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New Construction Inspections


BobKGA
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I'm relocating to the Atlanta area in July, and plan on offering new construction inspections as part of a consulting business. I will not be providing inspection services on existing homes. A few questions for those of you doing new construction inspections:

- How are you getting the builders to allow you to set foot on site and do your inspections? Are you having your clients add a clause in their purchase contracts? I ask because I'm assuming most builders aren't thrilled with the idea of having additional "eyes" on their sites.

- Are the builders requiring you to provide proof of insurance prior to be allowed on site? I've been speaking with several insurance companies, and they don't seem to want to write a GL policy without doing an E&O policy first, and most won't write an E&O policy for just new construction (they want to charge the regular E&O rates, which are excessive IMO, given the lower risk of new construction inspection).

- How are you ensuring that the builder doesn't start closing up walls prior to your inspection? Are you requesting a call from the site super prior to insulation, or are you doing drivebys every week to check on the status of the house?

Thanks in advance for any answers!

Bob

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I've designed, built, estimated, and managed construction projects ranging from $2,000 remodels to $300 million high-rise condo projects. I've worked as a quality control inspector for a major Las Vegas home builder, inspecting several hundred homes a year. I've consulted with clients on construction-related issues for close to 20 years. I've written articles on various construction topics for several national magazines. I'm a certified 1 and 2-family dwelling inspector under CABO (haven't bothered to get re-certified under IBC because I haven't been doing much residential work for the past few years).

I do not, however, have ASHI, NAHI, or any of the other alphabet soup behind my name if that's what you're asking by your question- does that mean I can't post here? Does it make me incapable of providing new construction inspections?

Bob

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Calm down Bob.

I never questioned your ability nor you being welcome, I was just a bit curious why you would not be interested in existing structures. Actually, what you have in mind is almost what I do for the most part of my working day. I supervise projects, mostly high end. It is amazing how much better things are built through the eyes of an inspector. My experience in construction does not come from being an inspector. It is actually the other way around.

I will add though, that with all of my construction experience, being an inspector is totally unique, and there is definately an art to the task. I have... and still do construct, reconstruct, houses, buildings, systems, Structural, electrical, plumbing, etc,. etc., and admit without training specifically to be an inspector... and continuing to train to be an inspector... I could not be an inspector.

Through the years, prior to becoming an HI, every now and then, folks would ask me to check out a house they were considering. I actually found things that were both good and bad. But knowing what I know now, I have to admit that there was so much I didn't even realize to look at.

As far as your question, I don't think I would market myself to the builders. Like you said, they don't want you there. You have to figure a way to reach the buyers. Maybe you can get a list of mortgage applicants.

I could see a builder insisting upon insurance. I have not been challanged as of yet, but don't go by me. As far as allowing you to inspect, I don't know about Ga., but allowing for an inspection is part of most purchase contracts I know of.

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Didn't mean to come across as offended- I just thought it odd that the first question I got was "are you an inspector". I moderate at the JLC forums with Hausdok, and over there the guys are very defensive about only letting "professionals" in, so maybe I'm a little overly sensitive on the subject of having credentials questioned....lol.

I agree that marketing to the builders wouldn't fly- it's really more of a question of how to let them do my job. While typical purchase agreements for resale purchases include an inspection clause, contracts for new homes are drawn up by the builder, and obviously favor the builder. They typically don't allow many (if any) changes to their contracts, especially in a hot market.

You asked why I don't want to do resale inspections- they just don't interest me. I don't enjoy crawling thru moldy crawlspaces and getting sued because I couldn't see that the timer on the oven didn't work, and it didn't go off, ruining Thanksgiving dinner for the new buyers (a true story that happened to a friend of mine who did inspections in Las Vegas.....).

Thanks for the input,

Bob

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When the RE market was hot here, and it favored the buyer, I knew of contracts that were not contingent on the house inspecting or appraising out. Now, I don't see them nearly as much.

I also don't like creepy dingy places, but sometimes it happens. My personal niche of choice is industrial sites. I takes what comes my way.

At this point, just when I was considering doing less of Project Superintendant-ing, I was just yesterday offered o job by a company that Installs and maintains fire suppression systems. They seem to be offering me an offer I can't refuse so I will see how it goes.

I also visit JLC, I know what you mean about the wall of silence. That is not my demeanor.

Peace

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Hi,

Bob's right, I do not believe in interrogating new visitors to either TIJ or JLC, but, now that the introductions are over, perhaps we could get back on-topic and attempt to answer some of Bob's questions?

Yeah, I understand that Steve didn't mean to offend, wasn't trying to interrogate him and that Bob may have taken it the wrong way, but it's a point worth making.

FWIW, TIJ is open to anyone who wants to visit. One has to actually sign up to be a "member" to post in most topic areas, but there are one or two where that's not necessary. In the five years that we've been doing this, it's a pretty rare event when a homeowner or a do-it-yourelfer stops in here and actually takes the time to register so that they can ask a question. So, if you'd rather not answer someone's query without knowing more about them, just don't. Someone else probably will and then, if you feel comfortable talking to the person after they've revealed a little bit more about themselves or their intent, do so if you're inclined.

Other than that, I think it's nice when someone has their geographic location alongside their user name, because knowing that helps me know whether what I see regularly can be applied to their clime, but it's not absolutely necessary.

For what it's worth - from my perspective, when I read Bob's post, I had no problem understanding that his intent was to work as a construction consultant - which is what we all are, really - and that he intended to limit his practice to new construction. Bob is very welcome here and can probably contribute significantly to many discussions here.

No need to respond - this thread has spent enough time off-topic - let's steer it back and all have a great day.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'm relocating to the Atlanta area in July, and plan on offering new construction inspections as part of a consulting business. I will not be providing inspection services on existing homes. A few questions for those of you doing new construction inspection

I believe that the Georgia ASHI chapter has a strong involvement in new-construction inspections. They might have the answers to all of your questions and more. Try to reach Dr. Tore Knos. I believe he had a lot to do with the program.

- How are you getting the builders to allow you to set foot on site and do your inspections? Are you having your clients add a clause in their purchase contracts? I ask because I'm assuming most builders aren't thrilled with the idea of having additional "eyes" on their sites.

I don't know about Atlanta but up here it isn't an issue. I can wander around almost any construction site and hardly anyone ever questions me.

- Are the builders requiring you to provide proof of insurance prior to be allowed on site? I've been speaking with several insurance companies, and they don't seem to want to write a GL policy without doing an E&O policy first, and most won't write an E&O policy for just new construction (they want to charge the regular E&O rates, which are excessive IMO, given the lower risk of new construction inspection).

Again, not an issue up here. The builders haven't caught on to that trick yet. However, I don't see this as being an unreasonable request. It's the builder's property and there's a lot of liability there for him. All his subs have to have insurance. Why should you be different? Also, you might want to reconsider the E&O thing. There's plenty big risk in new construction inspections. If some thing big goes down, they'll sue everyone. You won't be exempt.

- How are you ensuring that the builder doesn't start closing up walls prior to your inspection? Are you requesting a call from the site super prior to insulation, or are you doing drivebys every week to check on the status of the house?

I put it on the customer - call me at such-and-such a point in construction. If something's been covered up, I report that and move on.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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