People often ask, do I really need a new home inspection or a pre-drywall inspection? There was a code inspection isn’t that sufficient? I teach a class on new home construction defects and until you see what we as home inspectors see you would never ask that question again. We are performing more pre-drywall inspections and new home inspections than we have in a few years.
Some builders are still allowing the client to perform these inspections and accompany the inspector while a growing segment of new home builders are not allowing the client nor their realtor to attend the inspection for various reasons. Some builders are placing ridiculous requirements and restrictions on the home inspector. Some of the acceptable requirements may include producing their state license, proof of insurance, and signing a release of liability in case of an onsite injury. These are all understandable and acceptable. Some of the more restrictive requirement range from producing health and auto insurance for the builder to limiting what the inspector can do from opening any access panels including the electrical panel and attic access. Most builders will not allow a blue tape inspection from the inspector and not allow flashlight inspections of the drywall. With drywall the latest term is we don’t do a level 5 drywall finish, I would say many drywall finishers stop at a level 2 or 3 and don’t realize it. So, if you’re purchasing a new home be sure to see what limitation the builder may place on you or your inspector. Some builders will not allow a radon test claiming one should not be placed until a couple of years have passed, there is so state or national data to support this claim. Some job sites may require hard hats, especially in a community frequented by OSHA. If you plan on attending the inspection you should dress for it including proper shoes. Take care where you park as there are fork trucks, large trucks, and other equipment running up and down the subdivisions and nails and other debris that may result in a flat tire.
The best timing for the Predrywall Inspection:
When scheduling a pre-drywall inspection, we have a specific window or construction stages we are looking for. Ideally, we want the window flashings and house wrap but no siding so we can evaluate the condition of the building envelope for tightness. All exterior windows and doors (excluding the garage door) should be installed so we can evaluate the installation and operation prior to insulation, drywall, and siding. So, if any adjustments need to be made this would be the opportunity. The roof covering or most commonly the roof shingles should be installed to keep the rain off the interior framing. Next, all rough-ins for the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC should be installed so we can evaluate the condition of the framing to be free from and comprised modifications. At this stage, we would evaluate all accessible framing, walls, floor, ceiling a roof framing. We would also evaluate the exposed sections of the main beam, support columns, and the exposed foundation. There are many other precautions you may want to discuss with the builder, to not nailing the pump jack braces through the face of the roof shingles, protecting all tubs and showers from construction-related damage, especially fiberglass, and protecting all entry door thresholds from damage. Also, another common area to get damaged is the edge of the garage slab.
So, when you hire a new home inspector or pre-drywall inspector be sure to check their credentials, hands-on experience, and background to ensure you are getting an inspector that has the instinct and knowledge to look for issues and report the findings to you.
The next article will be on new home walk-throughs.
Stephen Lee Showalter, NACHI® CMI, ASHI ACI
Home Inspector, Environmental Consultant
Maryland State Home Inspector License #29634
ASHI ACI Certified Membership
NACHI® CMI Certified Master Inspector
InterNACHI® CPI Certified Membership
Certified Commercial Property Inspector Association
FAA Certified UAS Pilot #3987636
CRT Certified Residential Thermographer