New Construction Home Inspection Tips | 604-395-2795

Hi, this is David with Fairbairn Inspection Services and we’re here in Maple Ridge and we’re about to start a new home construction inspection so I’ll show you what’s included and what we’re going to do.

I like to look out for small cosmetic deficiencies like this split board right here, this will be an easy repair and of course you can see it from the street.

Here we’re looking at a downspout that just terminates and drives water onto the shingles; I prefer to have these extended so that the water carries down to the gutter below. This will prolong life of the shingles and prevent roof damage.

Testing for combustible gas leakage.

We’re at the side of the house and we’re looking at some guard rails; part of the inspection is we want to make sure that everything is safe in terms of are the guard rails secure and we’re also looking out for anywhere that you have a drop over two feet where someone might fall and injure themselves.

Another thing we find a lot of is missing window well covers. If you have a window well in your basement you want to make sure it’s covered so that nobody can fall in and become trapped. The window well cover has to be removable so if there’s a fire or emergency someone can escape through the window well.

Here we can see a roof vent in the attic that has caused a small crater in the insulation below it. This is due to air pressure differences. On the right hand side we see a soffit baffle and this is basically a foam tray that allows air to pass over the insulation. You can see how much insulation is in this attic, it’s quite high. If we didn’t have these soffit baffles the bottom edge of the roof would be blocked and no air would be able to enter the attic.

So here we are in the ensuite bathroom and we’re testing out the plumbing so we’re filling up the sinks as well as the bathtub which has a Jacuzzi on it. I like to test sinks by filling them completely and running them through the overflow lines and then draining them and making sure they don’t leak. I suspect in new construction they may not be fully tested prior to the walk through. Another thing that we’re going to want to check for is that the sinks are properly mounted to the underside of the counter; that means having a supporting strap or a bracket to ensure the sink doesn’t fall.

Here we are using a thermal imaging camera to check the walls, ceilings and the floors of the building for any moisture or missing insulation. Here we can see the framing of the wall outlined in blue stripes. This allows to check for a number of things. We can also use thermal imaging to detect if there are any electrical or overheating issues or any plumbing leaks.

Here in the main upstairs bathroom we have a door that sticks in the frame when you try to open it, you can hear the squeaking. I like to use a laser level to check the walls and ceilings and the floors to see if they’re plumb and level. Sometimes an out of square door can be the cause. At any rate it should be covered by the builder.
So here we are doing our kitchen inspection, now because it’s a new construction we don’t have any appliances installed yet. We can check the connections and make sure that they’re present such as maybe an ice maker line for the fridge or a gas hook up for the stove. We’re also going to be testing our garburator, make sure the garburator works fine and it’s important to check our range hoods above the stove, we want to make sure they’re connected properly and they’re actually venting all the cooking grease and smoke outside of the home and that they’re well sealed.

Testing all fireplaces for leakage.

Here we are in the furnace room and there’s a lot going on in this room but I’ll show you what it does. Basically we have our hot water tank behind me here, this is an electric hot water tank and we’re just looking for really obvious installation defects such as for instance this release tube here, we want to make sure this is present, this is what actually would jettison the water and steam out if the tank were to overheat so basic safety things like that. We’re also looking for earthquake straps on the tank; those are required in some areas.
We’ve got around the corner here; we’ve got our main water shut off valve, so this is how we can shut off all the water to the property. I always like to point that out to the buyers, you know, this is where you can shut off all your hot and cold water.

We also have a sprinkler system in this house so the fire sprinkler shut off is located here as well.
Now on this side we’ve got our furnace. This is a high efficiency; I believe it’s a Lennox furnace so they’ve done a couple things here that I’ll show you how they’ve set it up. Basically it’s a high efficiency furnace for the heating but they’ve also left some refrigerant lines installed here so that if the owner wants to add a heat pump or an air conditioner these are already installed. All you have to do is put a coil above the furnace and install your condensing unit outside in the back yard so these are all ready to go. This is very common for new construction. What I like to do is check the filter really carefully inside the furnace, make sure that it’s not plugged with construction dust, you know after the dry wallers are here there’s a lot of dust in the air, you want to make sure that it’s clean and it’s not plugged and the furnace is going to have a healthy life.

Over here we’ve got a makeup air so this our combustion air for our furnace room, we’ve got a gas burning appliance so we actually have to bring in fresh air from outside so the furnace can use it to burn the gas. The other thing we’re looking at is if we come over here, we’ve got our valve set for our gas. They’re all labelled actually in this house, we’ve got furnace, we’ve got fireplace, range, so everything’s here. I like to show the customer where this is, how they can shut off the gas in case of an emergency and there’s also a main shut off at the gas meter outside.

So here we are in the garage and what we always want to do with the overhead garage door is we want to test it out to make sure it’s safe. Now this garage door it’s got an opener stuck here and there’s a remote control and there’s also a button on the wall that raises and lowers the door you’ll notice at the bottom you have sensors so if somebody were to go underneath the door or drive underneath the door while it was closing it would auto reverse and then back up. I like to test it two ways, I like to test the sensors and I like to test the actual resistant of the door. So if we bypass the sensors give it a bit of resistance and see if it reverses as well.

Testing all arc-fault safety breakers.

Here’s a tip for you: if you’re getting a new construction inspection done, bring along a roll of green painters tape and if you find any drywall blemishes, nail pops, defects, cracks, missing paint, anything like that just put green tape up on the wall and that way the builder can find it later when he’s having the repair workers in to fix any problems.

About the Author DavidFairbairn

Author David Fairbairn is a certified, licensed home inspector serving Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. He has been featured in the media and has contributed to "24" Newspaper, and Global TV. He has spent years working with residential and commercial building projects, and holds a Power Engineering License in BC. Why not give him a call for your next Home Inspection? Call 604 395-2795 or email today!

follow me on: