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Dealing With Construction Defects

June 02, 2002

Regarding "Newly Built, but Not Worry Free" by Diane Wedner, May 12: Builders need to place themselves in the shoes of their customers.

Homeowners trust builders to provide them with well-constructed homes. In return, builders receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from each homeowner.

Why should anyone be surprised when homeowners demand properly built homes? Their home usually represents the largest and most important investment they will ever make.

The Aas decision, which prevents homeowners from suing builders to recover damages to repair building-code violations before a hazard occurs, is a bad decision. The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Whittier), returns the right to sue and is necessary because builders are simply not doing their job. Instead of fighting their customers and dragging out litigation, builders should, instead, take extra care in making sure projects are built correctly.

That's how their insurance premiums will decline--not by trying to manipulate the state Legislature so it is harder for homeowners to obtain restitution for shoddily built homes.


Los Angeles


I have been an expert on many of these [construction defect] cases. Many of the "claims" on defective electrical work are the result of people not realizing their obligations. For example, a favorite claim is that the ground fault circuit interrupter in the bathroom is defective, yet very seldom do people realize that this item is supposed to be tested yearly by pressing the test switch. These units are guaranteed by the manufacturer, but not for a period of more than a year. They do wear out and must be replaced.

My observation is that, once settled, many of the repairs of these "life threatening" defects are never performed. In other cases, the funds are used for deferred maintenance that should have been done as part of the homeowner's responsibilities.

The only folks who gain are the attorneys and the experts, like me. Everyone else in the equation gets it in the neck, one way or the other.


Long Beach

The writer is a certified electrical inspector.

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