Recently, there have been stories locally and statewide about home builders concerning the quality of their work.
These homes have passed multiple building inspections — eight of them to be exact in the City of Maricopa.
Which brings the question of what exactly are they inspecting for?
The major inspections in Maricopa include the footing (and the metal reinforcements), the underground plumbing, rough framing, electrical, wallboard, stucco lath (the base for the exterior stucco,) strap and shear (exterior sheathing and roofing) and the final inspection.
Most of these inspections are focused on fire safety and structural stability but there are many other items that the city isn’t going to be looking at.
The city inspectors aren’t going to fail a house if the interior paint job is lacking, or if the doors don’t latch properly. That’s why, as an owner, you need to take a hands-on approach. Open and close each door to every room in your house. Do the same with all the cabinets. Inspect the doors and drawers to make sure they are in working order. Flush the toilets, run water in the sinks to make sure they are draining properly. Also, turn every switch on and off. Think of your day-to-day routine and if you see something that’s going to drive you crazy later, speak up.
These are all common problems in new construction that the city’s inspectors aren’t obligated to look for. The builder should make every effort to bridge that gap. But you must hold them accountable.
Regardless of whether the house is new, pay for your own inspection. Experienced home inspectors will look at areas that are hard to access and investigate more technical issues that you may not be familiar with. For example, they will typically look at the roof to make sure everything is properly sealed. They will look up in the attic and may discover areas with missing insulation or wires that were spliced together and not properly protected in a junction box. And they will look inside the electrical panel to make sure the breakers trip when tested and have the correct amperage.
Share the inspection report findings with the builder and don’t close until your concerns are taken care of. They will tell you there’s a warranty and they’ll fix whatever you need for the first year, but after you’ve closed and they have your money, fixing your problems may not be at the top of their list.
The November edition of InMaricopa Magazine is in Maricopa mailboxes and available online.