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New Home Construction, a lack of proper code required items

Home Inspector with Sweetwater Home Inspection 7038

In new home construction, the builders, supervisors, sub-contractors and foremen are lacking the knowledge that is needed to have a safe home. This is the reason why builders are required to have independent Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) licensed or Professional Engineers (PE) inspectors inspect the new houses that they build. Unfortunately, some of the Inspection Companies are not updated and are lacking proper training. One of the many examples is what is easily installed at the time of building is step flashing. Throughout the Gulf Coast area in Texas and even along some of the bordering counties, the International Residential Code for One and Two Family Dwellings, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Roofing Contractors Association and manufacturers of asphalt shingles require that step flashing methods be employed at all walls to roofing sections. A brand new home that I recently inspected did not have the step flashing in place. A photograph below shows the commonly used "L" or "J" flashing is still being used in the areas where over 90 mph winds were felt in the past Hurricane that hit the southeastern Texas. Some of the reasons why "J" flashing is not recommended by the manufacturers and the other organizations is because of the wind shearing effect on the portion of the roof shingles that are not fastened to the decking. Another reason why the "J' flashing is not used is due to water seepage. Any wind swept rain that gets in under the shingle runs down into the decking and possibly into other areas of the house. With step flashing, under each shingle there is a niled piece of metal that prevents any water from intruding into the underlayment  

Also some of the new (already a year old) are the National Electric Codes, 2008 edition (NEC). There are many requirements that are needed and are still not being done with regards to properly building and wiring the homes. One example of a house that is new and the buyers hired me to inspect it prior to signing the deed, is that the NEC requires that all electrical outlets on new construction be child proofed. The cost is minimal to the electrician installing the correct electrical outlets. Another small but important code that is not being done on new house construction, at least in the counties that I have visited, is a new Code for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter breakers for all livable space except bathrooms , kitchens and utility rooms. These are codes that should have gone in effect as of January of 2008 but up to September of 2008 was given to the electricians within the city limits (depending uponcity and building official jurisdiction)   As one can see in the photo below, only three arc fault breakers are used in a four bedroom three and a half bath house.  


As of February, 2009, a TREC licensed inspector must use the newest of the Standards of Practices that has been established by TREC. These newest stadards can be found on the TREC world wide web site listed: http://www.trec.state.tx.us/inspector/SpecialTopics/SoP_Changes_2008.asp

If you are building your dream home, remember that a qualified TREC licensed and properly educated inspector can thoroughly go through the house and find some of these areas that are lacking proper installation procedures during the building of the house.