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Common Questions about New Construction Inspections

Newly constructed homes are attractive to potential buyers because without previous residents, it seems less likely that a new home will have problems. But, newly constructed homes can also have structural and mechanical issues that you should be aware of, which is why new builds need inspections, too. Some newer homes are built with speed, rather than quality, in mind, which can lead to costly repairs down the road. Here are some reasons why new construction homes also need inspections.

Why get an inspection for a new home?

You should get an inspection for a new home, just as you would a previously-owned home because sometimes builders make mistakes, and you need to be aware of these problems before moving in. An inspection for a new home may reveal hidden issues that should be addressed with repairs or maintenance before you start living there. 

How many inspections does a new home need?

A newly built home can have up to three inspections before residents move in. The first is called a foundation inspection, which happens before concrete is poured for the foundation. This inspection looks at how the ground has been excavated and graded, and identifies any issues with the anchors and footing. 

A second inspection happens before the walls and sheetrock are put up. This framing inspection checks that beams, posts, and studs are installed correctly, along with wiring, window flashings, and plumbing. 

The third and final inspection happens once the home is complete, and as a typical inspection it includes assessments of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, foundation, walls, floors, windows, and roof. This inspection gives an objective, unbiased assessment of the new home’s overall condition. After each inspection the builder has an opportunity to fix any issues. 

What happens after a new home inspection?

If an inspector notices issues during the foundation or framing inspection, the builder has an opportunity to fix them. The builder can re-grade soil, adjust frames, or re-wire electric systems before the next steps in the building process. After the third and final inspection, the inspector can still recommend repairs to ensure the home is safe and completed according to code and building standards. In many cases, newly built homes have a warranty that covers the cost of repairs made by the builder. 

What does an inspector look for in a new home?

During the third and final inspection, a home inspector treats the new home similar to a pre-owned home. Here are some common items an inspector will examine:

  • HVAC: Dust and debris leftover from construction is a common issue in new homes, and the HVAC system should be checked for obstructions. 
  • Electrical: If a new home was built quickly, and the wiring or electrical systems were installed poorly, an inspector will point out issues to be repaired.
  • Foundation and structural problems: Watch for cracks more than 1/8th of an inch wide because they can indicate the foundation has been bent.
  • Windows and doors: During a fast build, it’s likely that doors and windows could have been hastily and incorrectly installed.
  • Flooring: Poorly installed floors can buckle or warp, and heavy appliances being dragged across new floors can cause scratches.
  • Walls and nail pops: When new homes settle and walls complete the drying process, it’s possible that the heads of some nails may stick out from the drywall.
  • Siding: A hasty vinyl siding installation can lead to warping and buckling.
  • Plumbing: Sometimes it’s possible that pipes get clogged with construction site debris, and running toilets and blocked drains are common issues in new homes.
  • Grading and drainage: When a new home’s lot is not properly graded, water can run toward the house, rather than away, and cause flooding issues.

If you’re in the market for a newly built home, contact South Sound Inspections to learn more about inspections for new construction.

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