Congratulations! You’ve come to the end at last – your dream home is finally (finally!) finished. Time to sit back, arrange your living room furniture, and…be on the lookout for post-construction pitfalls. The truth is that, even once the last workman has packed up and left, things can still go wrong. Whether, and how much, things DO go wrong will vary between projects.
Here’s a list of the problems that may pop up after six months, and one year, that you may have at the end of construction.
The things you may start to see the fastest:
1. Paint starting to peel
2. Wallpaper starting to peel
3. Plumbing leaks (at the first sign of rain, you may see water somewhere in the house)
4. If you’ve had damp-proofing or weather-proofing done, test right away to make sure they work
After Six Months
1. In this time period, you should be able to see any problems with appliances, fixtures, and fittings that involve plumbing: the new faucet, the new kitchen sink, etc. When they go wrong, it’s obvious, and they usually go wrong within the first few months.
2. External work – after the first storm in your new home, do an inspection to see if any external pipes, roof tiles, or other outdoor features are damaged or pushed out of place. Also check if any gutters are working properly. Finally, check all patio doors and window frames to make sure no water is seeping in.
3. Any kind of fixture and fitting that’s in frequent use – this includes things you use every day, like door handles, light switches, and basic appliances. More handling means that any problems show up faster.
4. Once you go through the first big season change, if you’ve laid concrete or wooden flooring, look for any warping or protruding – basically, you should look out for your floor no longer being flat. After that first winter (or possibly summer, depending on where you live) these materials can expand or contract – so if they haven’t been laid properly, you’ll have issues.
After One Year
1. Subsidence – this is a big one. If you added an extension or changed the foundation for any reason, your foundation may not have been dug to the correct depth, or may otherwise be faulty. As a result, the part of your home on top of the new foundation will start sinking, and even start to detach at its weakest point. (This is why it’s crucial to have a proper survey done with an engineer prior to beginning an extension project.)
2. Heating systems, plumbing systems, and electrical systems – these typically last a few years, so they won’t conk out after 6 or 10 months unless there’s a major defect. If your home has been remodeled to code, it’s unlikely that any of these will fail you. But be aware that if they do, in a year or less, it’s not normal.
3. Window frames – it’s smart to watch for weather damage, but be aware: if you’ve had timber frames installed, you’ll need to treat them regularly in order to keep them from being broken down by the elements. If you’ve used PVC, you won’t have to bother treating it.