Should I get a home inspection on a newly constructed home?

The short answer is, yes.

All homes, weather 100 years old to a new construction will have issues.  Some small, some obvious and then some not so obvious or even major.  With new construction you typically get a 1 year builder warranty.  This should cover issues like mechanical failures and workmanship type flaws.  For example sticky doors or cracked plaster.

Most people think because it’s new, it’s perfect.  Which is not true.  New building products can have issues, a builder or project manager that does not do a good job overseeing the project, trying to cut corners and/or a lack of quality control can raise some issues.  Yes the home is supposed to be inspected by a UDC Inspector (Code enforcement inspector usually works for the municipality the home is being built in).  His or her job is to ensure the home is “build to code”.  Codes are the bare minimum standards in which a home can be built.   Let’s state that again, codes are the bare minimum standards.  Most people think codes are a high standard that builders need to abide by.   So, when a home is inspected by a UDC municipality inspector he is checking for code compliance and not necessarily for quality.  For example, a framed 2×6 wall requires a certain amount of fasteners and plywood positioned and secured a certain way, but he is not checking to see if the wall is level, bowed or even out of square.

On new construction homes, we generally will help come up with a “punch list”.  Which is a list for the builder to finish or repair before you move in.   Most of the time it’s aesthetic items, like chipped paint, scuffs on doors and floors, adjusting cabinet doors, etc.   However, we have found leakage from plumbing pipes and vent piping.  Insulation blown out from wind at the edges of attics, Improper bonding wires for electrical and foundations walls severely cracked or deflected.

A new construction home we recently inspected had a foundation wall leaning inward 1.5 inches that a UDC inspector did not flag.  Code just states the wall must have reinforcement top and bottom and must be 8″ thick on a 16″ footing, but does not have a “measurement” for plumb.   This is unacceptable in the terms of a foundation standard (not code) and must be evaluated and most likely repaired.  Foundations leaning in 1.5-2 inches are usually excavated, straightened and braced.  You can see how the cost can rise dramatically.   And just when you thought your new construction was in perfect condition.

You should have faith in your builder, a good relationship and some trust, if not, even more reason to have a newly built home inspected.  Here is an example of another home we inspected which was poorly managed by the builder.  The builder was not aware (he may not have known, but we did find out he was not onsite very often –so, what else went on?) that the workers where flushing paper toweling down the toilets.  Four days after the clients moved in, they had sewage back up into the basement from the floor drain and shower drain.  The paper toweling clogged up on the palmer valve (This protects sewage from the street side backing up into the basement) and created blockage.  With the new water saving toilets, there was not enough water to push them through.  To make matters worse, the concrete guys did not leave an access in the concrete floor to access for the valve cover to clean it out.  The builder was not overseeing his workers properly.  This is a builder that builds a few homes yearly in the area.  Buyer beware!

In summary, you never know.  By having your home inspected by an outside third party company, it will give you an independent proper evaluation of your newly constructed home.