You can greatly reduce your defect vulnerability, by having a paper trail of these 10 written, third-party inspections.

By Matthew Power

1. Forensic review: An architectural expert evaluates all of your structural plans for code violations, improper details, and design conflicts.

2. Foundation/slab appraisal: An independent inspector performs regular, deputy inspections of all slabs and foundations.

3. Roof examination: An independent roofing inspector observes the roof at three stages: dry-in, tile audit, and completion.

4. Framing study: A structural engineer conducts a field inspection of each model home at the framing stage.

5. Waterproofing critique: A waterproofing consultant reviews drawings and specs of any below-grade waterproofing.

6. HVAC assessment: An engineer checks the proposed equipment layout and package, and later conducts field inspections.

7. Soils analysis: The foundation deputy inspector reviews soil information and suggests cement type and mix ratios for an appropriate match.

8. Acoustical review: An acoustical consultant reviews architectural and structural drawings to ensure proper noise levels.

9. Painting evaluation: Ask a paint manufacturer to develop a project paint spec sheet based on a review of the site and the environment.

10. Quality spot checks: During construction, have third-party inspectors conduct regular reviews of framing, roof dry-in, drywall nailing, etc.

Source: Centennial Development Co., Huntington Beach, Calif.