Inspector checks out Fairhaven homes
View WOAI News Report by: Lauren Lea
SCHERTZ, Texas - Residents of the Fairhaven neighborhood aren't backing down in their fight against the builder, Pulte Homes. Dozens want Pulte to buy back their homes because of foundation problems but a Pulte spokesperson says that's not going to happen.
A Pulte spokesperson said there are not widespread problems in the area but homeowners disagree. News 4 WOAI got an expert to take a look and see if the issues are normal or a sign of something more.
"A person should not be able to walk up to a wall, push that wall and see it moving like that," explained inspector Mark Eberwine. "A person can't generate the same amount of force that a wind gust can."
Eberwine is a licensed home inspector who has been checking out houses for the last 24 years. He spotted brick walls that could be moved with a quick shove at two neighboring homes.
"The brick ties used nowadays are a lot thinner than they were 20 years ago and that could be the cause of it, or it could be a lack of brick ties," he explained.Inspector checks out Fairhaven homes. A few streets away, Eberwine examined a wall separating from the ceiling that left a noticeable gap.
"It's not normal," he said. "This is not normal at all. This is the inability of the foundation to resist deflection to the degree necessary to keep your house from coming apart."
He took a look at a large retaining wall. A nearby homeowner said she's counted 28 cracks in the wall.
"In dead sleep, I heard a BOOM!" Jessica Lawrence exclaimed. "I sit up in bed and I'm looking around and I go check and everything seems to be fine but something in this house popped."
Lawrence said she's seen more cracks pop up in her mother Brenda Davis' home since News 4 WOAI first visited her a few weeks ago.
"It's not even a close eye, I would call it more a paranoia. We're constantly checking. It's part of our normal routine," she said.
Brad Bailey, a city of Schertz spokesperson, said the city doesn't know who the engineer behind the retaining wall is, and the city is is trying to find that out from Pulte. Despite that, he said it's not the same engineer behind the Rivermist retaining wall.
Valerie Dolenga, a Pulte spokesperson, said the company stands behind its homes and will fix and repair any issues. She said fewer than 30 homes have been inspected for problems and it's "not uncommon" for new homes to experience cracking or settlement. She also said buy backs are not an option.
The company added additional drainage for the retaining wall over the summer and last week, an engineer found the wall was performing as it was intended to, Dolenga said. She did not know the name of the engineer behind the wall and as of late Thursday night, Dolenga had not provided that information to News 4 WOAI. She also said a different engineer and construction company were responsible for the Rivermist wall.