New Home Construction Problems

  1. Grading does not slope away from the foundation. Lots should be graded to drain surface water away from foundation walls. The grade away from foundation walls shall fall a minimum of 6" within the first 10 feet. (2012 International Residential Code R401.3)

  2. Grading might hold ground water. The code requires all drainage to be diverted away from the yard. Surface drainage shall be diverted to a storm sewer conveyance or other point of collection. (2012 International Residential Code R401.3)

  3. Foundations with improperly compacted fill. Could probe under the footings. Fill soil that support footings and foundations shall be designed, installed and tested in accordance with accepted engineering practices. (2012 International Residential Code R401.2)

  4. No vapor barrier present for a concrete slab. This could allow water or moisture problems in the basement. A 6 mil (0.006 inch; 152 �m) polyethylene or approved vapor retarder with joints lapped not less than 6 inches (152 mm) shall be placed between the concrete floor slab and the base course or the prepared subgrade where no base course exists. (2012 International Residential Code R506.2.3)

  5. Improper wall bracing for a 1 or 2 story structure. The corner exterior walls are missing proper bracing. All exterior walls shall be braced in accordance with this section. (2012 International Residential Code R602.10)

  6. Improper wall bracing for a 3 story structure. The corner exterior walls are missing proper bracing. All exterior corner walls shall be braced at each corner and at least every 25 feet with a minimum of 48" of approved structural sheathing. (2012 International Residential Code R602.10)

  7. Exterior windows and doors do not have properly installed flashing and weep holes at the brick. Flashing is required above all doors and windows installed in brick and prevents water from soaking behind the brick running into the structure. Without weep holes to drain the water to the outside, flashing serves no purpose. Flashing and weepholes are required at all brick shelf angles over all doors and windows. (2012 International Residential Code R703.8)

  8. Exterior wood not properly protected. Some of the exterior wood has open joints which will allow moisture to enter and will cause deterioration. Some of the paint is peeling off the wood trim. The trim may not be properly primed to bond the paint to the wood. Proper caulking and painting are needed. All exterior walls shall be covered with approved materials designed and installed to provide a barrier against the weather. (2012 International Residential Code R703.1)

  9. Exterior wood siding trim not properly caulked or sealed at the brick or concrete foundation walls to prevent water and moisture from damaging the wood. Water will run behind the wood and cause deterioration. (2012 International Residential Code R703.1)

  10. Some of the exterior cement siding has recessed nails. Recessed nails loose their holding strength in fiber cement siding. All manufacturers require the nails to be flush and not recessed. The recessed nails should be caulked and another flush nail installed next to it. (2012 International Residential Code R104.9)

  11. Exterior openings in the structure are not sealed. This will allow air leaks into the structure. All exterior joints in the building envelope, that are sources of air leaks, shall be caulked, gasketed, weather-stripped or otherwise sealed in an approved manner. (2009 International Energy Code 502.1.4.2)

  12. Chimney height is not tall enough. This could be a potential fire hazard. All chimneys shall extend 2’ higher than any portion of roof within 10’ and at least 3’ higher than the roof penetration. (2012 International Residential Code R1003.9)

  13. Roof shingles have toe board nail holes present. Toe boards are walk boards the roofers use. Any holes in the shingles could turn into a roof leak. All shingles with holes should be replaced or sealed with a sealant that will last as long as the shingles. Recommend sealing the shingles with a one part urethane sealant similar to Sonnaborne RP-1. The proper procedure in sealing the holes is to raise the shingle and install the sealant under the hole. Then the shingle is mashed flat and the sealant should run out the hole. Roof shingles shall provide a barrier against the weather to protect its supporting elements and structure beneath. (2012 International Residential Code R901.1)

  14. Roof shingles are missing roofing felt at the sheathing along the eaves. This protects the roof sheathing. Starting at the eave, apply 36 inch wide sheets of underlayment...(2012 International Residential Code R905.2.7)

  15. Step flashing is missing at sloped vertical walls. Some of the roof flashing at the vertical walls is continuous flashing. Flashing prevents water from entering at the intersection of the wall and the roof. Continuous flashing was used successfully for many years. However, step flashing is a far superior method of flashing and is required for all roofing. Flashing against a vertical sidewall shall be the step-flashing method. (2012 International Residential Code R905.2.8.4)

  16. Deck footings are smaller than the minimum allowable size of 12" x 12". See Section R403.1.1 Minimum size. The size of footings supporting piers and columns shall be based on the tributary loads and allowable soil pressure in accordance with Table R401.4.1. (2012 International Residential Code R403.1.1)

  17. Deck footings do not extend 12" below grade. All footings must be below the frost line. All exterior footings shall be placed at least 12 inches below the undisturbed gound surface. (2012 International Residential Code R403.1.4)

  18. Deck stair handrail is not the correct size. Handrails that are 2x4 or larger are too large to be used for handrails since the cannot be gripped. Handrails shall have either a circular cross section with a diameter of 1 1/4" to 2", or a noncircular cross section with a perimeter dimension of at least 4" but not more than 6 1/4" and a largest cross section dimension not exceeding 2 3/4". Edges shall have a minimum radius of 1/8". (2012 International Residential Code R311.5.6.3)

  19. Exterior deck is missing properly installed flashing. Flashing prevents water from entering behind the deck and into the structure. Flashing is required where decks attach to a wall or floor assembly of wood frame construction. Exterior balconies, decks and porches shall be flashed in accordance with Section 703.8. (2012 International Residential Code R703.8(5))

  20. Some of the roof framing has ridge beams that are too small and do not extend to the bottom of the rafters. The ridge must extend down to the bottom of the rafters to properly support the rafters. The ridge shall not be less in depth than the cut end of the rafters. (2012 International Residential Code R802.3)

  21. Roof purlin supports, supporting the rafters, are double 2x4s which are not the proper size. The purlins should be single 2x6s turned perpendicular to the rafters which are stronger and less expensive than flat double 2x4s. Purlins shall be sized no less than the size of the rafters they support. (2012 International Residential Code R802.5.1)

  22. Some of the rafter purlins support post exceed 48 inches apart. Additional support post are required to properly support the purlins. All rafter purlins must be braced every 48 inches to a load bearing wall or support. (2012 International Residential Code  R802.5.1

  23. Some of the rafter purlins are spliced between the support post. Support members are not allowed to be spliced without additional support installed. All purlins should be spliced directly above a support post. Purlins must be continuous between braces. (2012 International Residential Code R802.5.1)

  24. Roof framing support members have "V" joint or bird mouth splices that are not properly reinforced or supported by a support post to a load bearing wall below. All load bearing beams must be supported at any splice. Roof framing shall be capable of supporting all loads imposed and shall transmit the resulting loads to its supporting structural elements. (2012 International Residential Code R801.2)

  25. Attic is missing flooring from the end of the attic stairs to the furnace. This makes it dangerous to climb over the stairs to access the flooring at the furnace. All attics must have an unobstructed, floored passageway 22" wide x 30" high to the furnace. (2012 International Residential Code M1305.1.3)

  26. Attic insulation certification card is missing. This is required to verify the attic has the proper amount of insulation. The insulation installer shall provide a signed and dated certification for the insulation installed, listing the type of insulation, the manufacturer and the R-value. (2009 International Energy Code Section 102.5.1)

  27. Attic insulation thickness markers are missing. One thickness marker is required every 300 s.f. of floor area. The thickness of roof/ceiling blown insulation shall be identified by thickness markers. (2009 International Energy Code Section

  28. Attic insulation is not deep enough. Sometimes the insulation settles and is not deep enough. The insulation installer certifies the minimum thickness of the insulation". (2009 International Energy Code Section 502.2.3.2)

  29. Attic is missing firestopping at an open chase. A chase is an opening in the attic floor that could allow a fire, from the story below, to enter the attic. All openings in the attic floor need sealing with drywall. Firestopping is required at each floor, at the attic floor and at all roof penetrations. (2012 International Residential Code R602.8)

  30. Basement ceiling needs firestopping around all pipe penetrations. Firestopping prevents a fire from spreading to different parts of the structure. Firestopping is required at all openings around vents, pipes, ducts, chimneys and fireplaces at ceiling and floor levels, with noncombustible materials. (2012 International Residential Code R602.8)

  31. Doors and windows are missing shims and anchors along the jambs. All doors and windows need shimming along the jambs (sides) and proper anchorage for a proper installation. Materials, equipment and devices approved by the building official shall be constructed and installed in accordance with such approval. (2012 International Residential Code R104.9)

  32. Bedroom windows not large enough to be used for an emergency exit. Each bedroom shall have an operable window with a sill height no more than 44" above the floor. Minimum clear height of 22" or minimum width of 20". The net clear opening shall be 4 square feet. (2012 International Residential Code R310.1)

  33. Fireplace has wood trim within too close to the opening. Wood too close to the opening is a fire hazard and could catch fire. Woodwork or other combustible materials shall not be placed within 6 inches of a fireplace opening. Combustible material within 12 inches of the fireplace opening shall not project more than1/8 inch for each 1 inch distance from such opening. (2012 International Residential Code R1001.11)

  34. Step heights or tread depths are not the proper size. These are potential trip hazards. The maximum allowable step height is 7 3/4". The minimum allowed depth of the tread is 9". (2012 International Residential Code R311.5.3)

  35. Step heights or tread widths vary in a flight of stairs. The different step heights or widths could be a trip hazard. Risers (heights) and treads (widths) may not vary more than 3/8". (2012 International Residential Code R311.5.3)

  36. Stair tread nosing or overhang extends too far over the step below. The edge of the steps could break with the grain of the wood allowing someone to fall down the stairs. The maximum allowable overhang is 1 1/4". (2012 International Residential Code R311.5.3.3)

  37. Top basement step is not deep enough. Sometimes the oak flooring overhangs the top tread too far. This is a potential trip hazard. The minimum allowed depth of the tread is 9". The maximum allowable projection or nosing is 1 1/4". (2012 International Residential Code R311.5.3)

  38. Front door is missing a landing just outside the door. A minimum of 3 foot landing shall be required on each side of an egress door. (2012 International Residential Code R311.4.3)

  39. Door to the basement is missing a door sweep and weather-stripping. Unconditioned air can enter the conditioned space. Any opening from a conditioned space to a non-conditioned space must be weather-stripped or sealed. (2009 International Energy Code Section 502.1.4.2)

  40. Basement ceiling height is too low. Basement ceiling ducts are too low and will prevent installing a ceiling at the proper height. Habitable rooms shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet 6 inches. Furred areas shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet. (2012 International Residential Code R305.1)

  41. Garage floor does not slope enough to prevent liquids from running under the walls. Flammable liquids could run under the walls into the structure and be ignited by the basement furnace or water heater. That area of floor used for parking of automobiles or other vehicles shall be sloped to facilitate the movement of liquids to a drain or toward the main vehicle entry doorway. (2012 International Residential Code R309.3)

  42. Garage furnace and water heater gas piping is not protected from possible impact. An automobile could hit the piping and cause a gas leak. The pipe must be protected from possible impact. (2012 International Residential Code G2422.1.1)

  43. Ground fault circuit interrupter electrical outlet is missing at a wet location. Any electrical outlet located in the bathrooms, kitchen counter area, unfinished basement, garage or on the exterior of the structure that can be reached from the ground, must be GFCI protected. (2017 NEC 210-8(6))

  44. Ground fault circuit interrupter electrical outlet is missing at a sink. Any electrical outlet located within 6 feet of a sink or basin must be GFCI protected. (2017 NEC 210-8(b))

  45. No heating and air conditioning damper system present to balance the heating and air conditioning. A two story structure with a single heat and air conditioning system, will find it difficult to balance the heat and cooling. A readily accessible manual or automatic damper system shall be provided to partially restrict or shut off the heating and/or cooling input to each zone or floor. (2009 International Energy Code Section 503.3.3.7)

  46. Furnace ductwork not proper sealed to prevent air leakage in nonconditioned areas. Sometimes the duct insulation is sealed, but the actual ducts are not sealed. All ducts must be sealed at the furnace and at the register boots. All joints shall be securely fastened and sealed with welds, gaskets, mastic adhesives, mastic-plus-embedded-fabric systems or tapes. (2000 International Energy Code Section 503.3.4.3)

  47. Attic furnace does not have the required working platform in front of the furnace for servicing. This makes it difficult to service the unit or change the filter. A working platform, 30" deep with a clear headroom of 30" high, is required along the control side of the furnace. (2012 International Residential Code M1305.1.3)

  48. Range is missing anti-tip brackets on the rear feet to prevent tipping over. All manufacturer’s supply anti-tip brackets with all free standing ranges to prevent tipping. A heavy object such as a turkey can be placed on the open door causing the range to tip spilling hot liquids from the burners. (2012 International Residential Code R104.9)

  49. Attic pull down stair is missing weather-stripping. Unconditioned attic air can enter the conditioned space. Any opening from a conditioned space to a non-conditioned space must be weather-stripped or sealed. (2009 International Energy Code Section 502.1.4.2)

  50. Attic stair is not insulated and is the largest source of heat loss and heat gain thru the attic. Recommend installing an insulated cover over the stair. Insulated covers can be purchased from Battic Door at (508) 320-9082 or (2009 International Energy Code Section 502.1.4.2)