Presentation on theme: "New Construction Home Inspections Nathan L. Buckley Buckleys Inspection Services, Inc. A.I.I. Certified Master Inspector Presented by: P.O. Box 222, Midland,"— Presentation transcript:
New Construction Home Inspections Nathan L. Buckley Buckleys Inspection Services, Inc. A.I.I. Certified Master Inspector Presented by: P.O. Box 222, Midland, OR Phone: , Toll-Free: Copyright 2007, Buckleys Inspection Services, Inc.
A brand new home doesnt need an inspection…
…OR DOES IT?
Each photo in this presentation is from actual new construction inspections we have performed in Klamath County, Oregon. Some inspections were performed prior to the homes being occupied by their owners. Other inspections were performed as eleventh month inspections, after the owners had taken possession and occupancy of the homes but prior to the end of the first year.
This photo shows two missing cripple wall studs. The floor was already sagging and the house was less than 3 months old! The house had also never been occupied!
This is another house where some studs have been removed from several of the cripple walls in the crawl space. Again, this will allow the floor to sag in these areas over time.
Several pony wall studs were removed to allow installation of crawl space vents. Obviously, these studs should have been replaced adjacent to their intended positions, or a different style of vent should have been installed that would have fit into the space without needing to modify the framing.
There was an approximately 4 round depression in the subfloor that had been carpeted over and was not visible from inside the house. The hole could only be felt from the inside if you stepped in the exact spot.
This photo is from a brand-new home that had never been occupied. The cripple wall stud had been removed and had not been re-installed.
This photo is of the same home, from a different angle, at the first re-inspection. The stud had been removed from the crawl space but still was not installed into the cripple wall.
This is a new photo of the same home at the second re- inspection. The wall is still missing the stud! We were told that after each visit to the property, the builder was supplied with a copy of each report noting our findings.
Upon the third re-inspection the framing was finally made correct; that was our fourth trip to the property! Luckily, however, such an extreme example is out of the ordinary. Of course, it is only reasonable to expect that proper construction techniques would be used throughout all phases of building. However, framing is particularly important as that is a major determining factor in how durable the home will be throughout its life. If framing errors are not noted and corrected, the home will eventually be prone to sagging in the floor above the area where the framing is missing.
HEATING, VENTILATION & AIR CONDITIONING (HVAC)
Although the specific type of flexible gas line entering the furnace cabinet in this specific scenario is an approved material, it will wear through much faster than solid pipe.
Can you see the wear mark developing already? This photo was taken in a never-occupied home although the furnace had been running some as it was early spring.
This photo shows improper drip leg installation on the gas line. The drip leg should be between the flexible gas line and the appliance.
You can see the soot on this gas fireplace vent hood. It was caused by operating a natural gas fireplace on propane fuel. The gas fireplace had to be replaced and the home had not yet been occupied!
There are many HVAC items that are part of the inspection process but are difficult to illustrate with a photo. A few examples are: Low air flow at registers in some rooms The heating unit too small or too large for dwelling Cosmetic damage to gas fireplaces & inserts Fans not working on gas fireplaces & inserts
This photo shows a plumbing leak inside a finished wall. Notice the staining on the lumber. This view is looking at the foundation and bottom of the floor framing. The leak was only visible from inside the crawl space.
This photo shows that the master tub drain was never installed. Any water from the tub was draining from the tub right into the crawl space.
This is a different house than the previous slide, however it has a similar defect. The plumbing drain line for the shower in the master bathroom had never been connected.
During the inspection, the homeowner stated that the plumbing to the kitchen sink had frozen four times since she moved in. A small section of the foundation had been removed to allow installation of the plumbing for the kitchen sink which created a small gap between the foundation and the framing. Cold air was entering the crawl space and appeared to be the cause of the freezing pipes.
There are many plumbing items that are part of the inspection process but are difficult to illustrate with a photo. A few examples are: Hot water lines plumbed to toilets Poor water pressure Shower fixtures that do not operate Hot & Cold water lines reversed at sinks & tubs
This is a live electric wire on the ground in the crawl space. The home had originally been wired for a floor outlet that was never installed. Clearly this is a shock hazard to an unsuspecting person entering the crawl space
We typically find fewer issues with the electrical system than with the other systems in the house. This is likely because the training and licensing is more stringent, making it more difficult to become a licensed electrician than to work in the other trades.
This granite countertop sits more than 1 inch above the stovetop despite having the legs on the stove already adjusted up all the way. The buyer had paid extra for the granite countertop upgrade offered by the builder.
There are many interior items that are part of the inspection process but are difficult to illustrate with a photo. A few examples are: Bowed walls from using poor quality studs Sagging floors in homes built during the winter when the OSB sub-floor was exposed to wet weather for an extended period. Paint defects Missing sections of trim Stain grade doors and trim not clear coated
ATTIC & CRAWL SPACE
This home has no attic insulation. R-38 (approx. 15 inches) of insulation is the minimum standard. Most homeowners rarely go in their attics; how many years would this have gone unnoticed? How many heating dollars would have been wasted?
This slide shows an incomplete vapor barrier & wood debris in the crawl space, which you might recognize as reportable pest & dry rot inspection issues. Additionally, although the amount of crawl space ventilation did meet minimum standards (code), it was not adequate for this home built near the lake. See the next slide.
The incomplete vapor barrier and lack of ventilation mentioned in the previous slide has contributed to the mold-like growth on the pony wall sheathing and rim joist in this crawl space. This home was less than three years old at the time of inspection.
A damaged crawl space vent screen. This house was less than 6 months old and raccoons were already living in the crawl space! We were told that it cost over $3,000 to repair the damage to the insulation and to remediate the urine and feces odors.
In this photo, there is no kick-out flashing at the roof-to- wall connection. Without the flashing, water is allowed to drain behind the siding. This scenario is from a new home that had been lived in for about one year.
This is a closer view of the previous photo. It is easier to see how snow and rain can drain behind the siding and get trapped inside the wall cavity. Just think of the cumulative effects of this happening every time there is water on the roof.
The siding is showing an elevated moisture level. The moisture meter is reading 77. Typical readings are approximately To clarify, these percentages do not indicate the percentage of moisture present but rather a comparison of one area to another.
When should the home be inspected?
Benefits of inspecting prior to closing: The builder is typically more willing to fix items promptly to accommodate a timely closing. Sometimes buyers live out of the area and plan to use the home as a vacation home or to only relocate after the home is completed. These clients may not be able to be as hands-on involved in the process and to comprehensively complete their own assessment prior to closing as they would otherwise do if they lived closer and these clients need a professional inspector to protect their interests. The average client has a perception of everything being perfect with a new home. Even buyers who live do live locally can benefit from a professional inspection that can identify possible deficiencies that would otherwise go uncorrected. The buyer has a chance to re-negotiate or back out if significant defects are found. It reduces the inconveniences of having contractors in the home after the buyers have taken possession and moved in.
Benefits of an 11 th month inspection: The owner has had a chance to live in the home for a few months and will have had time to discover random oddities about the home that may not have been readily apparent previously. They can point out and discuss these items with the inspector. An inspection prior to the close of the first year is an independent assessment and written report that the owner can use to document their concerns and work with the builder to correct the defective items prior to the expiration of that period. Under Oregon law the builder must warranty the for one year. We certainly hope no one would have to go to these lengths; however in the event that the owner is unable to satisfactorily resolve their concerns with the builder, a professional inspection report can be a valuable piece of information to present to an arbitrator or court.
New construction inspections can be a very useful tool for the client. Many builders in our area are known for their quality work; our new construction inspections are in no way intended to discredit any particular builders or the industry as a whole. Regardless of whether we are inspecting a brand new home or a previously occupied home, it is never our intent to nit-pick but it is our responsibility to identify and bring attention to deficiencies or items in need of repair.
If buyers of a new home do not have an inspection sometime in the first year when they can work with the builder, many of these issues would go otherwise unnoticed for several years most likely until the home would be put up for sale. A potential buyer might have an inspection at that time and the seller would expect that the inspection would be just fine because the home is so new. Imagine everyones surprise to find some of these issues that may add up to a few thousand dollars and could have been remedied with the builder if they had been identified in the first year. Think of some issues, such as moisture intrusion, that could become more serious and costly over time. The owner will likely end up paying for the repairs.
We truly feel that by choosing to have a new construction inspection either prior to closing or prior to the end of the first year of ownership, clients can have a feeling of greater satisfaction with their purchase and can enjoy their home for many years. It is not expensive. We have yet to perform a new construction inspection when the cost of the defects identified did not exceed the cost of our services. We strongly recommend new construction inspections when clients are considering the purchase of a new home.