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New house inspections

When you are buying a new home or having one built for you all should go

smooth and the house will be flawless, right?

Unfortunately, not always the case. Most builder as well intentioned as they are, still have scheduling pressure to meet deadlines and sometimes work with sub-contractors for the first time. So, construction ends up being a bumpy ride and can have short coming.

By having an independent home inspector, it will provide an unbias opinion on the construction and detailing saving you the surprise later on and sometimes even helping the builder take care of deficiencies at the right time and before finishes get installed saving them money and time.

Pre-drywall inspection

North Carolina Home Inspection licensing board (NCHILB) does not have standards of practice (Sop) that address pre-drywall inspections so at Steel Rhino we conduct residential pre-drywall inspections according to the Inspector Nation standards for pre-dry wall inspections. You can find this standard online here: Pre-Drywall Inspection Standard

This standard says what’s included, what isn’t, what gets reported on, described, etc. It’s modeled and very similar in detail to the (NCHILB Sop) for home inspections, but it covers a different scope.

We recommend that these inspections are done after all the rough in installations are completed and the builder is ready to install insulation in the walls and dry wall. Or after these components are done:

1. Foundation components, 2. Floor, wall, and roof structural components, 3. Plumbing, electrical, and rough-in components, 4. Windows and exterior doors.

These inspections usually take us 1 to 1.5 hours to complete.

This is what the house looks like at pre-dry wall phase of construction

I think it’s important to say what these inspections do not include as well. It does not include verification of building plans, structural adequacy, or system design for HVAC, electrical and/or plumbing, basically all the things that take a college degree to complete.

After the inspection we issue a report for the systems and components inspected, this is useful for the buyer when communicating with your builder and creating a repair list. We strongly recommend that a final phase inspection is completed before closing on the house.

Final phase inspection

The final phase inspection is really a standard home inspection, but I call it a ‘final’ inspection in this context to make it clear that it should be done after the home has been completely built. A home inspection conducted too soon in the building process will leave the buyer with a huge punch-list of incomplete stuff, so timing for this inspection is also very important and good communication with the building contractor in charge is crucial. If you had to choose only one type of inspection, it should be the final inspection. This is the most important one.

Finished and ready for final inspection

Most builders will provide you with a one year cosmetic and functional warranty where they will correct items that may be related to the house “settling in”, like nail pops, dried up caulking or even if you discover a functional problem that may be related to improper installation or damage that may have occurred during construction.

Buyer should consult the contract that the builder provided and agreed upon for details on what is covered by the builder.

One-year warranty inspection

A one-year warranty inspection, is performed after the 11th month after day of closing and is also a standard home inspection with a different name. The difference between a one-year warranty inspection and a final inspection is timing. One-year warranty inspections should be conducted before the builder’s one-year warranty is up if the vast majority of our one-year warranty inspection clients are people who bought new construction homes without an inspection prior.


If you’re having a new home built, get a pre-drywall inspection and a final inspection. If you’re buying a new home that has already been built than get a home inspection. If you’ve already purchased a new home but you skipped the inspection, schedule a one-year warranty inspection before your warranty expires.

Some of the problems that we see during these inspections can vary in severity from damaged roofing trusses and floor joists to improper plumbing or you personally may have concerns about cosmetic problem that can be corrected easily and we can offer advice.


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