When scheduling an inspection on new construction, be sure that the construction is complete up to the point that you expect the scope of the inspection to cover. Your inspection can only cover what is on site and completed at the time of the inspection and you may be losing inspection value if you schedule the inspection too soon. The inspections that Professional Engineering Inspections offer for new construction often cover more detail than other inspectors and normally require at least a business day to complete the report with photographs. You will also need to ensure you have adequate time to receive the information and review it with your builder. Unless otherwise arranged with our office, or as a result of unforeseen circumstances, our reports are normally issued the next business day. This concern should be discussed with the builder prior to the start of construction and you should be wary of builders who do not wish to work within a reasonable time schedule for quality assurance inspections. Your builder should agree to provide you with a reasonable notification that the building will be ready for inspection ahead of time to allow it to be added to our schedule during peak business periods. This is especially important for the foundation phase of inspection where construction is often scheduled tightly to prevent damage to the construction preparations.
As a general guideline as to when you should schedule your inspection:
Foundation – This is normally a pre-pour inspection and covers the general quality of workmanship in completing preparations for concrete placement. This means that the foundation forms, rough-in plumbing, and reinforcement should be completed and ready for placement prior to the inspection. It is normally desirable to have the inspection 24 hours prior to placement of concrete to allow the information to be collected and presented in a report for use. Although a verbal communication of information can be provided on site, it often is not as comprehensive as a written report. Additionally, if questions arise related to a detail or concern, you should have sufficient time to consult with the engineering contractor responsible for the design of the foundation. Professional Engineering Inspections works very hard to issue this type of inspection report as soon as possible knowing that it is typically critical to place concrete before damage can occur to the site, and we can often get the report issued in detail in under 24 hours.
Framing – Commonly referred to as a topout inspection, this should be performed when the framing is substantially completed, if not fully completed, and the building is “dried in” with the roof in place and completed. The rough-in plumbing, electrical, and HVAC should be completed and the structure should be ready for insulation, but it should not yet be installed. Often, plank-type siding is installed, although this is not necessary, and it is desirable to see as much of the outer envelope as possible to view flashing details when possible. You should have at least 48 hours after receiving the report before covering the walls and ceilings to allow any concerns to be addressed.
Final Quality Finish – This inspection covers not only the major visible components of the construction, but does include some finish work. Consequently, your finish work should be completed. It is recommended that you have at least one walk through of the construction with your builder prior to this inspection and that the building is reasonably clean so that the finishes can be clearly observed. When possible, all appliances should be installed and functional, including the HVAC. Essentially, the builder should consider the building ready for immediate move in for the most inclusive inspection. Normally, you should plan to have a second walk through with the report to discuss the finding with your builder. You should plan your second walk to be 2 business days after the inspection to allow the report to be issued.
Ensuring the stage of the construction and scheduling the inspection is normally the responsibility of the client. Although the builder may indicate that the building is ready for inspection, you as the buyer, should confirm site conditions so that you do not schedule your inspection to soon. Often, inspection cannot be rescheduled at short notice.
If you have questions about scheduling your inspection or if you have special needs, contact our office and we can discuss your needs to ensure the most accurate scheduling.