There are a lot of misconceptions concerning the Pre-delivery inspection of a home. Even a Realtor attending a home inspection on a one year old home was confused on who was at her own pre-delivery inspection. She was under the impression that the Builder Representative was a neutral third party inspector who was there to look after her interests. The Builder’s Representative is only there to have you sign off the Pre-delivery Inspection with a little detail recorded as possible. Some Builders will still refuse to allow a Home Inspector to be present even in today’s enlightened environment.
Your local building department is responsible for inspecting each phase of your new homes construction. The local building code inspector will sign off on about seven stages of construction on a new home. This only means that the local building department inspector looked at the home and decided it met with his view of the Ontario Building Code requirements.
A recent article in the Toronto Star, noted that after inspecting homes in the tornado-ravaged town of Angus ON, that when the trusses were inspected that not one code compliant connection was found. The nail count is one area that the local building inspectors are required to assess during the framing stage of construction. Many times the items that are required to be inspected will never see the light of day again and the home buyer is completely dependent on the quality of work provided by the local building department. I personally have been on second storey of one year old buildings and found the ice and water barrier is missing along eaves. The roofer knew the building inspector was not going to go up a ladder to make that inspection and saved himself 300.00 dollars at the expense of the home buyer.
New homes are protected by the Tarion Warranty, but ask any seasoned veteran on how complicated and unfair that process can be. The only protection a New Home Buyer has is being an educated consumer and ensuring that they take advantage of all the protection methods available. The most important protection is having a Professional Home Inspector accompany you during your Pre-delivery Inspection. Not all builders are created equal, and most builders sub-contract most of the building process out, so they are mainly just supervisors of the sub trades. To ensure the most profits the builder will squeeze the sub-trades to provide the lowest price, so that they in turn, will take every short cut available to them to increase their profits. This is where the Home Owner has to ensure that they avail themselves of their rights as a consumer and are prepared to fight their way through the Tarion labyrinth of paperwork.
Some of the most common items that I have found during a Pre-Delivery Inspection are listed below, some may be humorous but some home owners may have had to deal with these items at their own expense due to lack of knowledge or rights:
- New home in Angus had a side casement window which would not open as it hit the roof.
- Ice and water shield missing from upper roof eaves.
- No insulation installed in attic.
- Floor trusses damaged by plumber who drilled holes then relocated plumbing elsewhere.
- Joist hangers not fully nailed or missing nails completely.
- Trip hazards at doorways where finish was not properly completed.
- Window wells not attached to foundation.
- Foundation poured incorrectly and mistake improperly corrected using mortar. Brick layer sometimes has to compensate by overhanging brick due to foundation not being square.
- Improper electrical cable installations which should have been armored cable.
- Poorly installed blown insulation. Installer did not completely enter all areas of attic and there are lower areas where framing prevented level coverage, which is known as “shadow effect”.
The list of deficiencies encountered during Pre-Deliver inspections just goes on and on. Home Buyers have to protect themselves through education and research prior to buying a home.
As always Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware