Construction Law

Understanding the Differences Between Building and Home Inspections featured image

Understanding the Differences Between Building and Home Inspections

Inspections are a regular part of the construction industry no matter which part of the industry you are in. When working in the residential construction field, there are two types of inspectors you will deal with on a regular basis: building inspectors and home inspectors. While they may seem similar at first glance, home inspectors and building inspectors do two very different things. 

As a construction company, you’ll work with building inspectors often to complete construction projects. They are involved in the permitting process and can give final approval to finish a project. Home inspectors, on the other hand, will not be a regular part of construction work. Because of the differences in what they inspect, home inspectors are rarely involved in construction while building inspectors are always involved in construction. Which ones you have to work with depends on the type of work that you do and how you interact with homebuyers and property owners.

Many people get home inspectors and building inspectors confused because they seem like they do the same thing. However, it is important to not get them confused with each other when facing an inspection. In this editorial, a Raleigh construction attorney with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants discusses the differences between building and home inspections.

Related: Critical Provisions for Residential Contracts

Building Inspectors

The key difference between building inspectors and home inspectors is what they inspect. Building inspectors focus on construction work used to build the house. A building inspector can inspect the home during multiple stages of the construction process. This will happen before the building is finished so that the inspector can review different aspects of its construction without having to remove walls or ceilings.

Building inspectors are licensed and associated with government agencies. Their job is to make sure that the construction work done on a home meets construction codes and regulations. If a problem is found, it can be fixed before more work is done. Otherwise, the inspector can approve the work, and construction can continue.

Building inspectors are not limited to inspecting homes. They can also inspect commercial and industrial properties based on the needs of the municipality where they work. The majority of their work focuses on evaluating structures for safety and compliance with building codes. There are several inspections throughout the billing process to make sure that it maintains compliance with code as construction progresses.

When a construction project applies for a permit, inspectors are assigned to review the construction work. If a building fails inspection at any point throughout the process, work is stopped until it can be corrected. There is a final inspection at the end of the project and the inspector’s final approval is needed to close out the permit.

Home Inspectors

Home inspectors focus entirely on residential properties. They mostly focus on the final product, assessing the condition of the property and identifying any potential problems. While the inspector may note safety concerns in their final report, their work is primarily focused on determining the value of the property. When people buy and sell homes, home inspectors are brought in to make sure that the value of the home matches the price.

In some cases, home inspectors are brought into check homes for possible problems to help homeowners be proactive about repairs and other issues. The reports can provide detailed insight into the condition of different parts of the house and give homeowners insight into what will need to be fixed soon.

Home inspectors do not work for government agencies. They are independent operators that are licensed by the government. Home inspections are not mandatory unless they are mandated by the conditions of the sale or insurance companies. Otherwise, a home may never go through a home inspection.

Related: Implied Warranties in Residential Construction Contracts

Which Type of Inspection is Needed?

The type of inspection that is needed depends on the situation. Construction companies will work with building inspectors regularly as they are sent out to review the work by local governments and working with them is not optional. Building inspectors only do inspections during construction projects. This means that if a home or building is being newly constructed, the building inspector will check it several times. If a building is renovated, a building inspector will check the work once it is done to make sure that it complies with building codes and regulations. Otherwise, the building inspector will not inspect a building that is finished and has not had changes done to it.

Home inspections are only needed under certain circumstances. Unless a homeowner feels the need to have a home inspected, it will not be inspected at any point. Home inspections are useful for determining if a finished home has a certain value or has potential safety or other problems that need to be dealt with. Homebuyers typically hire home inspectors to make sure that they are buying homes that do not have serious problems that will be expensive to fix. 

Home inspectors will only inspect finished homes. They will never be involved in the building process during a construction project. Construction companies have little need for home inspectors since they do not inspect construction work while it is being finished, and they are not required to have home inspectors review their finished work either, since their inspections hold no standing with governments.

Regardless of whether you are being inspected by a building inspector or home inspector, it’s important to take any inspections seriously. The quality of your work will be reflected in the report and can have an impact on your business. If you have any questions about different types of inspections or building codes, contact a Raleigh contractor attorney from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.

If you would like to speak with a Raleigh contractor lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.