Building a new home can be one of the most exciting
and one of the most frustrating experiences a homeowner may ever have. Homes are built by people, some with little construction
experience, often with language barriers, and lets face it we all make mistakes.
Consumer Reports ran an article in 2004 stating that 15% of new homes constructed have serious structural defects.
Local governments have code enforcement officers that
monitor new homes while they are being built. Unfortunately, the code enforcement offices in the area are often overworked,
underfunded, and understaffed. The Charlotte Observer ran a series of articles recently and stated that the
typical local code enforcement officer average 40+ inspections per day (that amounts to less than 10 minutes per inspection).
Unfortunately, this does not allow them enough time to give each home the careful review it needs.
As a private home inspector, I cannot force the builder
to make my recommended repairs, nor can I replace a code enforcement officer. I do look for code violations,
but point out the reason(s) why the code was written (safety, fire hazard, structural integrity, manufacturer’s requirement,
etc.). In addition, I often find non-code related issues that are important to most homeowners such as: mold; pinched
HVAC ductwork; excessively bent plumbing supply lines that can separate under pressure; cut, altered, or damaged trusses;
cut or cracked joists and girders; missing columns and piers; cracked slabs, holes in slabs, the list goes on.
Many home inspectors will perform under construction
phase inspections. Properly inspecting homes under construction is quite different than inspecting a completed home
because the entire structure is visible and the focus is on structural issues. Some structural issues are easy
to identify, others are not. If the home inspector is not also a qualified
licensed general contractor, licensed professional engineer, and/or worked in the residential construction industry for several
years they may not recognize what may be a serious structural deficiency. It
is not unusual for the builder’s site manager or project manager to not have a general contractor or residential builder’s
license and rely on their sub contractors to make the home structurally sound. Clicking
on the sample under construction home inspection link below will allow you to view a sample of an actual Inspector Paul under
construction home inspection report.