactly when the code officials are going to show up and exactly what they will be looking for. Is it any wonder that new homes have problems?
 

 

What does the Houston Home Foundation (Pre-Slab) inspection look for?

Compliance with engineered drawings
Proper placement, support, sizing, and spacing of graded rebar
Ensuring proper beam depth, width, and placement
Vapor/moisture barrier placement check
If drawings are not sealed by an engineer, then the foundation must comply with the building code

What does the Framing, Mechanical (Plumbing (Pre-Drywall - Pre-Sheet Rock) Inspection look for?

Electrical systems must be properly grounded
All connections in junction boxes
Proper gauge wiring is installed
Outlets spaced properly
Adequate access to machinery
Duct work should not be encumbered by other building materials
Ducts are installed to applicable building code
Roof is supported and sloped
Plumbing system should be reviewed

What does the Houston Home final (New Buyer's & Builder's) Inspection certify?

Yard is graded properly for water flow
HVAC is in complete working order
HVAC exterior unit is located on a level surface
All air ducts free of obstruction
Doors and windows operate properly
Finish materials are properly installed
The flat work around home is free of any structural cracks
All roof cladding is installed to manufacturer's recommendations
Flashing is installed
Fixtures are correctly installed and working
All appliances are installed and working
There are no apparent safety issues.

This is not a complete list of everything the inspections cover.  Three inspections is really very minimal to require for a residential structure.  The home builder I worked for required ten inspections before they would deliver a completed home to a new home owner.

When Hiring a Houston Home Inspector For New Construction, What should I Look For?

First you need an inspector who has extensive experience in new construction along with the education necessary to under stand the building science behind the codes.

You also need a Houston home inspector who knows the codes and who is not afraid to use them. Believe it or many home inspectors are afraid to use the codes when documenting problems with new construction. Many are so afraid of the “C” word that they will ignore obvious problems related to code provisions because they are afraid you will hold them to a higher standard. They have been told this by so called experts. When interviewing an inspector ask them if they will report on code violations they may see and give references to the codes. If they say no, keep moving.

The fact is codes are the MINIMUM STANDARD FOR CONSTRUCTION adopted by many governmental bodies in this area. As an inspector I cannot provide you with the service you need without knowing these standards and providing you with references in the codes to back up my report. In addition to using references and citations from the building codes I will also provide references to industry standards and manufacturer installation instructions.   This additional information will puts you in a much stronger position when negotiating with the builder for repairs.  Bottom line, if a home inspector will not provide references to the building codes, manufactures installation instruction or other industry standards he is simply wasting your time and money.
 

What Will a New Home Construction Inspection Cost?

If you don’t care what kind of inspection you get, you can find inspectors who will do just about any job for $200.  We offer the same home & commercial inspection prices we have for the past 11 years.

The inspection industry is covered up with unqualified inspectors who receive bogus “certification” from phony inspector mills and virtual associations. One association will let you take a free online exam, pay a fee and become a “Certified Master Inspector.”

If you need to save a few bucks on the inspection of one of your biggest investments, just remember, Buyer Beware.  If you want a real inspection performed by a knowledgeable professional inspector, you are going to spend between $250 to $400 for most inspections. If your new house is really big, 
you’ll pay even more.

Special Scheduling Consideration for New Builds

Unless the new house you are purchasing already has a Certificate of Occupancy, scheduling an inspection on a house under construction can be difficult. All too often the builder will commit to a completion date which they will fail to meet. As a matter of fact they will commit to and fail to meet one deadline after another and before you know it you are pushed up to the closing date.

If you have an inspection scheduled and the builder gives you less 48 hours notice that they will not have the house ready, it is best to proceed with the inspection at the scheduled time and arranged for return visit by the inspector once the final power is turned on. You should ask the builder to reimburse you for the cost of the return visit.

I have performed inspections behind these so called builders inspectors and new county required third-party inspectors and I have found numerous errors and omissions.  If you look closely, you will see that most Texas Builders have entered into agreements with large, out of town real estate inspection firms to perform all of their required inspections.  Sounds kinda fishy, like kick-backs and having the inspector on the builder's payroll.  Whose interest do you think that inspectors is looking out for, a home buyer he will never meet or the builder who is putting money in his back pocket?

See my Houston clients reviews for comments about issues I discovered with their new homes, one of which was cracks in the garage foundation which was completely omitted by the builder's third party inspector.  My client backed out of the did, got her earnest money back fully and the builder has since filed for bankruptcy and went out of business.

 


 

 

If you are buying a new home, contact us for a impartial, detailed and thorough home inspection.  ATEX Inspects LLC serves all of the greater Houston, Texas area with quality home and Commercial property inspection services.  
Contact us today before your new home construction begins at 281-216-1171 or by email at robert@atexinspects.com.