New construction inspections are always interesting - especially when attic insulation is a mess -
One small step for man, one giant leap for a poor indoor environment.
Attic insulation is very often a problem in new construction.
Usually the builder advertises a high R-value (which can only be defined as depth of insulation), but they try to do so in funny ways. They say the insulation they blow in is "special" and of a higher R-value so they only have to blow in 9"! Or they say there are so many square feet in the attic and they put in so many bags and that, of course, dontcha know, defines R-value!
OF COURSE NONE OF THAT IS TRUE. R-VALUE IS ALWAYS DEFINED BY INSULATION DEPTH, NO MATTER THE KIND OF INSULATION.
But here is another problem.
Different trades go into the attic space. Each makes their "one small step" (many steps actually) into the attic insulation.
The electrician, the cable company, the security company, the bedroom ceiling fan installers, the guys who spray paint the dormer window - and the list goes on.
It can be a parade.
And each of them walks around the attic creating footprint divots in the insulation!
All over the attic!
Does it occur to them to fill in the holes they create in the insulation?
If it does, and they actually did fill in their holes, someone else is likely to follow who does not! And the holes remain.
Each of those holes is a spot where the insulation ability, defined as R-value, is dramatically reduced.
And in this attic, like in many in new construction, the footprint divots were everywhere. This is just one photo of just one direction as viewed from the attic access hole.
When I mention it and the supervisor hears me, he often says something snippy about what I expect - that he would go up there with a rake and smooth it all out?
THE ANSWER IS YES. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPERVISOR WITH OVERALL RESPONSIBILITY SHOULD DO. MAKE SURE IT IS CORRECT, EVEN IF HE HAS TO SMOOTH IT OUT HIMSELF.
After all, if it was his house, what would he do? What would he want?
Do unto others likewise.
My recommendation: on new construction things should be in pristine condition. And things should be proper. This home is supposed to be one of the vaunted Energy Star homes! Not only should the insulation be deep and smooth, it should have been looked at and approved by another authority, like RESNET, to certify its capacity and R-value. If the RESNET certifier saw this, either he did not care or does not realize it's incorrect. He approved it!
Yes, I am finding less and less value to the RESNET evaluation and certification of new construction...