New Home Construction

Building a new home represents a sizable, long-term investment. Building a house can be  exhilarating – the smell of freshly cut wood, the sounds of construction. The transformation of a site from a big hole in the ground and piles of materials to a finished home is one of life’s most satisfying experiences. As part of our philosophy of educating our clients we have expanded our site to cover some of the topic areas where we have expertise and has seen client’s struggle with choices they have made. We assist our clients by inspecting their newly constructed home and ensuring it is built correctly and of the quality they are expecting. The sales agent on site is really the new home builder’s agent. From this perspective, it is important for new home buyers to take steps that will protect their new home investment. That’s where your Pacific Crest Inspection’s Professional plays a very vital part in this entire experience. After all Skagit and Snohomish County new home buyers are putting their resources in the biggest investment they will ever make. Doesn’t it make sense to invest a few hundred dollars in a qualified Pacific Crest Inspection’s Professional to get an objective evaluation of your new home which is worth several hundred thousand dollars?Getting to the point where you’re ready to start digging the hole, though, may take longer than you expect. Coming up with a workable floor plan – the part that you may have thought a lot about already – is just the first step.

You’ll be making decisions large and small for months. Where are you going to build your house? What type of builder do you  want to work with; large or small? What kind of  kitchen cabinets? This can become overwhelming, so give yourself plenty of time as you work through the planning process.

The web can be a very powerful tool in your preparation. And take heart. You don’t have to become an expert – you just need to know enough to make good decisions and have confidence in your choices. It stands to reason that if a builder wants to build a reputation on quality they will, but unfortunately in many cases their quality standards and our standards will differ. We have a number of links to other sites that offer valuable information
Here is  information that can assist you in the process:

The Ugly Truth – Is a Home Inspection Really Needed?

Last year, consumers bought more than 1 million new homes in the U.S., a near record. Average sale price: $250,000. But a Consumers Report investigation has found that increasingly, buyers are discovering that their new dream home has serious defects and that they have more consumer protections for a fickle $20 toaster than for a flawed investment-of-a-lifetime. The findings come from data captured during the construction data collection process by Quality Built field inspectors on 31,995 completed homes and condominiums across 27 U.S. states for the 12-month period ending October 1, 2005.

What Issues Give Builders the Most Trouble?

Quality Built’s findings show single-family homes averaged $5,398 in corrected defects per home in 2005 while multi-family homes and mixed commercial use construction averaged $4,556 in corrected defects. The survey also identifies the leading risk items for each housing type. These include:

Multi-family and mixed commercial user construction:

  • Unprotected penetrations in life-safety assemblies
  • Missing fire-rated materials at electrical device boxes
  • Building paper and housewrap installation flaws

Single-family housing:

  • Building paper and housewrap (i.e., building envelope) installation flaws
  • Improper framing around windows and doors
  • Missing structural straps and connectors (e.g., hold-downs)

“None of these defects for either category would be visible to a homeowner or building owner upon completion, but the defects can be easily corrected during construction if identified early through a quality assurance program, such as ours,” said Stan Luhr, Quality Built CEO and survey author. “A quality assurance program will consistently result in improvements with a host of issues that impact a builder’s bottom line, including customer service, water intrusion issues and EIFS-related issues.”

Common issues in first yearWarrany InspectionsNew Construction Links

What Can I Do?

Get your new home inspected! All new homes have unapparent defects, regardless of the quality of construction or the integrity of the builder. Simply stated: No one can build something as large and complex as a house without committing a few errors at various stages of the process. To assume that all such errors will be readily apparent is a recipe for financial loss. Some problems may reside in the attic, in the electric service panel, or high atop the roof. They may involve safety violations with a chimney installation or the grounding of electrical outlets. There might be a defect in the roof framing, the gas connection to the heater, or the site drainage on the property. A home inspector who is able to discover such conditions will enable you to take full advantage of your builders’ warranty.

Professional inspection of a brand-new home is always beneficial, if performed by a truly qualified individual. Just be sure to find an inspector with many years of experience and a reputation for thoroughness. Homebuyers of newly constructed homes may not be aware they may have an inspection clause included with their new home contract. Fact is, a new homebuyer can greatly benefit from using a professional home inspector during the construction and completion of their new home. PCI will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of all visible and accessible portions of the premises, including the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems, the roof, built-in appliances, fireplace, etc, and will consider safety compliance, general quality of materials and workmanship, and much more.  Our inspector’s will definitely reveal problems that would not become known during a buyer’s walk-thru review. Many people ask; “Why does a newly constructed home need an inspection?” “Isn’t a newly constructed home perfect and safe?” Some people assume that the builder and contractors are overseen by state or local government officials and that the local town or city building inspector checks the house out. Often the builder/developer will state the home has been built to “code” and that it was inspected at different stages and signed off by the local jurisdiction. However, building codes are frequently “minimum in nature” — that is, the primary intent of building regulations (codes) is to provide reasonable controls for the construction, use and occupancy of buildings. The builder is responsible to meet minimal standards at best — you may want higher standards applied to your dream house. Also, it is an unfortunate fact of the hectic pace of construction, that local building department inspectors are often overbooked with inspections, which results in their spending a minimal amount of time at the construction job site and important details may be overlooked. Finally, jurisdictional inspectors are not concerned with workmanship as long as all the systems and components in a new home meet minimum code requirements.  Further, there could be problems with the home that are not necessarily code violations, yet have serious consequences for the new home owner. Ask any home inspector about the deficiencies and safety issues discovered in newly constructed homes.

There are three phased inspections that are done in new homes:

Exterior wall and roof frame inspection

Pre-drywall / inspection -this can be with or without insulation

Final walk through inspection. – This occurs as close to closing as possible and is best done when all the work is complete.

Beware that some builders have prevented  home inspectors from inspecting newly built houses. If you are in the process of buying a new home and the builder does not allow you to bring a  home inspector on site, this poses a couple of questions; “Why won’t the builder allow the home inspector on site?” What does the builder have to hide? Refusal to allow a home  inspector on the property is legally questionable and ethically reprehensible. Any builder who does business in this manner is not likely to provide responsive service if problems develop after the close of escrow. You might view this circumstance as a welcome warning and reconsider the wisdom of doing business with these people. At this point you should be thinking hard about proceeding with the purchase and pondering “is this the kind of contractor you want to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars with”?

If a home buyer has missed the opportunity to have an inspection during the construction phase and final walk through, there may be time to come in afterwards. Most new builders offer a warranty period for the new homeowner, however, there are usually many items not covered by the warranty as well as limitations on those that are. Potential leverage is also gone as builders make there money “building” home not fixing problems

Even if the contractor you choose for building your house is known for quality work, the one following fact should motivate every new homebuyer to have a home inspection clause written into their contract to purchase.

FACT: The majority of construction tasks (foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are usually subcontracted out to the lowest bidder, with speed, not quality being an important consideration for the builder. With many separate activities going on at the same time, it’s nearly impossible for the builder / contractor to personally monitor all phases of the home construction.

Warranty Inspections (prior to 1st anniversary)

Why have an inspection prior to the anniversary? Most builders only offer a comprehensive warranty for the first 12 months, thereafter warranty structural only. Having PCI conduct a comprehensive evaluation of all visible and accessible portions of the premises, including the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems, the roof, built-in appliances, fireplace, general quality of materials and workmanship will help you document any issues that are covered under the builders warranty. Our inspector’s will definitely reveal problems that you may not know about. Call today!

Many of the resale home inspections performed by Pacific Crest Inspections on properties that are less than five years old reveal the flaws that the new home builder could have corrected had the new home buyer discovered such flaws at the time prior to taking possession of their new home or during the warranty period.

By the time some of these flaws are detected the repairs are already extensive. Had the flaws been earlier detected, no matter how cosmetic they may seem, a lot of unexpected expenses could have been avoided. When these flaws are detected in the beginning or during the warranty period, the new home builder incurs the cost and burden of repair whereas when these flaws are discovered beyond the warranty period, the cost and burden of repair and correction now become solely the owners’ responsibility.

This is where the role of your Pacific Crest Inspections  Professional becomes priceless. The cost to hire a Pacific Crest Inspections professional versus the cost of repairs when you resell your home is insignificant. Your Pacific Crest Inspections professional charges a modest amount but the cost of repairs could be several thousands of dollars. The price comparison between your Pacific Crest Inspections  Professional and the possible cost and burden for unforeseen repairs makes very good economical sense to every new home investor.

Some great links:

Study Finds Builder-Buyer Disconnect

The Good Bad and the Ugly Truth about Construction – NJ State Report