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Step 8b: Home Building Inspection

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Project Inspections

There are two mandatory inspection teams that will visit
your site during the course of the construction project.

  1. County and Local Inspectors

    • all construction will need to pass certain building codes before you will be assigned a certificate of occupancy. We discussed these building codes in step 3.

    • county officials will send inspectors to review the work and certify the work.

    • county inspectors work in your favor ensuring that the work is done properly — so ask questions if needed

    • if the work fails inspection, the work will need to be corrected and a follow up inspection will take place usually at an additional re-inspection fee

    • inspections will usually occur at the end of each major construction phase: concrete footings, foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC installation, etc.

    • there is usually a final inspection before issuing the certificate of occupancy

    • find out with the county or your builder when these inspections will take place — you will want to be present

    • sub-contractors will generally arrange their own inspections — find out when

    • note that county inspections DO NOT check for quality — they only inspect to see if the work meets building codes


      Information about building codes:
      http://www.b4ubuild.com/links/codes.shtml

      Building codes:
      http://www.codecheck.com/

      Lookup county and city governments for building code information:
      http://www.statelocalgov.net


  2. Financial Institution Inspections

    • the full financing needed to complete the project is not placed into the account when you open your construction line

    • only portions of the total funds will be released to pay for a construction phase that was approved in the construction plan submitted at the time of your account approval

    • your lender will generally make inspections at end of each construction phase to see if the money is being used as intended, for the projects that were scheduled, and at the amount that was approved in the construction plan.

    • as each phase is completed and passed inspection, the lender will release another portion of the funds to pay for the next construction phase

    • bank inspectors are not construction inspectors — they come to view the completion of work, take some pictures, and confirm that the funds were properly used

    • bank inspectors DO NOT check for quality or whether the project has been done right

Construction Inspection

Having your home construction thoroughly inspected by an independent inspector prior to making payment ensures your satisfaction

  • The sub-contractor is under contract to deliver the foundation, framing, plumbing, heating, electrical, etc. as specified in the construction contract.

  • The question for you is whether the work has been done properly. You may never know until after you paid the contractor.

  • Understand this rule: he that holds the money dictates the terms.

    Never pay a contractor until you have inspected the work to contract specifications. Once that money leaves your hand, you lessen your negotiating power with the sub-contractor.

  • Note: the sub-contractor is required to deliver a product as specified in the construction contract. Just because you don't like the "color" for example, gives you the right to withhold payment.

    It is important that you discuss the construction plan with the sub-contractor prior to services delivered. Avoid any misunderstandings or surprises.

  • County inspectors will check the sub-contractor work as it relates to building codes, not quality of workmanship. Likewise, the lender will inspect for visual completion. Neither of these inspections will review the work for quality workmanship.

  • You need to hire an independent inspector to review the work. These inspectors will check the quality of the work and determine whether the work has been completed as specified and agreed to in the construction plan and contract.

  • Any work that fails inspection must be written up by the inspector. The inspector must state reasons for failure as it relates to the construction plan and contract.

  • This inspection report will be used to negotiate re-work.

  • For more information on construction inspection:
    http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos004.htm

Finding / Working with Your Inspector

  • SayPlanning has partnered with ServiceMagic to bring you the nation's premier network of "customer-rated" home construction inspectors.

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or use the local yellow pages to search:
home inspectors


Other Places to Look:

  • Ask your builder, county officials, real estate agent, attorney or lender to recommend a good construction inspector. Look for inspectors who are members of professional affiliations such as the Association of Construction Inspectors.

    The ACI sets the standards for construction inspections and requires its members to abide by a code of ethics and standards.

    Associations of Construction Inspectors:
    http://www.iami.org/
  • Most inspecting companies will have Specification Inspectors, individuals who are specialized in a particular phase of the inspection. It is unlikely that you will work with the same inspector throughout all phases of the construction project.

  • The cost for the inspection will vary by region and the size of the construction. You should accompany the inspector to ask questions and describe the work as it relates to the construction plan.

  • Provide the inspector (or inspection company) a copy of the construction plan. Discuss with them your vision of the house.

  • The Inspection will assess the quality and condition of the following construction phases:
The Roof, Attic and Related Features:

roofing type and materials, flashing and joint material, insulation, gutters and down spouts, ventilation, skylights, vents, turbines or fans, chimney, any leakage.
The Plumbing System:

supply lines and pipes, water pressure and drainage flow, fixtures and faucets, hot water heater, tubs, sinks, toilets, showers, whirlpool, laundry appliances, waste disposal.
HVAC/Fireplace:

heating type and condition, furnace, heat pump, duck work, registers and grills, fireplace flues.
The Electrical System:

exterior service and meters, fuse and breaker panels, capacity, grounding, wiring, switches and outlets, electrical fixtures, any potential hazards.
Air Conditioning:

equipment type, ductwork, filters.
Kitchen Appliances:

dishwasher, range burners, oven elements, grills, vents, microwave, garbage disposal, trash compactor.
Foundation and Exterior Structures:

foundation type and construction, settlement, water penetration, exterior walls, potential termite or rot damage, windows, doors, porches, garage, decks, swimming pools and pumps.
Yard:

unstable soil, drainage, fences, grading, retaining walls, payments and driveways.

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