Thursday, October 25, 2007
Pulte steadfastly refuses to install hurricane clips on roof valley truss connections in houses that they built in 2004, 2005, 2006 and early 2007 at Sun City Hilton Head South Carolina, even though they installed them in houses that they built before 2004 and are installing them in houses that they are building now. Read on.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
My friend of 25 years, Bucky, moved here when I did more than three years ago. A while ago Bucky asked me to take a look at what his home inspector found. (Bucky had a home inspection done as he was nearing the one-year anniversary of buying his new house.) The photos at the bottom show what I saw. These are (valley) roof trusses sitting on top of the main roof trusses. Wow! It looked like I could kick the top (valley) trusses right off the bottom (main) trusses!
The building code for Hilton Head requires that a house be capable of withstanding a 130 mph 3 second wind gust. I got to thinking, "How many other new homes are like this?" I went to Pulte Homes (the builder), Beaufort County SC Office of Building Code Enforcement, and the SCHH Community Association. Pulte chose not to respond. The Community Association said that their charter doesn't permit them to address "house issues". Beaufort County Office of Building Code Enforcement said that they "are aware of the problem" and that "trusses will strapped and installed per code , including houses already completed". That was in January 2007.
When nothing happened, I went to our local newspaper, The Island Packet. They ran a series of articles starting in April 2007. In May Beaufort County requested that all homeowners in Sun City who are concerned about their roof to contact them. They received over 2,000 responses. As a result the County contracted for limited re-inspections on roof truss connections for over 2,800 houses here (built between 2004 and early 2007) because Pulte decided to stop installing hurricane clips on roof truss-to-roof truss connections in 2004.
Truswal, a roof truss expert, recommends that hurricane clips be installed at the ends of valley trusses and at every other connection in between. Before 2004 Pulte included Truswal’s drawing (showing these recommended locations for hurricane clips) in their construction drawings.
According to Pulte's engineer, two 3.5-inch long 16d "toe" nails can be used instead of a hurricane clip. The re-inspections revealed many bad connections (one nail, no nails, protruding nails, short nails, nails that completely missed the truss underneath, nails driven right on top of each other, split wood, gaps between the top and bottom trusses, etc.) Pulte's and the County's "fix" for the defective connections was to insert a "toe screw". They also found houses with missing bracing and some missing trusses.
Pulte decided to resume installing hurricane clips in their new houses that they're building here, but Pulte refuses to install them in the houses that they built here in 2004, 2005, 2006, and early 2007.
In my research I discovered a March 2002 report written by Dr. Lawrence Twisdale, PhD, PE for the state of Florida entitled Development of Loss Relativities for Wind Resistive Features for Residential Structures. This report states that: (1) hurricane clips have been an industry standard since the mid 1960s; (2) toe nail roof connections shouldn't be used in hurricane-prone areas; and (3) a hurricane clip is more than twice as strong as a three nail toe nail connection. (Pulte's spec calls for two nails). Dr. Twisdale also says that "putting screws into split wood may not be adequate".
Googling "roof hurricane Pulte" will get you newspaper articles and blogs about this. All the same, I'd rather be golfing. But you do what you gotta do.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
What if you went to the manufacturer and they wouldn't talk to you about what you found? How would you feel about the manufacturer?
What if you tried to warn other people who bought the same model car that you did that they're riding around on retreads that they think are new tires? What if there was a club with nothing but owners of the same model as your new car? What if you went to them and said "You need to warn your members that they think they're riding on new tires, but they're really riding on retreads." What if the president of that club said "It's not in our charter to address car issues." How would you feel about that club and its president?
What if the government inspectors who were supposed to be protecting you when your new car was being built in the factory are saying "It's no big deal!" How would you feel about those government inspectors?
I hope that you see the analogy: new car/new car manufacturer/auto club/government inspectors vs. new house/builder/community association/county inspectors.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I discovered a suspect connection between roof trusses in a Sun City house that appears incapable of withstanding a hurricane. I have reason to believe that this suspect connection may be present in all the houses of this type, and perhaps other types too. Potentially hundreds of houses. There is a sketch and a photograph at http://spotted.blufftontoday.com/pages/gallery.php?gallery=308897.
Needless to say, people who buy houses here have an expectation that they will withstand a hurricane according to current code. If this is not the case, then these homeowners need to be notified and the problem corrected.
On 1/31/07 I received the following email from BCE:
Subject: Roof Trusses
Date: 1/31/2007 11:15:33 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
Dear Mr Konig ,
I have just gotten off of the phone with Frank Gardener , the manager of the Buffton office . He is aware of the truss problem . Mr Phil Napolitono has been instructed to ensure ALL trusses are strapped and installed per code , including houses already completed . Mt Gardeners phone number is 757-1500- extension 325 . Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention . Please confer with Frank regarding future follow up at Sun City .
Thank you again .
Edward T. Nelson , CBO , CEAP
I called Mr. Gardener and he was unable to provide any information. He referred me back to Mr. Nelson. I also had telephone conversations with Mr. Napolitono and with Arthur Cummings, Director of the Office of Building Code Enforcement. I requested calculations for the roof truss connections from both. They have not provided the calculations, nor have they provided an explanation as to why they won’t/can't provide them.
Nothing happened for more than two months. Homeowners were not notified. Valley trusses in “already-completed houses” were not strapped. In April I went to The Island Packet and they ran a series of articles on the problem, ultimately resulting in the re-inspection of more than 2,800 homes built between 2004 and early 2007. Pulte decided to stop installing hurricane clips on valley truss connections in 2004.
Pulte says that two 16d toe nails, 3.5 inches long, can be used instead of a hurricane clip. Experts disagree.
By the end of July about half of the 2,800 homes had been re-inspected. The Island Packet reported that many defective connections were found. Many connections had only one nail or no nails at all. The wood is split in other connections. Some nails protrude from the truss below and other nails miss the bottom truss completely. Some nails are short. At some locations there are gaps between the valley (top) truss and the main (bottom) truss. (see photos) Pulte’s and the County’s “fix” was to insert a screw into the defective connections. Experts take exception with this “solution”.
In an 8/18 article in Bluffton Today Arthur Cummings is quoted as saying: “We’ve found a few that have the proper connections missing…” A " few" bad connections is simply not consistent with the facts. MANY deficient valley truss connections were found. A 10/21 story in The Island Packet says: "In some Sun City homes, county inspectors did not note that some valley trusses weren't properly connected to supporting trusses, putting the roofs at risk of failing during extreme winds....roof repairs ranging from minimal to extensive have been ordered in hundreds of the homes."
Building inspectors from Beaufort County told residents here throughout the re-inspections that the deficient connections are “no big deal”. On what authority? What qualifications do Beaufort County inspectors have to make such statements? Three engineers, one with a PhD in civil engineering, and author of a report for the State of Florida that addresses residential construction in hurricane-prone areas, and another structural engineer who has made residential construction his life's work, all say that toe nail connections shouldn't be used in hurricane-prone areas. Where are Beaufort County's experts who have similar qualifications? The fact is that not a single engineer from Beaufort County has stepped forward to agree with the position of its building inspectors.
In summary, Beaufort County's Office of Building Code Enforcement:
1. failed to properly inspect roof truss connections in over 2,000 homes built between 2004 and 2007.
2. granted occupancy permits for houses with previously-noted deficiencies without those deficiencies being corrected.
3. when notified of the problem, failed to notify affected homeowners in a timely manner.
4. when calculations were requested, failed to provide them. Nor did they provide an explanation as to why they didn’t provided them.
5. made false and misleading statements to the public.
May 2, 2008
Sun City resident calls roof trusses report a "whitewash"
By MICHAEL WELLES SHAPIRO
Published Thursday, July 31, 2008
Inspectors who checked 2,749 homes in Sun City Hilton Head for roof truss problems say they found about 55 homes where major repairs were needed and hundreds more needing minor repairs.
One resident, however, said the county downplayed the magnitude of the problem.
The eight-month investigation was performed by a private inspection company, England Enterprises, and county inspectors.
The county called for the inspections last year after stories in The Island Packet showed that many homes that county inspectors had approved had roof trusses that were installed improperly.
Trusses are triangular wooden frames that normally support a roof, but in extreme winds prevent roofs from lifting off houses.
In many cases, trusses in Sun City homes were not fastened together properly, the stories showed.
The county's building codes director, Arthur Cummings, summed up the results of the inspection in a brief e-mail he sent earlier this month. His e-mail said there were serious truss problems requiring repairs in about 2 percent of the homes inspected, or about 55.
Cummings' department employs the inspectors who initially checked the trusses to make sure they were installed properly.
Sun City resident Ray Koenig said the county's assessment doesn't address thousands of smaller repairs done on roofs in Sun City.
"Thousands of screws ... were installed," said Koenig. "They weren't installed for nothing."
Koenig, who first called attention to the truss problem, called Cummings' report a "whitewash."
Records from the first 739 roof inspections, provided to the Packet by England Enterprises, showed that 90 percent of the roofs needed at least one repair.
Many of the repairs involved installing screws to strengthen truss connections or adding lumber to reinforce trusses.
County administrator Gary Kubic said the county focused on whether Sun City homeowners were satisfied that problems were being fixed rather than on the details of the problems. Kubic said he's been assured that inspectors have re-checked every home where truss problems were suspected and that Pulte Homes, the developer of Sun City, has followed up with repairs.
The episode raised questions about whether the county's inspectors were doing their jobs effectively, so to restore confidence in the building codes department, Kubic ordered a review by an accreditation organization.
That review, which began 9 1/2 months ago, has been delayed because Cummings did not until recently provide records needed by the organization.
Inspections incomplete without full repairs report
Published Friday, August 1, 2008
Beaufort County officials could have dispelled any questions about the true extent of the problem with improperly installed roof trusses in Sun City Hilton Head homes by detailing every repair made. Anything less invites speculation.
County Council certainly shouldn't be satisfied with a brief summary from the man whose department didn't properly inspect the homes in the first place.
County administrator Gary Kubic moved to address concerns by bringing in an outside inspection team to look at trusses in 2,749 homes where problems were suspected because of a change in construction methods. But he's fumbled the ball near the goal line without a complete report.
This isn't just about whether Sun City homeowners have stopped complaining. It's also about how county building inspectors did a very important job.
Kubic wanted to restore confidence in the department through the independent inspections and repairs and through a review of department operations by an accreditation organization. An important part of restoring that confidence is to fully disclose what inspectors found at Sun City.
Kubic also should have pushed harder for the accreditation review to be done much more quickly than it has. There's little excuse for building code director Arthur Cummings taking nine months to provide information to the organization. A site visit is now set for this month, 10 months after the county hired the group for $20,000 to review the department.
As for the Sun City inspections, Cummings writes in an e-mail that repairs were made to meet "structural requirements" on about 2 percent of the homes inspected, or about 55. Screws were added at every truss-on-truss intersection, which he said exceeds code requirements for wind speed. Some repairs still need to be completed and will be done over the next several months based on homeowner availability.
But Cummings says the county didn't ask for detailed repair reports from England Enterprises, the company paid about $150,000 to inspect the trusses, so he couldn't answer specific questions about the total number and types of repairs made. England Enterprises tells us it didn't keep the individual reports after it finished its inspections.
It also should be noted that the outside company didn't inspect all of the homes that came under scrutiny. County staff inspected several hundred homes. When county staff took over, Kubic said that inspectors who previously had worked in Sun City wouldn't do the new inspections.
The county should have asked for detailed reports. Here's what the Packet found when we looked at the company's reports on 739 homes inspected in July 2007:
• 668 homes needed at least one repair.
• Trusses in 319 homes needed between one and nine screws.
• Trusses in 266 homes needed between 10 and 29 screws.
• Trusses in 60 homes needed between 30 and 49 screws.
• Twenty-two homes needed 50 or more screws.
• 136 of the 668 homes also needed additional lumber to close gaps between trusses. The trusses are supposed to rest on each other.
The county should have a complete record. That is information we paid for. Without it, we've been cheated of a meaningful process.
The county spent lot of time and money to correct mistakes and restore confidence. Why stop short of that goal?
And, what's this about only inspecting the valley trusses over the garage? Whose bright idea was this? In a hurricane the unsecured valley trusses over your bedroom won't blow off--just the ones over your garage! It must be the same person who came up with the "HALF ASS" rule!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
We discussed Beaufort County’s actions since the valley truss connection problem was first discovered. I thanked Mr. Kubic for the County’s initiative in re-inspecting more than 2,800 homes here. I criticized some County staff for reacting slowly to the problem when it was first identified, for being unresponsive to information requests, and for statements made since. We discussed differences between nails, screws, and hurricane clips.
The County intends to issue a final report on the truss connection problem in Sun City. Details of what will be included in the final report have not been determined. I hope that the final report documents the full extent of the Sun City roof truss connection problem. I hope that it addresses valley truss connections in areas other than over the garage. I hope that it addresses standards for measuring compliance with approved plans and specifications: 5% defective is OK? 10%? 25%? 50%? More? I hope that it discusses Pulte's and the County's "fix" for the defective truss connections. I hope that it provides homeowners with advice from experts on the merits of using hurricane clips rather than nails or screws.
It’s a matter of record that many bad valley truss connections were found that didn’t meet Pulte’s specification of two 3.5-inch long, 16d nails, properly driven and properly spaced, in unsplit wood, at each connection. While Beaufort County’s role in Sun City's roof truss connection problem has ended, homeowners here are still left with deciding whether or not they should install hurricane clips. For what it’s worth, I recommend that they do.
There are other issues that need to be addressed here: stucco, lagoons, noncompliant caps on furnace vents, roads, drainage, etc. Pulte and the Sun City Hilton Head Community Association have proven in the past to be unresponsive. Let’s hope that this changes.
Below are photographs of a model of a valley truss connection (bottom chord of the valley roof truss sitting on the top chord of the main roof truss). The first photograph is the front and the second is the back. On the front side of the connection: two toe nails per Pulte's spec and a "toe screw" fix. On the back side of the connection: hurricane clip.
Mr. Kubic got it right when he said that the hurricane clip is a better connection than the toe nails or the toe screw. Everyone else that I've showed the model to has got it right also--a hurricane clip is a better connector than the toe nails or the toe screw. Hurricane clips retail at Lowe's for about 50 cents apiece.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
They also don't have a problem with Pulte's engineer making public statements that the houses in Sun City are "robustly constructed" even though Pulte's engineer had not inspected the houses in question. In many Sun City houses more than half of the valley truss connections didn't meet Pulte's spec of two 3.5 inch long, 16d nails, properly driven and properly spaced, in unsplit wood. All these houses lack hurricane clips at valley truss connections. Clearly, they are not "robustly constructed".
In my thirty years as a professional engineer I understood that protecting the public is a PE's #1 responsibility. The SC PE board doesn't see it that way.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Toe nail connections are inappropriate to use in hurricane-prone areas because toe nails are oriented in the same direction as the uplift force. Only the pullout resistence of the nail counteracts the uplift force. Over time, with repeated cyclic loadings, nails can loosen and their pullout resistance becomes reduced. (see figure 2 below)
Hurricane clips are appropriate connectors in a hurricane-prone area because nails in hurricane clips are perpendicular to the uplift force. Nails in hurricane clips depend on the shear resistance of the nails to resist the uplift force. Shear resistance of nails is much greater than their pullout resistance. (see figure 3 below)
Dr. Lawrence Twisdale, PhD, PE, in his report for the State of Florida entitled Development of Loss Relativities for Wind Resistive Features for Residential Structures, Final Report, Version 2.2, March 28, 2002,
(http://www.floridadisaster.org/brm/RCMP/Wind%20Loss/) verifies this analysis.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Date: 8/29/2007 9:37:13 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Mr Koenig, it looks like you have discovered something significant.
There is more literature on connection strength and toe-nailed connections. Split wood reduces the strength of toe-nailed connections. The only way to determine if the connection is adequate if the wood is seriously split, would be strength testing of similarly nailed joints.
While, toe-nails are still allowable in some codes, hurricane prescriptive standards have not allowed them. Straps or clips are more reliable. Screw, if done properly, would be better than nails, but if the wood is split, the best solution would be a wrap around strap. I think you could make an argument for straps as the solution for all split wood connections. Otherwise, it would seem the builder would have to do testing to show adequacy.
How are the main trusses connected to the wall frame. What windspeeds were they designed to? What building code was in effect when the houses were built.
I would try to get the builder to go back and put in clips or straps. Or, if the builder is correct in that toe nails are adequate, and your engineer confirms that to be the case, then perhaps your association could negotiate a cost for them to put in straps instead of screws. That is, the builder will have expense of going back into each house, and if a homeowner wanted to have straps, then the homeowner would only have to pay the incremental cost.
If the code doesn’t allow toe nails in your area, then you have a legal case to get straps put in.
If they used the wrong size nails, that is also a problem.
If the wood is split, I would think you could force them to use straps to ensure the integrity of the joint. Putting screws into split wood may not be adequate.
Other considerations for your association---Do you have impact resistant shutters on your glazed openings. That is something you should consider for your home.
Soffits are another problem these days. Gable vents and other roof vents are also pathways to get water in the house. Windows and doors are very leaky and water intrusion is another common problem.
We hope to update the study you quoted as there has been a lot of research since 2001. We have recently completed a new series of wind tunnel tests that will hopefully be used to improve the loads on roofs within a few years.
Lawrence A. Twisdale, Jr. PhD. PE
Applied Research Associates, Inc.
8540 Colonnade Center Drive
Raleigh, N.C. 27615
A March 2002 report written by Dr. Lawrence Twisdale, PhD, PE for the state of Florida entitled Development of Loss Relativities for Wind Resistive Features for Residential Structures states that: (1) hurricane clips have been an industry standard since the mid 1960s; (2) toe nail roof connections shouldn't be used in hurricane-prone areas; and (3) a hurricane clip is more than twice as strong as a three nail toe nail connection. (Pulte's spec calls for two nails). The full report can be downloaded at http://www.floridadisaster.org/brm/RCMP/Wind%20Loss/.
“ALL trusses (will be) strapped and installed per code, including houses already completed.”
Beaufort County Office of Building Code Enforcement, 1/31/07
“Our charter doesn’t allow us to address house issues.”
Sun City Hilton Head Community Association
“Sun City houses are robustly constructed.”
Charles Thom, PE, Pulte’s engineer
“We’ve found a few that have the proper connections missing…”
Arthur Cummings, Director, Beaufort County Office of Building Code Enforcement, in 8/18 Bluffton Today
“This was a mistake. We will do what’s necessary to make it right.”
Jon Cherry, Vice President, Pulte Homes
"There is no basis at this time for us to initiate an investigation of the issues in your correspondence. Beaufort County is the appropriate jurisdiction to direct your concerns."
Charles J. Ido
Chief of Investigations
Office of Investigations and Enforcement
South Carolina Dept. of Labor Licensing and Regulation
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
1. more than 2,000 houses
2. no hurricane clips
3. a hurricane-prone area
It looks like either SCHHCA needs to change its charter or the homeowners of SCHH need a homeowners' association that will represent our interests.
Following is some good advice from a website tracking stucco problems in Sun City. It can be applied to the roof truss connection problem.
“Many of you have also called my office and told me that Pulte has offered to make repairs to the stucco on your home. While several individuals have expressed extreme skepticism about allowing Pulte to make repairs given their demonstrated lack of understanding about how stucco exteriors should be properly designed and applied, should you decide to entertain such an offer, we would strongly recommend that you require Pulte to explicitly state in writing what they propose to do and require that they provide written specifications for their proposed repair in which the installation deficiencies themselves are all being corrected.”
“Without clear written specifications as to how these installation deficiencies are going to be repaired, it is likely that only the superficial resulting problems of their prior mistakes are going to be remedied such that the original installation errors will again damage the newly repaired areas. You should remember that the stucco repairs that our engineer has observed to date have not been done properly and he has indicated that these repaired areas will fail in the future as the underlying deficiencies have not been addressed.”
The full document (“memo regarding Pulte’s inspection and offer for stucco repairs”) can be found at http://www.suncityblufftonhomedefectclaims.com/index.asp under “important documents”.
May 2, 2008
Friday, October 12, 2007
Pulte Homes decided to stop installing hurricane clips and Beaufort County building inspectors turned the other way. Most residents here treat the news with a big yawn. The Sun City Hilton Head Community Association refuses to get involved, even though more than 2,800 homes are affected. The photo below, which appeared in the 11/4 Bluffton Today, says it all. I wonder if she'll be smiling so broadly after the hurricane when she returns and finds that her roof is gone.
By and large, the media won’t take on big builders. Most people, even those who are directly affected by their arrogant, dishonest, and reckless practices, won't take them on. The building inspectors are more about protecting the builder than they are protecting the public. So where does that leave us?
Despite the apathy of the press and of the masses, things could be changing. Pulte posted huge losses in 2007, including $34.4 million in the fourth quarter for "goodwill impairment". In addition to this website, there are others, like http://www.poorlybuiltbypulte.info/. Shoddy construction. poor customer service. The word is getting out, even if it's only by a relative few.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Sure, we’ve all dealt with a lot worse than missing hurricane clips. But that’s no reason to turn a deaf ear to the missing hurricane clip problem here, even if you don’t live in a house that was built in 2004, 2005, 2006, or early 2007. Your neighbors do.
Do you want to know what you can do? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Let the SCHHCA know through your neighborhood rep, board members, etc. that any issue that involves more than 2,000 houses here is their issue too. If they won’t change their charter, then we need a homeowners’ association (a homeowners' association is a distinctly different concept than the community association that we've got--it's like the homeowners' associations that you've known all your life--that represent your interests.) . Remember, we vote.
2. Let our Beaufort County councilman, Jerry Stewart, know that any issue that involves more than 2,000 houses here is his issue too. Let him know how you feel about personnel from the Beaufort County Building Code Enforcement office making false and misleading statements to the newspaper (8/18 Bluffton Today) and to us. Tell him that when he tells a constituent that he will “keep him informed” on an important issue that you expect him to do so. Cc chairman Wes Newton. Remember, we vote. http://bcgov.net/
3. File a complaint with the SC PE board stating that Pulte’s engineer, Charles Thom, made public statements that “Sun City homes are robustly constructed” when he had not inspected the houses in question. Tell them that you object to a professional engineer making false and misleading public statements. http://www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/Engineers/index.asp?file=complaint.htm
4. Send your facts and photos of your house’s valley truss connections’ problems to me and I’ll post them in http://peretired.blogspot.com/
5. Tell a friend or friends about Pulte deciding not to install hurricane clips on valley trusses in houses that it built here after 2003. Tell them that they’re installing them now, but that they refuse to install them in houses built in 2004, 2005, 2006, and early 2007.
6. Stay informed: http://www.poorlybuiltbypulte.info/ , http://www.fightdelwebb.com/ and http://www.suncityblufftonhomedefectclaims.com/index.asp are websites that you should visit frequently.
Finally, a few of you have asked me what to do. As a retired civil engineer with more than 35 years experience, I must tell you that I think that you should have hurricane clips on your valley trusses. But, as a neighbor, I understand that it’s difficult finding someone to do the work, that you may not have the money, that you have insurance, that you have other, more important things to deal with, etc. After all, we’ve all dealt with a lot worse than missing hurricane clips.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Normally, when it comes to federal regulations, I tend to be a Libertarian. However, for most people, their house is the largest purchase that they will ever make. Yet, the house building industry is largely unregulated, beyond the locality in which it’s built.
A person’s automobile, which typically costs a small fraction of what their house costs, is subject to numerous federal regulations. With automobiles, there are federal laws, inspections, recalls, and lemon laws. With houses there is nothing of the sort. House builders, large and small, without technical qualifications, turn out faulty products. Inspection is left to local governments, who likewise are staffed by those without technical qualifications. Community associations are useless to those with faulty houses. Community associations are controlled by developers, regardless of the number of units sold (which in the case of Sun City Hilton Head, SC is approximately 6,500) or left to be sold (approximately 2,000) or the time which the development has been in existence (more than a decade).
The house-building industry needs to be regulated similar to the way that the automobile-building industry is regulated. All of us have three representatives in the US Congress—two senators and one representative in the House of Representatives. Contact your Congressional representatives today and tell them that you want laws regulating house building, similar to existing laws that regulate automobile building.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
For SCDLL&R, it is. As far as I know, no one else has protested their decision not to investigate Pulte’s engineer's involvement in the disappearing hurricane clip issue, including his statements that Sun City houses are “robustly constructed” when he hadn’t inspected the houses in question.
For SCHHCA, it is. They never got involved in the first place.
Pulte steadfastly refuses to install hurricane clips on valley truss connections in the houses that they built in 2004, 2005, 2006 and early 2007, even though they were installing them in houses built before 2004 and they are installing them in houses that they’re building today. Pulte thinks that it’s over.
For residents of SCHH, it looks like it is. Their silence speaks volumes. Thousands of people affected; few speak out. Because they don’t, it’s over.
Or, is it? We'll see when the hurricane hits.
Monday, October 8, 2007
1. In 2004 Pulte decided to stop installing hurricane clips on valley truss connections. They decided to use two toe nails instead.
2. Experts say that toe nail connections shouldn’t be used in a hurricane-prone area and that hurricane clips have been an industry standard since the mid 1960s.
3. In January (2007) Pulte, Beaufort County Building Code Enforcement, and the Sun City Hilton Head Community Association (SCHHCA) were notified of concerns with the valley truss connections. Many valley truss connections have only one nail or no nails, the wood is split, nails are short, and there are gaps between the valley and main trusses. Pulte chose not to respond. SCHHCA steadfastly refused to get involved.
4. In January 2007 Beaufort County Building Code Enforcement responded by saying that they were aware of the problem and that "all trusses would be strapped according to code, including houses that are occupied".
5. Nothing happened until April 2007 when The Island Packet ran a series of articles on the problem.
6. Over 2,000 houses in Sun City built between 2004 and early 2007 were re-inspected because of the faulty connections. Many defective connections were found.
7. Pulte’s and the County’s “fix” was to insert a “toe screw” in the defective connections. Experts express concern with this “fix”.
8. Pulte has resumed installing hurricane clips on valley trusses in new houses that they are building here, but refuse to install them in houses that they built in 2004, 2005, 2006 and early 2007.
The photograph below shows valley roof trusses sitting on top of main roof trusses. The main roof trusses go front to back in the photograph; valley trusses go side to side. The connections between these trusses are the issue.