Advice requested - New Construction

Greetings All -

Am a newer inspector, and just had a client request an inspection for a home under construction. I’m asking for advice on how to conduct this inspection. Doubt insulation will even be up before I arrive. The client states they have some concerns they want to point out to me, and have rectified before build is complete. This is a new subdivision build where homes are mass produced. The progress on the house to your left is one week ahead of your house, and the house to the right is one week behind your house. Good news is that I get to see the guts - but that is also what is a bit worrisome to me, as I feel like that raises the stakes for me - since an inspector doesn’t normally see behind the walls.

I’m not coming back a second time (unless they are paying me for that), so I will disclaim anything that is not yet installed. I’ve looked and asked Internachi staff about resources for this. Nothing really exists, other than SOP bits and pieces throughout various training modules (which I’m fine with), and one called “Residential Structural Design for Home Inspectors Course” which is immensely technical. Was a bit disappointed, as there is a badge for “Certified New Construction Inspector”, and I assumed that would come with coursework, but it did not. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Inspection is this Saturday, so no rush on a response. Attached three images homeowner has sent.

This is not a standard Home Inspection. You need to set the limits and expectations of the inspection with the customer before you begin. Builder may refuse you entry, or require insurance. PPE is required. Blueprint reading helpful but they may not be available to you. You should know or be familiar with local building code requirements.


What’s your location?

The holddown/strap would indicate that this was a shear wall and you are probably in seismic or high wind area. There is a lot to know about framing to get into those. Shearwalls should have properly nailed bottom plates, that can be found it in the shearwall schedule. You must have approved building plans and get familiar with all structural details before you even go out there.

1 Like

If you do not have any experience in new construction I strongly recommend you defer this inspection to a home inspector that does. You will be doing yourself and your client a favor. As mentioned above you will need to be familiar with the local codes. You need to be familiar with construction techniques for your area such as hurricane strapping.


To start with, taking a course is to learn something, not to get a sticker. A course may cover state continued education requirements, which is important.

Based on your question, it seems your not too comfortable with this type of inspection. Not good. Many Inspectors come from a construction background, some learn from a book. Proceed with caution. At the first sign of your hesitation, the contractor will eat you alive, as Bob Kenney pointed out.

When you bring up any issue, the contractor is going to say “We’re not finished” and blow you off. So expect that.

This is another indication of lack of experience. The purpose of these inspections is to get more than one inspection fee out of it. You do not need to “Disclaim” anything that has yet to be completed. This is not a “Home Inspection” because it has yet to become a home. Your there to get a look before things get closed up, and by now you should know if your client wants a final inspection. I have never done a construction inspection unless I was doing the final.

As for the nail pictures; what is that about? Do you plan to inspect every fastener installation? Would you consider this a significant structural defect? If the client sent these, I would give significant consideration as to if I wanted this job to start. Your client and probably you will likely be kicked out of the job site by the contractor. I’ve see this happen a few times. So expect that as well.


Any building framer would know what this is. It’s common practice and not a problem.


Ya gotta lift the walls some how where the bottom plate stays along the line, eh Scott.


Just another indicator of how sticky this can be. Plan review indicates technically exhaustive. Which is all fine if your agreement spells out what you will and won’t do.

The OP made another good point, everything is exposed or visible and you can bet your ass as an inspector you will be held accountable for all of it.

Every time I see an inspector ask about phase or pre-drywall inspection, they seem to be lacking confidence. I think this is understandable. We all have strengths and weaknesses in the various major system components and we all crossed this bridge for the first time at some point.

To the OP, manage that expectation with the customer that matches your skill level. Let them know if you are or are not referencing code, blue prints etc.

Good luck!

Good advice given to me was to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.

Stay within your comfort level.

If you’ve never done or are not comfortable doing pre-drywall or phase inspections, IMO it’s best to pass until you are.

Not sure where are you located but regardless you will need architectural stamped plans , Usually if the plans are approved by the building department are to code but many times building inspectors have their own specifications so it can slightly differ from town to town . If you don’t have a construction background it will make it more difficult as you would have more difficulty reading the plans detail . If you specify that your inspection is per submitted plans you are already covering yourself a little bit more . It also depends at what point of the construction you will be doing the inspection . You have many components that at various point will obstruct other areas that should be inspected . PLUMBING , ELECTRIC , AIR CONDITIONING / HEAT LINES etc. New construction inspection unfortunately should be done in few different phases starting from the FOOTINGS to be able to cover everything . 4-5 or more inspections and that can get pretty expensive for the customer but if they don’t trust the builder , it is what it is . If they want to save some money they need to try to coordinate with the town inspector ( NOT THAT EASY ) and be there when he does his scheduled required inspections ( The builder cannot kick him/ her out ) and ask him whatever questions . Or you can meet with the town inspector and go over the various things and ask questions ( at that time the builder cannot kick you out either ) Usually town inspectors like to look at plans but like the opportunity to show you
what they know .
Good luck with it .

1 Like

Why is this required? State requirement?

If you are going to do a technically exhaustive review of those plans in comparison to what is actually built, then be sure to charge for that!

You cannot just shuffle thru the plans and pick and choose what you are going to verify unless you set that expectation up front.


Yes, most states have their own laws, some require architect’s stamp some don’t. All places, however will require AHJ’s "Reviewed for code compliance " stamp. That’s all you need to see. Building inspectors want to see those on the job site too.
At this stage of construction I would be interested to see structural plans and details.

I understand that.

I am talking about a home inspector performing a pre-drywall inspection. A couple people on here have said you will need a set of plans to perform this inspection.

Why? Where is it required for a home inspector to have plans to perform a pre-dry wall inspection?


Thanks to all. Truly appreciate the feedback on the thread, learned from it. Called the client back and worked out a different plan - one I’m more comfortable with.

1 Like

Well, this is no longer a home inspection. I would call it a building inspection on behalf of the home owner. Specific agreement should be in place.
I don’t know what kind of service he would want to perform. It could be a code inspection, which is probably covered by the AHJ, or code plus quality of construction inspection.
This is not easy stuff to do.

Also, he should request copies of local building inspectors reports from previous visits.

1 Like

Yes Brian, it’s all good but you need the set of plans to properly inspect the building in different stages of construction.
That contract is not too specific.

So says you. Need a set, set required or set encouraged are different things. I just want to make sure the readers understand the “requirement” or lack thereof.

It is all up to the inspector and the clients expectations.

And I will go further. Once you reference those plans in your report, you are responsible for everything in those plans unless you disclaim it properly.

1 Like

Ok, so how would you do the pre-drywall inspection? What would be your process, and what would you look for?