Every new home constructed is required to go through a rigorous design process, which normally includes a plan of subdivision. The plan of sub division is the proposed layout of all roads, sidewalks, ditches and more importantly to home owners,storm water control and hydrogeological study. This initial study should ensure when you buy your new home that your basement should not be affected by pooling water or unusual drainage issues.
Your municipality or city Building Department is required under the Ontario Building Code to perform mandatory inspections of your new home. Your Building Department is paid for these inspections by fees levied by issuing a Building Permit. A list of what is typically required to be inspected follows, also included are the common issues I have found when inspecting this various items during a home inspection or experienced when building homes:
Footing – Footing are to be constructed on undisturbed soil or soil that has been compacted. If ground is “deemed” to be wet then footing size is doubled.
Backfill – Only clean fill is supposed to be used to backfill your foundation. Many builders will bury building debris while back filling foundation.
Framing – Joist hangers are supposed to be completely nailed ( all holes used ) using “rated nails” which usually are stamped on nail head.
HVAC Rough in – Substantial completion of ductwork and piping.
Insulation – Completion of insulation and vapour barrier. Many times trades will remove insulation and vapour barrier and neglect to replace when job is completed. Attic insulation is often not installed evenly and areas of low insulation can exist.
Fire Separations – Many times drywall tape is falling off seams due to poor installation.
Water Supply and Plumbing – Some plumbers will install clean out above floor grade creating a trip hazard.
Final Interior Inspection – Doors, windows, floors, walls, ceilings and fixtures are inspected.
Final Exterior Inspection – This is where many times I find new homes with no Ice or Water Shield installed under shingles. The roofer saves himself $300 to $500.00 in materials because he knows the inspector will not go up to the second floor on a ladder and check shingle installation.
Occupancy Permit is Issued.
Personally I think any time you find a issue in your new home that should have been caught by your local Building Department, you should contact them to ask for re-inspection. They are specifically trained to inspect the construction of your home and legally not permitted to inspect any construction beyond the scope of their learning. As a home buyer you pay for the cost of these inspections and as the end user should expect your home to be free of obvious defects.
Buying older Homes
When you buy an older home that has been renovated you should ensure all work was done with a Building Permit and the proper inspections were completed. If you purchase a home that has been renovated and no permit was issued, you will then assume responsibility for any subsequent work that may be required to bring your home up to the required standards. This can be particularly expensive if structural, plumbing or electrical work is involved.