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New Jersey Builder and Homeowner Support New Reforms
Saturday, 25 June 2005

Builders group backs construction reforms
"Even now, in reading this letter sent to Governor Codey by the New Jersey Builders, it is almost laughable the way they (builders) still skip around the current system," said Marie B. Crosby of Jefferson. "The way many of them use the courts as a merry-go-round and in the meantime livelihoods are lost, and families suffer irreversible damage."..."The public should not waste time on the recommendations, task forces, and reforms because this is all after the fact; things have already gone wrong," said Manalapan resident Violet Peterson. "We should concentrate on upholding the law, properly inspecting new homes, requiring developers to repair homes that are not code compliant, and holding violators identified in the SCI hearings — builders and construction officials — accountable."

Builders group backs construction reforms
Association praises Codey, but says state should do more
Published in the Asbury Park Press 06/24/05
BY JAMES A. QUIRK
FREEHOLD BUREAU


Three months after the State Commission of Investigation issued a series of recommendations aimed at reforming the home construction industry, an unlikely group — the New Jersey Builders Association — is asking acting Gov. Codey to make those suggestions a reality.

Codey last month signed an executive order directing the Department of Community Affairs to develop a Web site with information about home builders, including claims against them. The department was ordered to publish and distribute to every home buyer a booklet explaining their warranty rights and how to protect themselves by making claims when problems arise.

Codey also ordered the department to create a "strict code of ethics" for all state, county and municipal building inspectors and construction code officials.

But in a June 14 letter to Codey, the builders association said the governor's order was only a small step in the right direction and called for more extensive action.

"A coherent reform strategy will do more than just impose change on home builders; it will reward those who embrace it," wrote association President Steven J. Caporaso and Chief Executive Officer Patrick J. O'Keefe. "The current system places those who abide by the rules — the vast majority of New Jersey's builders — at a competitive disadvantage to those who evade them. It is crucial, therefore, that the institutions that regulate home building be fundamentally reformed and adequately funded."

The association has outlined a number of steps it wants Codey to take, including:

  • Creating a special unit within the Office of the Inspector General whose sole duty would be to monitor land use approvals and insure home buyer protections.

  • Ordering the New Home Warranty Board of Trustees to undertake audits of public and private warranty plans and to expand the scope and duration periods of warranty coverage.
  • Creating a "blue ribbon" Housing Task Force to draft legislation, conduct research on available resources and "monitor implementation of the SCI's call for systemic reform."

    "New Jersey's builders believe that this approach will produce timely, substantive implementation of the commission's recommendations in a manner that is economically efficient, administratively coherent, and fiscally prudent," Caporaso and O'Keefe wrote.

    Sean Darcy, a spokesman for the governor's office, said positive change has already been made.

    "The series of reforms that our executive order established are a significant step forward to protect home buyers," he said. "We went as far as we could with these reforms through executive order."

    Despite these changes and the builders association's recommendations, some homeowners who closely followed the SCI's investigation say they are disappointed both with its findings
    and the response by lawmakers to legislate reform.

    "Even now, in reading this letter sent to Governor Codey by the New Jersey Builders, it is almost laughable the way they (builders) still skip around the current system," said Marie B. Crosby of Jefferson. "The way many of them use the courts as a merry-go-round and in the meantime livelihoods are lost, and families suffer irreversible damage."

    "The public should not waste time on the recommendations, task forces, and reforms because this is all after the fact; things have already gone wrong," said Manalapan resident Violet Peterson. "We should concentrate on upholding the law, properly inspecting new homes, requiring developers to repair homes that are not code compliant, and holding violators identified in the SCI hearings — builders and construction officials — accountable."

    James A. Quirk: (732) 308-7758 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

    http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050624/NEWS01/506240395/1004

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