June 1, 2015
Newly built homes need inspections, too
Those who are building a brand-new home may not think they need to have it inspected before they move in. But the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) recommends it.
“Even new homes have defects that only a professional can detect,” says an ASHI former president. Local or county building inspectors may not catch these defects.
Builders sometimes reject reviews by home inspection services for several reasons, Benny L. Kass of the Chicago Tribune said in an article for ASHI. “Some builders claim this will void their insurance policy and are afraid someone will get hurt during the inspections. Other builders don’t want their employees bothered by too many questions from the inspector, while other builders just say: ‘We will provide you with a house that has been approved by the county inspectors, so you do not have to worry.’ ”
ASHI recommends a three-pronged inspection for owners of new homes:
- Prior to the pouring of the foundation.
- Prior to insulation and drywall.
- Prior to the final walk-through.
“You should tell the builder that you want the right to have an inspector of your choice — and at your expense — to conduct these three inspections. The sales contract you sign should spell out this right in clear terms,” Kass says.
Timing is important for these inspection, Kass says. “Often, by the time the county inspector makes a site visit, your builder may have put up the drywall, thereby covering up the electrical and plumbing.”
In one case Kass recalls, the pipes started knocking every time the upstairs bathroom sink was turned on. At the developer’s expence, some of the walls were opened up. They discovered that some of the plumbing pipes were not attached to the wall correctly.
“In this case, the builder acknowledged that had there been a periodic inspection, the problem would have been detected earlier, at a significant cost savings to the builder,” Kass said.