The Imperative of an Inspector for New Residential Construction

When constructing the home of your dreams, nothing can be left to chance. The vast complexities of modern architecture and the heightened standards for safety demand the watchful eye of an expert inspector to undertake a thorough home inspection.

While most understand the importance of a home inspection for resale properties, there’s a growing need to have a third party evaluation of your home by an independent inspector.

Dive into this comprehensive guide to appreciate the due diligence involved in each phase of new construction homes.


Section 1: The Foundational Framework – new construction home inspections

In essence, constructing a building is akin to crafting a masterpiece. It demands precision, meticulousness, and a deep respect for process and procedure.

This is where the phased inspection process plays a pivotal role, ensuring that the entire edifice evolves systematically and adheres to the highest standards set by local building codes.

The evolution of a new house involves several layers, each carrying its unique importance:

  • Soil Compatibility: At this critical stage, inspectors ensure the stability of the site not only in terms of structural integrity but also in its harmonious interaction with the natural environment. They meticulously examine the builder’s pour, identify faulty grading, and confirm that the soil types are compatible with the intended construction. Additionally, inspectors test the correct hardness of foundations to prevent cracking concrete and ensure that all footings and pads are positioned at the proper distance. The foundation inspection is a key feature in ensuring your home’s structure not only complies with local code but also harmonizes with the soil beneath it..
  • Foundation Inspection They test the correct hardness of foundations to avoid cracking concrete and ensure all footings and pads are set out at a proper distance. The foundation inspection is also one of the key features in ensuring your home’s structure complies with local code.
  • Pre-Drywall Inspection: Here, the bones of the house—its framing—come under scrutiny. Inspectors look for discrepancies in the skeletal system, ensuring beams, joints, and supports align perfectly.
  • Final Inspection: This phase is the culmination of all prior stages, an overarching home inspection ensuring the structure is in impeccable condition, safe for occupancy.

Section 2: Inspector for new construction homes

In the vast ecosystem of new home construction, a structural inspector is your trusted sentinel. As homes evolve, striding forward with technological advancements and design intricacies, the role of the home inspection has similarly transformed.

Today’s buildings are getting more and more complex, and as a result require highly qualified professionals to design and inspect their structures. Where previously home inspection could be carried out by a certified home inspector, today we require the keen eye of a structural engineer, qualified to operate in environments of higher complexity. This helps ensure compliance with the latest standards in construction. The new construction home inspection ensures:

  • Local Building Code is Adhered to: These codes are constantly updated to ensure the safety and wellbeing of occupants. With numerous inexperienced builders entering the industry, the role of inspectors in ensuring strict adherence has never been more critical.
  • Even the most reputable builders will benefit from thorough structural inspections as structural defects can result in costly delays and repairs.
  • Interior Scrutiny: This delves into the home’s interiors. Inspectors review the insulation in the attic and walls, check for missing insulation, inspect the functionality of all appliances, and ensure that HVAC systems are installed correctly and operational.
  • These types of home inspections are carried out by specialists in each of the various fields and do not necessarily require the trained eye of a structural engineer.
  • Electrical problems, Structural defects are Detected: Several issues during a new home construction can affect the structure of your home. From drainage and grading issues to missing switch plates, all can result in costly repairs and effect the value of resale property.
  • Highlighting Potential Long-Term Issues: Some problems aren’t immediate but could manifest over time. These include things like poor framing or outdated plumbing.
    Even issues that seem minor like incorrectly installed appliances or improper piping can lead to major structural problems later down the line.
    An experienced inspector or structural engineer can forecast these issues, safeguarding homeowners from future headaches.

Section 3: Engineers and Architects: Your Allies in Modern Inspection

If you’re wondering why an engineer or an architect might be necessary for a new construction inspection, consider the intricate mix of systems and aesthetics that a modern house represents.

General building inspectors are adept at ensuring a home’s safety and compliance and identifying cosmetic flaws, but a specialized structural inspector finds deeper and more intricate structural issues in a new or existing home.

Engineer Inspection:

Engineers view homes as living, breathing entities. Their approach towards inspection is to gauge the harmony between all the major systems.

This means they’re evaluating the house’s structural components, checking on drainage systems, ensuring the foundation’s resilience and making sure the overall structural integrity complies with local and national codes. 

With houses getting more sophisticated, engineers ensure everything, from the grading of soil beneath the foundation to the structure of the roof’s framing system, integrates seamlessly.

Section 4: Unmasking the Layers: What Constitutes a Structural Inspection

While many might have a general idea about home inspections, qualified A&E experts understand the depth and focus of a structural inspection. At its core, this type of inspection zeroes in on the very bones and foundation of a building, ensuring it stands strong and safe.

  • Foundation Inspection: A building is only as sturdy as its foundation. Whether it’s a slab, crawl space, or full basement, it needs to be built on a solid base. Structural failures often come down to poor soil compaction, insufficient knowledge of the type of soil on site or the amount of clay present in the soil. All these factors have a major impact on the type of foundation, what kind of reinforcement it requires, and even what treatment the soil requires prior to casting your foundation. 
  • Examination of Load-Bearing Walls and Beams: These are the critical components that support the weight of the building. Ensuring their proper placement, strength, and quality is non-negotiable. Any deviations or inadequacies can lead to significant structural complications.
  • Roof Structure Inspection: The roof doesn’t just shield from rain and sun; its structural integrity ensures it can withstand heavy snowfalls, strong winds, and other natural pressures. A structural inspection ensures that the trusses, joists, and rafters are in optimal condition.

Section 5: Potential Pitfalls: Common Structural Issues in New Constructions

Even in new constructions, there’s potential for structural hiccups. Awareness of these can help potential homeowners understand the gravity of a structural inspection.

  • Construction Errors: Human errors are an unavoidable reality. Structural inspections during construction of a new home can help identify any potential errors or oversights made by contractors before they are hidden behind finishing layers and pose risks to residents. It is important to have an engineer conduct inspections at all critical stages of erecting a structure. 
  • Inadequate Soil Testing: Before laying the foundation, it’s crucial to understand the type and quality of the soil. Incorrect or incomplete soil testing can lead to foundation settling or even significant shifts.
  • Use of Subpar Materials: Cutting costs using low-quality materials can jeopardize the home. From weaker beams that might bend under pressure to substandard concrete that might crack, the repercussions are manifold.
  • Faulty Design. Sometimes, the design on paper doesn’t translate well in reality. Having a structural engineer onboard for the entire project from design to completion is the best way to ensure structural concerns are mitigated and resolved on paper, rather than compensated for on site. 

Section 6: The Intricacies of New Construction Inspections

Diving deeper into the subject, it’s essential to recognize that a new construction home inspection isn’t just a single event. It’s a series of evaluations that occur at different stages of the construction building process:

  • Pre-Pour Inspection: Conducted before the concrete is poured for the foundation. This ensures that the ground is appropriately prepared and that all necessary systems are in place.
  • Pre-Drywall: As mentioned earlier, this happens before walls are sealed. It’s an opportunity to check the skeletal framework of the house and ensure all internal systems are correctly installed.
  • Final Inspection: A comprehensive review, ensuring that every aspect of the construction meets the stipulated standards and is ready for occupancy.

Section 7: The Added Value of Hiring a Structural Inspector for New Construction

When it comes to structural inspections, general knowledge isn’t sufficient. It requires a keen eye trained explicitly in structural nuances such as that of a structural engineer.

  • In-depth Expertise: A specialized inspector, like those at Level Engineering, brings a depth of understanding about load-bearing components, foundational elements, and other structural nuances, ensuring nothing gets overlooked.
  • Advanced Tools and Techniques: Structural inspection isn’t just about the visible. Using advanced tools, these inspectors can detect issues like internal beam weaknesses or foundation shifts, which might not be immediately apparent to the naked eye.
  • Tailored Recommendations: Should an issue arise, a specialized inspector can provide detailed guidance on remedies, ensuring the problem is rectified in the most efficient and effective manner.

Section 8: Understanding the Role of the Home Inspector in New Construction

The decision to invest in a new construction home is a monumental one, and ensuring its integrity and safety is paramount. Enter the hero of this process: the inspector for new construction.

Their role goes beyond just a cursory look. They are the guardians ensuring that every brick laid and every nail driven stands the test of time and safety.

  • Diving Deep with the Framing Inspection: One of the most critical stages, the framing inspection ensures that the skeletal structure of the home is sound. Our home inspectors meticulously examine beams, posts, and other structural components, guaranteeing the house is built on a robust foundation.
  • Going Beyond the Bare Minimum: The goal of the inspector isn’t just to ensure the home meets the minimum local building codes. They dive deeper, checking for incomplete construction elements, potential safety issues, and any shortcuts that may have been taken during the construction process.
  • Identifying Hidden Issues: It’s easy to get enamored by the aesthetics of a new or existing home. However, beneath the polished surfaces, there could be hidden dangers in the structure. From improperly secured beams to major plumbing issues, the home inspector is trained to spot and highlight these potential pitfalls.

Section 9: Why Hiring a Home Inspector is Non-Negotiable

  • Spotting Incomplete Constructions: It’s not uncommon for contractors, especially when under tight deadlines, to miss out on certain construction elements. Home inspectors ensure no corner is left unchecked, from the basement to the attic.
  • Ensuring Safety: Aesthetics can sometimes overshadow safety in the construction process. An inspector for new construction ensures that safety standards aren’t just met but exceeded, giving homeowners peace of mind.
  • Guaranteeing Quality: The last thing any homeowner wants is to move into their dream home only to face issues down the line. By hiring a home inspector, you’re safeguarding against future problems, and alleviating the stress of obtaining the final occupancy permit.

Section 10: Trusting the Eyes of the Expert

In recent years we have experienced a growing shortage of intricate knowledge of the artisanal practices making up the construction industry. When it comes to complex new structures it is critical to have an expert on hand who has the knowledge and experience to pre-empt issues and provide tested solutions and trustworthy advice. 

A trusted A&E expert will not only save you from potential disaster, but can be a guide and a mentor on your construction site. This ensures each element of your new home is executed with care and precision, while ensuring the quality of our built environment remains in tact for future generations. 

Home inspection contingency

If you’re considering a new construction or dealing with a real estate agent regarding an existing home, contact Level Engineering and Inspection, as part of an inspection contingency for your structural inspection requirements.

Make sure your dream home is truly the sanctuary you envision, standing strong and safe for years to come by contacting Level Engineering and inspections to hire a home inspector today.

Picture of Scott Zurn, P.E.

Scott Zurn, P.E.

Founder and CEO of Level Engineering & Level Design Partners. With more than 4 decades of experience, Scott Zurn has contributed to all aspects of the building industry, serving both public and private sectors. He’s achieved tremendous success in commercial and residential markets, held leadership roles such as building official, city engineer, and director for local governments, and accomplished hundreds of millions of dollars in successful commercial building and civil infrastructure as a designer, project manager, and leader. As the Founder of the Level brand, Scott is dedicated to ensuring the entrepreneurial success of design professionals, as well as creating positive environmental impacts through design work. Read Scott’s full bio here.

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