Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weep screeds

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Sun City homeowners ask: "What about weep screeds at the base of my stucco walls? Are they needed? Will my stucco walls 'work' if my weep screeds are all covered up with stucco?"

Check it out for yourselves. About 10 minutes on the internet and all your questions will be answered.

You can start by checking out http://peretired.blogspot.com/2009/03/pulte-stucco-propaganda.html

Some Master Builder!
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Incremental house construction

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I believe that we will be finding defects in our Pulte houses at Sun City Hilton Head for years to come. Yesterday, Tony Kunich, SC Certified Safe Home Wind Inspector, found another one. Mr. Kunich performed a wind mitigation inspection, and reported the following:

"There are 28 overhead garage door hinge bolts missing from the door hinges. The manufacturer’s specifications (Clopay #75W5, Wind Code 140 mph rated) show 4 bolts in each hinge leaf; needed to meet the design wind load (140 mph)."

Let’s see now:

  • several trips to fix the garage door
  • several trips to the attic for framing inspections and repairs
  • 1 of 4 incorrectly shingled valleys fixed
  • One trip to bring missing hurricane shutters and hardware
  • One trip to fix grading and drainage (I fixed some drainage problems myself)
  • I installed a missing irrigation line myself
  • stucco?
  • other?

Pulte's strategy seems clear: build an incomplete, defective house, and hope that the customer either doesn't discover all of the defects, or, out of frustration, decides to correct the deficiencies themselves. Some strategy, Pulte! Your customers thank you!

Incrementally, this Pulte house may be finished one day (it's more than 5 years old); but, I’m not holding my breath. At this rate (1-discover another defect; 2-get it fixed; 3-back to 1), it could take a LONG time.

.Some Master Builder!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Facts & advice for Pulte & SCHH Community Association

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1. Building code violations and shoddy construction here are FACTS (roof valley truss connections, stucco, lagoons, wood floor). Search The Island Packet for details.

A. Pulte wouldn’t talk with me when I discovered defective valley truss connections here.
B. Pulte’s SOP seems to be: deny, deny, deny.
C. Pulte impugns those who report shoddy construction.
D. The proper response is: “we’ll look into it”.

2. Shabby treatment of residents here is a FACT (Propfes, small American flag magnet on garage door, Wes Grady, volunteer resident committee chairpersons, incorporation, etc.). Search The Island Packet and Bluffton Today for details.

3. Gratuitous advice:
A. Pulte should concentrate on serving their customers. Pulte should build a good house for their customers that meets the building code and the normal standard of care.
1) The FACTS show that this is an area that Pulte can improve on.
B. JUST concentrating on building a good house ALONE gives Pulte PLENTY to do; so, forget the rest:
1) Pulte should stop impugning those who know what they’re talking about, who speak the TRUTH, and have the FACTS to back them up.
2) Pulte/CA should stop debating with their customers, ESPECIALLY when their customers have FACTS.
3) When confronted with the FACTS, Pulte shouldn’t deny, deny, deny. When the FACTS come out, Pulte’s denials make them look FOOLISH.
4) Pulte/CA should get out of people’s lives
a) Pulte/CA should get out of the propaganda business
b) Pulte/CA should stop telling people what they should and shouldn’t think.
c) Americans LOVE their freedom: free speech, right of assembly, etc. Pulte/CA shouldn’t mess with these basic freedoms. People resent it.
C. Pulte/CA should LISTEN to their customers. They just may know what they’re talking about.
D. SUMMARY:
1) Pulte/CA should:
a) build a good house that meets code and the normal standard of care.
b) listen to their customers
c) get out of their customers’ lives; don’t mess with their basic freedoms
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

another roof problem

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Carl Lehmann writes a weekly column for Bluffton Today:


Sunnyside Up for Dec 10, 2009

Recently the truss problem in Sun City reared its head once more. My readers may recall that a couple of years ago one of our residents, an engineer, alerted building officials and Pulte that the fastenings of valley trusses to the underlying trusses were improper. It took a while but the county finally decided to investigate and found that trusses were indeed attached incorrectly. The county hired independent inspectors who checked over 2,000 homes and found that about 25% needed repair. Those of us with homes built before 2004 were assured that all of our trusses met the building codes. We all thought that this would settle the problem.

It now turns out that new homes being built in the Reflection section of Sun City also have problems. A private house inspector discovered them. Of course, Pulte’s immediate reaction was to deny any problems exist. The county also called the inspector’s report incorrect. Subsequently, the county, Pulte and the inspector met and determined that there was a problem again.

Up to this point, I had really ignored this whole thing. When it first came up, I took a quick look in the attic and saw plenty of hurricane clips holding truss to truss. Obviously, I didn’t have a problem.

Then came the new allegations. I decided to take advantage of being in the attic getting our Christmas decorations and took another look. As before, there were plenty of hurricane clips. Instead of valley trusses improperly fastened to trusses I found a much different problem. The main roof trusses were fastened to a rafter right near the little storage platform in the attic. What I saw scared the living daylights out of me. Each truss was held in place by a metal hanger. Each hanger was securely nailed to the rafter. The trusses should have fitted so that they would butt up against the rafter and then be nailed to the hanger. This is where the problem comes in. Every rafter was between one inch to one and a quarter inches too short. None of the nails that were supposed to nail the truss to the hanger even touched the truss or went into the rafter. (See the picture)

What did this really mean. Would my roof fly off during the next storm? What should I do to fix it? I didn’t know and so I asked an expert who came over and took a look. Although he had inspected numerous truss problems in Sun City, this one was new to him. He suggested several possibilities of fixing this mess. None will be easy to do.


He finally concluded that it would probably take a major hurricane to produce enough upward pressure to lift the entire roof up. However all bets would be off if the garage door was compromised and the wind could exert both pressure and pull on the roof.

I think Ray Koenig, a Sun City resident, deserves a big great thank you for initially finding the problems and keeping the pressure up until something was done by the county and by Pulte.

As for me, I nominate Pulte for the “Quality Homebuilders Award of the Year”


Carl Lehmann is a Sun City resident. You can reach him at
Carfle@sc.rr.com.


The photo in Carl’s column shows one of about 20 trusses supporting a section of his garage roof. All 20 or so are the same as the one in the photo.

Another name for hurricane strap or hurricane clip is “tie down”. It doesn’t take an expert to tell that the ends of these trusses aren’t “tied down”.


Questions:


  • Why didn't the subcontractor's roof framer who did this do it right?
  • Why didn’t the roof framer’s foreman require that it be done correctly?
  • Why didn’t the Developer/General Contractor require that these trusses be tied down?
  • Why didn’t Beaufort County’s building inspector require the Developer/General Contractor to tie down the trusses in Carl’s garage?
  • How many homeowners here (including me) have been sold shoddily constructed houses that don't meet the state building code, because of the reckless actions of Pulte Homes, Pulte's subcontractors, and the Beaufort County Office of Building Code Enforcement?

Some Master Builder!


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Monday, December 7, 2009

the truth

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Yes, Sun City, there ARE CONTINUING PROBLEMS WITH ROOF TRUSS CONNECTIONS AND ROOF BRACING (at least according to The Island Packet and Beaufort County).

http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/1060334.html

“He (Kubic) wants to focus on physical evidence.”

It’s about time! Having seen some of some of the physical evidence personally, and photos of other, I can tell you that it is quite compelling.

The bottom line to me is this: how many people (including me) bought houses here between 2004 and today not realizing that their houses didn’t meet the SC building code? How many assumed that the issuance of an Occupancy Permit meant that all was OK?

Shame on you, Beaufort County! Shame on you, Pulte Homes!

Some Master Builder!
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Try me

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How far will Pulte Homes and Beaufort County go in denying that there are CONTINUING problems with roof truss connections and roof bracing in SCHH homes?

I have NO idea; but, I will tell Pulte and Beaufort County that there is PROOF that there are CONTINUING problems with roof truss connections and roof bracing in SCHH homes.

Whether it comes to roofs, stucco, lagoons, wetlands, failed retaining wall, incorporation, golf course management, etc., you can count on Pulte’s response: deny, deny, deny.

The appropriate response from a responsible company is really quite simple: "We'll check it out". But, not Pulte.

The latest revelation that construction problems with roofs are STILL occurring MORE THAN TWO YEARS after they were first discovered, and supposedly fixed, illustrates perfectly Pulte’s dishonesty, recklessness, and arrogance.

Deny, deny. deny. And, discredit the private home inspector while you’re at it.

This is the kind of response that you expect from a little kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar: "I didn’t do it, Mommy."

Grow up, Pulte.


Enough is enough. If the denials continue, then the PROOF will be made public.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Can Pulte and Beaufort Co. read plans?

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(my) posts on http://schhresidents.forumco.com/:

I understand that more Pulte/CA/Beaufort County propaganda may be forthcoming.

Some time ago on the message board on the old website, in answer to someone who incessantly questioned my postings on roof truss connection and roof bracing warnings, Wes made the comment (and I’m paraphrasing) "I doubt that Ray gives a rat’s behind whether you believe him or not."

Some people believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts. For what it’s worth, here’s a brief review of the facts:

  • Two years ago 668 homes of more than 2,700 that were re-inspected required roof truss connection and roof bracing repairs.
  • Recently, it’s been reported that new houses here are being built without hurricane clips and roof bracing THAT ARE SHOWN ON THE PLANS.
  • Tony Kunich is a licensed SC builder, a licensed SC home inspector, and a licensed SC safe home wind inspector. Mr. Kunich compares WHAT HAS BEEN CONSTRUCTED with WHAT IS ON THE PLANS, and notes where what’s built is NOT WHAT IS ON THE PLANS. Mr. Kunich does not comment on the adequacy of what’s built, or on the adequacy of the design. He simply notes where WHAT’S BUILT IS DIFFERENT THAN WHAT’S ON THE PLANS.
  • Normally I don’t discuss my qualifications; however, qualifications are pertinent to the issue at hand. Accordingly, I have a degree in civil engineering, 40+ years experience practicing civil engineering, and held licenses to practice civil engineering in SC and in other states, until I retired a few years ago.

Those who don’t already have their minds made up on this may want to consider the qualifications of those who say that there is nothing wrong with the roof truss connections or roof bracing here. Are they licensed builders, licensed inspectors, licensed safe home wind inspectors, or licensed engineers? If they are licensed engineers, are they commenting on WHAT'S ON PAPER (the DESIGN; theoretical world), or ON WHAT'S ACTUALLY BEEN BUILT (the REAL world). If they're commenting on WHAT'S ACTUALLY BEEN BUILT, then what are they basing their statements on, i.e. which COMPLETED houses did they actually inspect?

The recent article in The Island Packet stated:

"A private building inspector says that of about 80 new homes he has inspected this year, he's found problems with the way roof trusses are installed in almost all of them…

He complimented Pulte for promptly responding to homeowners who ask the company to correct problems that he has found. 'If we write up problems in our reports, our clients say Pulte gets on them and fixes them,' he said. (Pulte's spokesman said the company's 'service logs do not show customer calls related to roof systems.')"


Ask yourself these questions:


  • If there weren’t truss connection and bracing problems with the houses that Pulte recently built, and Mr. Kunich recently inspected, then why would Pulte fix them?
  • Considering what we know about roof truss connections, bracing, stucco, lagoons, etc., how credible are Pulte, SCHH CA, and Beaufort County in continuing to deny these problems?

    In the end some people will believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts.


**********************************************************************

also from The Island Packet (
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/1036436.html):

"DEVELOPER'S VIEW

Pulte Homes, the developer of Sun City, said it is 'confident that our building practices meet applicable building codes and are in compliance with manufacturers guidelines. We appreciate the importance of this issue and are prepared to respond to customer service inquiries,' corporate spokesman Eric Younan said in a brief statement. Younan criticized Kunich's use of 'generic drawings' for checking truss installations, rather than more detailed 'engineered drawings.'

Building inspectors often check the actual workmanship in homes against diagrams showing how it's supposed to be done.

Kunich said flatly the diagrams he used 'are not generic.' 'They are current truss plans that we got directly from Pulte,' he said. 'If there are more current plans, they should have been given to me.'

He also said bracing problems cited in his reports are easy to avoid. 'The company that makes the trusses puts green stickers on them that say lateral bracing is required. Neon green stickers. They tell you what to do,' he said. 'It's a no-brainer. Even if a truss doesn't have a sticker, the diagrams say that the brace is needed."'

Kunich said he is not looking for a fight with Beaufort County or Pulte. He decided to speak up, he said, after reading a story in The Island Packet about the building codes department seeking accreditation. 'Why didn't (International Accreditation Services) ask to look at any of the reports we've done?' Kunich said."


"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!"


Sir Walter Scott,
Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.
Scottish author & novelist
(1771 - 1832)

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
Abraham Lincoln, (attributed)
16th president of US
(1809 - 1865)

****************************************************************

On Thursday (12/3) Pulte (DM) tells NRs that Pulte is going to put out a TYSK on Friday (12/4) showing that "Tony Kunich doesn’t know what he’s talking about"; and, that Kubic will defend the County in the newspaper. On Friday (12/3) Pulte says that they’re holding off on the TYSK. Wes, is there a "mole"?


This looks like a couple of 5 yr. olds (Pulte and Beaufort County) caught with their hands in the candy jar saying: “Mommy, I didn’t do it!” Or, maybe neither one (Pulte or Beaufort County) knows how to read plans.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

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Three entities are charged with the same job; only one does their job.

Mr. & Ms. Smith sign a contract with Pulte Homes for the construction of a new house. Mr. & Ms. Smith expect that Pulte will build the house according to government-approved plans. But, the Smith’s new house isn’t built according to County-approved construction plans.

Beaufort County, SC inspects the Smith’s house and issues a Certificate of Occupancy certifying that the house meets minimum requirements of the SC building code. But, the Smith’s new house doesn’t meet minimum requirements of SC’s building code.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith hire a private home inspector who compares the Smith’s finished house with County-approved construction plans, something that BOTH Pulte and Beaufort County SHOULD have done beforehand. The private home inspector finds that Mr. and Ms. Smith’s house doesn’t conform to County-approved construction plans.

Three entities charged with the same job; only one does their job. What’s wrong with this picture? Pulte Homes and Beaufort County.

Two years ago this problem was identified when 668 houses of more than 2,700 re-inspected houses needed repairs to bring their roofs up to code. Two years later the problem has not been fixed. What’s wrong with this picture? Pulte Homes and Beaufort County.



http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/1036436.html
http://www.islandpacket.com/opinion/story/1048369.html
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pulte and Beaufort County, SC building inspectors

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http://www.islandpacket.com/opinion/story/1048369.html

"Kubic should bring together Kunich; Arthur Cummings, the head of the county building codes department; someone from the accreditation group; and representatives of Sun City developer Pulte to get this matter resolved."

Good luck, Mr. Kunich. If the meeting happens, then you (and possibly the person from the accreditation group) will be the only one there who knows how roof trusses should be fastened and braced. Master builder Pulte and the Beaufort County Office of Building Code Enforcement have shown conclusively that they don't have a clue.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another expert opinion on roof trusses

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Editor
Island Packet
November 19, 2009
Hilton Head Island, SC 29938

I have followed reports by the Island Packet about defects with roof trusses in Sun City. As a professional engineer (licensed NJ, PA, MD) with 32 years experience, I often evaluate roof trusses for new construction and existing buildings.

After the 2007 articles, about inadequate valley truss connections, I posted extensive comments on the Island Packet web site. I can no longer find those comments online. However, one key point was that the valley truss connection defect is an indication of additional deficiencies with design and construction of the roof truss installation. I have posted new comments along with the new article published Sunday (11-15-09). However, it is difficult to find the article on the web site now (http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/1036437.html). If you search using “Archive”, the new comments are actually missing.

A separate article also published Sunday (11-15-09) describes problems recently discovered with lack of web bracing. Reasons for this typical, widespread defect are described in comments I have posted online (http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/1036436.html).

Concerned homeowners should hire an independent, qualified professional engineer, licensed in South Carolina, to evaluate design and construction of the entire roof truss system. The most important issue is whether or not proper tiedown connectors have been installed at the ends of the main (long) roof trusses, to resist large uplift forces that will occur during a hurricane. Proper connections must also be provided within support walls so that wind uplift forces from main roof trusses are distributed down to foundations.

John F Mann, PE
1212 Main Street
Belmar NJ 07719
732-556-6080

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Pulte & gov't inspectors...will they EVER get it right?

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http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/1036436.html

"Just as before, Beaufort County building inspectors apparently missed the problems spotted later by Kunich -- trusses that weren't fastened together or braced according to specifications. Despite the problems, county building inspectors issued certificates of occupancy for the homes, declaring them in compliance with construction guidelines and ready to live in."

http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/1036437.html

"Kunich, a private home inspector whose work includes checking homes in Sun City, says he has found deficiencies there.

'At some of the homes I have looked at, they have no nails and no strapping,' he said. 'At one house almost every connection had no nails.'

Each home where he has found problems had been inspected months earlier by a county inspector and issued a certificate of occupancy, a document essentially saying the home is built properly.

'At all these houses, a county inspector had been there and CO'd them,' Kunich said."
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roof bracing

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On Friday I went with a friend to his framing inspection for his house in Sun City Reflections (Okatie, South Carolina). This is what I wrote to my friend in an email afterwards:

Subject: gable end bracing
Date: 11/13/2009 11:39:30 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: Rkoenigsc
To: ********,

At the framing inspection of your house today I noticed that the gable end on the north side of your house is braced with several lines of 2 by 4 bracing. This is what I would expect, given the height of the gable end, which was reported by Pulte's man to be 14 ft.

The gable end on the opposite south side of the house has only a single line of 2 by 4 bracing. It is curious to me why the bracing on the south side of the house would be so much less than the bracing on the opposite north side of the house.

None of the other gable ends in the front or back (west and east) are braced. While the gable ends in the front and back (west and east) are not as high as the gable ends on the sides (north and south), I would expect there to be some bracing at these gable ends.

The state building code requires that your house be capable of resisting a 130 mph (hurricane) wind. On the north and south gable ends this equates to a wind force of several tons, which must be resisted by bracing.

If you google "roof bracing gable end" you'll find much information on bracing gable ends, including the attached 2-page FEMA publication.

I hope that this is helpful.

Ray

From my previous experience with roof trusses and bracing in houses on this side of US 278, I found that often what is built doesn’t match what is specified. In particular, in the roof truss connections, where two nails were specified as a substitute for a hurricane clip, in MANY cases there was only one nail or no nails or nails that missed their target completely or nails in split wood that were ineffective.

In the Phase 5 lagoons, what was built didn’t match what was on the construction plans.

The fact that what’s constructed doesn’t match what’s specified seems to be a common thread with Pulte here.

Pulte’s man told my friend and I that his house had passed framing inspection the day before (Thursday). Another common thread is that the government inspectors aren’t picking this stuff up. Sun City Reflections (across the street) is in a different local jurisdiction than the original Sun City (not Beaufort County).

I pointed out to Pulte’s man that the wind blows the same on both sides of the house, therefore, the bracing on the gable end of one side of the house should be the same as the gable bracing on the other end. He argued "The engineer says...". I told him that I am an engineer. Didn’t make any difference. He continued to argue.

The bottom line is that my friend, like many others here, has decided that he will have the bracing installed at his own expense. It’s simply not worth the grief to argue it further with Pulte or the local government.

It is a sad commentary on Pulte Homes and the local governments that homeowners here have to reach into their own pockets to bring their houses up to (building) code.

PS The link to the FEMA publication is http://www.fema.gov/library/file?type=publishedFile&file=how2018_1__gable_end_roof.pdf&fileid=0a694bf0-0d5f-11dd-aeb1-001185636a87
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lagoon report card

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Pulte = F - - -
for building the Phase 5 lagoons wrong in the first place, for denying that they had built them wrong for 3 YEARS, and for fixing only SOME, not ALL, of them.

Beaufort County = F - -
for their TOTAL lack of participation in resolving these matters. Check out Stormwater Management Utility Department on bcgov.net. Measure their vision statement, mission statement and program elements against what they did, which was NOTHING.

DHEC/OCRM = F - - -
as the lead state agency for protecting the environment, for failing to do so, for failing to know that the lagoons weren’t built according to plans, for failing to do anything about it for MONTHS and MONTHS after being told, for not requiring Pulte to fix ALL of the problems, and for dealing poorly with resident citizens and their concerns.

US Army Corps of Engineers = F - -
for interacting poorly with resident citizens and for failing to address environmental violations.

SCHH residents = D
except for a relative few, for failing to recognize that shoddy construction of lagoons negatively impacts the environment, the aesthetics of our community, and our pocketbooks. For letting Pulte ALMOST get away with another one (had it not been for the INCREDIBLE LONG AND HARD work of a VERY few).
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Class action lawsuit

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Download the actual court filing from the following link: http://ow.ly/wYGy

The lawsuit filing details allegations of Pulte's dishonest, reckless, and deliberate manipulation of the housing market. It's a "MUST READ" for those considering purchasing from Pulte, and those serious students of the causes of the housing market collapse.

From the court filing:
"Defendants acts and practices as described herein constitute unlawful, fraudulent, and unfair business acts and practices, in that (1) Defendants' conduct is unlawful; (2) Defendants' conduct is immoral, unfair, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, unconscionable, or substantially injurious to Plaintiff and members of the Class, and/or (3) the uniform conduct of Defendants has a tendency to deceive Plaintiff and the members of the Class."

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

SC Dept. of Health & Environmental Control

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Today's (Sunday, October 25) editorial in The Island Packet entitled "Reforming DHEC gets tougher as time goes by, Political will to make meaningful changes is waning" states in part:

"...change must come. DHEC officials are too timid and too quick to compromise in favor of business interests. Those business interests too often have the ear of state legislators who pressure agency regulators and control the agency's purse strings. The agency also spends too much time 'working with' businesses who have violated the law, dragging out a process that should respond quickly to threats to public health and the environment."

NEVER has this been more clear as with the Phase 5 lagoon fiasco here (which is discussed in detail in earlier posts to this blog).
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

because they can

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Pulte builds lousy houses because they can. Unless more people speak out publicly, this will continue.

There are MANY websites where you can tell your story: HOBB, HADD, poorlybuiltbypulte.com,
http://citizensrevoltagainstpulte.blogspot.com/, etc. Google “Pulte shoddy” and you’ll see more.

If enough people tell their stories PUBLICLY, then maybe some day shoddy builders and inept (or corrupt) government building inspectors will be put out of business.

Tell your story PUBLICLY, on as many websites as you can find. Tell others who you know who are victims of Pulte's shoddy construction to do the same.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Twitter

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Pulte, Pulte subcontractors, Pulte vendors, realtors, etc. use Twitter to advertise Pulte houses, and to pat Pulte on the back for their JD Power’s awards and their "wonderful" houses.

I use Twitter to voice the “other” side. I provide links to this blog (http://peretired.blogspot.com/), and to other sources that document Pulte’s shoddy construction.

You can too. Simply include "#Pulte" in all of your tweets. Include links to your blog and to other websites that document Pulte’s shoddy construction. You can create your own FREE blog by going to blogger.com and following the instructions.

Be sure to include "#Pulte" in all of your tweets. The hash mark (#) marks “Pulte”, so that when someone does a Twitter search for "Pulte", your tweet will be listed with all the other “Pulte” tweets.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do they REALLY think that we're THAT stupid?

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Two items of interest this week:

1- The SC Legislature voted this week to reject the proposal to place DHEC under the governor. The legislator from Richland County was quoted in the newspaper as saying “I don’t hear that anything is wrong with DHEC.” C’MON! The Columbia newspapers ran an ENTIRE SERIES of articles on inept DHEC. Then there's the Phase 5 lagoon fiasco here. SC Legislature, do you REALLY think that we’re THAT stupid?

2- The Island Packet reported that 668 SCHH houses had roofs that needed repair as a result of the re-inspections here two years ago. I’m reminded of a statement that Arthur Cummings, Director of the Beaufort County, SC Office of Building Code Enforcement, made at the time, which was quoted in Bluffton Today, that “a few bad connections had been found". Two years later and it’s still the status quo in the Beaufort County Office of Building Code Enforcement. C’MON, Mr. Cummings, Gary Kubic, County Executive, Beaufort County Council, and the local delegation to the SC Legislature that is WELL aware of the facts, do you REALLY think that we’re THAT stupid?

Maybe we REALLY are that stupid if we let government officials and elected representatives get away with this kind of stuff. Will ANYBODY (besides me) remember this come local election time?
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Who do I trust?

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With one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, purchases that I will make in my life? THAT is the question.

The fact is that to a large extent you have to trust the builder when you purchase a new home. There are MANY opportunities and MANY places to hide shoddy construction when building a new house. You, or your representative, can’t be at all places where and at all times when work is being done on your new house. You’re at the mercy of the builder. Is the builder worthy of your trust?

What about third parties, like salespersons, real estate agents, JD Power & Associates, the Better Business Bureau, the internet, experts, family, or friends? Can you trust them to give you the information that you need to make the BIGGEST purchase of your life?


Salespersons? Real estate agents? PLEASE, GIVE ME A BREAK!

What about JD Power, that gives awards based on customer satisfaction? What about the Better Business Bureau? Can JD Power or the BBB assure you that your new house will be built well?

What about the internet? The internet has LOTS of information from MANY sources. Can information obtained from the internet be trusted?

What about experts? Home inspectors? Engineers? Other experts? Can they be trusted?

Friends? Even family? Can you trust them to tell you whether or not you should trust the builder?

Who can you trust? Perhaps, in the end, only YOURSELF. BEFORE you make the biggest purchase of your life, get ALL the information that you can, sort through it the best that you can, and trust YOURSELF. There is NO substitute for due diligence.

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How true!

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“You can’t tell a book by looking at its cover.”
“Beauty is only skin deep.”
“Put lipstick on a pig.”
“I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.”
“A good house needs a good foundation.”
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”


We’ve heard them ALL before. Some of these sayings have been around FOREVER.

Pulte houses look good at first glance; but, you can’t build a good house:

  • with a poor foundation
  • with lousy subcontractors
  • without supervision
  • without quality control
  • if all that you're concerned with is "the bottom line"

Google “Pulte shoddy” and see for yourself.
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Beaufort County, SC takes its time

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http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/995919.html

"...County Administrator Gary Kubic brought in IAS in late 2007 to review the building department after news surfaced several months earlier that trusses...were defective. The trusses weren't fastened together securely enough with metal plates and nails or they had too few wooden cross beams to provide adequate bracing. Such defects could have allowed the roofs to fly off in extreme winds, experts said.

Some of the problems that IAS turned up in Beaufort County's building department were house-keeping matters, but others were substantive. For example:

• Two of the three employees who inspect plans for homes lack the proper certification.
• The building department does not have a schedule for appraising its employees, nor do appraisals include performance goals.
• There are no policies and procedures specifying how new employees are trained, nor is training documented.
• Although employees sign statements saying that they are aware of the county's conflict-of-interest regulations, "there is no evidence that department employees have received training" on conflict of interest issues.
• Audits to determine whether the building department is adhering to policies and procedures are not conducted.

IAS reviewers interviewed employees and supervisors in the building department and also spent time with them in the field, Archer said. Contractors and homebuilders were interviewed to get their impressions of the building department. The evaluation is expected to cost the county about $15,000, county officials said.

"Our program is very thorough," Archer said. Evaluating a building department typically takes 9 to 14 months, but in Beaufort County's case it's expected to take more than two years.

One reason it took so long is that the building department spent nine months gathering some of the data IAS requested. "
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

credibility

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Who are you going to believe? Pulte? Pulte's subcontractors? JD Power? House sales agents?

Or do you believe independent house inspectors? qualified construction experts? Pulte customers who know shoddy construction when they see it? your own eyes?

Pulte, Pulte's subcontractors. JD Power, and house sales agents would have you believe that Pulte builds a quality house. Independent home inspectors, qualified construction experts, and customers who know the difference between good construction and shoddy construction say otherwise.

I'm a retired civil engineer. I started http://peretired.blogspot.com/ when I discovered faulty roof truss connections in Pulte houses in my Del Webb community. I live in Sun City Hilton Head, SC, where hurricanes are a MAJOR concern. Since discovering the faulty roof truss connections, I've discovered MUCH, MUCH more. Check out the photographs, and see for yourself.

Google “Pulte shoddy” and see for yourself what those who aren’t feeding at the Pulte trough have to say.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Twitter

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When I run a Twitter search for "Pulte", I find that Twitter is full of pro-Pulte posts: sales pitches, JD Power's awards, Pulte patting Pulte on the back, etc.

However, not all of my Pulte tweets with "Pulte" in the tweet appear in a Twitter search for "Pulte". Could it be because my tweets are not pro-Pulte? Could it be that Twitter, like city-data.com, doesn't give equal sounding to all points of view? Shouldn't websites that are ostensibly "for public comment" display ALL comments, positive and negative?

Has anyone else had similar experiences?
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Pulte and home inspections

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http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/5/13/730895/-Why-Do-Home-Inspectors-Hate-the-Free-Market
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Customer satisfaction, JD Power, & Pulte

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Pulte makes a BIG DEAL about their JD Power’s awards for customer satisfaction. JD Power’s awards are based on surveys of homeowners taken the first few weeks or months that they’re in their new houses.

But, is “customer satisfaction” a good measure of judging the quality of a house? Is the typical homebuyer in a position to evaluate the quality of construction of a house’s structural, mechanical, and electrical systems? Within the first few weeks or months of occupying their new house?

It would be like judging the soundness of a country’s financial system based on a customer's satisfaction with a local bank within weeks of their opening a new account. The fact is that most homebuyers aren’t in a position to evaluate the quality of construction of the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems that make up a house.

Then there’s the fact that defects can take MONTHS and even YEARS to discover:
* roof trusses that are barely attached
* stucco that is defective
* a retaining wall collapses
* roofs leak
* tile floors crack
* wood floors turn black
* unsightly stormwater lagoons are discovered to be constructed FEET off in elevation
* etc.

A little research on the internet (google “Pulte shoddy”) and you’ll discover HUNDREDS of complaints and lawsuits for shoddy house construction.

So who’s right? The average customer who knows little or nothing about the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems that make up a house, or the construction experts, who tell us that:
* the roof trusses are barely attached
* the stucco wasn’t mixed or applied properly
* the lagoons weren’t built right
* the concrete wasn’t mixed right
* the soil under the foundation slab wasn’t compacted (and now the slab is settling differentially and cracking)
* etc.

Or do you simply believe your own eyes?
* The roof truss connections with one or no nails that miss their target or are driven into split wood
* The stucco that is cracked, with rusting corner bead exposed
* The musty, moldy smell coming from your walls
* The water coming from your ceiling
* The retaining wall that collapsed
* The plants growing and birds walking around in the middle of stormwater lagoons
* The dead and dying trees in wetlands
* Cracked tile floors
* Wood floors that have turned black
* Etc.

So, who do you believe? Pulte’s sales people? JD Powers? The internet? Construction experts? Or, your own lying eyes?

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Soap opera"

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A resident described goings on here as a “soap opera”. That’s a pretty fair description, except that what’s going on here is REAL. There are many subplots in this soap opera:

First, there is Pulte’s INCREDIBLE and WIDESPREAD shoddy construction (all well documented):
• Roof truss connections
• Stucco
• Lagoons
• Cracked and sinking foundations
• Leaking roofs
• Wood floors

Then there’s the INCREDIBLE ineptness of government in protecting its citizens against shoddy development
• Beaufort County Office of Building Code Enforcement
• Beaufort County Stormwater Management Branch
• SC DHEC-OCRM
• Local, state, and federal government elected representatives who fail to fix government agencies that are charged with protecting citizens from shoddy construction

Then there’s the petty “enforcement” of CC&Rs here:
• Tasteful flowerpots
• Small American flag magnet on a garage door
• Tasteful holiday images displayed on the side of a house

There’s Pulte’s dishonesty, recklessness, and arrogance
• Pulte’s dishonest propaganda about roof truss connections, stucco, lagoons, cracked, leaking and sinking foundation slabs, wood floors, etc.
• Pulte’s strict control of information going to residents: self-serving articles in the community magazine Sunsations, TYSKs, lower mailboxes, community website, etc. There's NOTHING "fair and balanced" about Pulte propaganda that is distributed to residents through community channels here.
• Pulte’s failure to “make right” on shoddy roof truss connections, stucco, wood floors, etc.
• Pulte unilaterally changing CC&Rs without resident input
• “Coup-de-tat” (replacing an elected resident representative on the community association board of directors with a Pulte employee)
• The Pulte-controlled community association board of directors firing resident volunteer committee chairmen (after unilaterally changing the CC&Rs so that they could do so without violating existing CC&Rs)
• Pulte’s interference with residents’ incorporation initiative

Then there’s the INCREDIBLE apathy, gullibility, and denial of SCHH residents

A soap opera? Yeah, but it’s REAL.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

too much Power?

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from
http://www.housingzone.com/probuilder/article/CA6496558.html :


Trendmaker's Tale of Woe

Many builders mutter in private, but few are willing to publicly accuse J.D. Power and Associates of manipulating customer satisfaction survey results. Trendmaker Homes President Will Holder comes pretty close.

The Houston subsidiary of public giant Weyerhaeuser Real Estate will close more than 700 homes this year, at an average price above $400,000. That should put it among the builders in J.D. Power's Houston market survey, but it's not there. Holder suspects the reason may be that he dropped his subscription to J.D. Power's consulting services several years after refusing to pay a hefty licensing fee to use the J.D. Power name to advertise Trendmaker's win in 2001.

"The year we tied for first, they wanted $70,000 to allow us to advertise it," he says now. "We didn't see that much value in it.

"We subscribed to their services the first year they came to Houston," Holder says, "for $30,000. We thought we'd get a different perspective from a survey of all buyers in the market, not just our own. After seeing their presentations a couple of years, I began to suspect they could use their weighting of questions to manipulate the winner."

Holder says he finally dropped J.D. Power because he believes the survey is not important to buyers: "They don't get much press anymore. Realtors put more stock in their personal experience with builders than in what J.D. Power says. They don't ask us about it."

He admits to being scared of J.D. Power. "There's pressure to subscribe," he says. "It never felt very good. When we decided not to pay them anymore, I was scared."


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Monday, September 14, 2009

Pulte playbook

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From the Pulte playbook:

1. When serious problems occur with Pulte houses (they do regularly): DENY, DENY, DENY.

2. Tell the homeowner:
"The roof trusses are OK", even though they're barely attached.
Tell them: "The wood floor is black because YOU, Mr. & Mrs. Homeowner, put a desk chair protector on it which didn't allow water COMING THROUGH THE SLAB to evaporate."
Tell them: "The stucco is OK", even though there are HUNDREDS of lawsuits.
Tell them: "The lagoons are 'happy and healthy'", even though there are plants growing and birds walking in the middle of them.
Give them ANY DUMB excuse that you can. Homeowners (especially old ones) are stupid. They'll believe you.

3. Cite J.D. Powers. Tell them: "If J.D. Powers says that Pulte houses are good, then they MUST be good." They're stupid. They'll believe it.

4. If all else fails, and you get one of the FEW homeowners who isn't stupid, then get the owner to sign an agreement so that they won't tell ANYONE (especially the press) about the problem. There may be 10,000 houses with the same defect; and, if the word gets out, then we may end up having to fix them ALL. This MUST be avoided at all cost.

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Whether it comes to roofs, stucco, lagoons, wetlands, failed retaining wall, incorporation, golf course management, etc., you can count on Pulte’s response: deny, deny, deny.
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The appropriate response from a responsible company is really quite simple: "We'll check it out". But, not Pulte.
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The latest revelation that construction problems with roofs are STILL occurring MORE THAN TWO YEARS after they were first discovered, and supposedly fixed, illustrates perfectly Pulte’s dishonesty, recklessness, and arrogance.
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Deny, deny. deny. And, discredit the private home inspector while you’re at it.
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This is the kind of response that you expect from a little kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar: "I didn’t do it, Mommy."
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Grow up, Pulte.
If Pulte concentrated on building good houses instead of concentrating on how to cover up their shoddy construction, then Pulte wouldn't need a playbook.
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Friday, September 11, 2009

An update, lingering questions, and a message for Pulte

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Update:
In the case of the black wood floor, I understand from the homeowner that Pulte is replacing the floor. I’m happy for the homeowner.

Lingering questions:
1. What took Pulte so long to agree to replace the floor?
2. Why did Pulte take such an obviously RIDICULOUS position for MONTHS? (The black wood floor is the HOMEOWNER'S fault because he put a desk chair protector on it, which didn’t allow water coming THROUGH THE SLAB to evaporate.)
3. Why didn’t Pulte IMMEDIATELY agree to remedy this problem, which is CLEARLY the result of shoddy construction?

Message for Pulte:

Five years ago I had no reason to believe other than Pulte builds good houses and treats their customers well. During the past 5 years I have come to realize that Pulte does NOT build quality houses and does NOT treat their customers well. In fact, Pulte’s actions over the past 5 years at SCHH are a case study in how NOT to treat your customers.

Congratulations, Pulte, you’ve managed to take some of your biggest sales assets (some of your customers) and turn them into your biggest liabilities. Based on my experiences over the last 5 years I would NEVER recommend a Pulte house in a Pulte development to ANYONE.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Is there someone at Pulte who FINALLY "gets it"?

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"The customer is always right."

Who hasn't heard this before? While I've always taken it "with a grain of salt", I can see the wisdom behind it.

If you treat your customers well, then they'll continue to be your customers. And, they'll create new customers for you, by telling others how well that you treated them. Others will want the same treatment.

On the other hand, the opposite is true. If you treat your customers poorly, then not only will they walk, but they'll tell others of their poor treatment, and those who have "never darkened your door" NEVER will do so.

Nordstrom revolutionized department store business in the 1980s with their "the customer is always right" creed. Stories abound of their GREAT customer service.

Have the "old" ways been forgotten?

Maybe not entirely. There's been a "shake up" of Pulte personnel at SCHH. Do you think that someone at Pulte may FINALLY "get it"? Let's hope so.
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"Chihuahua with no teeth"

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In his column entitled "Bureaucracy working against water quality" in today's (8/28) Bluffton Today, Joe Croley says: "The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control should, from a practical point of view, be a spokesperson for the river but by and large allows any request from mini-marinas to elongated docks to be approved. If they see themselves as a watchdog, they are a Chihuahua with no teeth: small, noisy, but largely ineffective."

You got that right, Joe! In my 40+ years as an engineer NEVER have I seen an agency charged with protecting the environment do such a poor job as DHEC. Look at their miserable record with the lagoons here as a case-in-point.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pulte treats their customers like morons... Well???

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Pulte doesn't take responsibility for their words and actions, and insults our intelligence in doing so.

There’s a problem with wood flooring that Pulte installed—it’s because the homeowner used a common desk chair floor protector, prohibiting moisture coming THROUGH THE SLAB from evaporating. C’MON!

EVERYBODY here should know that the Phase 5 lagoons are a mess, yet there’s an article in this month’s Sunsations, written by BOD member Francisco Garcia, patting Pulte on the back for their wonderful lagoons and their praiseworthy stewardship of our wetlands. You’ve GOT to be kidding me!

There are problems with our stucco. In a letter dated March 26, 2008 Derek Morgan tries to tell us that the holes at the base of our stucco clad walls are “NOT FOR DRAINAGE”. MASTER BUILDER, or master something else?

I guess to his credit, Jon Cherry did admit that removing hurricane clips from valley truss connections was “probably a mistake”, but did Pulte step forward to install said hurricane clips in houses that they built here after 2004, but before early 2007, when they started installing them again? NO.

In a coup de tat Pulte takes back a resident BOD seat, and gives it to a Pulte employee. When Jon Cherry is asked why, no plausible explanation follows. (Even when residents had more members on the BODs than Pulte employees, residents publicly acknowledged that Pulte, with their veto power, controlled the BOD.) Pulte, is it that you think that we can’t handle the truth? Guess what? With SOME of us, you’re not hiding a thing!

The AMAZING thing to me is how Pulte keeps getting away with treating us like morons.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pulte promises to fix lagoons

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from http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/733671.html :

Sun City developer promises to remedy lagoon problems

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Sun City Hilton Head developer Pulte Homes on Thursday promised to fix problems with a number of lagoons in the gated community at no cost to residents. That promise was made to about 550 residents at a meeting organized by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

"We stand ready to do this work, we've started to do this work ... and it's not going to cost you a nickel," Pulte spokesman Jon Cherry told the audience.



When folks here paid premiums for lots on lagoons, they weren’t buying this:

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Or this:



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Never mind the fact that DHEC isn’t doing its job, as evidenced by the fact that as-built drawings show that these lagoons weren’t built according to the construction plans that DHEC approved, that Pulte pumps sediment laden water into wetlands, and that untreated stormwater runoff from the Hidden Cypress parking lot flows directly into the adjacent wetland (the one with ACRES of dead and dying trees), Pulte OWES it to the folks who paid premiums for lagoon lots to fix them ALL COMPLETELY AND CORRECTLY.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Herd mentality

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Remember Jonestown, Guyana? It was the settlement of a California cult, The Peoples Temple, led by the charismatic lunatic Jim Jones. On November 18, 1978, 909 cultists died in the settlement after Jones encouraged them to drink cyanide-laced Kool-aid.

Herd mentality is alive and well in America today. Examples of herd mentality include the early adopters of high technology products such as cell phones and iPods, as well as stock market trends, fashions in apparel, cars, home d├ęcor, and retirement communities. Herd mentality is the failure to act as an individual, with intellect and reasoning.

The Jonestown propaganda of retirement communities today comes in sales rhetoric and slick self-serving publications. It comes from developer-imposed websites that carefully control information that is given to residents. It comes from strictly controlling what can be placed in our private lower mailboxes. It comes from developer-approved, propaganda-filled emails that are sent to all in the community.

Herd mentality prevents us from thinking for ourselves. It prevents us from looking rationally at situations and from determining the truth. It makes us slaves. We don’t think for ourselves. We don’t speak for ourselves. We simply follow the herd, right into the slaughterhouse.

An extreme analogy? Or, is it?

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Where's DHEC?

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Two examples of DHEC NOT doing their job:

Example #1
Pumping sediment-laden water into wetlands is a violation of the Clean Water Act.
http://schhphase5lagoons.blogspot.com/ CLEARLY documents Pulte doing this. Where’s DHEC?

Example #2
Directing UNTREATED stormwater runoff directly into wetlands (NOT routed through a treatment pond) is a violation of the Clean Water Act. Go to the storm inlet at southeast corner of the Hidden Cypress parking lot. Now, go 20 feet to the east and see the pipe coming from the inlet discharging directly into the wetland (the dead and dying one). Residents here told DHEC of this violation MORE THAN TWO YEARS AGO. DHEC SHOULD have known about it without having been told. Where’s DHEC? Untreated runoff from the HC parking lot STILL continues to be discharged into the dead and dying wetland RIGHT NOW, and yet DHEC does NOTHING.

BOTH these violations have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with storage capacity of the lagoons, and yet Pulte and DHEC continue their moronic mantra “…400% of the required storage volume”, like there’s nothing else involved in protecting the environment than providing adequate storage volume in the ponds. (BTW, the 400% ONLY applies if the lagoons were built according to the approved construction plans, and we know from the as-built plans that they weren’t.)

Finally, I attended meetings with DHEC & Pulte at DHEC’s office in Beaufort. Before the meeting started DHEC staff and Pulte people talked with each other like old business partners, ignoring everyone else in the room. It spoke volumes.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

small wonder

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a poll on http://schhresidents.forumco.com/ :

Poll Question:

Would you sign a petition supporting the return of the Board of Directors to resident control?

Results:

Yes: 51 votes
No: 1 votes
Yes, and I would be willing to run for a board position:
1 votes
No, I don''t feel residents should have control of the board at this time:
2 votes
Yes, and I know someone willing to run for a board position: 1 votes


currently, on this anonymous poll: 53 yes, 3 no

- 269 members of this forum; that's:

. - 2% of the people at SCHH (13,000)

- 56 have an opinion; that's:

. - 1 in 5 of the members of this forum
. - 1 in 230 of the people here at SCHH

pitiful, isn't it?
small wonder that Pulte gets away with what they get away with.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Pulte, Master Environmentalist--NOT!!!

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From http://schhphase5lagoons.blogspot.com/ :

Thursday, July 23, 2009
Lagoon #157 Update

(photos)

"10:50AM- Both pumps were "on" and the lagoon seems pretty well drained at this time. Unfortunately, many leaks in the pumping system are still allowing a discharge of turbid/silt-laden water into the wetlands. Pulte has been apprised of this issue but apparently disagree that it is a violation of DHEC regulations."

My posted comment:

"Not only is the Master Builder NOT an authority on construction (shoddily built lagoons, barely attached roof truss connections, defective stucco, cracked foundation slabs, wood floors turning black from foundation slab leaks, roof leaks from improperly shingled valleys, etc.), but the Master Builder is also NOT an authority on violations to the Clean Water Act. In 2008 the USEPA and USDOJ obtained record settlements from Pulte for violations of the Clean Water Act (http://epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/cwa/pultehomes-infosht.html)."
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Where is DHEC?

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From http://schhphase5lagoons.blogspot.com/ :

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lagoon #157 Update

(photos)

"2:30PM - I noticed that, because of leaks in the hoses and also at the hose-end couplings, turbid/silt-laden water was being discharged into the nearest curb inlet just west of L-157 . This curb inlet discharges directly into the wetland area and the flow of this pumped water was clearly evident in the wetland area just across the street from the curb inlet. The water was flowing along the curbing into the curb inlet from the leaks on both sides of it (east and west). The current two-pump set-up was configured to avoid discharging the water into this particular curb inlet! As stated in a previous updats (7/16/ & 7/17), it is against DHEC regulations to discharge turbid/silt-laden water directly into wetlands."

My posted comment:

"From DHEC’s website (
http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/water/swerfmain.htm):

“DHEC is charged with making sure that stormwater runoff during construction of projects and following project completion will not have an adverse effect on water quality in South Carolina. The stormwater program requires the development and implementation of a plan to control stormwater runoff and sediment to prevent them from entering water bodies in our State.”

In their own words, “DHEC is charged with making sure that stormwater runoff during construction of projects and following project completion will not have an adverse effect on water quality in South Carolina.”


Where is DHEC?
Why isn’t DHEC doing its job?
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lagoon reconstruction update

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154, 155, 151 & 159 are complete. (little work required)
164 is complete. (small lagoon)
150 & 157 are in progress. (relatively small lagoons)
160, 153, 149, 178, 182, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176 & 183 have not started yet. (most of the work lies ahead, in both number and size)

15 to 20% complete? (generous, IMHO)
complete by Jan 2010?
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Friday, July 17, 2009

same song, different verse

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posted on http://schhresidents.forumco.com :

"Sorry for not responding earlier. A Pulte-controlled-Board-selected resident advisory group has been reviewing our CC&Rs (Declarations) and Bylaws for 18 months. The goal was to simplify and streamline. Instead, they decided to propose numerous changes that had the effect of centralizing control among the few “elite” residents and Pulte-controlled Board. This advisory group ignored the viewpoints of most residents. Therefore, (1) we obtained signatures from 1,130 of the 5,600 homes on a petition, (2) 70 residents submitted detailed comments to the advisory committee asking for changes to their proposals, (3) many residents (50 on one day) picketed the Pulte sales office for two weekends, and (4) 600+ people (overflow crowd in our 600-person ballroom) attended a June 29 meeting to register their complaints about the anti-resident proposals from the advisory group. The advisory group ignored all of this.

Pulte finally gave in and adopted revisions to three of the twelve (or so) items of greatest concern by the residents. The twelve (or so) items of concern included reducing the quorum for important resident decisions (so as to allow a small group to control the publicity and then control the vote), mandating Board pre-approval of petitions circulated within Sun City Texas, eliminating our Bylaw guarantee of “open elections” (as opposed to a hand-picked group that formerly selected the only residents who could run for the Board), allowing the Pulte-controlled Board to remove another Board Member (like me) who they did not like for violations as nebulous as “unbecoming conduct”, etc.

Therefore, we won a small partial victory. However, we lost most of our issues.

At present, here in Sun City Texas the homeowner dues do not pay for any of the golf expenses, including the golf reserve. However, the top Pulte guy has just proposed that homeowner dues pay for all golf reserve contributions. The golfers like that, but the 80% who do not play golf do not. If Pulte pushes this, it will be another battle. (FYI – our golf reserve has about $2.2 million; our non-golf reserve has about $3.4 million.)"

http://www.hobb.org/content/view/3089/1/

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

DHEC-OCRM deserves the criticism

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Anyone who is paying attention knows that DHEC gets criticized a LOT. DHEC deserves every bit of it.

If you've been paying attention then you know that:


  • DHEC has the responsibility to approve the design, construction, and operation of stormwater management ponds (SWM) in coastal South Carolina
  • DHEC approved construction plans for Phase 5 (SCHH) SWM ponds
  • DHEC ordered as-built plans for Phase 5 SWM ponds
  • As-built plans CLEARLY show that Phase 5 SWM ponds were not built per the DHEC-approved construction plans.
  • DHEC "cherry picks". DHEC doesn't enforce depth, despite the fact some lagoons are only 3 ft. deep, instead of the 5 ft. that the construction plans say that they should be.
  • DHEC doesn't enforce outfall structure materials, even though construction plans CLEARLY show that they're to be precast concrete, and they're not.
  • DHEC doesn't require that pipes connecting ponds be clear of silt, even though it's CLEAR from the construction plans that clear pipes are vital to the system's operation.

DHEC held a public meeting here in January. DHEC withheld information. DHEC didn't tell folks that they don't enforce depth, materials, or other aspects of the construction plans. DHEC told folks that they were going to require Pulte to fix ALL the lagoons at SCHH (not just Phase 5). It's now clear that's not going to happen.

In my 40+ years as a civil engineer, I've never encountered a public agency, charged with the responsibility for approving the design, construction, and operation of SWM ponds, that "cherry picks" the construction plans that THEY approved when it comes to requiring that ponds be built according to those plans.

DHEC deserves all of the criticism that DHEC gets.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

questions for Pulte

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Wouldn't it have been easier to build them (Phase 5 lagoons) right the first time?

Wouldn't it have been easier to exercise SOME quality control over your subs?

just think of what you would have saved--extra $ to do them again, the GRIEF that you've put residents through messing up their yards in doing them over, the OPINION that many of your customers have of you as a builder, etc.?

I hope that you've learned something.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rocket scientists they ain't

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an update from
http://schhphase5lagoons.blogspot.com/ :
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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Lagoon 157

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"At 5:00PM today the pump is "on" and the filter bag is expanded. I don't know if the filter bag is working properly or not; however, approximately 1/2 of the water being pumped from the lagoon is being routed back into the lagoon (a "closed loop" system) via the curb inlet that is west of the filter bag."
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