4 - Phase New Home Construction (Progress) Inspections
New Home Inspections – Are They Really A Necessary?
That all depends if Congratulations or Condolences are in order!
A new home may prove to be the biggest and most expensive investment of your lifetime. Being new, one might feel comfortable in assuming that their new home will be better than many existing properties due to the fact that it will be brand new. This assumption often proves wrong as many new home buyers find that their "Dream Home" turns out to be a "House of Horrors".
Home buyers often discover the stress and frustration associated with new home construction is more than they bargained for. Unsuccessful discussions with builders often lead to new home buyers throwing their arms up in disgust and total frustration and adoption of the attitude that they will simply have to accept the quality of construction that their builder delivers. This should not be the case!
Many builders are not interested in hearing complaints that their clients voice with the respect to the construction process. They feel that their clients are not versed in construction practices nor building codes and therefore "unqualified" to comment on the process. Many new home purchasers while extremely diligent with visiting their new home site are not always aware of the severity of their concerns nor are they trained in defect recognition so many items that should be of concern, are often missed or overlooked. This is why you need professional assistance. The services of a good real estate specialty lawyer and a professional home inspector, may save you money in the long run. According to a top real estate lawyer, one of the best ways to ensure that your home is built according to plans is the have a copy of the building plans registered with your purchase and sale agreement.
A professional home inspector will act as a watchdog over your new home construction. They are specifically trained in defect recognition and will be able to provide you with detailed information as to any deficiencies they find in order that you may converse with your builder with a certain amount of credibility. Having a "qualified" home inspector guiding you will also send a clear message to your builder that you mean business and are not willing to accept substandard quality.
Any builder who flatly refuses to let a home inspector accompany a client during their pre-delivery inspection should perhaps raise red flags in the clients mind. What (if anything) is this builder trying to hide? Remember that the builder or builder's representative are not likely to disclose to you any errors or oversights with your home's construction during your pre-delivery inspection. Our best advice to clients is unless you are willing to live with major deficiencies found in a pre-delivery inspection (PDI) – don't close until the builder addresses them to your satisfaction. Any home covered by the Tarion Warranty entitles the homebuyers to bring a home inspector with them to the Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI). Speak with a qualified lawyer and they will tell you the same thing.
WHAT WE CAN DO FOR OUR CLIENTS
Home Inspectors® is prepared to oversee the construction process of your new home for the four distinct phases of construction. We will do our best to advise you if the quality of home construction that you paid for, isn't what you are actually receiving from your builder. We will advise you of our findings after each visitation by telephone, facsimile or E-mail. Interim reporting will advise clients of any major areas of concern (structural issues, missing components, poor quality craftsmanship et…). We will also edit or correct any written correspondence drafts to builders that you would like us to review (within reason). We will monitor the progress of any corrections or alterations requested of the builder. Generally our complete service involves 6-8 site visitations.
Clients may also engage in our photographic services to provide them with records of our findings. Should a dispute with a builder involve legal intervention, we will be pleased to represent you in court as an expert witness (Court representation while available, is at an additional hourly rate for service). Any specifically detailed reporting requested by solicitors will be provided and charged at our hourly rate for service.
WHAT WE CAN NOT DO FOR OUR CLIENTS
Our clients hire our services and we have their interests at heart. We report and are accountable to them alone. We are not in any way associated with any homebuilders, real estate firms or sales agents. We have a strict code of ethics and standards of practice with our professional association that we must follow. We will not deal with builders directly under any circumstances. We offer to provide our clients with any written material or information required (Photographic evidence or code references etc.…) to state their case clearly.
Home Inspectors® will not be held responsible for a builder not responding to any client's request. We also will not be held responsible for ensuring that the builder carries out any suggestions for corrections or alterations to the building. In many cases legal intervention may be required in order to get a builders approval and action of changes, corrections, alterations or repairs. Should a builder comply with our clients request's for alterations or repairs, we will inspect them for quality and correctness whenever possible. While Home Inspectors® will endeavour to assist any solicitor representing a mutual client, depending on the request, an additional fee may be applicable.
It is the client's responsibility to advise Home Inspectors® when their property is ready for the next stage of an inspection. Clients must realize that our office is very busy at times and the scheduling of interim inspections on short notice will be scheduled at the earliest time slot available. Client presence will be requested and necessary during the Phase 1 and Phase 4 inspections. All other inspections are scheduled (upon client notification) at the inspector's discretion and do not require notification or time approval from the client. While efforts may be made at a client's special request for them to be present during interim inspections, it is not implied nor guaranteed as this is often difficult to schedule and may involve extremely short notice.
The 4 Phases of New Home Construction
The initial inspection is generally completed with the client present in order to explain the process; it's scope and limitations. A thorough inspection of the excavation, footings, foundation, weeping tile and damp-proofing membrane is completed and findings reported to the client on site.
Once directed by the client to proceed, an inspection is completed of the framing of exterior and interior walls, floors, rafters and sheathing and roofing of the home. Findings are reported to the client either by telephone, fax or E-mail.
Once directed by the client to proceed, an inspection is completed of the roughed-in plumbing, electrical, prewire, mechanical systems, insulation and vapour barrier of the home. Findings are reported to the client either by telephone, fax or E-mail.
Once scheduled by the client, this is generally a (PDI) pre-delivery inspection with the client, our home inspector Mr. Wilson and the builder representative all being present. This is a thorough inspection of the finished home and generally takes a couple of hours. A full written report in is provided to the client at the end of the inspection process. One copy for the client and their solicitor and we keep a copy on file at our office.
While our 4 Phase inspection allows for 4 actual site visitations, additional site visitations may be made at our inspectors discretion to check on the progress of a property when and if time allows. While we do not charge for this service, an additional fee may apply for special requests by clients for nonscheduled site visitations.
A few words from the wise, remember we've seen and heard it all before…
Try to establish a solid working rapport with your Site Supervisor. This is the individual who is really in charge of your home's construction process. Being able to work amicably with your Site Super. and Home Inspector will facilitate matters.
Make certain that you have a good lawyer who is well experienced in real estate deals, especially in dealing with new homebuilders. Lawyers are just like doctors, they often have areas of specialty. Just as you wouldn't trust your family doctor to perform heart surgery, your family lawyer, may not necessarily be your best choice for handling your new homes construction process. You need a lawyer who fully understands all the current "Ins and Outs" of real estate law, contracts and how to "play hardball" with a builder, when and if, necessary. You may also want to ask your lawyer about registering a copy of your home's building plans with your purchase and sale agreement.
Be prepared to document everything from Day 1. In the event you ever had to go to court about anything with your new home, the better your records, the stronger your case. Record all telephone conversations, meetings, correspondence, times of visitations and with whom, repairs -when, what and by whom. Everything that pertains to your home from the day of purchase until the end of your first year (unless longer is required). Homeowners who have done this are the ones who get results because they have an accurate record of everything about their new home. If you do have to go to court, your lawyers job proving your case,should be a whole lot easier and hopefully a bit less expensive.
New home construction is truly a labour of love and you will have to endure many aggravations and frustrations during the process. We have no allegiance to any builder, we're there to assist you and point out if you are not getting the quality of construction that you have paid for.
You may have to involve a lawyer during the building process to get your point across with your builder.
Chances are that you may not meet your original closing date, be prepared for alternate accommodation and delayed moving plans.
DO NOT be pressured by a builder to move into a home that is not ready for occupancy (interior is not yet finished or fixtures and finishes that are missing) even if it is your closing date - consult with your solicitor as to your options. Have your solicitor ensure that a final occupancy permit has been issued for your property – this might affect your insurance coverage if one has not yet been issued.
And remember…you may not want to accept anything substandard or incomplete on closing unless you are willing to live with it in the future. There is a good chance that your repairs or corrections may be severely delayed or may never happen once you hand over the money to the builder on closing. We have numerous clients that did not heed our advice and wished they had!
New Home ownership isn't always a smooth and easy ride. It is often full of headaches and heartbreaks. As a consumer, you will need to do your homework to make the journey to that "dream home" a bit smoother for all.