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  #11  
Old 2014-01-08, 01:04 PM
Halton Home Inspector Halton Home Inspector is offline
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You will not find me anywhere near Ottawa so I feel free to comment about this without sounding self promoting -

A new home warranty inspection is not like a pre purchase inspection of a resale home. Sure "the process" is similar, but my advice would be to have your new home inspected by someone who specializes in warranty inspections of new homes. That person will know far more about your rights as a new home buyer as well as knowing the builders obligations to buyers.

That same person will be able to advise you how to approach warranty issues and educate you on why issues are covered.

One example - In my area there was a time when many laminate kitchen counters were swelling around the sinks. Technically this issue is specifically not covered under Tarion as they require this problem be identified at the PDI when technically, we all know that this problem is not likely to be evident at the time of the PDI.

So, the question is - how do you word this issue on a one year form when Tarion says it is beyond warranty when we all know that the counter around the sink should not swell.

Well, one first needs to know that when these sinks are installed, sealant must be applied around the perimeter of the hole in the counter before the sink is installed. If it is not sealed properly then water gets under the sink and swells the counter and this should not happen.

An experienced new home inspector will know to word this as a poor workmanship issue - "When the kitchen sink was installed, the perimeter around the kitchen counter was not properly sealed and as a result the counter has swelled and needs to be replaced."

Bottom line - do not even bother hiring a run of the mill "home inspector" to inspect your new home. You need to hire a seasoned home inspector who is a specialist at doing new home warranty inspections who also uses an Infra Red camera during the inspection process. These people are few and far between.

Last edited by Halton Home Inspector; 2014-01-10 at 09:14 PM.
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  #12  
Old 2014-01-10, 11:57 PM
agilowen agilowen is offline
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I just had my PDI today, and boy was I wrong in not hiring an inspector. I'll try to share my experience with the other new folks around here in a later post, but suffice it to say that when someone is hired to represent the builder, with a clear mandate to list as few defects as possible, and with 5 + years of experience doing such PDIs, they know all the pressure tactics and tricks of the trade to pull the wool over your eyes (especially if it's your first home purchase as it is in my case). I went in full of hope, and came out disappointed by the many defects and frustrated at the blatant lies that the representative threw at me. The crux of the problem is that without an inspector representing your interests, the builder's representative (posing as an inspector) can tell you that any defect is normal and you've got nothing to counter with that could stand against his slick tongue.

I just hope now that the PDI doesn't carry too much weight as I plan to list all the defects I observed (and weren't noted down) on my 24 hour report.
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  #13  
Old 2014-01-11, 07:07 AM
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Inspector Phil Acker Inspector Phil Acker is offline
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Just a few comments on the PDI process:
1) The PDI is a requirements of the new home warranty program.
2) The builder has a specific set of requirements that apply to the PDI. These requirements are spelled out in a Tarion document, Customer Service Standard [Builder Bulletin 42] that can be found at this link:
http://www.tarion.com/New-Home-Build...r1009FINAL.pdf
3) An element of control that a home owner has is that a key "must have" for the builder's rep during the PDI is to get your signature on the Tarion Certificate of Completion. If you feel that the PDI has not been conducted satisfactorily, it is your right to withold your signature until you are satisfied that the the PDI form is complete.
4) Before going into a DPI, a good idea would be to bring along a cell phone [keep turned off during the PDI], and be prepared to call Tarion [1-877-982-7466] while at the PDI if for any reason you are not comfortable with signing the form. If you feel you cannot sign the Certificate of Completion, then your lawyer and Tarion will need to know as soon as possible the circumstances.
5) Finally, lets get the terminology correct:
- the PDI stands for "Pre-Delivery Inspection"
- the purpose of the PDI is to give you the opportunity to inspect the home and through a process led by the builder, determine whether the condition of the home meets an expectation of completion. Any incomplete items and deficiencies observed during the inspection are to be entered into the PDI form completed by the builder; any items that cannot be inspected are to also be entered, including the "why" part that the item/issue cannot be inspected.
- at the PDI, the builder is not the inspector.
- at the PDI, you are the inspector: the purpose is for you to inspect the home
- if the builder's representative presents himself/herself as the "inspector", firmly correct this person

So that's by shot at today's soap box dissertation.
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Last edited by Inspector Phil Acker; 2014-01-11 at 07:14 AM.
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  #14  
Old 2014-01-11, 10:21 AM
agilowen agilowen is offline
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I wish I had known all of that prior to the PDI. It went more like a walkthrough for me than an actual inspection.

Here are some notes I've jotted down from my PDI yesterday:

- The representative identified himself as an inspector early on and used that position of authority throughout (especially to brush off many of my concerns)

- None of the papework was presented to us before we started the tour. He was guarding it all closely to himself, taking notes here and there, almost as if he were trying to hide it from us. We weren't even told what we were supposed to do. The beginning felt like he was a realtor showing us around a house. Had I not stopped him to ask if I can take a closer look, we would have been done with the second floor in 10 minutes (as if we were just browsing around).

- We weren't offered to inspect the attic. That didn't stop him from writing the following on the PDI form "Attic inspected by site". His explanations for this line were that the attic was inspected by some inspector (city inspector?) prior to the PDI.

- I asked to conduct the tissue test on the fans in the washroom. He ridiculed the idea first, and when it failed, he stated (with the authority of an inspector) that this wasn't a valid test (had more to do with fan's rpms according to him)

- After we were done with the master bedroom, having "fought" simply to conduct basic tests and close-up views, we were very much on edge, unable to think properly and certainly less bold in asking about checking things in the future. Everything from then on went exactly as he wanted (i.e. things were explained quickly and concerns brushed off).

- I had checklists and a clipboard ready for my notes. I couldn't see how we would have been able to double check any list or write any notes with his pressured pace.

- We made the mistake of having our PDI on a Friday afternoon. There is no worse time in my opinion for an inspection than the end of the week. It was clear to me that the representative was more concerned about finishing the task as quickly as possible and getting on with his weekend plans.

- Nothing exterior to the house was examined (due to the snow). I insisted he added an item to that effect on the PDI form (which he did, on the first page though). I hope this has some bearing when they use this form as reference.

- The PDI form has 2 pages. The first list of items are supposed to be the defects, and the second list (on the second page) are to list items that weren't assessed. I couldn't understand why he insisted on the fact that these two lists were one and the same, and he listed things all over the place. Could there be a reason for that? It was clearly mentioned on the second page that we're supposed to list anything not assessed there.

- No window was operated. This wasn't mentioned on the PDI form.

- He had a line on the form that all window screens were in place and not damaged. One was clearly not in place (The one in the basement, he said in the winter it is usually removed, so he simply pointed to where it was stored in the furnace room). I told him that this was clearly a lie. So he takes me down (showing signs that I'm wasting his time), pulls out the screen from where it was hiding, and tells me to go ahead an inspect it. You can understand how after this, I was much less inclined to question anything else he had on the form. My wife was sitting down on the stairs throughout this episode and I just felt like we were being treated like kids.

- He opened the garage door and said something like "a garage is a garage, can't go wrong there". I stepped in nonetheless. He wouldn't even operate the garage door (until I insisted he does). There was a chip in the insulation board behind the door. He quickly brushed it off.

- His writing was completely illegible. So he could have said something and wrote something completely different. I've got the carbon copies of the form, but I still can't make out what he wrote in many places.

- The hardwood had defects in several places. There were scuff marks, scratches, uneven areas. He tried to clean things with his hand and several times mentioned that they would clean the house before I would move-in (so I needn't worry about such things).

- Nothing structural (especially in the basement where things were visible) was inspected.

- There were gaps running between the kitchen baseboards and the ceramic tiles (I was remarking on them after seeing them from 3 meters away). He said that is normal due to the settling of the floor. Can someone comment on that?

That's what I remember. Overall it wasn't an experience I enjoyed, and I'm still frustrated at how he was able to make it seem that we were wrong and asking too much by wanting to inspect things a little closer and slower. I still wish I had brought someone more knowledgeable (such as an inspector representing my interests) to my PDI.
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  #15  
Old 2014-01-11, 11:04 AM
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LeoMessi LeoMessi is offline
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I'll let the experts comment, but just to put your mind at ease, on the day that you take ownership of the house, document and take pictures of everything that they can blame on you later on (scratches on hardwood, paint, etc). For the other major stuff (attic insulation, etc) hire an inpector for your 30day. That should cover you.
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  #16  
Old 2014-01-11, 03:32 PM
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Inspector Phil Acker Inspector Phil Acker is offline
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As a rough guideline, Tarion suggests that about one hour is required for each 1000 sq ft per builder's plan. So if your home was 2500 sq ft, then it would not be unreasonable for the PDI to have taken about 2-1/2 hours to complete. The builder rep should be accommodating your pace.

you may wish to elevate your experiences to a higher authority within the builder's organization. If you feel the the context and process of the PDI was violated, you may also wish to contact Tarion. As a caution, if you get an intitial brush-off from Tarion, elevate this also within Tarion; if it takes more than two points of contact within Tarion to get a response, go to the Tarion ombudsman.

Most builders get the PDI process right; some do an exceptional job. Its disconcerting when the spirit of a PDI creates anxiety, rather than building on anticipation and the excitement of having a new home for you and your family.
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Last edited by Inspector Phil Acker; 2014-01-12 at 07:13 PM.
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  #17  
Old 2014-01-12, 08:10 AM
Ottawa786 Ottawa786 is offline
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4 years ago when I had my PDI, I called the builder to let them know I will be bringing an inspector with me, I was told that this is not allowed as it creates distraction and they don't recommend to bring an inspector during PDI. I was told I can hire an inspector after the closing. I thought perhaps it is common to not to bring an inspector during PDI. I was fooled by the builder.
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  #18  
Old 2014-01-12, 01:06 PM
Halton Home Inspector Halton Home Inspector is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agilowen View Post

I just had my PDI today, and boy was I wrong in not hiring an inspector.

suffice it to say that when someone is hired to represent the builder, with a clear mandate to list as few defects as possible, they know all the pressure tactics and tricks of the trade to pull the wool over your eyes (especially if it's your first home purchase as it is in my case).

I went in full of hope, and came out disappointed by the many defects and frustrated at the blatant lies that the representative threw at me.

The crux of the problem is that without an inspector representing your interests, the builder's representative (posing as an inspector) can tell you that any defect is normal and you've got nothing to counter with that could stand against his slick tongue.
Sorry to hear about your experience but you are not alone. I know first hand that some, if not many builders are not following the required process and take full advantage of new home buyers. Tarion has not been helpful.

BUT keep in mind that it may be fine to bring a Home Inspector with you to the PDI but that should only be to assist you to identify issues that are relevant at the time of the PDI. Therefore it is vital that the Home Inspector know what issues need to be identified at that time and most do not. The PDI is NOT the time to do a "home inspection" because issues identified during a proper and real "home inspection" are generally not relevant at the PDI.

One example - During the PDI it does not matter if there are issues in the attic so it is a waste of valuable time inspecting that area because attic issues are covered for one year and are NOT required to be identified at that time. So, doing this takes away from what is important to be identified during the PDI process.

So, if you waste time looking for attic problems, structural deficiencies, electrical code violations, etc, etc, etc, then you will miss the boat with regards to what must be identified at that time.

The PDI is a cosmetic inspection only and it is intended to make sure you got all your upgrades. It is the only opportunity you have to identify things like damage, dents, chips, or scratches to things like counters, cabinets, doors, tubs, toilets, walls, ceilings, ceramic floors, furnace, doors, garage door, carpets, hardwood floors, windows, etc. So, whether a brick at the back of the house is broken or not is irrelevant.

It is vital that new home buyers read, study, and understand the Tarion Construction Performance Guidelines to learn what is covered and for how long. If for example, you go to the interior section of these guidelines you will clearly see what must be identified during the PDI.
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  #19  
Old 2014-01-12, 02:24 PM
Halton Home Inspector Halton Home Inspector is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa786 View Post
4 years ago when I had my PDI, I called the builder to let them know I will be bringing an inspector with me, I was told that this is not allowed as it creates distraction and they don't recommend to bring an inspector during PDI. I was told I can hire an inspector after the closing. I thought perhaps it is common to not to bring an inspector during PDI. I was fooled by the builder.
The builder is right and wrong. The law requires that you are able to bring who ever you want to the PDI. This is clearly stated in Bulletin 42 from Tarion and is law in Ontario under the new home warranty act, BUT lame duck Tarion has failed to make this clear to the many builders who violate these rules.

However - the builder is also right that most Home Inspectors ARE a distraction during the PDI because they think they are there to do a "Home Inspection" when what they should be doing is helping their client identify issues that are relevant during the PDI.

The Home Inspector that properly represents their client during the PDI should -

- know the Tarion rules pertaining to the PDI process and know how to check to see if items are warrantable or not.
- carefully examine all hardwood floors, other floors, counters, cabinets, doors, windows, walls, etc, etc, for problems.
- check all windows, screens, and outlets.
- ensure the garage is gas-proofed properly prior to occupancy.
- should work quietly in the background and let the PDI rep do their job.
- should check basic things like running taps, flushing toilets, check that everything that needs silicone is done.
- assist client to ensure that PDI rep actually documents issues properly.
- and by all means, identify any code violations or other poor workmanship issues that are obvious to the inspector during the PDI.


IMO, the only way to do a real Home Inspection of a brand new home is to do it with the owner(s) but only after you have had a chance to take possession of the home and most important - to use all the washrooms regularly at least a week prior to your inspection. This gives the home inspector the opportunity to check ceilings below washrooms with an Infra Red Camera to help identify any potential leaks. The home inspection can be an extremely educational experience for many new home buyers because it is a systematic review of the home. When warrantable issues are identified the Home Inspector should make sure the client understands why an issue needs to be improved, repaired, or replaced.

What I have done to help people with PDI's is to develop a fee paid service called PDI Assist. I only offer this service when the client agrees to also book me to come back to do a "proper" and real 30 day "home inspection" of the home .

Even then, in some cases with some builders it is not worth it for a client to hire me or anyone else for their PDI because unfortunately a couple very large builders and their PDI Reps get all upset and childish making the whole process a nightmare.
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Old 2014-01-12, 02:40 PM
Halton Home Inspector Halton Home Inspector is offline
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^^^ Note to agilowen.

1 - Builders often claim that things like the attic were already inspected by someone else. That is usually blatant bull crap because it is very unlikely that a municipal inspector would look in every, if any attics in a development. Builders love to say false statements like "everything was inspected" when that is far from the truth. The good news is that this does not mater because you do not need to confirm attic conditions are right or wrong during the PDI. You can report attic issues at the 30 day or one year or both.

2 - Because your PDI Rep fluffed over your concerns with the hardwood floor problems you have only one option. When you get the keys for your new home on your date of possession you must immediately go to the house and examine the floors for any problems. If there are any scratches, damage, cupping, or crowning, then you must immediately report this to the builder before you move anything into the home.

Last edited by Halton Home Inspector; 2014-01-13 at 06:49 AM.
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