Pre Delivery Inspection 101 — PDI Guide

So your house is almost ready and you’re about to move in? Wait a bit, there’s one more step — you need to make sure that everything is fine. And that’s how you do it on pre delivery inspection. 

PDI — or Pre-Delivery Inspection — is your last line of defense in a potential battle with the construction company on every single tiny chip or crack. 

Legally, the construction company is required to fix all defects and/or issues that occur during the construction phase, so the PDI is the last step in making sure that all spots and cracks in your home are corralled and all loose items are secured. 

Easy Way to Do Pre Delivery Inspection

To avoid any misunderstandings and headaches, just hire a professional. Follow this guide and you will be on your way to a life without problems:

  1. Find a reliable Inspector. 
  2. Contact the Inspector for an appointment date. 
  3. Tell the construction company to be ready on this date. 
  4. On the appointed day, inspect the house. 
  5. List down everything that needs fixing. 
  6. Draw up an inspection report and sign it with the Inspector and the construction company representative present during the inspection. 
  7. Take photos of the defects. 
  8. Take the repair list to the construction company representative and politely ask that these items be fixed on-site. 
  9. If there are no issues, you can move in.

The PDI is about ensuring that the quality of your home and all its systems will be maintained for years to come. That’s what makes it so important!

However, if you want to be the one in charge, make sure that absolutely EVERYTHING is fine and see things for yourself — just hiring a special guy won’t help. You need to be PRESENT on site. 

Besides, PDI is usually your first visit to your (or almost yours) property that you waited for so long (and paid so much for). Practically, 90% of new homeowners take part in PDI. After all, you’re required to sign the papers — you can’t outsource it to an inspector. So why not go for it yourself? Here’s all you need to know. 

Why pre delivery inspection is SO Important? 

It’s a key document both for you and the construction company because they signed the APS (agreement on purchase and sale). They’re legally required to finish the construction and provide you the house (or a flat, or a condo, or a commercial unit) in the promised form, as they’ve advertised it. After all, they took the money from you, and PDI is your way of saying “yes, they did everything they’ve promised, I’m not going to court”. 

The Construction company can NEVER be sure they’ve made everything just right. It’s a complex process that requires multiple specialists. The company hires plumbers, electricians, painters, painters of the interior, window makers, etc. There’s always something that can go wrong with at least one of the contractors. 

To be sure that everyone did their job on your specific house (or a unit, or whatever) well, they need you to sign the PDI protocol, aka the PDI Form. The moment you sign it, all the existing issues in your flat turn from their responsibility — to yours. Now YOU are in charge of fixing anything that goes wrong, not them (unless you have a warranty, but it’s a whole different subject). 

What Does the PDI Process Look Like? 

Here’s what you can expect: 

  1. You get a call or an email with the time and the date of your PDI (or a form to choose one); 
  2. On time, you arrive to your new house or unit; 
  3. Construction company’s representative will greet you and invite you to the property (most likely — while telling you how good things are); 
  4. You’ll enter your new home for the first time (keep control of your emotions, new homeowners tend to be amazed, since they’ve waited for so long, and lose grip of the situation); 
  5. Construction company’s guy (or a girl, or whoever they find professional enough to deal with this task) will give you the form and will invite you on a tour of your new property; 
  6. You’ll walk through all the rooms, they’ll show you some of the main systems and communications, like plumbing and heating); 
  7. You’ll have to write down to the form all the details that — by your judgment — need fixing; 
  8. By the end of the tour, in about 30-40 minutes, you’ll be asked to sign the PDI Form; 
  9. You’ll leave, only to return in a few weeks and move in completely to your new home. 

While the process doesn’t seem to be complicated, it actually IS complicated. Here’s why: 

  • You’ll almost certainly have a hard time concentrating. After all you, you see completely new things for the first time — and there are MANY of them; 
  • SOME construction companies hire experts in psychology and human behavior to distract you from potential issues. You’ll be examining plumbing, and the representative will start telling something potentially more interesting about the kitchen; 
  • Not all, but, again, SOME construction company specialists will try to talk you out of addressing the issues (“oh we’re fixing it this evening by plan, we know, no need to write it down, just more useless paperwork, you know how things go, ha-ha”). You should move your politeness away in this case and still mention all the problems you see. If they insist — you can rightfully ask the company to give you another representative, reschedule the tour and take your lawyer to the next round to be sure that you don’t get manipulated in any way. 

How to Fill the PDI Form? 

The short answer is — as meticulously as you can. Every single tiny crack, chip, scuff, and scratch should be addressed. They WILL give you the extra blank if you’ll need one. 

During the PDI — you literally save your future time and money if you address the issues right. Don’t forget that tiny cracks tend to turn into big ones. 

Some more tips that will make your life easier in case of any issues: 

  • Take pictures. You need visual proof of everything you note; 
  • Bring your camera, not your phone. Not all phones can do time-stamped photos. If you still plan to bring just a phone — make sure that photos DO get time-stamped on it. Otherwise — they’re useless; 
  • Take TWO full circles around the flat, not just one. The first one — to note everything, the second — to look for MORE issues in the places where you ALREADY noted something else, just to make sure that you didn’t miss anything while you were focused on something else; 
  • Write things down fully. You’re not playing a guessing game with the company. By writing things down you give them instructions. Make it as specified as you can. Instead of “scuff on the floor” — write “Kitchen: chip on the floor tile 5 inches from the door”. Instead of “Uneven wall in the living room” — write “Living room: south wall, unevenness 3 feet above the floor, right next to the window”. If you can — bring a ruler to measure it all more precisely. 

PDI Inspection Checklist 

Finally — to practice. What EXACTLY should you check with extra care? 

  • Floor condition, evenness, and quality; 
  • Windows (no cracks, no chips); 
  • Walls, ceiling, and scuffs; 
  • Interior doors (no cracks, no chips, working condition, no screeching);
  • Soffits, vents, and HVAC’s condition; 
  • Mold in the bathroom, cracks in the wall behind the bathtub;
  • HVAC system (the unit itself is OK); 
  • Make sure that there are no electrical problems from the wires on the walls. If there are — fix them;
  • Appliances (stove, dishwasher); 
  • Sanitary facilities (bathroom, toilet, sinks);
  • Plumbing — water flow and pressure; 
  • Plumbing — no leaks, exhausts, and vents in good condition, water flow, pressure; 
  • Gutters; 
  • Roof; 
  • Alarms and fire extinguishers;
  • Basement floor condition, evenness, and quality;
  • Crawl spaces;
  • Door security system; 
  • Fire protection system; 
  • Walls inside of the house. 

In short — check for ANY sort of damage and ANY sort of potential malfunctions in the system. 

PRO tip: one of your parents or close friends won’t qualify as professional PDI inspectors, but they’ll be motivated enough to help you find any sort of issues. And you don’t need to pay them (unless you discuss it). 

Pre Delivery Inspection FAQ

Now — to any sort of questions you still may have. 

When Does the PDI Take Place? 

It’s usually 2 weeks before you move in. SOmetimes in one, sometimes in three, but the construction company needs time to fix all the possible issues. Delays are not in their best interest. 

How Do You Know the PDI Time Has Come? 

You’ll get a call from the construction company that tells you to be ready in 2 weeks. Usually, you get a call or an e-mail (or both) one month before your time to move in, according to the contract. 

How Long does the PDI Last? 

You get to walk through all the rooms with the representative, pointing out every single thing that needs fixing. Usually, you’ll get about 30-40 minutes to do it. 

What if you have nothing to point out during the PDI? 

There’s a pretty good chance it won’t be the case, but if you did two full, detailed tours, and don’t see any issues — just sign the PDI with no concerns. Or do a third tour, just to be sure. It’s not uncommon for truly professional construction companies to deliver a perfect result, but not every company is the same — and it’s not something you should expect.

What if you sign the pre delivery inspection and find a problem AFTER it? 

No need to panic — this is where your warranty kicks in. Yes, it would be better to fix things BEFORE you moved in, but since you missed this point — you still can fix everything with the warranty protocol. It’s a whole different topic though, and it definitely requires extra research. 

Final Word on Pre Delivery Inspection

Is it a challenging process? Yes, of course. Is it worth it? 100%. 

The PDI is a great opportunity to address every single minor problem BEFORE you move in and have to live with them for years… and yes, some innocent homeowners did get a treasure trove of problems after the move, so this layer is crucial. 

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