Understanding the Building Process
INSPECTION PROCESS - A Crucial Step in the Home-buying Process
Some call it the ‘Possession Inspection’; others, the ‘Occupancy Inspection’ or ‘Pre-Occupancy Inspection’. Whatever you call it, it’s a crucial step in the home-buying process – your opportunity to confirm that work on your new home is complete and satisfactory or to identify any outstanding items. As you conduct the inspection, you and your builder will look for defects and deficiencies. Note in writing all items that must be repaired or completed to fulfill the agreements in your contract.
Another purpose of the inspection is to orient you to your new home and all its features. This should include demonstrations of equipment and useful information on maintenance and upkeep.
A thorough inspection and comprehensive orientation of your new home can take several hours and will require your full attention.
Defects and Deficiencies
During the inspection, you and your builder will focus on two main areas of concern:
Defects are items that have been installed and completed but require additional work to meet the quality standard. Typically, these are cosmetic defects related to fit, finish or appearance.
Deficiencies are items in the Purchase Agreement that are incomplete at the time of inspection. Most deficiencies are seasonal, where weather/climate makes it impractical to complete certain kinds of exterior work. Work with your builder to determine the value of the work to be completed, and hold this amount under a trust agreement (usually with the builder’s lawyer). Release these funds when you and the builder agree the work is complete.
(NOTE: Defects and deficiencies do not include damage. During your inspection, be sure to note any damage and arrange with your builder to have it repaired. Damage is not covered under your new home warranty.)
Conducting the Inspection
We strongly recommend detailing any defects and deficiencies on a Defects and Deficiencies Form signed by both you and your builder. Be sure to keep a copy of the signed inspection documents. Your builder should respond to every item noted on the form within a reasonable timeframe.
During the inspection, pay close attention to:
• Sinks, tubs and plumbing fixtures
• Countertops and cabinets
• Light fixtures, mirrors and glass
• Windows and screens
• Doors, trim and hardware
• Tile, carpet, hardwood floors and resilient flooring
• Paint and drywall
• Appliances (function and finish)
If poor weather hampers your exterior inspection, arrange with your builder to complete the exterior inspection at another time.
Be sure to note any damage and arrange with your builder to have it repaired. Damage is not considered a defect or deficiency and is not covered under your new home warranty.
At the end of your inspection, you’ll be asked to approve the overall finish of your home by signing the appropriate documents and noting any items that need to be completed or repaired. These items as well as other items not readily apparent during the inspection but identified after possession are covered by the builder’s warranty and backed by The Alberta New Home Warranty Program. Items identified after posession should be brought to your builder's attention in writing.
MAINTAINING YOUR HOME
Protect Your Investment
A new home is a sizeable investment – one of the largest investments most people will ever make. To help you protect your investment (and, in some cases, your new home warranty), the Program developed the Guide to the Care and Maintenance of Your New Home. Brimming with advice to help keep your home looking and running like new, this essential guide will help you:
- Protect your new home investment through easy maintenance in more than 60 key areas
- Understand the operation of key components in your home
- Decide when it’s necessary to call in an expert for service or repairs
- Safeguard your warranty.
Click to download the Guide to the Care and Maintenance of Your New Home.
Further, because uncontrolled water can cause significant damage to your home (well beyond the inconvenience of a wet basement), establishing and maintaining an effective surface water management plan will be well worth your time and effort. Our Surface Water Management brochure outlines key considerations and steps toward directing rainwater, snow melt and sump discharge away from your home and off your property.
Click to download the Surface Water Management brochure.