Stickers to mark bleminshes in new construction?

I did a new construction inspection yesterday. I usually go beyond the call of duty with new construction, thinking that the client wants the property to be defect free. I will attempt to identify cosmetic flaws, but tell the client that isn’t what I’m there for and that they should do a thorough walk-through prior to closing to look for blemishes.

Yesterday’s realtor stated that another inspector she uses puts colored stickers at sites of blemishes/cosmetic defects.

What are your thoughts about this? A good thing to do?

I do not call out cosmetic blemishes on new homes but if I did I would use the blue painters masking tape like everyone else around here does.

I have to agree with Miachel B on this one.

That is exactly what I do on the tail end of my Commercial Jobs before Inspection time by the Architect. I personnally go around and post blue painters tape on the wall for the painter or drywall Contractor to fix and when done it is removed. We also have a Project Manager on board that comes in and being a different pair of eyes, does the same thing and he is worst than the Architect. We then provide all this information of corrections of defienceies to the Architect in writing, and when he shows up for his final Inspection, I make sure there is only about three feet left on the roll of tape for him to use. ha. ha.

Doing Home Inspections for New Homes, I would do something to that same fashion.


Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Good discussion - but another POV.

And what happens when you come across the issue of the complaint by the “unhappy builder” that feels you are intruding on their property. Or carry that to the next level where the current homeowner is infuriated with tags and sticky stickers stuck on the electrical panel or furnace or water heater by the home inspector?

Certainly I see the merit in the use of easy to remove masking tape. But what about a few others that overstep their bounds! Are they taking it too far?

Some may ask why raise these issues here. Simply because I have fielded complaints (on an ethics committee) by unhappy homeowners and builders - really upset with the antics of some home inspectors.

I am equally interested to hear the other side of the story!

Claude -

Understand exactly but the flip side is you say there is a cracked floor joist that needs repair to the left of the furnace and the client calls 3 days later telling you the seller can’t find it. You took a picture but they can’t find it - boo-hoo, boo-hoo. I’m way too busy to go out there - so we use colored dots, painters tape or large marking chaulk like roof adjusters. Works great

I use blue tape to identify crawlspace, attic, or map out affected areas for photo purposes only on EIFS inspections. With EIFS all tape is removed and leaves the site when I leave.

I avoid conflict and complaints by not leaving anthing except my business card inside or outside the living area of anyone’s home for any reason.

I hand the blue tape to the client/purchaser and let them have at it over cosmetic punch list issues on new build walk-throughs.

I’ve found you get what you give, especially when it comes to respect and that sometimes backfires, no matter how hard you try.

I just describe in great detail where the issue is. Many homes already have the blue tape in place for most of the cosmetic issues. I don’t think we should rely on something that can be removed and ignored. Most of it will not get fixed anyway due to the major work involved with some items. If it is not in the report in detail you have failed to perform the inspection.

Bruce, you describe in great detail cosmetic flaws? That’s what I’m speaking about. Marking cosmetic blemishes with stickers or tape.

I just describe in great detail where the issue is. Also what the issue is.
These new homes take as long as the older ones due to the large amount of cosmetic issues and the clients expectations. Especially when they are present at the inspection.

I dont get paid enough to look for blemishes. Buyer sees one little scratch down near the baseboard and wants to know why you didnt mark it up.
I think the amount of work and responsibility required to do an inspection is significant already. Now add looking for blemishes and I might as well stay home. I use the following comment on new construction.

Some of the discrepancies listed below may be cosmetic in nature and are only a representative number of the total areas/items that are in need of attention throughout the structure. Buyer is advised to mark all areas to be fixed, repaired, patched, repainted or refinished and ensure items are completed to their satisfaction prior to closing.

We are talking about new construction inspections here and the builder reps around here are doing the same thing, so what is the issue.?

Hi. Larry E.

I think the issue here all started with the first post, in which it would identify the methods of recording them.
Personally, I think the blue tape works great for me when closing off a 9-10 million dollar project, and that would be due the size of it.

As an HI, when I wear that hat, I would have to say that I am not there to look at blemishes, I am here to make sure that the building meets the right standards of the industry in the building aspect, and to advise the client that I will inspect what I see and condition of the Project Condition for that date.
What happens tomorrow, or after I leave, is a notation in the report that I would express.


Most of the final walk throughs that I perform include the builders rep. They carry a bunch of peel off blue or green dots and put them where ever the client notes a fault. My remarks go into the report.


Here in Georgia, the builder will threaten to shoot you if you go around with tape or stickers and mark up their walls, etc. Exception is pre-drywall where its okay. Some have encouraged me to use marking paint of a different color.

I may provide tape to the client and they can do it. I’ve found though that once you remind them that the inspectors job is to find Defects including safety issues, and you mention the word “Cosmetics” - what do they start to focus on and point out to you? That’s right, cosmetic items. During the inspection, I may point to an ugly cosmetic blemish or use my level to adhere some tape to the ceiling for them, but try to stay focused on the big picture.

:slight_smile: Having been on both sides of the fence it is my opinion that the blue painter’s masking tape is an exceptable means to identify blemishes in the cometics of a finished product…if, and only if, the blemesh is visible from six feet from a the view of the homeowner and/or inspector. I have been the brunt of many new homeowners that will get their face and hands right up to a wall or trim in an effort to identify minute blemishes. Furniture grade paint finish on trim is not the typical builder specification and should not be the expectation set for the new home buyer. I always explain the six foot rule of thumb and to this date have not had any negative response to this “standard” as it is a very reasonable standard

I agree with Michael and James. For new construction inspections in Houston Texas I advise my clients that indentification of cosmetic blemishes is subjective and best left as a task for the buyer to complete during their final walkthrough. I tell them not to be shy with the blue tape. When in doubt, tape it out. I’ve walked into some houses where I thought I was seeing spots. Dots of blue tape everywhere.

We don’t have time for that crap either, and leave that to the seller’s or builder’s reps on delivery inspections and at the final phase of a construction in-progress inspection. We’re being paid very nicely to verify that the building is built-well, not to chase scuff marks on drywall. Egregious defects would be a different-story, of course. We specifically-disclaim such nonsense both in the PIA and appropriate report boilerplate section (INTERIOR/INTERIOR FINISHES). We also advise clients verbally prior to hiring us, and again in their orientation at the site, that such items are not inspected-for. If any clients ask for tape, etc., we carry numerous packs of non-marking colored dot-type stickers. Simply hand the client a pack, and let them go straight-to-town. Keeps 'em busy, while we spend our time making sure that their property is…well-built.

when I do an inspection for a new home, when scheduling the appointment, I mention to the buyer to pick up a package of the little sticky tabs they come in a pack 5 colors and about 20 strips per color. I tell the client that I am not there to do a cosmetic inspection, though if I see something that should be taken care of, I will point them out, but explain that they should make a list, mark it, and discuss the issues with the builder. I do recommend to the buyer that if they have the choice of them coming back before move in, or after move in, to take care of cosmetic issues to put it in writing and have them come back after the move in, as we all know we all knick the walls when moving items, then to compose a list of other cosmetic items for the 1 year walk through if the builder offers one. I will note however, bowed walls, eneven flooring, cracks in cement, sealing entries into houses from electric, cable and refrigerant lines, knicks in steps, and those type of items. I always have a pack of sticky tabs in case they forget theirs. On one 1/2 million dollar CONDO in the city, the client used a whole package. and was still making a list when I left, needless to say, the builder wasn’t happy with me providing the tabs!!!

Ditto…or cut your nuts out.

You guys must live in funny areas or something. I’ve used stickers for 20 years - had 1 complaint. In my area the agents and sellers complain if you don’t show where a defect was at and pictures don’t always do it.