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Pulte Walls - Pulte A No Show Again
Thursday, 15 December 2011

Pulte faces new wall cracks in Schertz neighborhood
Builder Pulte Homes is facing homeowner complaints of shifting foundations and retaining wall cracks — again. This time, it's in the Fairhaven neighborhood just northeast of San Antonio. Homeowners say that dozens of homes in the neighborhood have had problems, everything from cracks in the walls to foundations that appear to be splitting horizontally. Some residents say they are noticing cracks starting in a retaining wall that runs along their backyards.  See Related Pulte Walls features *  Pulte-Centex A No Show At Meeting *
KENS5 Sour Sout Construction Hills at Rivermist  * Poorly Built by Pulte

Pulte faces new wall cracks in Schertz neighborhood
By Jennifer Hiller, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

               METRO Faye Touve tests the depth of a void in a retaining wall behind homes
               in the Fairhaven subdivison in Schertz where foundations are showing cracks
               on December 13, 2011 Tom Reel/Staff Photo: SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS,
               TOM REEL / © 2011 San Antonio Express-News

  • SCHERTZ — Builder Pulte Homes is facing homeowner complaints of shifting foundations and retaining wall cracks — again. This time, it's in the Fairhaven neighborhood just northeast of San Antonio.

    Homeowners say that dozens of homes in the neighborhood have had problems, everything from cracks in the walls to foundations that appear to be splitting horizontally. Some residents say they are noticing cracks starting in a retaining wall that runs along their backyards.

    “As we start canvassing the neighborhood, we're finding it's huge, just huge,” resident Faye Touve told the Schertz City Council on Tuesday night. Touve said problems at her home started when it shifted so much that a water supply line broke.

    Pulte is the parent company of Centex Homes, which in early 2010 saw a rock-clad retaining wall fail in spectacular fashion between the Rivermist and Hills of Rivermist neighborhoods on the Northwest Side of San Antonio. There, the city evacuated 91 homes initially and suspended the certificates of occupancy for 27 homes for 17 months. The builder eventually purchased 22 of the evacuated homes.

    Valerie Dolenga, spokeswoman for Pulte Homes, said in Fairhaven, the builder is working with homeowners and conducting soil testing and third-party engineers are monitoring homes.

    “(The area is) pretty notorious for expansive soils, and with the drought, it exacerbated the issue,” Dolenga said.

    Some homeowners are concerned that the cracks in the retaining wall that runs along Columbia Drive indicate a problem that goes beyond cosmetic issues.

    Pulte says that is not the case.

    “After the Rivermist situation, we did have a third-party engineer look at the wall and they gave it an A-OK,” Dolenga said. “There are no problems with the retaining wall.” This summer, additional drainage was added to the bottom of the slope, she said.

    Still, Patricia Alperin said she recently counted 28 cracks in the wall, which runs along her backyard and appears to rise more than 16 feet. “This is our first house, and look what happened,” she said.

    Ryan Whitehair said he can hear popping noises in his house as it cracks. “It's so loud, I mute the TV because I think someone is in my garage,” he said. “It's been nothing but a nightmare.”

    He said Pulte has done cosmetic fixes to cover over cracks — one so large between the wall and floor that he could stick his hand beneath it and his wife could see it from the next room.

    Although some homeowners have said they would like the company to repurchase their homes, Dolenga said the company has not considered that. “If there are issues with the home, we're going to totally stand behind it and repair it,” she said.

    In San Antonio, the Rivermist wall did not have a permit, but it turned out that was no aberration. The City Council later added retaining wall regulations to the Unified Development Code in response.

    Schertz Mayor Hal Baldwin said the city relies on the builders and developers to engineer retaining walls. “Their engineer certified by putting his name and his ... stamp on the drawings that the wall was OK,” he said.

    Jessica Lawrence and her mother Brenda Davis moved into their home seven months ago, but can slide a butter knife into a crack in their garage floor. Lawrence said Pulte engineers have told them that the size of the crack is normal.

    “Don't undermine our intelligence,” Lawrence said. “This is not normal.”

    Fairhaven residents thought they were going to have a chance to meet with Pulte officials Tuesday. But Pulte employees put out flyers in the neighborhood on Tuesday to announce there would be no meeting, and that it would meet one-on-one with people instead. The flyer also said it had established a website, www.fairhaventx.com and a dedicated email address, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , to communicate with residents.

    Just before Tuesday's council meeting, Baldwin offered up a prayer: “I just ask that you bring resolution to these people as quickly as possible,” he said.

    Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Pulte-faces-new-wall-cracks-in-Schertz-2401188.php#ixzz1gX3fCqam

    Pulte faces new wall cracks in Schertz neighborhood

    Comments (11) 


    Name withheld


    9:21 AM on December 15, 2011

    "“(The area is) pretty notorious for expansive soils, and with the drought, it exacerbated the issue,” Dolenga said."



    Name withheld


    8:36 AM on December 15, 2011

    I have no faith that the City Council/Mayor cares about fixing the problem. The council opened the meeting by hiding in a private session to discuss their stance. What are you hiding? The city engineer leaves after this came to light, more than just a little suspicious. Why won't the city hire an independent engineer? I appreciate that they clarified the difference between civil and structural engineers, apparently we're not smart enough to know that. I wonder what the Mayor would do if it were his home, or his children's. At a minimum it's pitiful civic leadership and could be downright despicable. Stop telling us you're "trying," do something as we elected you to do.


    Name withheld


    7:56 AM on December 15, 2011

     To the Mayor of Schertz: These are your words of prayer to God:“I just ask that you bring resolution to these people as quickly as possible,” I am not sure if you are aware of this Sir, but you are the one that God has placed in a position of Authority to get this thing Resolved. You are the one that has charge over the city, you are the one that can make the Pulte-Geist Builders get out of your city. It is a matter of your willingness to take a stand for your residents, God has already given you the power to do what needs to be done. And one more thing Sir, you said at the council meeting at the beginning that you have heard over and over again the story about the cracked foundations, well these people have to relive this thing every day and if you are tired of hearing it, wouldn't you think that they are tired of living it? Time is of essence, that wall continues to move, and there are people above and below it that could potentially suffer greater harm...should that happen, their blood is on your hands...need I say more. Also the residents asked for an investigation, meaning they want you to come take a "look see" at what they have to endure daily....you never said OK. Sir, its time. Let's not have another River Mist. You are working under a Higher Authority...Trust in God and do what he has ordained you to do!


    Name withheld


    10:19 AM on December 14, 2011

    Ms. Touve makes the right remark. Those homes should NEVER have been built there. Developers have an eye on land without ever really thinking of the viability of building there. After all, they probably won't be dealing with it. They live elsewhere. There are subdivisions going up all over in questionable areas as to erosion, drainage, etc and no one seems to be paying attention until AFTER this kind of thing happens.


    Name withheld


    10:14 AM on December 14, 2011

    You have heard of Poltergeist - well this is Pulte-geist --- a real horror story! The Pulte spin machine is in full operation to cover up their shoddy workmanship and unsafe practices. We are not going to let that happen! Pulte - buy my house back. These homes should never have been built on this land! This is River Mist all over again!


    8:21 PM on December 14, 2011

    I live on Smokey Pointe and have noticed that I am getting hairline cracks in the finish layer of my slab as well as many hollow sounding spots in the finish layer as well. I wondering if I have other damage in my slab behind this layer. I have had other problems as well. I have had to replace the tile in my master bath as well as my 2nd bath from having a crack that ran from one side of the bathroom to the other. They also had to come in and do about three days of work in the attic due to my trusses sagging and showing through the ceiling. I would like to get together with some of the homeowners to find out what other problems they are having. Thanks


    Name withheld


    10:13 AM on December 14, 2011

    Pulte has a bunch of lawyers to cover themselves and their contracted lackeys......these poor folks need to get an atty ASAP.....no point in showing up at a gunfight with a knife.


    Name withheld


    9:00 AM on December 14, 2011

    I just love to see the corporate spin machine (opps...I mean Public Relations) in full effect. Please note this carefully worded phrase by the spokesperson, "If there are issues with the home, we're going to totally stand behind it and repair it.". Notice she doesn't say we will stand behind it and do whatever it takes whether that includes repair and/or buyback. No matter what the issue on the home, Pulte is just going to slap a few coats of plaster (opps...I mean repair) on the cracks and move on.

    Name withheld

    Name withheld


    9:02 AM on December 14, 2011

    And the real reason the public meeting was cancelled is that the homeowners have force in numbers. Plus they didn't want the news media to have video footage of the meeting. A one-on-one meeting allows Pulte's reps to better control the situation


    Name withheld


    9:35 AM on December 14, 2011

    Excellent points made!


    Name withheld


    12:39 PM on December 14, 2011

    great point feduptoo! And i thought you just were a republic shill and pro big business. Hopefully if these people protest downtown, you wont classify as bums like the occupy protestors, it's thier right, you know.


    Name withheld


    1:54 PM on December 14, 2011

    camelcolor...there's always common ground if we look hard enough. No one likes to see anyone behaving badly whether it's big business or big government. And I just don't like bullies.                            


    8:49 AM on December 14, 2011Note to Mayor Baldwin...

    The Engineer is accountable to no one.
    The homebuilder hires and retains an engineer that will save the most money for the builder.
    The engineer knows that this. The engineer knows that if he/she costs the builder too much money in materials, the builder will fire that engineer and hire someone who will 'get the job done with less cost'.
    The homebuilder knows that with that Engineer's Seal in place on the plans that the city council is too stupid or too corrupt to hire an independent engineer to examine and challenge the builder's engineer.
    I have faith that the wall in the photos won't fail... as long as we don't see any substantial and prolonged rainfall.


    Name withheld


    7:38 AM on December 14, 2011

    Pulte look at the pictures does not look noral to me these homeowners need to group together and force the builder to ake things right. As for the builder why do they have to froce you? Bad publicity will not sell homes ine is over 30 years old and I don't have any cracks.


    Name withheld


    7:32 AM on December 14, 2011

    This comment is hidden because you have chosen to ignore JC_Dufresne. Show DetailsHide Details

    Mayor Baldwin should do a little less praying and a little more arm twisting and perhaps some building code revision to protect the citizens of his community.


    Name withheld


    6:40 AM on December 14, 2011

    Yup, "...we're finding it's huge, just huge,”

    Just call your mortgage company and explain to them what is going wrong and they will most likely give you special exemption so you don't have to pay your mortgage while you new home is unlivable.

    Then get together with your neighbors and together find a lawyer who will represent you in a lawsuit.

    A home is the biggest financial obligation ever made by most people in their lifetime. These people need to sue this sham-homebuilder so they stop this unacceptable construction processes.

    Remember, these houses have to last longer than 30 years...the length of their mortgage.

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