Archive for Sunday, April 25, 2004

The right building inspector gets you off and running

April 25, 2004


If you hear the term "smart house" and think of a James Bond-like, gadget-laden space with exploding pens and a rolling bar, think again, 007.

The "smart house" uses the newest and most up-to-date technologies available, from the foundation up to the roof. When one buys a home, most of the focus comes down to where it's located, the look, the size (Is it bigger than the Joneses'?) or the price (Is it cheaper than the Rockefellers'?)

But do homebuyers really think in terms of "quality"? Especially if it's a new house? We just assume the quality is there.

Sure, the countertops, cabinetry and fixtures might meet your expectations, but what about all the other parts of the house? Quality homes are homes that are built to be safe and healthy for you and your family, comfortable year-round, durable enough to be proudly passed to the next generation, and so efficient that monthly utility bills are nominal.

Even though your home may be built by a reputable builder, your knowledge of construction and the construction process, as well as your participation in the key decisions made before and during construction, have a big impact on the quality of your home. Think of this knowledge as the information you need to make the right decision for your next home or home project. Think of it as your Home IQ.

And no discussion of the construction process would be complete without talking about the building inspectors. So, if you want quality, start with them. That's it.

Building inspectors review many components of the home while it's being built to make sure local building codes are followed. If building inspectors find a violation, they will halt construction until the problem is corrected and re-inspected. Once a home successfully passes a building inspection, a notice is posted on the home site, signaling that construction can continue safely.

Building inspections occur at specific times in the construction process. These predetermined times are selected to give the building inspector maximum access to the areas he or she needs to see.

As the building inspector reviews the home throughout construction, some typical problems that may cause him or her to halt construction include the following:

Poor soil conditions or cold weather during the "foundation" stage.

Point loads not properly transferred down to the next lower level during the "framing" stage.

Lack of proper ventilation in the cathedral ceiling during the "mechanicals" stage.

Malfunctioning electrical outlets or switches during the "interior finish" stage.

Missing exterior railings on porches or decks during the "pre-closing" stage.

And remember, all of the items listed above are related directly to your health and safety. Building inspections are frequent throughout construction; however, the site supervisor is responsible for walking through each home daily to inspect the quality of construction.

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