Newly Constructed Homes

Buyers of newly constructed homes often think that the house must be perfect because it’s new. Much faith is put into the building codes and into local code enforcement authorities. The truth is that the perfect house is a myth and that building codes are only bare minimum requirements. They are a point from which to begin rather than a point to strive for.

A lot of misunderstanding results when a builder tells a buyer that their new house is code-compliant because it has passed all code inspections. That’s not necessarily the truth. Passing a particular parish’s code inspection and complying with the Louisiana Uniform Construction Code are two different things.

Many provisions of the Louisiana Uniform Construction Code are not enforced by the individual parishes and municipalities, for political reasons.  Builders might not like certain features and complain about it.  Local government officials don’t want their popularity to dwindle, so they sometimes accommodate builder complaints by relaxing certain requirements.  I say ‘relaxing certain requirements’ but what’s actually happening is that they ‘don’t enforce certain requirements’.  Louisiana adopts the building codes but leaves enforcement to the individual parishes and municipalities.

Unless your build contract includes specifications in addition to ‘pass all local code inspections’, you may find issues on your new home when you do the walk-through with the builder and when you receive your home inspection report. I’ve inspected hundreds of newly constructed homes, none were without issues.  Most had at least one major issue.

Home inspectors generally are not code inspectors. Very few are versed and registered as such but some do have high familiarity with code requirements and use that knowledge when they write reports. Unless they are licensed by the state they aren’t allowed to proclaim compliance or non-compliance but they can use citations from code books in their reports.

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