Inspection during building process?

Hello please forgive me if this topic is covered somewhere in here I have tried a search but have not found it.
I have recently been receiving requests to do inspections on a home while it is being built. Has anyone done this?
I informed the potential client we are not code inspectors and we typically come in and check the home after it has been built. He was adamant about getting it inspected during the building process. Because he has had issues with his current home and feels the city inspectors that check for codes etc are to buddy buddy with the builders and they let things slide.
Does anyone have any advice or cautions about doing inspections like this? I fully plan on getting a pre-inspection agreement to reflect I am not a code inspector and that it is basically a supervision of the build process. I will provide a mini report on my findings at each walk but again I am not code enforcement.

It all depends on what your experience level is. Are you familiar with new construction including the electrical, drywall, and framing so on and so forth?
If not then pass on it.
In addition, make sure the contractor will allow you on his site.

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This is exactly why I don’t do these as an inspector. If they want that, then you need to pay me the rate of a construction supervisor.

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Lane,
The client’s concerns about the builder’s being “buddy buddy” with the local code enforcement officers is well founded. Performing construction phase inspections is very technical and requires a solid background and knowledge in both construction methods and building codes. If you do not possess both, I would pass on this type of inspection. Never sign anything as an inspector that states that you are supervising the construction unless you are an experienced construction supervisor and being paid accordingly.

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Maybe you can pass this job on to a qualified known inspector and shadow him during the various times he goes to the property and learn something, as well.

Just a thought. :smile:

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I would never accept such an extreme pay cut.

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Construction phase inspections are far more technical than an ordinary home inspection, but yes. many of us do them.

High end on that chart is $143k based on location. Same site says $52K is US average for a home inspector.

Like I said. It would be an unacceptable pay cut. I never aspired to be average and I wouldn’t advise anyone else to either.

Why are you such a jerk? How do you figure I am not qualified? You know nothing of my experience yet you are willing to make an ass out of yourself by assuming something you know nothing about! I just wanted advice on how other inspectors handle situations like this, and if there are any pitfalls to watch out for. Yes I am a newer inspector, but by no means am I new to the construction industry!

Perhaps you should refrain from asking questions that you don’t want to hear the answers to… I would also infer from your original post that you’re not prepared to do this on your own.

Thank you Russell, I guess I used the word supervise a bit loosely. I won’t be their every day it will be a series of small inspection walk throughs. That I will charge for each of them. I can see advantages and disadvantages to this process. But to be honest as a newer inspector to the area, my calendar is not as full just yet. My concern was more along the lines of Liability, and if it was actually common in the home inspection field. I have about 20 years experience in construction, industrial, commercial & residential. So I am comfortable with the building process and with how inspectors can be “buddy buddy” or “complete by the book it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work jerks”

Thank you

Chuck maybe you should not assume things you don’t know. Yes I am a new inspector, however I am not new to construction and I was under the impression these forums were for questions to be asked. Not for trolls to spout off how great they think they are! My bad I figured everyone here wanted to help out other inspectors. I guess I was wrong, I won’t make that mistake again.

I did not mention that I assumed anything, nor did Larry. You should not assume that we assumed anything. Your post reasonably leads us to make that inference. There’s a huge difference between inference and assumption. You received advice that was appropriate to the question that you asked and the information you provided when you asked it. None of those responses were intended to insult you. No one is born knowing how to do this stuff.

If you only want certain answers to your questions you should make that clear when you post your question (e.g., Please only respond with answers that will encourage me and make me feel capable and competent to do this…).

I say “Go fo it!” if you know what you’re doing, you don’t require advice or permission from the like of us (i.e., people with only a few decades of experience doing this).

Lane you really should have an excellent construction back ground if you plan on doing this. Most of my income comes from new construction inspections.

Here’s a simple scenario you may want to think about. The craft are installing Sheetrock and you need to come up with an inspection. So what are you going to look for before they tape? What came to your mind? Here’s a thought:

  1. What is the thickness of drywall on the ceiling?
  2. What is the thickness on the walls?
  3. What type of drywall goes in the garage that has a living space over it?
  4. What kind of fasteners are they using?
  5. Do the fasteners meet ASTM requirements?
  6. Do the fasteners meet the required spacing pattern for their thickness?
  7. Does the fasteners patern change if the drywall runs parallel with trusses?
  8. What is the minimum depth a fastener has to penetrate wood?
  9. Is adhesive required on the ceiling and if so what are the requirements and fastener pattern changes?

This was just the drywall hanging inspection. If ANY of these questions looked unusual or you have no idea what I’m talking about than stay away. If you think the local inspector should shoulder the install inspection responsibility think again you were hired to perform a construction inspection. You’re going to be the guy in court when their ceiling drywall sags between trusses because you didn’t know the answer to just one of the 9 questions from above. Just giving you some food for thought.

Now this was just drywall, simple right? How about house wrap, window install, plumbing underground, HVAC and electric?

That really isn’t the intent of a “in-progress” or phased new construction inspection.

You would be there long after each sub or specialty contractor has left, so you wouldn’t be supervising anyone.

Your roll in the process is to observe and identify issues at the specific phase (pre-pour/foundation; pre-drywall/mechanical; final/complete). Since you are there after work was completed, you need to be able to identify the defects or issues in all the areas. And then you need to effectively communicate the relevant data to your client (who will most likely forward that to the builder/site super).

Most HI’s underestimate the amount of work this requires, from scheduling and onsite work, to report creation. You need to be absolutely sure of your knowledge and skill set.
And the whole process is essentially hostile, since no one (other than your client) really wants you to be there.

100% agree and make sure you compliment when a particular crafts install is excellent. Your relationship with the sup and craft are very important. It always starts out rocky until the second or third inspection.

Wow! Other knowledgeable members take the time to answer your questions in an unassuming and supportive manner and you trash them??

You say you have 20 years experience in this so then why are you asking in the first place?

If you have that much experience I would certainly hope that you are intimately familiar with the myriad of building codes and standards required for building in your area? Yes you are not a Municipal Code Inspector but what are you using other than “Oh Gee that should work” knowledge to make a determination that the Builder has followed requirements? Unfortunately the Builders WILL use the Building Codes and standards to refute your “Oh Gee that doesn’t work” basis for your call. When they do how do you plan to HELP the client understand why the build was not performed to at least the minimum standards in the Building Codes or other relevant standards?

If you do not want the truth or opinions that only support you and allow you stay in your Safe Space then I would recommend not asking them here. I understand there is a Safe Space group of Inspectors running a Safe Space FB page for that purpose.

Another candidate for the Safe Space FB page!

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Lane,
If your client signed a contract provided by the contractor, there probably is no provisions for you to enforce building codes and no penalty in the contract if he doesn’t. If you plan to do this type of inspection you need experience in building construction and a good grasp on reading and interpreting building codes. If you email me I will send a phase inspection agreement I use.