Are you having a brand-new house built? If so, a pre-drywall inspection is a smart move. When you decide to have a house built there are multiple stages in the building process, some that seem to take an eternity and some that fly by. One of the most important stages in new construction for the home buyer is just before the installation of the drywall. At this point in construction the house is about to turn from a “not too hard to change things situation” to an “it’s going to cost you to change things situation.” Hiring an inspector for a pre-drywall inspection can help keep things in the not too hard to change category. Pre- drywall inspections generally cost significantly less than full home inspections and some Realtors will cover the cost of this service.
Some of the items an inspector might look at during a pre-drywall inspection include but are not limited to: Is the framing square, is the framing plumb, are drywall shims in place where necessary, are there strap ties in place where required, plumbing and electrical lines should have nail protection plates, are hurricane clips installed, HVAC joints should be taped, is insulation installed correctly. Depending on the type of construction and the location of the property there may be several others.
Don’t be afraid of offending the builder, any reputable builder will have no problem in fact most welcome it. This is a great opportunity to have a trained set of eyes check for problems, miscues and mistakes before they get covered up and it’s too late. Homes are built by many different contractors, plumbers, electricians, drywall installers, framers and painters, any one of them could have had an off day. You should make sure you don’t end up paying for it later. Many people ask, “Why should we hire an inspector if the county/city inspector has already inspected the house?” The answer is, the county/city inspector is there to insure the house meets code, your home inspector works for you and looks at everything, not just code issues.
After receiving your pre-drywall inspection report it is a good idea to have your real estate agent arrange a walk-through with the builder or site superintendent so that all parties can agree on how to proceed. This is also the time to see if you can add items you may have missed during design meetings. For example, adding an electrical outlet in the floor of a living room for a reading light. Take pictures or video during your walk-through so you know what is behind the walls should you decide to change or add something in the years to come.