Are you considering buying a new condo or have you noticed problems after moving in? As experienced building inspectors, we’ve witnessed many hidden issues that could impact your investment. Let’s explore some areas of concern:
- Grading/Drainage: New grading is prone to settlement. Settlement and poor drainage can lead to problems like sunken storm drain grates, cracked sidewalks, and water accumulation.
- Building Envelope: Water and air infiltration problems often arise due to inadequate flashing, poor fastener usage, or improper installation of siding, doors, windows, and roof surfaces.
- Foundation Cracks: Concrete shrinks during curing, causing cracks. Most cracks don’t indicate structural issues, but an inspection can help determine the level of severity.
- Wood Flooring: Separating or buckling floorboards can often be traced back to inadequate acclimation of solid wood floors to interior humidity levels.
- Plumbing: Simple checks like turning on faucets and inspecting under sinks can reveal water leaks. The improper reversal of hot- and cold-water piping is a common problem.
- Ventilation Ducts: Unsealed ductwork allows dust and debris to settle, which requires professional cleaning to maintain air quality.
- Paint: Painting may be rushed on a tight construction schedule. Inspect paint surfaces, especially in less visible areas, using a strong light held at an angle.
- HVAC Systems: Ask if final reviews or inspections are available for the HVAC system. Note that room temperature controls should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
- Unauthorized Substitutions: Check project specifications to ensure no inferior materials or equipment have been substituted without your knowledge. Quality should never be compromised.
- Safety: Safety is paramount. Adequate fire sprinklers, fire-stopping seals around pipes and conduit, code required fire separation, fire alarms and CO2 detectors are non-negotiable.
Remember, knowledge is power! Before making any decisions, consider hiring a professional building inspector engineer. Safeguard your investment and guarantee a seamless experience in your new condo.