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Final Inspection

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>>Final inspection | Punch list & final clean

The Building authority requires a final inspection before a occupancy permit can be issued. It is illegal to occupy the home before the occupancy permit is issued. During the final inspection the building inspector will inspect that the house is complete and that all life and safety items meet code. Inspector's aren't concerned if the wall texture is patchy or if the painter did a poor job of prepping the baseboard. Life health and safety issues are the focus of the final inspection. How extensive the final inspection is depends a lot on where you live. In States and cities that are highly regulated, final inspections are generally more rigorous. A final inspection will probably last about 1 hour.

Prior to the final inspection the Builder should do a pre-inspection to ensure that it is ready for the Final. It is not a good idea to call for any inspection especially the final before you are ready. This wastes your time and the building inspectors (not a good idea). Often the building department will charge you extra if you call for an inspection when you're obviously not prepared.

Here are some of the item that will probably be inspected at the final inspection:

  • All lights, and outlets need to be tested
  • Plumbing fixtures (water hooked up to the correct valve)
  • Hand rails, guard rails and stair rails to be inspected for proper height and safety
  • Tempered glass in appropriate areas.
  • Smoke detectors
  • Correct operation of the Heating system.
  • Electrical system checked (breaker panel and main service working and labeled)
  • Stairs are checked
  • All appliances are connected and running.
  • Insulation
  • The objective is to fix any potential problems and make sure the house is safe and ready for permanent occupancy. The job of the inspector is to help reach your objective.

Get a Free Pre-Final Inspection Checklist in pdf with over 50 items to review.

At this point of the project, your are substantially finished with the project. As you get toward the end of the project there will be literally dozens of of details that will overwhelm you if you are not organized. Make a punch list of item, separating them by subcontractor. If you have some skill it is often easier to put on a few electrical covers instead of calling the electrician back for 10 minutes of work.
Scheduling mistakes often cause extra details. For example, If you schedule the plumbers to do finish plumbing before the kitchen countertops are installed, they can do finish most of the job except for the kitchen sink. What if their next available opening is 2 weeks out? You may have to do it yourself or wait until they can schedule you.

Notes to the owner-builder
It is a good idea to accompany the inspector during any inspection, especially during the final. By doing so you can ask questions and resolve potential problems.
It has been our experience that most professional builders don't pass the final inspection on the first try. The reason is that there are hundreds of things that fail an inspection, and most inspectors don't feel like they are doing their job unless they find at least a few discrepancies. If the corrections are small, it is possible to make the corrections while he inspector is still on site.
When the inspection is finished the inspector will leave a copy of the report and any corrections needed (or a temporary occupancy permit if you've passed). Once that list is corrected you are ready for the re-inspection. A good inspector will find all the problems on the first visit and will not add more items to the list on the re-inspection. So generally when the corrections are complete, you'll pass your re-inspection.

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