New Home Inspection (Construction/Phase Inspection)


New Home Inspection (Construction/Phase Inspection)

A new home inspection, also known as a construction or phase inspection, is a great service for anyone who is looking to have a reliable and non-biased professional opinion regarding the quality and installation practices being used on their new home during the building process. The new home construction process can be an overwhelming process for anyone. Having a professional home inspector to help guide you through the home building process can help relieve some of the stress of the process and help to ensure you get the quality end product you deserve.

Phase Inspection Process

There are three recommended times during the building cycle to have your third-party inspector evaluate and report on the workmanship and construction of your new home. The standard 3 phase inspection process is utilized to ensure that major construction defects within your home are not covered up.

The new construction phase inspection is conducted at three separate times;

  1. The first inspection should be conducted prior to your concrete being poured (Pre-Placement Inspection).
  2. The second inspection takes place prior to the interior walls and insulation being installed (Framing Inspection).
  3. The final inspection takes place after the home is complete, usually around the time of your final walk-through.

Pre-Placement Foundation Inspection


Pre-Placement Inspections

There is ample value in having your homes foundation inspected prior to the pour day. If you are considering having your foundation inspected there are a few things you should plan for. It is important to confirm that the builder has installed the foundation and reinforced it to the specifications of the engineer who designed it. Foundations are designed specifically for the home and the location. Failure to install your home’s foundation in accordance with the engineered plans can have a devastating impact on the integrity of your home’s foundation. Furthermore, there are numerous workmanship defects that can be present on nearly any foundation that can impact the visible appearance as well as the bearing capacity of the foundation. Once the concrete is poured, the opportunity to have your foundation inspected is gone.

When to Schedule the Foundation Inspection

It takes time to coordinate with concrete companies for the required concrete for your foundation. That means, your builder knows a few days in advance when they plan of pouring. The best time for the pre-pour inspection is typically two days prior to the actual pour day. This will help ensure that the foundation is ready to inspect, as well as give the builder sufficient enough time to make any and all needed corrections, or postpone the pour day. Additionally, this will allow you some time to re-inspect the repairs prior to pour day.

Another way to get an idea on the intended pour day is to ask the builder when their in-house inspector is scheduled to review the foundation. If we know when the builder’s inspector will arrive, we can usually schedule the inspection around that date, as the forms and reinforcements are typically complete at that time.

Upon completion of the on-site inspection, 1st Priority Home Inspections, LLC will return to the office and begin constructing your digital report. The report will be comprised of digital photographs and locations of each defect, as well as the relevant references for issues discovered during the inspection. This helps ensure that once your builder has the report, the required corrections are implemented.

3 Common Foundation Installation Problems

There is always a chance that your home’s foundation will have a major issue. Though not the norm, there have been occasions where a home’s foundation was poured using the wrong design plans. Below is a list of the most commonly found problems that are present on most of our pre-pour foundation inspections.

1. Post-tensioned cables that are over-spanned and under supported. When tendons are not properly supported, the weight of the concrete, as well as the concrete workers, will drive the tendon into the ground, severely limiting the amount of concrete coverage and potential bearing integrity of the exterior footers. 

If your inspector is familiar with reading the foundation plans while on site, documenting and addressing these issues become much more efficient.

2. Another common problem is undersized reinforcing bar. It is important for the integrity of the foundation, and compliance with the designed plans, that all corners, re-entrant walls, and other designed areas have the appropriate amount and size of rebar. Another important component is the support and fastening of the rebar within your homes foundation. In some cases rebar is not properly sized. When located at the corners of a post-tensioned foundation, this can increase the probability of corner-pops.

3. Another common issue with the installation of your home’s foundation is standing water and poor grading and drainage. Grading is typically done by builders after the foundation has been poured, and sometimes later. This directs any recent rainfall into the foundation beams. This will significantly reduce the strength of the concrete when it mixes with the water, and should be avoided.

Framing Inspection


Shedding light on your new home inspection

The next phase of the inspection process is typically called the framing inspection, or pre-drywall inspection. Once your home’s roofing material, exterior cladding, and windows have been installed, your home will be ready for the interior sheetrock and insulation to begin.

The Framing Inspection is also referred to as the Pre-Drywall Inspection and should be performed not just before Drywall but also before the insulation is installed and before the start of masonry at the exterior. If your builder is further along on the exterior and would like to start masonry work, then the framing inspection can be done in two phases, with the exterior first prior to the interior so masonry can be started.

The Framing inspection is usually the most important inspection of all, inspecting many of the major components of the home before it is covered up by finishing materials. A thorough inspection of the structures framing techniques, including but not limited to wall frame, ceiling frame, floor joists and roof frame, exterior wall and roof sheathing, along with house wrap, siding, cornice, window install and seal, visible roof flashings, fireplace install, fireblocking/stops, all materials and workmanship at this stage. Also reviewed is the mechanical systems including HVAC rough in, plumbing top out and electrical rough in and any other rough ins for specialty items.

When to Schedule the Framing Inspection

The best time to schedule the framing inspection will typically coincide with your builder’s framing walk-through. This is the portion of the building cycle where builders try and ensure that all of the agreed upon design criteria has been properly built into the home, and that your questions and concerns have been met.

This also happens to be in-line with the building officials required inspection, and when your builder, if applicable, will have their own inspector review the home.

Once the builder’s inspector has finished their inspection, and the defects that were identified have been corrected, the best window of opportunity for the framing inspection presents itself. When we are the last to inspect the property it ensures that all of the typical defects that tend to congest our report have previously been identified and corrected. It also allows the inspection of the recently repaired defects.

3 Common Framing Installation Problems

1. The most common issue found during the framing inspection by every builder is improper notching and boring of the interior load bearing stud walls. After the framers have completed their installation, the electrical and plumbing is installed through the home’s interior walls. During this process, over-zealous cutting of load bearing studs is conducted in order to make way for the utilities. There are requirements that must be met in order to maintain the integrity of load-bearing walls after they have been damaged. This of course goes unseen very often.

2. Another common problem is with the installation and flashing of the home’s windows and exterior penetrations. Poor flashing installation will in most cases lead to water damage to the home. Unfortunately, this can take quite some time to finally manifest itself within the home once it has been covered. This is one of the primary reasons for an inspection at this stage.

3. Installation defects in regards to the home’s water-resistive barrier and air barrier is also quite common. The water-resistive barrier and air barrier are installed in order to prevent the infiltration of water and moisture laden air into the home. When not installed properly, which is often the case, an unnecessary amount of unconditioned air can enter the home’s thermal envelope.

Final Inspection

The final inspection should be scheduled a few days before your scheduled walk-through with your builder. This will ensure that the building process is near completion so systems can be inspected. Because this final inspection is conducted as part of a real estate transaction, it is regulated by the Tennessee Real Estate Commission. This inspection incorporates all the major systems in the home and is the most time consuming of the 3 phases. If you are interested in reviewing the components and materials that are covered in a full home inspection you can review the Tennessee Standards of Practice on our website at

3 Critical Things You Can Do When Hiring Your Personal Inspector

New construction phase inspections can be tricky to schedule. If your project manager is off by a few days on his timeline, or last minute paperwork needs to be submitted, your scheduled inspection could be missed. That is why it is important to let your home building representatives know in advance that you wish to hire an independent building inspector to perform phase inspections throughout the building process. Below is a list of actions that you can take to ensure that your construction inspection goes off without any difficulties.

1. Try and let your builder or project manager know well in advance that you will have a third-party inspector conducting independent phase inspections on your behalf. This has the advantage of putting them on notice, which will improve their attention to detail from the start. Also, it will require your project manager to be more accurate with their projected timelines. One of the most common complaints when dealing with your project manager is their inability to deliver an accurate timeline.

2. Your home builder may also have some requirements that may need to be met by your inspector. Try and obtain this well in advance and get it to your inspector to avoid any last minute difficulties. The requirements are usually minimal, and any quality home inspection company should have no issues supplying the needed documentation.

3. Finally, it is very beneficial to acquire the engineered plans that your home is being constructed with. More and more, home builders are limiting the access to their building plans. However, if a copy is available for review by your inspector this can add extra clarity to the home inspector.

Frequently Asked Questions and Concerns

How many physical visits or appearances due you make during the course of a 3 phase inspection?

Our visits can vary based on your needs, but the quotes we send are for a single visit per phase (3 visits total). There are times when we document and report on major defects with the home, or when there are a large number of notable defects. In both of those scenarios it can be difficult to determine if the builder has made any of the agreed upon repairs, in which case our services are requested for a re-inspection. There is a fee for any additional inspections, which is contingent upon our estimated time of site.

During the final inspection, do you inspect all of the outlets?

We would never say that we inspect ALL the outlets, as there may be outlets in the eaves/soffits and some other locations they won’t be checked…but it is our goal to check all the accessible outlets. As far as wiring, this is a visual only non-invasive inspection, like all home inspections, so we do not typically remove outlets from the walls, however; when an inspector “inspects” an outlet they do so with the use of a circuit analyzer which will help reveal improperly wired outlets.

Are more visits ever required?

The purchaser can arrange revisits after any of the phase inspection should they suspect that work has not been adequately performed.