Governing Local Building Inspection Department –
Building inspection happens at various points during the construction process 1) before the slab is poured, 2) MEPS (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Structural) prior to drywall, 3) Final inspections. Once the final is approved by the building department a Certificate of Occupancy is released. The Building Department inspections are intended to meet the construction standard guidelines “The International Residential Building Codes” or IRC.
Construction standards has increased considerably since 2003. The standards are extremely useful to keep the Builder in sync with doing a proper job. The governing Building Department does not critique workmanship, fine details, or go through an exhaustive evaluation. The departments Building Inspectors are overloaded, reviewing about 15-20 homes each day. These inspectors do a great job but it’s hard to catch everything.
In my experience the Building Department Officials are complimentary to me (a third party inspection & I have to assume other 3rd party) since they stated 1) they are doing multiple inspections a day, therefor it is good to have an extra pair of eyes, 2) They do not deviate from the IRC Guidelines therefore they do not critique the quality of the workmanship.
The IRC code has been updated every three years since 2003. The building departments in different cities may be working from IRC code book 2012 or even 2009 in some instances. When I asked them why? The answer is that it takes both time and resources to implement the training and establish new practices. They all seem to trying to stay current as they are able. Cities such as Plano & Frisco are current working from the 2015 IRC codes.
The Building Contractor’s 3rd Party Inspection Company –
Third party Inspectors hired by the Building Contractor are intended to build confidence with the buyer. The idea is that an independent party will critique the workmanship and provide written feedback as to any/and or all construction code or details that may have been missed by the local building departments staff or the Super.
The Builder’s inspection subcontractors are inconsistent. The inspection is only as good as the individual who did the inspection. One well-known local company has a revolving door of inspectors. When I follow behind this inspection team I find excellent to gross oversights in identifying issues. The Builder’s inspection report does not adhere to the TREC Standards (Texas state standards). This inspection report is designed to facilitate communication between the Builder and the contracted Inspector which is not under the scrutiny of TREC. These reports are helpful but may fall short of all that could or should be done. Additionally these reports do not report in a fashion that is comprehensive to the Buyer or Myself. They often have line item coding that the Builder and his Inspector designed for their internal use with the purpose to streamline the process and to not be obligated to the TREC standards.
Many of the Supers (as instructed) will tell you that you do not need an independent 3rd party inspector because we have already hired an inspection firm directly that has completed this task for us, on your behalf. Some Supers chuckle that there are very few Inspection companies that can meet their insurance requirements (although I do).
Aadvanced Inspection Inc. a 3rd Party Inspector –
NO Conflict of Interest – My goal is to is serve my client by locating, documenting the issues and explaining how to get the most cooperation from your Super/Builder. My reports are written per the TREC (Texas Real Estate Commission) Guidelines. These guidelines are very specific and useful in reporting on mechanical and structural aspects of the home. I was a Builder for seventeen years, and now an inspector for twenty-four years. I will provide you a thorough inspection and be able to include and/or point out construction flaws and details that your Builder should complete. I will take the time needed to communicate clearly what you need to know. If you have had trouble with the construction process i.e. delays, verbal changes that did not get accomplished, a change in Superintendents, items the Super says that are typical but you just know are not right . . . we will discuss it.
The best time for us to conduct your third party inspection will be the day before your first walk through with the builder which is usually seven days before the closing. The house construction should be substantially complete and thoroughly cleaned before your meeting so that you can see the finish details and locate any cosmetic flaws or blemishes. I will provide you a report with summary pages (a list of details) by midnight of the inspection day so that it will be available for your walk through the following day. Everything noted in the report will be written in terms that the builder fully understands. You can expect that nearly everything that is included in my report will be taken care of by the builder. The inspection is mechanical & structural as well as a few cosmetic details that I doubt that you will catch. Other cosmetic details such as interior paint, scratches in the wood flooring and so on are items that you will need to discuss with your builder and combine with the inspection report as a total To Do List. It is common for a Buyer and Super to blue tape (a low adhesive painter’s tape that does not harm the finish) to mark up the many visual cosmetics throughout the home that should be addressed.