Oregon State Certified Home Inspector # 337 | Oregon C.C.B. # 110603

New Construction Inspections

New homes are perfect, right? The County building inspector has signed off on everything, so that is fine, right? You shouldn’t have any problems with your new home for many years, right? Not always.

A brand new home is impressive and is something many people save their whole lives for. There is just something special about watching your home being built from the site excavation to the framing and seeing the finishing touches bring it all together. However, more and more buyers of new homes are unsure about the performance of the general contractor and their subcontractors or are not satisfied with the quality of the finished home.

A client has a right to expect excellence in a new home and a new construction inspection addresses items that can be anticipated in a previously occupied home but that should not be present in a brand new home.

Your new construction inspection is a written report, approximately 12–15 pages, detailing all visible defects in materials and workmanship of the completed home. The report will also note correct installations. This inspection is essential in providing you with the peace of mind you deserve.

A New Construction Inspection will check the house for the commonly-made mistakes that can turn your brand new home into less than what you dreamed. Most new homeowners are amazed with our findings. Examples include improperly installed roofing materials, improperly sealed synthetic stucco and siding, insufficient electrical wiring and improper installation of building components. The consequences of these deficiencies range from premature failure of components to imminent health or safety hazards for the occupants.

A New Construction Inspection is similar to our Professional Home Inspection (Whole House Inspection).  How this service differs is the inspection is performed either after the contractor has completed work but before the owner occupies the home, or any time prior to the 12th month of occupancy.

The same items are inspected as would be covered in a typical Professional Home Inspection, however cosmetic and warranty-type items that the owner may be able to resolve with the builder that would not normally be relevant to a previously occupied home are also addressed in this type of inspection. The reports are typically ready in about three to five business days. Many times next-day reports are not feasible for new construction inspections because further research is necessary when custom building materials are used.

Fees are comparable with whole house inspection fees; not expensive.  In each new construction inspection that Nathan has performed, the cost of the defects identified has exceeded the fee for our services.

Benefits of inspecting prior to closing:

  • The builder is typically more willing to fix items promptly to accommodate a timely closing.
  • Sometimes buyers live out of the area and plan to use the home as a vacation home or to only relocate after the home is completed. These clients may not be able to be as “hands-on” involved in the process and to comprehensively complete their own assessment prior to closing as they would otherwise do if they lived closer and these clients need a professional inspector to protect their interests.
  • The average client has a perception of everything being perfect with a new home. Even buyers who do live locally can benefit from a professional inspection that can identify possible deficiencies that would otherwise go uncorrected.
  • The buyer has a chance to re-negotiate or back out if significant defects are found.
  • Details can be completed before closing, reducing the inconveniences of having contractors in the home after the buyers have taken possession and moved in.

Benefits of an “11th month” inspection:

  • The owner has had a chance to live in the home for a few months and will have had time to discover random oddities about the home that may not have been readily apparent previously. They can point out and discuss these items with the inspector.
  • An inspection prior to the close of the first year is an independent assessment and written report that the owner can use to document their concerns and work with the builder to correct the defective items prior to the expiration of that period.
  • Under Oregon law, complaints involving a new structure must be received by the C.C.B. within one year from the date the owner or their tenant first moves into the structure or two years from the date the structure was completed and ready for occupancy, whichever comes first. In the event that the owner is unable to satisfactorily resolve their concerns with the builder during this time, a professional inspection report can be a valuable piece of information to present to an arbitrator or court.

Our new construction inspections are not “code” inspections; nor do we visit the house while it is being built. It would be technically exhaustive, in addition to cost prohibitive, for any inspector to check on every detail of the home as it was being built and to be able to guarantee that the various components were installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications – there are literally hundreds of different brands and models of the different materials and components that go into each home. Most builders would probably also not be able to take the time to cooperate with such an inspection by providing manufacturer’s installation requirements for each component.

There is a certain amount of trust that just has to be given to the builder of your home and that is why it is to your advantage to thoroughly investigate your builder and subcontractors. It is completely within reason to think that the builder may not be able to fully cooperate with a technically exhaustive inspection; however, if you are in the process of buying a new home and the builder does not allow you to bring a private home inspector on site at all, this should make you wonder “Why won’t the builder allow the home inspector on site?” “What does the builder have to hide?” Perhaps such behavior would underscore the importance of a new construction inspection.

While many builders are extremely competent and do their job well, for others the lack of quality in their work is surprising. Mistakes and oversights are common in new home construction, sometimes even with the best of builders.

There are many reasons why brand new homes have mistakes:

  • Frequently builders will be constructing several houses simultaneously.  With many separate homes being built at different sites and the plethora of activities going on at the same time at each site, it’s nearly impossible for the general contractor to personally monitor all phases of the home construction. Quality control will certainly be inconsistent from one builder to another and can even be inconsistent among homes built by the same contractor in one development.
  • The majority of construction tasks (foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are usually subcontracted out. Consideration as to how fast and how cheap the job can get done may rank above quality or consistency for the builder.
  • The explosion of growth has created a great need for affordable housing. When there is such a large demand and such a small supply, it is significantly easier for less experienced builders to sell their services when time and money overtake quality and reputation as the deciding factors for new home buyers.
  • Few, if any, municipal code inspectors spend anywhere near enough time in each home to fully check it out. Further, there could be issues with the home that are not necessarily code violations, yet could still have serious consequences for the new home owner. These deficiencies may not be discovered until it is too late.

This all makes sense when you consider that a new house is not built in a factory by robots under controlled conditions; it is built and assembled at each unique site by humans who err from time to time. Dozens of individual workers and groups of specialists each bring their part into the equation. While frustrating, it is easy to see how things may get out of sequence, overlooked, forgotten, or not properly checked by the site manager.

We have yet to inspect a brand new home with no reportable conditions.

Hiring a home inspector who has had professional training in new construction home inspections to look over your investment is a wise decision and will help prevent the possibility of premature costly repairs. When the quality of new construction drops, the unfortunate result is increased repairs and maintenance costs to the homeowner in the early years of ownership.

Your investment deserves peace of mind.