What to Expect When You Inspect
After months of anticipation leading up to the occupancy date of your brand-new home or investment property, your Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) is your first opportunity to step into your actual unit. Your PDI will likely occur a few weeks before your occupancy date. As much as this is an introduction to your new property to learn how things work and how to maintain them properly, the objective of this inspection is to create a written record of all items that are incomplete, damaged, missing, inaccessible, not operating correctly, or otherwise deficient before you take possession.
Although your experience with the developer of your property may be exceptional thus far, PDIs are not due to their benevolence but more of a legal right to any new home buyer. PDIs are governed by the Ontario New Home Warranty Act, which is administered and managed by Tarion. Under the Act, each builder must conduct a PDI with the purchaser of a new build, whether a house or condominium unit.
Aside from the technicalities of this appointment, finally seeing your unit is an exciting phase in your journey to ownership. Still, handling this phase with great attention and care is of the utmost importance.
If you've purchased a new build and your occupancy date is approaching, you will hear from the builder's representative to schedule your PDI very soon. If you are an overseas investor, for example, and you are unable to attend your PDI, do not worry. You can fill out a form to have a designated party attend on your behalf, so you should select someone you trust to be meticulous with this task.
By knowing what to look for during your pre-delivery inspection appointment, how to handle any defects, and adhere to document submission deadlines, this process can be seamless. As always, being as informed as possible about each phase of the buying process is essential. After all, your purchase is a significant investment that can stand the test of time if given the proper attention from the very beginning.
Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI)
What is a PDI? Let’s Take a Closer Look
At last, the time has arrived for you to look at your brand-new condominium or townhome. Depending on what phase in the sales process you purchased the unit, it is pretty standard to have waited a few years for this moment. When you sign an agreement of purchase and sale (APS), you are trusting a builder to complete your unit based on the standards and requirements that you agreed to when you signed the contract.
While it is never the hope that you'll have a bad experience when purchasing a new property, no one can guarantee that everything will go right or no mistakes will be made. This is why the PDI exists: to ensure the new build you're purchasing has been constructed properly and to assure you that everything is up to code and will function properly once you move in or lease it out.
Because each piece of your unit's interior is put together by several different technicians, from cabinet installers to plumbers and countertop artisans, it is typical for there to be construction deficiencies, incomplete or missing items, errors with your choice in finishes and upgrades, as well as items that are not functioning correctly.
There may also be cosmetic issues such as scratched paint, wood, floors, or finishes that might be worth mentioning as it will be harder to prove these deficiencies are the builder's responsibility after occupancy.
At this stage, you can also bring in an independent home inspector if you'd like to have a second opinion. It is crucial that, if you should choose to hire an inspector, they are experienced in pre-delivery inspections specific to your property type. Although it is not necessary to call in your own professional, they should be able to help you identify any items that are damaged, incomplete, missing, or not operating correctly. These items should be noted on the builder's PDI Form to verify that the issue exists prior to occupancy.
When the inspection is over, you will be asked to sign the PDI Form, which, in other words, is you signing off on the items the builder promises to fix, free of charge. As previously mentioned, your PDI is typically conducted one or two weeks before your closing date. This gives the builder enough time to rectify any issues that came up during the inspection. Due to the housing demand, it has become increasingly popular for builders to continue to address the items on the PDI list well after you've moved in.
The PDI of a unit does not cover common elements like corridors, garbage rooms, lobbies, and locker areas. It will be up to the board of directors of the condominium corporation to report and deal with those defects. That said, owners should not hesitate to advise the condo corporation's board of directors when they notice any issues with the common areas of the building. In fact, it is typical of board members to consult the owners before submitting the building corporation's PDI for common elements or warranty claims to ensure that their inspections have captured all known defects.
Do I Need a PDI?
Absolutely! If you are purchasing a new build, your property must have a PDI. In most cases, your provincial government requires all new homes to have a pre-delivery inspection. For example, in Ontario, all builders must register newly built homes and condominiums with the Tarion Warranty Corporation, as they are responsible for administering the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, which requires that all new homes have a PDI. And just in case you were wondering, resale homes, which are residences that have had an occupant before you, do not need a PDI. You will, however, still need to have a home inspection done to qualify for most loans from the bank.
During your PDI, you will be taken around your new property by a builder's representative, who will have a checklist to review. It is your job as the purchaser to speak up and point out any issues you see. If you don't mention it immediately, you might be stuck with it once you move in, or you will have to pay to fix it later. We also recommend bringing along someone you trust, whether an experienced friend, family member, or even a professional inspector.
As you will be occupied learning about all the new and fun features of your brand new unit, the person you bring along can keep an eye out for smaller details that you might not have a chance to notice.
Aside from the fact that you are seeing your unit for the very first time, it is entirely normal to feel overwhelmed with information during your PDI. And all the excitement can likely cause you to completely miss a serious or important issue that needs to be addressed. Therefore, having a PDI checklist of your own and a second set of eyes can be invaluable.
All in all, your PDI provides an opportunity to record the conditions of your property before occupancy, so it is imperative to note everything that needs to be addressed on the form. Although the form might seem like another piece of paperwork, it is, in fact, a useful piece of evidence if Tarion has to do a conciliation assessment. This assessment may occur if pre-occupancy damage or missing items remain unfixed even after you move-in. If the issue is not noted on the PDI Form, it may be difficult to establish that this condition existed before you moved in.
Your PDI Checklist
Depending on the province you live in and the builder you are working with, there is typically a pre-established list of elements that should be checked during your pre-delivery inspection. But, it as always important to be as informed as possible to make sure that your PDI is conducted properly. We recommend that you have your PDI checklist with you while the inspection is being conducted.
What to bring to your pre-delivery inspection:
- Measuring Tape (to measure spaces where you might be placing new furniture)
- Camera or phone to take pictures which are date & time-stamped
- Notepad and pen / Electronic device to make notes
- Agreement of Purchase and Sale to reference
- Floor plan
- Someone you trust
During your pre-delivery inspection, you should identify:
- Chips or scratches on countertops
- Damage or scuffs on floors and walls
- Damaged, incomplete, missing or incorrect items
- Any unauthorized "substitutions" for items you selected in accordance with your purchase agreement
Don't forget the balcony! Check for things like:
- Gas line (if applicable) - Have the rep show you that it is functioning correctly
- Whether window/balcony door screens are installed and are functioning
- Doors and windows that are not secure or do not open and close easily
- Quality of work
So What Happens If You Forget to Highlight a Problem During the PDI?
Failing to report an issue during your PDI appointment is not fatal, so don't fret. At or before your pre-delivery inspection, you will be given a Certificate of Completion and Possession (CCP). This document states your property's enrolment number with Tarion and the occupancy date, which is also the start date of your warranty. After you take possession of the property, your Tarion warranty kicks in so you can make a warranty claim for new issues and unresolved issues flagged during the PDI.
As previously mentioned, it will be more challenging to prove that the chip in the granite countertop didn't happen during your move-in; therefore, if you take possession and you notice a damaged or missing item that was not noted on your PDI Form, it is essential to document and report the issue immediately by taking a photograph and emailing it to the builder. This record can help establish that the condition existed before taking possession of the property.
Lastly, we cannot stress enough how important it is to submit all warranty claims on time and that all warranty claims must strictly adhere to Tarion's deadlines. Failing to report an item promptly may prevent you from receiving coverage under Tarion's warranty.
30-Day or Year-End Form
This form will come in handy for items that are not corrected by the time you move in. By filling out this form, you will request warranty service for listed items covered under warranty, which your builder must address within a specific timeframe. The builder is responsible for providing you with a Homeowner Information Package, which gives you a general overview of warranty coverage on or before the Pre-Delivery Inspection. We suggest that you look over the contents of this package thoroughly and entirely to better prepare yourself for the PDI appointment and your new property.
Remember the topic of deadlines? Here's a useful rule of thumb. Try to fill out your 30-Day Form on or about the 25th day after your date of possession to avoid missing the deadline. On this form, you may include items that were listed on your PDI that still need to be addressed, as well as new items that you have discovered since taking possession of your property.
If you miss the 30-Day Form deadline, you must wait until the last 30 days of the first year of possession to notify Tarion of outstanding warranty items.
Your pre-delivery inspection is one of the final steps before occupying your brand-new home or investment property. This process can be an overwhelming experience, but if you've worked with any of our agents up until this point, you know that they are here to help you each step of the way. If you have any questions or concerns about your PDI, feel free to give your agent a call. They are informed and love educating to help you make the most of your property.