“But it’s a brand new home…is that really necessary?”
I wanted to mention to you again the importance of getting your own Inspector to monitor the process of building your new home. If you give some thought about all the different stages and aspects of your new home, I think you will find it difficult to count how many different human beings that will show up on that work site and impact the finished product, for good or for bad. I was considering just the foundation. By the time it is poured and finished I figure there will be minimum 9 to 10 different workers involved and we are barely getting started. I figure that by the time your house is finished, well over a hundred seventy five different tradesmen and their helpers will have been on that site.
Now you have to ask yourself; what factors could potentially impact this phase (foundation) in a negative manner? As for the humans….we have incompetence, an honest mistake, apathy and/or damage done by another trade, a worker having a “bad day” and lastly….unauthorized persons on the site. Then, you also have the possibility of rain or a simple minor cave-in that could create a real defect in the foundation. It’s really a relatively simple phase, but arguably a very important facet of the finished product. Can you begin to see the potential for at least a minor disaster?
Yes… I know that the Builder has their own third party inspectors…. but they do not work for you, their job doesn’t depend on you, they don’t report to you nor do you receive a copy of their inspections, and their inspection criteria probably is not always the same as a TREC* / IRC** Inspector and they will not call you to let you know when the inspection is taking place and walk it with you afterwards. Also remember that the construction supervisor is probably monitoring more than ten houses at any one time and sometimes in more than one community. After all… we are working with a “Production Builder”… correct?
So…I want to encourage you to consider at least a Three Phase Inspection using a TREC Inspector of your choice. These are the 3 phases: 1.) Foundation 2.) Frame-up 3.) Final. All TREC Inspectors have a price for this service, so it is easy to shop around. You can ask if they offer any “extras” along with their service such as photos, maybe include the sprinkler system for free (?), and definitely a walk through with you after each inspection is done.
Here is the link for the TREC web-site “Inspector” Main Page….lots of info, much more than I am giving you here: http://www.trec.state.tx.us/inspector/default.asp
You will find that the overall cost is much less than 1 percent of the house and you will probably sleep better also.
I also want to encourage you to visit the work site as much as possible and watch what is going on at the site. You will get to know and understand your future home if you follow the building process. It also puts the contractors and the Supervisor on notice that you are watching. Always take notes and / or pictures of anything that appears to be a problem and report them to the Supervisor ASAP. Follow up to make sure that any “issues” are really fixed. DO NOT address any issues or problems directly with the workers. If the work site seems to be very messy and disorderly then mention that to the Super also…that is usually a bad sign and is contagious. A disorganized worksite screams out to all of the other contractors: “Hey, no one is watching here….do what you want!” If something is not being addressed or at least acknowledged, then contact me or go above the Supervisor’s head. Always keep your communications with the Supervisor on an amiable tone and use tact. You might even want to take him a snack, sandwich or something to drink when you have a face to face meeting with him. You definitely want him on your side at least until your house is finished and you may need him afterwards too.
There is one more very important reason to have your own Inspector. Most Texas Home Builders include an “Arbitration Clause” in their puchase contracts. This clause takes away the consumer’s right to sue the Builder in a court of law with a jury. If there is any dispute that cannot be settled then you will be going to “Binding Arbitration”. Having your own Inspector will help you to avoid such a situation and potentially help you if you do end up there.
I hope I have not rambled on too much. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions about this subject or any other matter related to your New Home.
*TREC: Texas Real Estate Commission
** IRC: International Residential Code (The State of Texas adopted this residential building code in 2002)