New Home Inspections

What is a new home inspection, and why do you need one?

Let’s take a moment and talk about what a new home inspection is and why it’s so important to have your new home inspected.

Your builder may refer to these inspections as “phase inspection,” “pre-drywall inspection, or “framing inspection.” These terms mean that multiple checks are performed at different intervals of the construction process.

New home construction is complicated. Builders must deal with environmental conditions, supply chain issues, and multiple contractors working on the same project, many with different skill sets. In addition to having numerous contractors often time, those contractors do not communicate with one another. For example, the electrician doesn’t know what the heating and air conditioning contractor is doing.

All of these factors add to the organized chaos that is new home construction. Defects can and will go unnoticed. Let’s not forget your project manager is likely in charge of constructing several new homes simultaneously as someone who has built new custom homes for a living; managing one new home is a monumental task, not to mention trying to manage multiple homes simultaneously. 

Your New Construction Home Can Hide Secrets!

Early in my career, before I started in new home construction, I was a remodeling contractor and did a lot of work in Montgomery County, Maryland.

One day while remodeling a house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, I had removed some plaster from a staircase wall and noticed some newspapers stuffed inside. 

Curious to see the old news articles and the dates of the newspapers, I reached inside the wall, and what I saw next was a comic book hiding behind them. It was a Superman No.9 comic book in surprisingly good condition!

As I sat on the steps thumbing through the old comic book, I couldn’t help but wonder who left it behind. Was it a skilled carpenter, a young helper, or maybe the electrician?

While I’ll never know the answer to that question, one fact is clear, That wall held its secret for over 50 years!

Moral of the story… Don’t let your new home hide secrets.

New Home Inspection And The Superman No.9 Comic Book
The Day We Found Superman

New Construction Home Inspection Faqs You Need to Know

New home inspection Faq #1

Most new home builders don’t want you to have an independent home inspection.

We like to take an optimistic view instead of assuming all builders are trying to hide poor-quality work.

We believe the number one reason behind that question is simply timing. Most new home builders are on a tight production schedule. Unfortunately, that production schedule is often set by upper management that may not be aware of conditions on your new home site. This can and does create conflicts and harm the quality of work on your new home. A pre-drywall inspection can catch defects early so they are easily fixed before installing drywall.

New home inspection Faq #2

The city, county, or state municipal inspectors inspecting your new home are typically on-site for less than 15 minutes!

You heard that right! Local inspectors inspecting 15, 20, or 30 homes daily don’t have time to check the home for more than a few minutes during the phase inspections. Not only is the municipal inspector only on site for a few minutes, but you may also not have the same inspector throughout the inspection process. 

If you hire us to perform your inspections, the same inspector will always inspect your home.

New home inspection Faq #3

As mentioned above, the city, county, or state municipal inspector assigned to inspect your new home will likely be a different person each time they visit your home. 

Important information about previous inspection defects is not typically relayed between inspectors, which can harm the inspection process. In addition, when a municipal inspector returns to the property to inspect something that previously failed, they rarely look beyond the previous defect. They are singularly focused on one or two prior defects and look no further. 

We are not suggesting that municipal inspectors do a terrible job. The sheer volume of inspections they must complete daily is the driving force here, incompetency.

New home inspection Faq #4

You need a paper trail to document repairs the builder makes based on you new construction home inspection report.

You should insist on written communication from your builder. We repeatedly hear clients say, “the project manager said…” Unfortunately for the client, that project manager may no longer manage your home site.

Also, considering you will likely be getting a new home warranty, you may need written documentation if you ever file a warranty claim. This is extremely important regarding structural issues; we will discuss that in #5.

If you hire us to perform your new construction inspection, you will receive a full written report with narratives and pictures outlining each issue. In your new construction home inspection report, we advise that you, the client, insist on answers in writing from the builder for future reffrence. 

New home inspection Faq #5

New construction home warranty companies require defects discovered during construction to be fully documented by the builder.

As a former custom home builder that provided clients with new home warranties, Kelly is well aware of the builder’s requirements.

Warranty companies like 2-10 Home Warranty require builders to report issues that are found during the home building prosses. Failure to report structural defects to a warranty company could result in delayed or denied warranty claims.

By hiring us to perform your new construction home inspection, all noticeable defects will be in writing, and the builder will be responsible for conveying that information to the warranty company.

When To Schedule A New Home Inspection?

A common question that clients ask us is when we should schedule the inspection.

New Home Construction Inspection – Pre-Drywall Inspection

The term pre-drywall inspection is commonly used to describe one phase of new construction.  It means that the home inspection will occur before the wallboard/drywall installation.

Typically, pre-drywall inspections occur after the home is in the dry-in stage of construction.  That means that roof, exterior walls, windows, and doors have been installed; essentially, the house is weatherproof.  Additionally, all systems, such as heating, air conditioning, electrical, fire sprinklers, etc., should be completed and ready for inspection.

It is important to remember that this inspection should occur before installing insulation.  This will allow the inspector to see the exterior wall framing, exterior sheathing, electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation, air seal, and fire stopping.

All of these systems are crucial and need to be inspected.

New Home Construction Inspection – Foundation Inspection

The term commonly used for this phase of the inspection is Pre-Backfill inspection.  This inspection takes place after the home’s foundation is complete but before the dirt, also called backfill, is filled into the hole around the house.

The inspector will check the foundation for defects.  The depth of the foundation, any waterproofing installed at the exterior walls of the foundation, and the foundation drainage system. 

New Home Construction Inspection – Final New Home Inspection

This inspection occurs just before occupancy when the home is completely finished and ready to move in.  Essentially this is a complete home inspection, and the entire structure is inspected, including the operation of all systems and appliances. 

We would love to work with you

We hope this page has been informative. If you would like more details on how the new home inspection process works, feel free to call and we would be happy to discuss your new construction project with you.

Performing Home Inspections Throughout Central Maryland

Maryland, Annapolis, Arbutus, Arnold, Baltimore City, Bel Air Beltsville, Brooklyn Park, Catonsville, Centerville, Chester, Clarksville, Clinton, College Park, Columbia, Crofton, Damascus, Dundalk, Dunkirk, Edgewater, Edgewood, Eldersburg, Elkridge, Ellicott City, Essex, Ferndale, Frederick, Fulton, Gaithersburg, Gambrills, Germantown, Glen Burnie, Highland, Hyattsville, Laurel, Linganore, Linthicum, Lusby, Montgomery Village, Mt. Airy, New Windsor, Olney, Owings Mills, Pasadena, Pikesville, Poolesville, Prince Frederick, Queenstown, Randallstown, Reisterstown, Rosedale, Severn, Severna Park, Silver Spring, Stevensville, Suitland, Sykesville, Towson, Upper Marlboro, Urbana, Waldorf, Westminster