If you're having a new home built, when should you have the home inspection? What type of home inspections should be done? We get asked these questions a lot. There are three types of inspections associated with new-construction homes: pre-drywall, final, and one-year warranty. Today I'll discuss all three.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has a Standard Of Practice for conducting residential pre-drywall inspections, and this is the standard that we at Structure Tech follow. You can find this standard online here: https://www.homeinspector.org/files/membersonly/docs/predrywall_standards.pdf
This standard says what's included, what isn't, what gets reported on, described, etc. It's very similar in detail to the ASHI SOP for home inspections, but it covers a different scope.
I'm guessing that most other home inspectors who conduct pre-drywall inspections follow this standard, but not all home inspectors conduct these types of inspections. Not even here at Structure Tech... including me.
Per the ASHI Pre-Drywall Inspection SOP, this inspection should take place after the following components have been installed:
A. Foundation components,
B. Floor, wall, and roof structural components,
C. Plumbing, electrical, and rough-in components,
D. Windows and exterior doors.
It goes without saying that this should happen before the drywall is installed, right? These inspections typically take about 60 - 90 minutes to conduct, and they're priced accordingly.
The final inspection is really a standard home inspection, but I call it a 'final' inspection in this context to make it clear that it should be done after the home has been completely built. If the builder is running behind on schedule, the home inspection should be re-scheduled. A home inspection conducted too soon in the building process will leave the buyer with a huge punch-list of incomplete stuff. Once that's all done, who checks it? Do you hire the home inspector to go out again? No, just have the home inspection done when everything is complete.
The photo below shows a home that was almost completed. The overhead doors still had to be installed, but just about everything else was done.
If you had to choose only one type of inspection, it should be the final inspection. This is the most important one.
One-year warranty inspection
A one-year warranty inspection, aka 11-month warranty inspection, is also a standard home inspection with a different name. The difference between a one-year warranty inspection and a final inspection is timing. One-year warranty inspections should be conducted before the builder's one-year warranty is up. Here in Minnesota, Statute 327A.02 says that home buyers get a one-year warranty on their home that covers "defects caused by faulty workmanship and defective materials due to noncompliance with building standards."
The vast majority of our one-year warranty inspection clients are people who bought new construction homes without an inspection and later regretted it. They've had way more problems with their new home than they had bargained for, and they want to know what else is going on. Once we conduct this inspection and the builder comes out to fix stuff, a lot of neighbors take note of the additional work, ask questions, and then schedule us for their home. One inspection can quickly turn into several inspections in these new developments.
I blogged about the importance of these types of inspections last week: New construction inspection: trust, but verify.
If you're having a new home built, get a pre-drywall inspection and a final inspection. If you're buying a new home that has already been built, get a home inspection. If you've already purchased a new home but you skipped the inspection, schedule a one-year warranty inspection before your warranty expires.
For information about what we find during new construction inspections, please visit our New Construction Inspections page. This is a new page on our website, and I've added links to all of my past blog posts on new-construction inspections there.