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The Inspection Process for New Homes

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The local building department can be your best friend when building a new home because they help to spot potential problems well before they become major issues for you, the homeowner.  But unless you plan for the inspections required while building a new home, the process can create problems with the build out, add time to the schedule, and increase the overall construction budget.  Here’s a list of typical municipal inspections for new home builds in the order in which they occur in the schedule.

Footing Inspection – This inspection occurs after the foundation contractor has placed the forms for the house footings and just prior to pouring the concrete.  This allows the inspector to review the dirt below the footings to make sure it is virgin soil.  The inspection also reviews the size of the footings, both depth and width, to make sure they comply with the house plans submitted with the builder permit application.

Backfill Inspection – This inspection typically happens after the foundation wall has been waterproofed on the outside and all foundation drains are in place.  The inspector wants to review the entire exterior area of the foundation to see if any glaring problems exist.  This inspection can save a homeowner serious time and money by avoiding future basement moisture problems.

Sewer and Water Service Inspection – Many builders install the sewer and water lines just after backfill of the foundation before lumber is delivered.  Once the lumber comes, it can be tough to find enough space for the excavator to work.  The sewer inspection occurs after the entire trench has been dug and the sewer line has been installed.  The inspector will review things like pipe size, connections, bedding under the pipe, pitch on the pipe for proper gravity flow…etc.

Plumbing Undergrounds – The plumber runs all of the drain lines under the slabs prior to them being poured.  The plumbing inspector wants to see these undergrounds to make sure there are no glaring problems.  For a home with a basement, this would include the floor drain, sump crock and any other plumbing run below the slab for a finished basement.

Roof Inspection – Some municipalities require a roof inspection prior to laying the actual roofing material.  This inspection basically looks at the underlayment used to make sure it complies with the local building codes.

Electrical Service – The electrician will set the main panel for the home and this will be reviewed by the electrical inspector to make sure it meets code.  It’s advantageous to do this right after the roof goes on to allow power to be hooked up to the home for contractors to use during construction.

Plumbing Rough Inspection – A review of the supply and drain lines installed within the walls of the home prior to insulation and drywall.

HVAC Rough Inspection – A review of the supply and return air ducts installed within the walls of the home prior to insulation and drywall being installed.

Electrical Rough Inspection – A review of the wiring and boxes within the walls of the home prior to insulation and drywall being installed.

Insulation Inspection – A review of the insulation installation prior to drywall being installed.  Items reviewed include type of insulation, thickness, consistency and quality of installation. 

Final Electrical, HVAC, and Plumbing Inspections – These are completed by separate inspectors at different times during the final finishing stages of the home. 

Grade Inspection – Many times a municipality wants to see the final grade to make sure it meets the requirements spelled out on the engineered plot plan.  In some cases, the inspector wants to see grade stakes installed by the surveyor showing the grade meets the plan requirements to prevent standing water problems in the yard.

Final Building Inspection – This is typically the last inspection when building a new home.  Most municipalities won’t allow this inspection to take place until all other inspection have been passed.  After this inspection is approved, a certificate of occupancy is given.

Michael Luckado

Michael Luckado has built, remodeled, and repaired thousands of homes across the U.S. He co-founded to help people save money and time creating their dream home.

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