Is it necessary to get a home inspection on a newly constructed home?
A commonly held fallacy is that all construction defects will be discovered by municipal building inspectors. This is incorrect, but not because of professional shortcomings on the part of those inspectors. The purpose, scope, time allotment and procedures for municipal inspections are not the same as for home inspections.
Municipal inspectors inspect primarily for code compliance, not for quality of workmanship. They can cite a builder for improper structural framing or for noncomplying drain connections, but a poorly fitted door, an uneven tile countertop and slipshod finish work are not included in the list of concerns.
Municipal inspectors rarely inspect an attic or a crawl space. They come to the job site with a clipboard and a codebook, not with a ladder and overalls. Construction defects in such areas can escape discovery.
Municipal inspectors typically inspect a roof from the ground or possibly from the builder's ladder. From these perspectives, roof defects are not always apparent. And final inspections are performed before the utilities are turned on, so municipal inspectors cannot determine if or how well the appliances and fixtures truly work. They don't test outlets for ground and polarity because this can be done only after the power supply is turned on. Nor, without power, can they test the performance of GFCI or AFCI safety breakers.
The lack of utilities also prevents the testing of plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers, tubs and dishwashers, and of gas fixtures such as furnaces, fireplaces and water heaters.
When buying a new construction home, you should not forego the benefits of a thorough home inspection.
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