Thousands of new homes are built every year but very few undergo an inspection from an independent Inspection Company. There are various reasons why this is happening. In this article, I will explain what these reasons are and why they are not valid.
Why Independent Tarion Warranty Inspections are forgone by buyers
- Buyers are led to believe that the house has undergone rigorous inspections by the city or local jurisdiction building department. This is partly true. The city inspectors, especially in big cities, typically do representative inspections. If they are dealing with a builder who is constructing 500 houses in one subdivision, it is impossible to go through every single house at all stages of the construction process.
- The builder tells buyers that the Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) is sufficient. This is simply not true. Most PDIs do not include the functional components of the house such as the electrical, plumbing, structure, HVAC etc. PDIs concentrate on cosmetic issues and contract disagreements.
- The builder does not educate the buyer about their rights as per the Tarion Warranty that the buyer pays for. Every buyer has the right to bring their representative, such as a professional inspector, at any process of the Tarion Warranty. I have heard so many times from homeowners the sentence “I didn’t know that I could bring my own inspector”.
- Homeowners believe that if a house is built as per the Ontario Building Code (OBS), then it is going to be good. This is a myth in the construction industry that is perpetuated by builders and construction companies. The OBC like any other building code sets the MINIMUM standards in construction. Minimum Standards are not always good practice and I see this in every single new construction inspection I do.
- The builder hires licensed trades to do the job. Even though this is true, modern contracting practices include subcontracting most of the work of a project. A large builder does not have thousands of different trades on the payroll. They hire other companies that specialize in a specific sector and have them do the work at a lower cost. Like any other structure, a house is built by different teams of trades whether these are plumbers, electricians, framers etc. I see the lack of communication between all these trades, in the deficiencies I see in new homes.
- Homebuyers think that their house comes with a 7-year Warranty. That is the biggest myth of all. There are different stages in the Tarion Warranty and each one covers specific things.
What are the stages of your Tarion Warranty!
- The Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI). The PDI is done before the house keys are delivered to the buyer. The PDI has the purpose of the buyer inspecting the property and submitting a list of deficiencies that are supposed to be corrected by the builder. This does not stop the delivery of the house though. In my opinion, the PDI should be done by the buyer just to make sure that the builder has delivered the property as per contract requirements; paint colours, cabinets, counters, floors etc. Cosmetic damages or deficiencies should also be reported during the PDI, as the builder may not agree with them after closing.
- The 30-Day Warranty Stage. This stage is for the buyer to have the opportunity to report any issues after living in and interacting with the property. For example, plumbing, electrical and other evident issues can be reported during this period.
- The 1-Year Warranty Inspection. This stage is for the buyer to report any issues that have come up within the first year of living in the home. This may include cosmetic issues that have occurred like nail pops, separating floors, drywall cracks etc. The Tarion Construction Performance Guidelines have a lot of exceptions for cosmetic issues though.
- The 2-Year Tarion Warranty Stage. The two-year stage covers many functional issues such as plumbing, electrical, structural and water penetration inside the home. The coverage is much less than the one-year stage and will not cover workmanship issues or things that the builder may have forgotten to complete, regardless of whether they are OBC requirements or not.
- The 7-Year Tarion Warranty Stage. The seven-stage only covers major structural issues. These include failure of foundation, frame etc. These issues typically will require engineering inspections.
Why should a new home buyer hire an independent inspection company?
In the last 5 years, I have seen houses being delivered to buyers without being finished both inside and outside. This is because builders have found loopholes in the building code that allow them to deliver an unfinished structure without any repercussions. Many home buyers do not know what to expect or have knowledge of construction practices and the OBC. A professional Inspector who follows the Tarion Construction Performance Guidelines and is trained and follows a specific process will go through the exterior and interior of the house in detail and report on all issues. As opposed to the builder representative who works FOR THE BUILDER, the inspector works for YOU.
The 30-Day Inspection and the 1-Year inspection are the most important stages of the process because a lot of issues are covered. After the first year passes, the homeowner is left on their own when it comes to workmanship, errors, etc. I have heard many times a homeowner being told this by the builder: “Sorry, you should have done an inspection!”
We typically do not come to the PDI, because of the limited time given for this process by the builder. Our Inspection process is very detailed and typically takes about 3 hrs for an average home.
This is the preferred option as if we come before you bring in your furniture, we have better visibility to many things that may otherwise be hidden by furniture.
We recommend doing both of these inspections as many things may change within a year. The house is new and settlement will occur. The interaction of the family with the house may also create some changes.
No, the Tarion Corporation is similar to a warranty company. The repair responsibility lies with the builder. Tarion will intervene if the builder refuses to abide by the Tarion Construction Performance Guidelines. You should submit your report at every stage so that there is a record of the issues.
No, the terms of coverage are ongoing within the period of the coverage. The fact that something was not present on the day of the inspection and happened after, is irrelevant. The terms of coverage are listed at https://www.tarion.com/