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New Construction Home Inspections authorNew Construction Home Inspections
by Charles Skoning of Safe Family Home Inspection Services, LLC
05-15-2006

Often a client will call and ask me why they should spend the money on a home inspection for a newly built home. After all, shouldn’t a brand new home be perfect? I have two words for those clients: Construction Oversight.

Construction oversights are when in the process of building a home the installation of components or systems are inadvertently left out. A quality home inspection will find construction oversights and then the contractor can take care of them before the close of the real estate transaction. About 20% of the homes I inspect are new construction and about 90% of those homes have a few oversights.

Common oversights that I find include incomplete electrical systems, incomplete plumbing, gutters that are incorrectly installed, missing roofing components, fireplaces that are incomplete and many others. The reasons construction oversights occur vary from inadvertent omissions to just plain bad construction practices. The building of a new home is a complex choreography of many subcontractors. Each subcontractor is dependent on everyone doing their jobs in a given time frame. When there are delays the scheduling of the subcontractors quickly becomes a nightmare. Subcontractors may be working on many homes at one time and without careful coordination inadvertent oversights occur. An experienced home inspector will find these problems and help reduce the headaches of the buyer before they purchase the home.

In addition to my regular home inspection practice, I inspect new homes for mortgage companies during the construction process. This type of inspection is called a phase inspection. The mortgage company depends on my inspection before they release funds to the contractor for further construction. An inspector who completes phase inspections will have the experience to find construction oversights in the completed home. For clients who are purchasing a custom built home it is wise to hire an inspector to act as their advocate to make sure the quality of construction is the best possible. Home inspectors who participate in the construction process help prevent costly mistakes for the home owner.

The home inspector also helps you understand your new home and its systems. I like to show the new home owner where to reset circuit breakers for various systems like the garage or outdoor electrical outlets. I inform the new home owner on what to expect in the first year. For example, it is typical to have a few nail pops here and there as the home settles. I point out areas of the yard where settling may occur and how to prevent drainage issues that may result in a wet basement. The builder also may offer a home warranty and I set a date to remind the new home owner when their warranty is about to expire. I would not count on the builder to remind you when your warranty is about to expire, some builders are counting on a short memory. I offer the service of doing a follow up inspection to find specific issues that the builder should address when servicing the home warranty before it expires. In many cases I uncover warranty issues which cost more to resolve than the cost of the follow up inspection and I like to save my clients money.

Hiring an experienced home inspector to complete a diligent inspection of your newly constructed home is a wise decision. Be informed about your new home and make a successful transition. A home inspector who works for your best interests will find those oversights that may affect your pocket book and your family’s safety.


Charles Skoning is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering Technology. For the last fifteen years he has been involved in the inspection of medical imaging equipment and real estate. Charles is licensed and practices in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. As a licensed radon measurement specialist he also provides radon testing for real estate transactions. Charles attended one of the nation’s largest home inspection schools and is certified by the American Home Inspection Training Institute. He is also the founder of Safe Family Home Inspection Services, LLC.

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