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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

Nevada State Contractors Board Homeowner Complaint
Wednesday, 25 February 2004

Builder to settle board complaint
In a rare disciplinary hearing against a national home builder, the Nevada State Contractors Board heard testimony Tuesday against D.R. Horton after a homeowner complained that her rock walls were falling down. Homeowner Alisa Brilman filed a complaint against D.R. Horton with the board in September after two of the walls surrounding her then year-old Anthem Heights home began to crack and separate.

Builder to settle board complaint

By Jennifer Shubinski < This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it >
LAS VEGAS SUN
February 25, 2004

In a rare disciplinary hearing against a national home builder, the Nevada State Contractors Board heard testimony Tuesday against D.R. Horton after a homeowner complained that her rock walls were falling down.

Homeowner Alisa Brilman filed a complaint against D.R. Horton with the board in September after two of the walls surrounding her then year-old Anthem Heights home began to crack and separate.

Board investigators testified that shoddy workmanship had caused the walls to fail. Investigator Ron Ramsey testified that the backfill, or earth foundation, underneath the walls was improperly packed and that large gaps in the soil created air pockets, allowing movement and shifting.

But after two hours of testimony, D.R. Horton officials abruptly ended the hearing when the Contractors Board requested permits and certifications for the homeowner's lot. In ending the hearing, D.R. Horton offered to fix the walls without claiming responsibility for their failure.

Hearing officer and board member Spiridon G. Filios said he was trying to determine the time lapse from when the lot was prepared and when construction began. A time lapse could have caused the prepared soil to become unstable, he said.

Jim Frasure, area division manager of D.R. Horton, said he did not want to cause further stress for Brilman.

Brilman said she hadn't been in her back yard since discovering the problems because seeing the walls is too stressful for her.

"I live in the same neighborhood and as a fellow homeowner I want her kept happy," Frasure said. "There's also the health and safety factor.

Agreeing to fix the walls without claiming responsibility could appease the homeowner and would leave room for the board to drop the complaint. D.R. Horton would then avoid having a mark on its permanent record. D.R. Horton will still have to produce the requested documents at a hearing in 30 days, Bruce Robb, board counsel, said.

Frasure said after the hearing that he was embarrassed that the company was not better prepared for the hearing and said he didn't want to cause the homeowner any more stress. Frasure added that he lives about two blocks from Brilman and that the repairs will probably cost about $1,500.

The backfill work was done a by subcontractor, according to testimony. The subcontractor surrendered its license in January and did not renew a second license last year, board records show. Board officials did not know why the license was surrendered.

D.R. Horton officials argued that the failure of the walls was not the builder's fault, that it was in fact due to a pool installed on the property by another contractor after the home was sold that allegedly later cracked and leaked water into the surrounding soil.

"We have always done what the board has asked us to do," said Dennis Traina, a warranty service professional with the builder. "We just don't think that in this case the failure was due to the builder."

Traina told Filios that the cracks in the pool mirror the cracks in the surrounding walls.

"More than 50 percent of our homeowners put pools in, and we don't want to be responsible for damage done by pool (contractors)," he said.

Traina also said extensive landscaping in neighboring yards could have contributed to the wall failure.

Despite legislation passed last year to give home builders the right to repair alleged defects before lawsuits are filed, homeowners still have the option to go directly to the board with complaints against contractors. If homeowners who file a complaint with the board later want to file a lawsuit, they have to follow the steps laid out in the revised law, board officials said.

 
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