Saturday, March 22, 2008

Roof leak


Friday, 2/22, 7:20 PM

We discovered water on floor in foyer. Two spots where water is dripping from the ceiling. Water spot where ceiling meets wall.

In attic ceiling drywall soaked over approx. 6 ft. by 4 ft. area. Water drips from roof sheathing and runs down trusses to ceiling. Sheathing is black, indicating that it’s been leaking over a long period.

Called Pulte emergency service number and reported roof leak.

Saturday, 2/23

It seems that others have previously had problems with leaking roofs, specifically with shingles in roof valleys. shows how to install shingles in roof valleys correctly. My roof doesn't look like that. It's the same with a lot of other houses in my neighborhood.

a ticking time bomb--just like toe nail roof truss connections, stucco, settling floor slabs, etc.

Sunday, 2/24

I posted this message on the Sun City Hilton Head website message board:

"I understand that Pulte eventually fired the roofer that installed shingles in valleys incorrectly. The question is: how many roofs did that roofer install? In the case of hurricane clips, they installed them in 2003 and are installing them today--approximately 2,500 houses in between didn’t get hurricane clips like they should have. I wonder how many folks still think that we don’t need a homeowners’ association (one where homeowners’ problems are addressed)?"

Monday, 2/25

The roofing contractor that came by this morning said "another valley", or something to that effect. The photos below show the story.

The large roof is supposed to overlap the small roof (more water runs off the larger roof). On my roof it's the opposite. The roofers didn't know what they were doing and Pulte doesn't check the work of its subcontractors. The result: a leaking roof.

There are other houses here with this problem. Do you think that Pulte will tell their owners? Or will they say nothing, hoping that not everyone with this problem will call?


Monday, 3/3

Pulte Customer Service says that work to fix the roof will finally begin this morning, 10 days after our call to their "emergency" service number. They don't show; they don't call--typical of Pulte Customer Service.

Tuesday, 3/4

Today, 11 days after our call to Pulte's emergency hotline to report the roof leak, and after one rainstorm, and right before the next, the roofers came to fix the roof. After shingles in the valley were removed, the causes of the roof leak became obvious. The colored circles are nails. Nails in a valley are a no-no. Water concentrated in the valley goes through nail holes. Paper in the valley was cut. Didn't it occur to the roofer who installed this when the house was built that it might leak? Apparently not. And apparently no one checked the roofer's work.


A different roofer fixed the valley. He installed a waterproof membrane. Then, when he put the shingles on top of the membrane, he didn't drive nails in the valley. Duh!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


The following article appeared in the May 22, 2008 issue of Bluffton Today (pg. 20):

Sun City’s getting a new home on the Web

Why do Sun City residents pay $9,859 per month for a service used by about 2,716 people? We pay about $118,000 per year for something that 80 percent of us don’t use. Give up? It is our, or should I say Pulte’s, Web site, Pulte launched this site in 2005. Our then Board of Directors —three residents and four Pulte employee appointments —approved a contract with Intellicommunities to provide the site. Prior to this approval, the Finance Committee, of which yours truly was then a member, debated this site and its annual cost at great length.

In the end, the committee chair, Pulte’s comptroller for our area, told us to just vote “yes” because this had already been decided. As a committee, we were told that Pulte would pick up the cost of developing the Web site and Intellicommunities would provide the first year of service at no cost. Our chair showed us projections by Intellicommunities showing that advertising would pay the cost of this site in subsequent years. Because many people might not like advertising on their screens, all advertising would be on a sidebar, which had to be clicked on to activate it. The first ads started appearing during the second year.

Not, as promised, in a sidebar to be activated by the user, but in plain view, annoying everyone. Why complain? We knew that advertising would support the site, so everything was working as it should. Not quite. Pulte refused to share the revenue with us. It claimed the advertisement was a site enhancement. Wow! I don’t know how much money Pulte charged, but I do wonder whether it ever disclosed the actual usage numbers to its advertisers.

You may ask, so what? There’s advertising on Google and the other search engines. but we don’t pay to use Google or Yahoo. During the past year Pulte and Intellicommunities have gone one better. Now we are receiving e-mail advertising commonly referred to as SPAM. When our local webmaster protested this abuse of the Web site’s mail system to Pulte’s Web project manager, orders came from corporate to fire him. Of course, the advertisement caper is only the latest complaint about this site.

From the start, most users found that the Web site is difficult to navigate, you can’t find anything and it is counterintuitive. Our Board of Directors finally heard us. Last year, the board —controlled by the residents at that time — decided to cancel the site and find a better solution. Unfortunately, the board missed the deadline for cancellation and we were stuck for another year and another $118,000. Let there be no doubt, we are a wired community and we need a Web site. Our local webmaster even offered to design, at no charge, anew site that would cost an estimated $5,000 to $6,000 per year to operate. His offer was not accepted.

Is there any good news in all of this? Yes, the board this year did not miss the deadline for cancellation. The letter has been sent, a request for proposals has gone out and we are now awaiting the results.

I’ll have more about this new proposed Web site next week. Of course, given the history of our site, we will have to ask ourselves, will Pulte really relinquish control of a revenue source?

Carl Lehmann is a Sun City resident. He can be reached at

The following appeared in the May 29, 2008 issue of Bluffton Today (page 14). It is a follow-up to a May 22, 2008 article.

Sun City’s new Web site is on track

I promised last week to let you know about Sun City’s new proposed Web site. I will; however, before I do that I need to say shame on approximately 80 percent of the property owners who did not vote for the new board members last week.

Now to our new Web site. The board of directors authorized on May 7 the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the new site. The RFP went to 16 companies judged capable of meeting Sun City’s requirements. The Technical Advisory Committee, under the leadership of Bert Walker, developed the RFP. The committee members worked diligently to make sure the residents’ needs were addressed. They also conducted a survey to see what we wanted. The survey resulted in 76 things that residents thought should be found on any Web site. Suggestions ranged from less confusing/more intuitive to obituaries and mowing schedules.

Some ideas on top of the list included bill paying for our assessments and charges on the activity accounts and a search engine we can use to find what we are looking for within the site. Let’s face it, we love the ability to speak our minds. The new Web site will have a community message board where we can vent our frustrations. Who knows, if it is as easy to access as Bluffton Today’s Vox it might become our internal safety valve.

As envisioned, the site will be open to all comers. No password will be required. So-called portlets, accessible with a password, will protect confidential information. One of these portlets is intended for exclusive use by the board of directors. It seems to me that it would just invite more secrecy by those appointed by Pulte or elected by us to govern our community.

Proposals are due June 6, only 30 days from the date of issuance. Interestingly enough, our current portal provider, Intellicommunities, a Pulte subsidiary, received an advance copy of the RFP. Remember, this is the company that will lose a $100,000-per-year contract if it is not chosen. Is this just another Pulte shenanigan trying to gain an unfair advantage over competitors?

The Technical Advisory Committee will review all proposals and make a recommendation to the board by July 18. The board must make a final decision to negotiate a contract with one company. Given the obvious impropriety of providing an advance copy of the RFP to one company, the question arises whether Pulte has already made a decision to award the contract to Intellicommunities. Pulte appointees control the board. They will certainly make their decision as directed by the home office. Remember, these are the same folks who refused to be included in the board’s code of ethics. Of course, it is possible that Intellicommunities delivers the best and most advantageous proposal. However, it does cast a pall over the proceedings.

Whatever happens, we will get a new Web site, and we can only hope that all proposals will make it easy, make it compelling and make it happen.

Carl Lehmann is a Sun City resident. He can be reached at

Saturday, March 1, 2008

SCHH's Gestapo;see-wihEMPjsktuIj62g#c-6556

article by Tim Woods, photos by Scott Salisbury, BLUFFTON TODAY, March 10, 2008


Sun City homeowners wonder why they’ve become the target of a pot-counting scandal.

Is a flower pot just a flower pot or is it an ornament? That is the question at the heart of a feud boiling over between a pair of homeowners and the Sun City Community Association Management. Drive down Sun City Boulevard, past the new softball field and the dog park, take a left on Concession Oak and you'll see the house that's inspired a flurry of pointed letters. Florika and Heinrich Propfe moved from Germany and into No. 46 a little more than a year ago. Heinrich is a 65-year-old retired tax lawyer; Florika is a 64-year-old former stewardess.

Together, they made a modest fortune as owners of a chemical company. They are fervent horticulturists. Their former estate in Germany was filled with greenery of all kinds and plenty of one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted flower pots to house the plants. When they decided to downsize and retire to the Lowcountry, Florika sold or gave away most of the pots. They had never heard of Sun City until passing it en route to see a house on Hilton Head.

They fell in love with the community. As for what they call the insane number of rules, that's another story. The Propfes have applied and received permission from the SCCA for a number of upgrades to their property - a sun porch, a brick walkway and thousands of dollars of landscaping in their back yard. They also received permission for the covenant maximum of five property ornaments - two terra cotta pine cones, 2 cupid sculptures and a fountain. It's when Florika started unpacking and filling her flowerpot collection that the problems began. The letters from the association began in July and have increased in volume and tenacity since.

"For the most part, we absolutely love this place - so much to do and the people are so nice," Florika said. "But the regulations are absolutely out of control. They treat you like a bunch of loonies here. It's unbelievable. This CAM group, they act like the Gestapo." Florika has placed five flower pots in the front yard and another 19 in the back, all filled with flowers. The couple love to see the birds and the butterflies that visit daily.

Yet in its letters to the Propfes, the association classifies the flower pots as ornaments and asks that they be removed. The most recent letters, dated Feb. 14 and 28, threaten a $50 per month fine for noncompliance. Heinrich has written letters in reply, saying that their interpretation of the guidelines do not show any official mention of flower pots or planters as ornaments. "I have replied to each letter. We do not want to be a violator, we just don't think we're breaking the rules," he said.

"We just want a clarification from them. They don't respond to our questions, they just send us the same letter over and over again. We have asked for a meeting with them and they don't respond." CAM vice president and executive director David Meseroll last week returned neither repeated phone calls nor an e-mail from BT. "We probably got them mad because they’re not used to people standing up to them," Florika said. She's been told by neighbors that other neighbors are reporting her, that it's the only logical explanation why CAM is being so vigilant "I just don't understand.”

We live on a lagoon. We're very peaceful. We're just trying to make our house a little more beautiful," she said. "I see certain people looking at our house with big binoculars, so we have our suspicions. We put a flower pot on the side to hide the air-conditioning unit and we got a letter about that. It’s just all so silly." Heinrich said the president of the community’s garden club has been by the house and asked if the house could be part of an upcoming walking tour. He showed me pictures of a house on the island that has far more flower pots with far inferior upkeep to the Propfes' yard.

"They won an award from Habitat for Humanity for being so pro-environment," he said. "We don't want awards and we don't want to break rules. In a community this big, rules are very important. We just want answers. These pots have a purpose - they house flowers that give us air to breathe." The answers aren't coming, only more questions. A Jan. 11 letter from CAM cited the Propfes for adding more flower pots over the last couple months in defiance of the association's requests. Just one problem: the couple say they were in Germany for three months and did not return until mid-January.

"This whole thing is just so bizarre. We walk down the street and see a house with 10 flower pots and none of them have flowers in them. Yet they haven't received any letters," Florika said. "We want them to be consistent with all this. It gets to the point where I wonder if I'm the crazy one or are they? This is definitely driving us crazy." The Propfes say they've consulted an attorney.

They hope a little attention may force a meeting with Meseroll this week. Meanwhile, a March 19 CAM property inspection of Concession Oak homes looms, with more letters and fines likely. Because the Propfes say they’re not budging. "They’ve crossed a line here. I know there's others that feel the same way, that get these letters with little explanation, just a fine," Florika said. "I don't want to be told what can and can't do to make house a little prettier. They make you feel like this is assisted living and that's not what we signed up for."

“I just don’t understand. We live on a lagoon. We’re very peaceful. We’re just trying to make our house a little more beautiful.” Florika Propfe

April 25, 2008

Here's another gem: