During the construction of a new home, a professional builder is responsible for managing a variety of inspections to ensure that the new home meets agreed upon quality standards, is on schedule for completion when promised, and complies with applicable building codes.
These periodic visits may or may not include our homebuyers. When clients are invited, it is an excellent opportunity for us to stay connected and on the same page as our buyers. We encourage them to ask questions that refine their expectations and improve their understanding of the homebuilding process.
Inspections. Building permits are required for every new home built today. A permit is issued only after the local building department makes sure that the plans meet the building codes for a variety of issues, including occupant health, safety, and in some cases, energy efficiency.
At certain points during the construction process — for instance, once the structural frame has been completed — a call is made to schedule an inspection of that phase with the building department. At each required stage, the building inspector comes to the house and meets with the builder’s site superintendent. Together, they walk through the project to confirm that the new section of the home has been constructed according to the previously approved plans and that all work complies with the building codes.
Most often, the work matches up with the approved plans and the applicable codes, and the inspector signs the building permit to signify its compliance. When the house is finished, the inspector’s final approval prompts a Certificate of Occupancy (or CO) that allows the homebuyer to close escrow and move into his or her new home.
Internal Inspections. In addition to the necessary, on-site inspections by the building department, we often conduct inspections of our own during construction, based on standards and expectations we’ve established as a company and with our homebuyer clients.
The most important of these internal inspections happens just before our buyers move into their new home. At that time, members of our staff tour the house to make sure systems and products (such as the furnace or dishwasher) are working properly and that there are no missing or misaligned finishes (such as switch plates or door casings). That process leads to the creation of a to-do list, often called a punch list. Items on the punch list are typically satisfied before the homeowners formally tour the house with the builder. This is the last step prior to the homeowners occupying their new home.
We conduct such internal inspections throughout the project for several reasons. First, we hate surprises. We want to eliminate any issues or missing pieces prior to the close of escrow. Also, we want to spend time on a walk-through with our clients to demonstrate and explain the home’s various systems, point out key features, and educate them about the proper maintenance of their new house. Finally, we make these efforts so that our buyers are satisfied that we’ve delivered what we promised and met or exceeded their expectations.
Customer Walk-Throughs. In addition to the final client walk-through before the close of escrow, we also schedule walk-throughs with our homebuyers during construction. These tours provide both parties with an opportunity to discuss the progress of the home in a very tangible way. As a result, homeowners feel more connected to the construction of their home and more confident in our abilities.
It is important to us that our clients experience, rather than simply witness, their home’s progress during the building process. We believe it better prepares them to take care of their home, to be more comfortable communicating any concerns to us, and more confident about their home’s value because they have seen how it was built and what it contains.