Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weep screeds

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

Some Master Builder!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Incremental house construction

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!



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Facts & advice for Pulte & SCHH Community Association

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.
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


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

another roof problem

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

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”.


  • 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!


Monday, December 7, 2009

the truth

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

“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!

Try me

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.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Can Pulte and Beaufort Co. read plans?

(my) posts on

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 (


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.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

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.