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Every week I hear home buyers say that they do not need a home inspection on a new construction because both the builder and the county code enforcement officers have gone through the house and have given their OK.  Most if not all of issues or concerns in the following list were found after builder and code inspections.  Building codes are basically a set of minimum standards by which constructing a home to any lessor degree is essentially illegal.  So building to local building codes is simply complying with local minimum standards; it does not guarantee that “best practices” are used in constructing the house. In case you have any doubt as to whether to have your new home inspected by an independent professional inspector, this list will help clarify the need for one.  In the future, I will post on specific defects and why it is important to discover and correct them before further issues arise.

When inspecting pre-owned homes, I consider some conditions as cosmetic or part of the house’s character, such as, small cracks, nicks and gouges in trim, doors that rub slightly.  However, when I am inspecting a brand-new home, I will hold them to a higher standard, and these conditions become a sign of the level of workmanship and oversight.  Your new home is a very complicated structure with many systems that have to work together.  The general contractor builds your new home from scratch on site with many different sub-contractors coming and going. With schedules and budgets to maintain, they inevitably are forced to make compromise choices. When a functional issue is found, or cosmetic issue is obvious, the builder should and usually does agree to fix it.  The homebuyer needs to know that “new” does not mean “perfect”.

If you are thinking or the builder has suggested that a home inspection is not necessary for a new home, here is a list of issues that I have recently found in new home construction.

List of issues found during recent new home inspections:

Structural Issues:

  • Improper or missing nails in joist hangers
  • Missing the hanger entirely
  • Incorrect joist hanger for the type of joist
  • Broken roof trusses and rafters
  • Gusset or nailing plate for the roof truss is damaged or not installed correctly
  • Top chord of an engineered floor joist cut
  • End joints in top plates at wall framing are not offset at least 24-inches as required.
  • Entire engineered floor joist cut through
  • Anchor bolts missing at the bottom plate or the nut and washer not installed
  • Foundation cracks
  • Large cracks in garage floor

Exterior Issues:

  • Miss matched brickwork
  • Patio sloped toward house
  • Pooling in yard for more than 24 hours after rain
  • Grading around house is neutral or negatively sloped toward foundation
  • Siding installed incorrectly
  • Housewrap installation issues
  • Decks not bolted to house
  • Deck joist hangers missing proper nails
  • Decks with no ledger board or joist hangers
  • Deck steps and stairways not attached properly
  • Decking boards not nailed in place
  • No guardrails for porch that is over 30” high
  • Splintered wood stair rails
  • Downspouts discharge at foundation
  • Over driven fasteners into the siding
  • Housewrap not installed around windows and doors correctly
  • Insufficient gap between flashing and siding over windows, doors and other penetrations
  • Siding and trim not painted at cut ends
  • Non-continuous J-channel
  • Stone veneer below grade
  • Stone veneer without weep screed or screen holes plugged up with cement
  • Stone veneer in contact with siding directly
  • Wall Penetrations not sealed
  • Missing weep holes
  • Brick window ledge installed flat or sloped toward the house – and not sealed
  • Garage door auto-reverse sensors too high

Interior Issues:

  • Carpet seams visible
  • Walls/trim not plumb / straight or are significantly bowed
  • Windows and Interior doors that were not installed square: will not open and close properly
  • Cabinet doors and drawers not aligned properly
  • Dishwasher Not attached to countertop
  • Dishwasher drain line not installed properly
  • No anti-tip bracket for range
  • Broken windows
  • Cracked stair treads

Plumbing Issues:

  • Shower floor has a low spot not near drain
  • Plumbing vent did not exit the attic (Forgot to extend it through the roof)
  • Plumbing leaks in crawl space
  • Plumbing vents still capped off
  • Drain lines sloped the wrong direction
  • Water temperature adjusted too high or too low
  • Frost-free faucets not sloped down to drain the water
  • Damaged bath tubs
  • Unsupported bathroom sinks
  • Gas water heater not protected from vehicle impact

Insulation and Ventilation Issues:

  • Unventilated or inadequately ventilated attic
  • Missing or inadequate insulation in large sections of the attic
  • Missing insulation in walls in some areas
  • Soffit vents with no opening behind the vent
  • Bathroom exhaust vent dampers do not open or close properly
  • Bathroom fan exhausts into attic

HVAC Issues:

  • Uneven conditioned air distribution throughout the house
  • HVAC units installed too close together
  • Venting for High Efficiency furnaces incorrectly sloped / terminated
  • Exterior heat pump unit not level
  • Unsupported supply and return ducts
  • Direct vent/sealed gas furnace with holes in cabinet not sealed
  • Gas pipe leaks
  • Heat Pump large suction lines not insulated

Environmental Issues

  • Mold in the crawl space
  • Disconnected drier ducts in crawl space – not taped together
  • High Radon Levels
  • Radon pipe not installed correctly

Electrical Issues

  • Non-functional or wired incorrectly electrical outlets
  • Missing GFCI outlets
  • Double tapped neutral wires in main panel
  • Ground wire not attached to grounding rod
  • Unused knock out holes on side of panel
  • Main electrical panel not flush with the drywall
  • Exterior outlet weather proof box installed upside down
  • Electrical shield plates missing on wall stud
  • Missing required exterior outlet (1 required at front and back exteriors of house)

Roofing Issues

  • Roof shingle damage due to construction traffic (usually lower roof and roof valleys)
  • Roof leaks
  • No Kickout flashing or splash guards
  • Gutters sloped the wrong way
  • Incorrectly sized gutter for the amount of water during a heavy downpour
  • No gap between the siding and the roof shingles
  • Shingles not lying flat – nail pops and/or improper installation
  • Nail heads not sealed
  • Roof shingle caps not installed
  • Roof design channels water toward an exterior wall

So, get your new home inspected!  On new construction I recommend two inspections – pre-drywall (find and repair the issues before they are covered up) and a final walk through inspection.

Catching small issues early

Avoids

Costly large repairs later

For a consultation to problem-solve home issues, call 919-602-0161 or email Ken@TheRightHomeInspectionServices.com

Author:  Ken Neill is a NC Licensed Home Inspector and owner of The Right Home Inspection Services, LLC.  Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas.