Your Guide To Practical Completion Inspection
A new build inspection package involves a process where a new build is inspected at multiple crucial intervals.
One such process is the Practical Completion Inspection (PCI), which is an exciting moment when a Building Inspector reviews the finished product and all featured finishing touches. It is important to organize to have your Building Inspector at your Practical Completion Inspection rather than just your site supervisor as the Building Inspector as an independent anlayst will be more critical of defects.
It is a crucial inspection process where a chance is offered during the home building process to identify any form of fault present in a new home. This process allows getting the issues corrected and fixed before the building is handed over.
During a PCI procedure on-site, the client meets with the construction supervisor from the building company. Both of them will go through every room in the completed house. During the process, discussions will be held on important features while confirming they look and feel the way they should.
When To Do A Practical Completion Inspection
The PCI is not the type of test that you conduct at any time you choose. Specific criteria need to be fulfilled before the exercise is carried out. You and your construction supervisor will need to agree on the following things:
- The construction must be completed in the manner stipulated in the plans under the contractual obligations. The only exception here is defects that may be seen during the inspection.
- There are no major works that are yet to be completed.
- At this point, the property should be habitable.
- All services required, such as water, sewage system, and power supply to make the property habitable, are connected and fully functional.
- The property is clean and put in a condition that the builder deems fit and proper to hand over its control to the client.
If all of the stated conditions are not fulfilled, it would not be a wise step for you to undertake a PCI with your construction inspector as the property is not ready for inspection yet. It is imperative to have a thorough and sound understanding that there may be severe conflicting pressures before the due time for PCI.
The builder will want to see how the final payment may be secured in order to move on to another project that will bring in another paycheck. On the other hand, the client may be looking to opt-out of rental accommodation and move over to the new home as soon as possible.
All these pressures can prop up a hastened move to conduct a PCI before a property is ready. Where this is seen to happen, it can lead to claims generated against the builder. This will eventually undermine the value of going through an independent PCI.
Important Steps To Be Taken During PCI
Essentially, what you want to do is to review every single sq. m. of the property so that you may determine where there are construction defects, blemishes, or omissions to the final product. You are looking to make sure that the actual construction work is in tandem with the agreed plans, contractual terms, the National Construction Code, and Australian Standards.
This does not appear to be a small task to handle, but it is the primary reconciliation of the job you have contracted out to the builder, which you are expecting to be delivered to you on schedule. When conducting the inspection, the builder will have done a great amount of the work before the due date before moving on to the next stage. The construction inspector would generally come along to the inspection site with a detailed list of the various items that they should inspect.
A good approach is to go for the inspection with your list of the items you wish to check. You can include items in the checklist that you have already discussed with the builder that are not in the plan. Completion of the inspections should lead to a general meeting with all participating members to discuss the major discoveries made.
What Happens When All Inspections Are Not Completed?
All items that require fixing are recorded for the attention of the construction supervisor. Both the client and construction supervisor will sign off such items, and each of them will go away with a copy of this record.
The builder is bound by a contractual obligation to repair all defects. He can get this done by bringing trades and suppliers to the site and completing the listed items.
The usual time frame for the repair work is between 10 -14 working days to allow the handover process to occur as efficiently as possible. However, this time frame may be extended if there are still many practical items that need to be fixed.
Working To Ensure Satisfaction Of The Client At PCI
In a bid to guarantee that all the items in the house have been taken care of to the client’s satisfaction, the construction supervisor will have to organise a follow-up PCI. At this point, the items listed in the first PCI inspection checklist will have to be checked to confirm that the builder fixed them.
This is usually the final inspection, and there would not be the need for another. When the client is satisfied with the results of the second handover inspection, the construction inspector may hand over the house, and the signing off may take place at the building contractor’s office. Before you pick up your new home keys, make arrangements for home insurance because, at this point, the builder’s insurance ceases to work.
Some Tips To Help Your PCI Inspection
Take your time
We can understand that excitement would make you want to rush over to the new house either as the one you would be living in or working in. However, there is no immediate requirement for you to rush over. Considering you have spent so much money and effort putting things together, you would not want to take the risk of leaving even one small part unfinished.
Consider things from a different angle
It is pretty easy to miss out on details of things below eye level when you are on your feet. In each of the rooms, take time to sit on the floor or a small stool, as this will allow you to see things at that level better. You can also sit on the toilet seat and shut the doors just to see how things are at that level.
Walk around without your shoes on
Since it is a place where you will be for a long time to come, you should walk around like you would if you had moved in already. Remember, you will not have to walk around the home in your shoes all the time, and there is no better way you can learn of the smoothness or lack thereof of the floor.
Turn the taps on
Check to see if the taps are working. Put basins in the kitchen sink and fill them up to see what the water pressure is like, and do the same in the bathroom. Be on the lookout for possible leakage from pipes.
Run the showers
No one likes running a bath when the water pressure is low or not adequate to give a smooth and tingling sensation of water on the skin. Also, you need to check the drain.
Flush the toilets
This is one of the places that need water more than others. So you want to check that there is running water. Check to see that the toilets are well fixed to the floor and are not leaking at any point.
Check the locks on doors
Privacy is essential in some parts of the home, especially in places like the bathroom and bedroom. Ensure that privacy locks installed on bathrooms and toilets doors are in perfect working order.
Test the switches and power points
Test and confirm that power points are working fine. You could have many light switches on a single panel, and this can work for your chosen design. However, do make sure that the layout of the buttons is in a logical order.
Ensure you have the electric points you selected
Make sure that lights and the power points are all fitted correctly and in the right place. The power points need to match the fixtures applied, and you want to do due diligence during the assessment.
Sensor light check is essential
If you have a sensor light installed, make sure that the delay and their sensitivity are correctly set. The experience of people who don’t have the delay time correctly set is not a good one.
Check that there are no rough edges
There may be some roughness at the edges of paintwork, which formed due to paint drying in small lumps as the paint drips, particularly at the side of the window framework. Take note that these rough edges may catch the fabrics of the curtain and begin to pull out threads.
Remember to record everything
Ensure that whatever concerns you have are all written down in a notepad. Your construction supervisor may say that the builder would finish off some of the things you noted as not being complete before handover. Writing such things down will help you remember and bring back his attention to it should it be omitted again.
Why You Need To Consider PCI
In general terms, this inspection affords you the last main opportunity to bring up construction issues that you may have with the builder before you take over control of the property. There are a few important considerations for you to make.
First off, some construction defects can pose significant challenges when it comes to remediating them after you have moved into the property already. An example is when you want tiles in the bathroom removed. If you are in the house at such a time, it could be challenging because you will not have access to the bathroom.
The second reason is that you would want to avoid any form of construction damage that may be linked to your occupancy of the house. An example is the case of a broken window glass, which was recorded during an inspection. This should not lead to any argument since it had been broken before you moved into the house.
When done correctly, a practical completion inspection will ensure that your house is up to the standard you expected and you are getting what you have paid for.