Wednesday, March 28, 2007

New Home Inspections

Some buyers think that a city building inspection is all you need for a new home. In a perfect world all codes and best practices would be followed & there would be no need for independent inspections. In my 25 years of building fine homes, municipal inspectors rarely look at many of the most significant items in the home. How could they when most spend no more than 10 minutes onsite!

General contractors will often cut corners knowing that municipal inspections are rarely complete, and push their subcontractors to get it done as fast as possible. This is especially true in large developments where workers jump from site to site, missing the critical details, or taking the time to alert others of problems they find.

The following pictures were all items found in a brand new home we inspected before the owner took possession. This had passed all its municipal inspections, but clearly the building inspector didn't check any of these problems.

During this inspection we noted low air flow to the heat registers.

Disconnected duct work

This is the main heating duct for the entire home. This was blowing precious warm air into the crawlspace. I doubt that heating contractor left this duct work in this condition. Surely he was not the last worker in this space. This buyer was glad we caught it, his gas bill would have been astronomical trying to heat the home by warming the crawlspace.

Incomplete Insulation

In this picture, not only is the plumbing not insulated, there is exposed sub floor. We see this kind of problem all too often. Workmanship is everything when it comes to installing insulation, and we check all visible areas to assure it is properly installed.

Incomplete Vapor Barrier and Wood Debris

Vapor barriers (plastic sheeting) are critical to moisture control in the crawl space. During this inspection we noticed saturated, heavy clay soil. Water does not percolate like it does in sandy soil. In this crawlspace, all of the soil was damp. The lack of a complete vapor barrier and left over wood construction debris are conducive conditions for structural pests,( ie. beetles, ants or termites.) Removing wood debris and proper vapor barriers are simple inexpensive steps, yet crucial to preserve the integrity of