Footer Inspection- New Construction

Home Inspector with The Parks Consulting Group, LLC #2116

When building a new home the most important inspection that you can have performed is a footer inspection.

If not performed quickly enough the footer can be hidden by the backfill and the basement floor.

That is why I like to inspect the footer rather than waiting to do a foundation inspection.

Here is what a footer depth should be. Assuming a 8" thick wall.

Footer Inspection1Footer Inspection1A

Now here is what the footer looked like in another location.

Footer Inspection2Footer Inspection2A

Can you see why it is important not to wait or skip this inspection?

Can you see why having a Residential Building Inspector perform this inspection for you is important?

In a couple of days later this would have been hidden.


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Daniel Sundberg
Crystal Springs Real Estate - Kentwood, MI
I've been involved in the building business since i was trusted with the tools of the trades.  The only reason to have insufficient footings is a lazy disregard for the product being built.  There are several big name builders that adopt that principle of building, and there are several lawsuits holding them accountable.  This is why I only recommend builders who take the time to care about what they build.  
Sep 09, 2007 04:20 AM #1
Christopher Benedict
BIG Realty - Collegeville, PA

Thanks for the great tips.  I will have to remember these ideas for myself and to pass on to others!

Sep 09, 2007 05:24 AM #2
Rosario Lewis
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
GRI, SRES - DDR Realty - Orange County, NY
It is frightening how easily shoddy workmanship can be hidden from view. Intermittent inspection during construction should be the rule.
Sep 09, 2007 11:29 AM #3
Mike (Inspector Mike) Parks
The Parks Consulting Group, LLC - Circleville, OH
Inspector Mike

To the builders defense. After thinking about my inspection the builder contacted me and said that they would require the footing contractor to hire a Professional Engineer to inspect this footer and if the 'sub' would not do so that they, the builder, would hire one at their expense.

Most builders here want to build a good product. It is the 'subs' that hurt them.

Again, what if I was not there?

Sep 09, 2007 11:53 AM #4
Bruce Pinel
S & B Services LLC - North Kingstown, RI

Hey Mike, was your point that the footing was only 5" thick at one point, or that is was 5" of "swiss cheese" at that location? By the way, width is just as important, at least in our neck of the woods. I'm sure the local AHJ would have seen it before the backfill.

Regardless, I am an advocate of your point on inspecting new construction.

Sep 09, 2007 12:09 PM #5
Mike (Inspector Mike) Parks
The Parks Consulting Group, LLC - Circleville, OH
Inspector Mike


Only 5" thick.

No the AHJ would not have seen this. That is why we are needed.

Sep 09, 2007 12:20 PM #6
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector


I agree with you about the subs. I have heard this from more than a few builders and have helped some uncover some problems with their subs.

I recall a fairly recent job where I was called in by the builder to perform an IR inspection due to drafts and heating problems with a very large home he had built. One area of concern was the exterior french doors. There were almost to many to count.  In the picture the top extreme left door had leaked in the first few months after install.

I examined the door and found it was weather stripped with a metal type interlocking sweep. I asked the builder about this and he told me the door company that installed all the doors said this was the best available door sweep. They also had informed the builder to correct the problem with the drafts from these doors they would ALL have to be replaced with new, better quality doors for $160,000!

The outcome was I was able to give the builder information on weather stripping and door sweeps that met ASTM standards for water proofing and energy efficiency. None of these were metal.

So here is a good example of a sub feeding a builder wrong information for their own benefit.

Like you said, "Most builders here want to build a good product. It is the 'subs' that hurt them."

How very true.

Sep 10, 2007 01:26 AM #7
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