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  • Inspecting builders prior work

    I originally wanted a builder to do the shell to my mobile tiny house. I asked to inspect a house that they had completed so that I could check out their work. They said that they did not allow that. A red flag went up. Is this normal for a builder to refuse? Since then I have decided to do the building myself with some help. I just wanted to know if it is normal for a builder to not let you see any of their previous work. I just wanted to see one of their shells, not a completed home.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Marianjc View Post
    I originally wanted a builder to do the shell to my mobile tiny house. I asked to inspect a house that they had completed so that I could check out their work. They said that they did not allow that. A red flag went up. Is this normal for a builder to refuse? Since then I have decided to do the building myself with some help. I just wanted to know if it is normal for a builder to not let you see any of their previous work. I just wanted to see one of their shells, not a completed home.
    You've come to the right place. I suspect you'll receive numerous replies to this post. But let me be the first to say, "run, don't walk, as fast as you can" from any builder unwilling to let you see their work prior to making a buying decision. That's way beyond, "red flag" raising in my opinion. Curious, did they give you a reason as to why they, "did not allow that?" I can't begin to imagine any reason why your request would have been responded to in such a manner unless they had no houses to show you or they simply did not want you to see the quality of their craftsmanship. I sure hope there's been no paperwork signed or money exchanged at this point in time.

    That being said, you don't want to reinvent the wheel and try going this alone even if you have experience with traditional construction. Whether you decide to have a professional builder construct your tiny house or you do it all on your own I would highly suggest engaging the National Organization of Alternative Housing aka NOAH in order to help protect your investment. They can direct you to NOAH certified builders if you still want explore that route. However, if you decide to build it yourself as you mentioned, they offer a very attractive program designed specifically for Do-It-Yourselfers that will put you way ahead of the curve on your project and end up saving you a lot of money in the long-run.

    Nanci is our resident NOAH rep here on the forum and I imagine as soon as she sees this post she'll chime in here! Good luck and I hope you receive some valuable feedback from others here on the forum.

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    • #3
      I pretty much decided that not to have them build a shell for me. That is just too much money to get a shell in poor shape.
      I have experience with home building and actually hands on. I also have education with construction. The home builder that I worked for was a classic example of how not to build a house and from my education know what to look for.
      The tiny house builder's reason was that they just don't do that. I even asked then to take a video of everything. They never thought of that but didn't seem eager to do it.
      I also have a cousin who builds homes so have a resource from an expert.
      I just wanted to confirm with people who have been doing this that not allowing someone to see their work was not normal.
      Thank you for your help.

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      • #4
        Marianjc, Chuck is 100% correct. That does not seem like good business practice. You can try to check them out on line. See if anyone has ever left them a review, on various sites (Facebook, Amazon, Yelp, Manta, Better Business Bureau, Yellow Pages, Google etc.). You can also stalk their social media (temporarily of course, #NoCreepers) and see if they have posted any pics and/or videos on the companies or persons' Facebook page. You may find the answers to your questions and more. I work for NOAH, as Chuck stated, and I'd be happy to recommend Qualified, Certified Builders that WILL let you tour the homes and see what you are committing to before you put your cash on the line. You will have less headaches and more assurance going with a Certified Builder. Not to mention that we digitally store all of your inspections.

        For you this means many things; You will be able to secure insurance on your Tiny with a NOAH Certification. You will have the best fighting chance for approval with a NOAH Cert if you are attempting to achieve placement somewhere in the US, where there is no precedent set yet with regards to Tiny Homes. If you ever decide to sell your Tiny, you will be able to sell it for more in addition to being able to provide the new buyer with peace of mind. Every NOAH Certified Tiny Home is inspected by an InterNACHI Certified Inspector. Which means, all NOAH Certified Tiny Homes are covered by the InterNCHI Buy Back Program. So, if anything significant was missed by an inspector, InterNACHI will buy the Tiny Home Back at full price!

        But getting back to it, it just doesn't make any sense that you would not be permitted to view the product before committing to buy. Oh well, I guess he doesn't like money. I would love to hear more about your story, as it progresses. Best of luck to you and if I can help out with some research, let me know.

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        • #5
          Thank you very much for your input. I will keep you in mind if I want someone else to at least build the shell.

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          • #6
            Sounds great! Or also...since he wouldn't let you view any of his previous work, you might require for him to be a Certified Builder. Food for thought.

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