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Final Inspection Checklist: All You Need To Know

Written By
John Souffront
Last Updated - October 20th, 2023 7:43 AM

A final building inspection is a crucial step in the construction process. It ensures the safety and compliance of your newly built or renovated property. 

But how do you ensure that everything is up to mark?

This is exactly why we have a final inspection checklist.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the significance of a new construction final inspection checklist, distinguish between a final inspection and a pre-settlement inspection, and offer expert insights for efficiently conducting a thorough final inspection. 

Additionally, we’ll provide you with a selection of free, customizable final inspection checklist templates that you can adapt for your specific projects.

But first, let us learn more about the final inspection.

What is the Final Inspection?

A building final inspection is a critical quality control step conducted before a product or property is delivered to the customer or occupant. 

In simple terms, it is like a last check to make sure a product or property is good to go before the customer gets it.

Its primary purpose is to ensure that the product or property aligns with the specified requirements and safety standards agreed upon by both the buyer and seller. 

This inspection also helps in detecting and rectifying any potential issues in the manufacturing or construction processes. 

A final building inspection is done by an official inspector from the local building authority. They check to see if there are any rule violations, issues, or dangers that might stop them from giving a certificate that says the property is safe to live in or sell. This certificate called a Certificate of Occupancy (CO), is usually needed for most properties to be legally used or sold.

Depending on the nature of the product or property and the contract terms, the building final inspection can be conducted by an independent third-party inspector, a contractor, a building inspector, or the commercial property owner.

During a final inspection, various assessments and checks are done, including elements such as quality, quantity, appearance, dimensions, durability, functionality, and safety. These evaluations are aimed at guaranteeing that the end product is both of high quality and safe for use.

Additionally, final inspections are typically scheduled when a substantial portion, usually around 80%, of the products are ready for shipment or when the property is prepared for occupancy.

You might also like to read: Commercial Building Inspection Cost: Factors & Considerations

Final Inspection vs Pre-Settlement Inspection

A final inspection and a pre-settlement inspection are two different types of inspections that are done before the settlement of a property. 

As we discussed earlier, a final inspection is conducted by the city’s building inspector to determine if the property meets the building code standards and is ready for occupancy. 

On the other hand, a pre-settlement inspection is conducted by the buyer or owner to verify that the property is in the same condition as when it was purchased and that any agreed works have been completed.

The main difference between a final inspection and a pre-settlement inspection is that the final inspection is mandatory and official, while the pre-settlement inspection is optional and informal. 

The final inspection can affect the settlement process, as the inspector can issue a certificate of occupancy or a notice of violation. 

The pre-settlement inspection can also affect the settlement process, as the buyer can request repairs or compensation for any defects or damage found.

A final inspection and a pre-settlement inspection can also differ in terms of timing, participants, and checklist. A final inspection comes after the pre-settlement check, which usually happens a few days before the property sale is finalized.

A final inspection is typically carried out by a building inspector from the city or another expert responsible for ensuring that the property meets all the required building standards. 

On the other hand, the pre-settlement inspection is done by the buyer or owner, often with a witness like a real estate agent.

In the final inspection, the inspector checks various parts of the property, like drainage, walls, doors, and windows, the roof, foundation, plumbing, and more. They ensure everything meets safety and accessibility standards. 

The pre-settlement inspection is similar but also includes things like appliances, furniture, keys, and manuals, making sure everything is ready for the new owner to move in.

What is the Final Inspection Checklist?

As we said before, a final inspection checklist is an important tool for making sure your new or fixed-up property follows all the building rules and is ready to be used. 

It’s like a handy guide for different people involved, such as building inspectors, contractors, and commercial property owners, to find and fix safety problems, issues, or things that don’t meet the rules before they hand over the property.

This new construction final inspection checklist should cover all the things the inspector will be looking at. Using this checklist can help you avoid any delays, extra work, or fines that might happen if you fail the inspection.

You might also like to read: Concrete Coring Procedure: All You Need To Know

What is Required for a Final Building Inspection Checklist?

The list for final inspection requirements can be customized according to the type and scope of the project, but it usually includes some common elements, such as:

Site Drainage and Grading

To guarantee efficient water control and correct site grading, make sure to:

  • Check that the site’s grading prevents water from collecting or running toward the foundation.
  • Ensure the gutters and downspouts are correctly installed and in good working order.
  • Verify that the stormwater drainage system is clear and sufficient.
  • Confirm that the landscaping work is finished and doesn’t obstruct the drainage.

Exterior Walls, Doors, and Windows

To make sure the outside of a building is in good shape and works well, look for these things:

  • Check the outer walls for any cracks, stains, or damage.
  • Examine the siding, brickwork, or stucco to ensure it’s put in and finished correctly.
  • Verify that doors and windows are properly aligned and sealed.
  • Ensure the locks and hardware on doors and windows are working smoothly.
  • Make sure screens and shutters are in good condition.
  • Check that the caulking and weather-stripping are still doing their job.

Read further: Termite And Moisture Inspection: Everything To Know In 2024

Roofing and Flashing

To evaluate the roof and its related flashing, it’s important to:

  • Ensure the roof is devoid of leaks, holes, or any missing shingles.
  • Verify that the flashing is securely fastened and covers all joints and edges.
  • Confirm the proper installation and sealing of vents and skylights.
  • Check the cleanliness and functionality of the chimney and fireplace.
  • Assess the adequacy of attic insulation and ventilation.

Foundation and Framing

When inspecting the structural foundation and framing elements, it’s important to:

  • Examine the foundation for cracks, settlement, or moisture problems.
  • Ensure the basement or crawl space is dry and well-ventilated.
  • Verify the sump pump’s proper functioning.
  • Check that floor joists, beams, columns, and walls are straight and level.
  • Confirm that the framing is securely attached and braced.
  • Look for any indications of termite or pest presence.

Electrical, Plumbing, and Mechanical Systems

When confirming the functionality and compliance of these vital systems, make sure to:

  • Verify that the electrical panel is labelled and easy to access.
  • Ensure that the wiring is appropriately grounded and protected.
  • Check that all outlets, switches, lights, fans, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and appliances are in good working order.
  • Examine the plumbing pipes for any signs of leaks or corrosion.
  • Confirm that the water pressure and temperature meet the required standards.
  • Assess the performance of faucets, toilets, showers, tubs, sinks, drains, water heaters, sump pumps, garbage disposal, and dishwashers.
  • Inspect the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems to ensure they are clean, efficient, and compliant with energy codes.
  • Ensure there are no gas leaks or unusual odors.

You might also like to read: Dig Deeper: The Importance of Soil Sampling for Construction for Stronger Foundations

Interior Finishes and Fixtures

To ensure the quality and safety of interior components, be sure to:

  • Examine walls, ceilings, and floors for any cracks, stains, or damage.
  • Confirm that paint, wallpaper, or tiles are applied and finished correctly.
  • Check doors, windows, cabinets, closets, shelves, and drawers for alignment and functionality.
  • Verify that hardware, hinges, knobs, and handles operate smoothly.
  • Inspect countertops, backsplashes, sinks, and faucets for cleanliness and secure installation.
  • Assess the proper functioning of lighting fixtures, switches, outlets, and dimmers.
  • Ensure carpets, rugs, curtains, blinds, and furniture are in good condition.

Fire Safety and Emergency Exits

When assessing fire safety measures and the accessibility of emergency exits, make sure to:

  • Confirm the presence and readiness of fire extinguishers.
  • Ensure that fire alarms and sprinkler systems are in good working order.
  • Verify the visibility and functionality of emergency exit signs and lights.
  • Check that emergency exit doors and windows are unlocked and can be easily opened.
  • Ensure that escape routes are clear and free from obstructions.
  • Inspect the safety and accessibility of fire escape ladders or stairs.

Accessibility and ADA Compliance

When confirming compliance with accessibility standards, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, make sure that the property meets the needs of people with disabilities or special requirements:

  • Verify the presence and proper functioning of ramps, elevators, lifts, or stairlifts.
  • Check that doorways, hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms are spacious enough for wheelchairs or walkers.
  • Ensure that handrails, grab bars, and lever handles are securely in place.
  • Confirm that sinks, faucets, toilets, showers, and tubs are positioned at appropriate heights with sufficient clearance.
  • Inspect switches, outlets, thermostats, and controls to ensure they are reachable and operational for all.

Meeting these final inspection requirements can help you verify that all aspects of the property are compliant with the codes and regulations.

Have you read: Commercial Building Inspection Cost: Factors & Considerations

How to Effectively Use a Final Inspection Checklist?

A final building inspection checklist can be used throughout the construction process to ensure that the work is done according to the codes and standards. It can also be used as a communication tool between the contractor, the owner, and the inspector. 

Here are 7 steps on how you can use a final building inspection checklist effectively:

Step #1  Review Project Requirements

Start by thoroughly reviewing the project specifications, plans, and permits to understand the exact requirements for the final building inspection.

Step #2 Assign Roles and Responsibilities

Clearly define roles and responsibilities for completing and verifying checklist items. Ensure all project members understand their tasks and deadlines.

Step #3 Regular Inspections

Use the checklist as a guiding tool for regular inspections throughout the project. Document any issues, defects, or non-compliances and act promptly to address them.

Step #4 Schedule the Final Inspection

Engage in open communication with the inspector or building authority to schedule the final structural building inspection. Ensure all essential documents, including permits, certificates, warranties, and manuals, are prepared for review.

Step #5 Pre-Final Walkthrough

Conduct a pre-final walkthrough with the owner or their representative. Use the checklist as a reference, attentively address any concerns or questions, and seek their approval before progressing to the final building inspection.

Step #6 Conduct the Final Inspection

During the final building inspection, use the checklist as proof of compliance. Collaborate closely with the inspector, resolve minor issues on-site, and mutually agree on a plan of action for major issues or violations.

Step #7 Obtain the Certificate of Occupancy (CO)

Once you successfully navigate the final building inspection, the inspector or building authority will grant a Certificate of Occupancy. It means your property adheres to all codes and standards and is ready for occupancy or sale.

Also read: The Importance of Electrical Home Safety Inspections and How to Ensure Your Family’s Protection!

Leveraging Digital Tools for Your Final Inspection Checklist

While a paper checklist remains an option, a building final inspection checklist can also be created using a digital tool. Not to mention, digital tools offer numerous advantages, including:

  1. Easy Accessibility: The checklist is readily available and shareable with the project team and stakeholders.
  2. Real-Time Updates: Receive instant notifications regarding checklist status and progress.
  3. Enhanced Documentation: Attach photos, comments, and signatures to checklist items for thorough record-keeping.
  4. Effortless Reporting: Easily generate and export reports from the completed checklist, streamlining post-inspection procedures.

How to Address Issues Found During the Final Inspection?

Fixing an issue identified in the final inspection depends on the type and severity of the issue, as well as the time and resources available to address it. 

Some possible ways to fix an issue are:

1. Corrective Action and Rework

Request the supplier or contractor to repair or modify the defective or non-compliant goods or services. This approach is suitable for relatively simple issues that can be quickly rectified, such as applying new stickers, removing excess glue, or adjusting loose components.

2. Re-inspection and Chargebacks for Defects

Ask the supplier or contractor to conduct a re-inspection of the goods or services after implementing corrections, with the cost of re-inspection and rework deducted from the payment. 

This approach is more appropriate for more serious or widespread issues, such as faulty wiring, leaky pipes, or missing components.

3. Product Disposal for Unsalvageable Goods

Request the supplier or contractor to dispose of or destroy goods or services that are beyond repair or correction. 

This is a viable option for issues that are extremely severe or pose significant safety risks, such as contaminated food, defective medical devices, or faulty fire alarms.

4. Updating QC Checklists for Preventive Measures

Revise your quality control criteria and procedures to prevent the recurrence of similar issues in future orders. 

This strategy is effective for addressing issues stemming from human errors, inadequate design, or insufficient testing.

Note: Each of these strategies should be chosen based on the specific nature of the issue and the desired outcome, ensuring that the final result meets the required standards and specifications.

Have you read: Garage Safety Inspection: A Step-by-Step Guide to Get One Done

What Happens When a Project Fails Final Inspection?

If a project fails final inspection, it means that the project did not meet the quality standards or acceptance criteria agreed upon by the stakeholders. 

Depending on the severity and impact of the failure, the project may need to undergo corrective actions, rework, or even termination. 

In such situations, the project manager and the project team should analyze the root causes of the failure and document the lessons learned for future reference. 

They should also communicate with the stakeholders and clients about the failure and the next steps to take.

Expert Insights for Successful Final Building Inspections

To prepare for a final inspection, there are some best practices that can help avoid delays, rework, or failure. Here are some of them:

Comprehensive Inspection Preparation

Make sure all required inspections have been conducted before the final inspection. These include foundation, rough-in, framing, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire inspections. Review the checklist with the inspector to identify any areas of concern.

Safety Assurance

Address all safety hazards and repair any outstanding issues before the final inspection. This includes fixing any leaks, cracks, gaps, or damages in the structure, systems, or fixtures. Make sure all equipment and appliances are properly installed and functioning.

Strategic Scheduling

Schedule a final inspection for a time when the property is unoccupied to avoid any disruptions. Ensure that the site is clean and organized and that all debris and materials are removed. Provide access to all areas of the property, including the roof, attic, basement, and crawl spaces.

Thorough Documentation

Document everything and create organizational systems. Keep records of all permits, inspections, approvals, and certificates related to the project. Use digital tools to store and share documents with the inspector and other stakeholders. Label and organize all files and folders for easy access and reference.

Proactive Planning

Plan ahead and maintain a positive relationship with inspectors. Communicate with the inspector regularly and update them on the progress of the project. Anticipate potential problems and prepare contingency plans. Be respectful and cooperative with the inspector and follow their instructions.

Incorporating these best practices into your final inspection preparations will not only help you avoid delays, rework, and failures but also contribute to a more efficient and successful project completion. 

By following these guidelines, you can increase your project’s chances of passing the final inspection with flying colors, ensuring that your construction or renovation project is not only safe but also compliant with all relevant codes and regulations. 

Remember, good preparation is key to a seamless and satisfactory final inspection process.

Read also: Threshold Building Inspection Guide: Here’s What You Need to Know

In The End

A final building inspection is vital for ensuring your property is safe and follows all the rules. To make sure everything’s in order, you need a checklist.

Your building final inspection checklist is like a roadmap to avoid problems that could cause delays or fines. It helps ensure your property meets the necessary standards.

By following the best practices we provided, you can handle any issue that you may face along the road and increase your chances of a successful final inspection, ensuring you have a safe, compliant property.

It is a complex process, but you don’t have to navigate this process alone.

When it comes to the intricate details of inspection and ensuring your property meets all the necessary standards, Souffront Engineering and Construction is here to lend a helping hand.

Our experienced professionals understand the intricacies of final inspections and are well-versed in local building codes and regulations. 

With our expertise, you can rest assured that your property will meet all the required standards, keeping you free from worries about delays or fines.

So, whether you’re in need of expert guidance on the inspection process or assistance with resolving any issues that may arise, Souffront is your trusted partner for a successful construction or renovation project. 

Your commitment to quality, coupled with their expertise, will pave the way for a successful project.

So, feel free to get in touch with us and make the most of our free initial consultation. This is a chance for you to learn more about the valuable contributions we can make to your project.

You can also read: 40 Year Recertification Cost: How Much Will it Cost?

John Souffront

John Souffront is a seasoned leader in the construction and engineering industry, with over a decade of experience at the helm of Souffront Construction & Engineering. Known for his unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation, John has propelled his firm to the forefront of the field, delivering cutting-edge solutions for complex projects around the country.

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