Your practical completion inspection (PCI) is an exciting time in the process of building any new home. It’s an important landmark that let’s you know you’re so close to the end of the journey. But while you might want to hurry through it, and nail down a date for handover, it’s also an important step in ensuring the build quality of your new home. There are likely to be obvious mistakes or things that need correction, but there are also not-so-obvious things that should be on your checklist as well.
Here are my top ten not-so-obvious things to look for during your new home PCI.
- Electrical Wiring
- Chipped bricks
- Working locks
- Scratched counter tops
- Sealed doors
- Working Windows
- Bowed window frames
- Down light alignment
- Missing hardware
1. Electrical Wiring – It seems pretty straight forward, but don’t be so sure that just because a power point is where it should be according to the plans, that it’s working, or even wired correctly. We had a few power points that, during PCI, were discovered to not be wired up. No power at the power point. We even found that a light switch downstairs would only work when a light upstairs was turned on. Not what I’d consider to be a feature.
2. Painting – Check the paint. Check it again, especially in the corners of the rooms. There should be at least two or three coats of paint on the wall and missed areas, especially in the dark corners of a room, can be easily missed. Bring a torch (flashlight) to look into the darker areas of a room to inspect the quality of the paint on the wall.
3. Chipped Bricks – Inspect the bricks. Replacing bricks is something that should be done early on. Brick colour fades, and if you wait until years down the road to replace a brick, your brick may be discontinued or will not match the colour of the faded bricks.
4. Working locks – Do the doors lock correctly? Does the deadbolt turn easily? It’s not uncommon for the space between the door and the door jam to not match up correctly or allow for a secure seal. We had a few doors that had an issue with closing correctly which, became very apparent when the winter drafts showed up.
5. Scratched Counter tops – It seems obvious, but sometimes the scratches are difficult to see, especially if you’ve got a caeserstone counter with a pattern to it. Bring a cloth, wipe it down, and look at your counter from eye level to search out any imperfections that might be hiding behind the dust of construction.
6. Sealed Doors – We had a huge issue with this. None of our exterior doors were sealed on the top and/or bottom. In fact, we’re having a few French Doors replaced because of warping. The builder left the doors out in the weather during construction, and by the time they were installed, they had warped. During the cold winter months, this was a big issue for us as it caused a pretty cold draft.
7. Working Windows – A number of our awning windows didn’t lock down correctly, and some didn’t open the full distance. Make sure to open and close all the windows in the house to ensure they operate properly. Compare one window to the next, to ensure they all operate the same.
8. Bowed window frames – When we had our shutters put in, I had a discussion with the installer who mentioned that it’s common for him to fill gaps between the shutter frame and the window frame, as they’re often not straight. He has seen gaps up to 10mm before, something that isn’t easily fixed after the fact. Bring with you a straight edge, and check the window frames to ensure they’re straight.
9. Downlight alignment – Seems obvious that your down lights should be lined up, but this doesn’t always happen. In rooms where we had a square pattern of down lights, we had to double check everything lined up correctly. Not all of the lights were, and it was because of timber noggins and framing behind the gyprock that prevented lights from being installed where they should be. If they’re not, point it out to the builder before it’s too late. They can move them, and replace the gyprock if necessary.
10. Missing hardware – Check your plans. The house may look finished, but you might have missing hardware. We’re still chasing a towel ring that was overlooked with Metricon. And yes, it’s almost a year later.
In the end, persistance and due diligence is key when it comes time to inspect your new home. Take your time, and don’t get rushed along by your builder. This is YOUR time to inspect your new home, and to ensure the workmanship is at a level you’re happy with. Make yourself a list ahead of time of things to check to ensure everything is completed correctly. If you’d rather download one, you can find a complete checklist of things to look for here. It’s got a few spreadsheets you can download that will assist you in having an enjoyable inspection, for both inside and out of your soon to be new home.