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”.
- 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!