Real Estate

New home build, how do I ensure it's done right?

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  • Aug 4th, 2020 7:23 am
[OP]
Member
Jan 8, 2009
281 posts
67 upvotes

New home build, how do I ensure it's done right?

In late stage conversations for a new home build and my biggest fear is that it will turn into one of those horror stories where the house has all kinds of issues. Is there a type of contractor or a service that I can hire to inspect the build as it progresses to ensure things are done right? The builder has no issues with us being onsite periodically but I don't know what to look for.

Googling seems to bring up hiring a general contractor, but the people managing the build are general contractors already. Do I hire another group to confirm that these guys are doing it right or is that excessive?

I'm particularly worried about the heating / cooling aspects. I.E. is the furnace large enough, are things insulated properly, etc..

Any tips appreciated. Also would love to hear lessons learned that people want to share. Stuff you wish you had differently etc.. Thanks all.
10 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
3271 posts
2627 upvotes
Is this with a custom builder or a tract builder? Most tract builders really limit your time on the site. Some won't even allow it at all.

With tract builders, it is very difficult to hire a building inspector at certain points in the build as it is not technically your home yet.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Apr 25, 2010
155 posts
52 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Is this the same as an appraisal? Or is that something different?
Jr. Member
Mar 2, 2017
182 posts
174 upvotes
Markham
sandman748 wrote: In late stage conversations for a new home build and my biggest fear is that it will turn into one of those horror stories where the house has all kinds of issues. Is there a type of contractor or a service that I can hire to inspect the build as it progresses to ensure things are done right? The builder has no issues with us being onsite periodically but I don't know what to look for.

Googling seems to bring up hiring a general contractor, but the people managing the build are general contractors already. Do I hire another group to confirm that these guys are doing it right or is that excessive?

I'm particularly worried about the heating / cooling aspects. I.E. is the furnace large enough, are things insulated properly, etc..

Any tips appreciated. Also would love to hear lessons learned that people want to share. Stuff you wish you had differently etc.. Thanks all.
You need a change in perspective, that's my advice. Things will go wrong and there will be issues, no build out is ever perfect. That doesn't mean it will become a "horror story".

Also I got a good chuckle at heat/cooling being your biggest worries, thanks for that!

Understand that this is a big undertaking with a ton of moving pieces where budgets and timelines will be challenged every single week regardless of who is building the home. Go in with that mindset, have a buffer for time and definitely have capital available for overages. It's a worthwhile undertaking, but it's not for the weak.
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Deal Expert
May 30, 2005
43936 posts
4564 upvotes
Richmond Hill
The best is to educate yourself IMO, and do it yourself. The problem with builders is that they are all on a timeline, the guys building your house aren't necessarily bad, they just deliver whatever quality is determined by the price or timeline they were given.
Deal Addict
Jul 8, 2013
1343 posts
1447 upvotes
Red Deer, AB
Get a new home inspection done. Good ones will cost b/w $500 and $750 and they will outline what is done incorrectly.
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It's really that simple.
[OP]
Member
Jan 8, 2009
281 posts
67 upvotes
The reason I'm most concerned about heating/cooling is because the house I am currently in literally has vents that were never finished being brought to the rooms and instead just dump air into the walls. There are other rooms that have the vent covers with no actual venting. There is no insulation in crawlspace and I suspect that there is not adequate insulation in the attics that I can't get to. I pay probably 30-40% more than I should for climate control and it still can't get the temperature right in some rooms.

I'm not looking for perfection, but I want to make sure that important things like insulation and venting(among others) are done right before they cover all the walls and things are hidden.

To answer other questions, it's a custom home builder with no restrictions being onsite as long as we tell them when and follow safety rules.

I assume that there are a few key stages where someone who knows their stuff can come look it over before the builders proceed further and I also assumed that someone with knowledge would take my money in exchange.
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
3271 posts
2627 upvotes
OP, with a custom builder I assume you have completed your research and due diligence with the builder. And there will be multiple inspection points. But, if you want a checker checking the checkers you can simply add it into the contract and hire another inspector.
Newbie
Mar 9, 2019
58 posts
35 upvotes
GO AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!! and take pictures and a lot of them for your reference. If you have to communicate with them over issues, write emails so you have paper trails. With builders and custom homes there will be mistakes hopefully not many or careless ones. Take measurements of entrances for right openings and a square to see how walls are. Its so much easier to catch and fix in early stages then having the floor laid or doors installed, etc. Depending on how much custom things YOUR doing I would recommend you do a frame walk right before the drywall is up. Check for locations of plugs, switches, cat wires and such. Basically check that everything flows in the house as you walk around like a switch is grouped with another not on a separate wall, plugs in kitchen, bathroom are in useable locations.
Sr. Member
Jun 7, 2017
905 posts
645 upvotes
BC
The advice I would give depends on whether it is a custom or tract build. I suspect tract build here, so my advice would be to pick a good builder, review the plans thoroughly, cross your fingers. There is very little to be done by you during construction, and after it is done it is too late.
Newbie
Jul 19, 2018
86 posts
46 upvotes
Mississauga
sandman748 wrote: In late stage conversations for a new home build and my biggest fear is that it will turn into one of those horror stories where the house has all kinds of issues. Is there a type of contractor or a service that I can hire to inspect the build as it progresses to ensure things are done right? The builder has no issues with us being onsite periodically but I don't know what to look for.

Googling seems to bring up hiring a general contractor, but the people managing the build are general contractors already. Do I hire another group to confirm that these guys are doing it right or is that excessive?

I'm particularly worried about the heating / cooling aspects. I.E. is the furnace large enough, are things insulated properly, etc..

Any tips appreciated. Also would love to hear lessons learned that people want to share. Stuff you wish you had differently etc.. Thanks all.
Hey is this a true custom home builder or a tract builder? has the build started? if the build has not started do you have the building plans?

For heating and cooling issues do you have the mechanical drawings? Most heating and cooling issues are due to poor design and sub par systems installed.

What kind of Insulation have they offered? There is a city inspection required for insulation which is cover most aspects if its sub par the inspection wont pass.

Let me know if you have specific concerns and I will try to help you.

Goodluck

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