Four Years Structural Liability


I have a home that was built with a costly structural defect. One of the load bearing stud walls was built without adequate concrete footing.
I contacted the home builder, who told me to contact a structural engineer. The engineer informed me that the home builder was liable for structural defects for four years after the home's construction. Can anyone point me to an online reference with this information or anything helpful.
Thanks
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Helpfull is talk to a lawyer, did you ever hear of statute of limitations.
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That advice was not helpful. I am looking for an online resource I can consult without talking to a lawyer first, as I'd like to give the home builder adequate opportunity to fix the problem without going through legal channels--but I also want to have all my bases covered.
Anyone with helpful advice would be greatly appreciated. If you know of this 4-year structural defect liability (I haven't been able to Google for it), please let me know.
Thanks.
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John Wheeler wrote:

Such liability laws vary widely, if they exist at all, from locale to locale. How about asking the engineer who gave you this info about *his* source of informatiion?
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Thank Leroy, I'll try that. I would also like to solicit anyone else that might be knowledgeable about the subject. I live in Wilson County, Tennessee.
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Well, hell, there must be hundreds of people on this newsgroup with specific knowledge or Wilson County legal trivia. I'm wondering why you don't trust the structural engineer but you'd trust some unknown person on the internet. The local professionals will know what your state's requirements are, you could also call a professional liability insurance company, or you could go to your local library and do your research with the help of a librarian.
R
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That stuck me just right. Literally chuckling aloud.
I figured for Wilson County, Tennessee, best shot previals in all matters.

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Or you could do all those things in tandem with news group posts as a means to solicit whatever help you can. Really, still looking for "help."
Thanks
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Don't leave any stones unturned. Print up some flyers and stick them up on phone poles and on supermarket bulletin boards.
You've already gotten help. You got pointed in the right direction which just happens to be in your own backyard.
R
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Local laws I do not know but I tangled with my builder years ago with case ending up in lawsuit. Results were a mixed bag because in spite of laws, builders know how to skirt them, hide behind corporations and are often in bed with local officials. My case was settled out of court but I never got a penny from the builder and could only write off the settlement on my taxes as a short term loss. Do not go public or personal as your objective is to get problem fixed at no emotional or financial loss. My builder, with another buyer's problem of forged release of liens, could have gone to jail but buyer's lawyers advice was as I've given.
For starter, go back to builder. He may have insurance that will cover your repair but be prepared to go to local officials and a lawyer.
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John Wheeler wrote:

Yup, El cheapo help. If it was a brand new house, I wouldn't have noved in knowing there is a problem. May be you tried to build cheap?
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Laws regarding this issue will vary from state to state as do contractor laws. You could try contacting the state office (If any) that regulates the contractors and builders. As someone else mentioned, your best bet is to do an initial consultation with an attorney who specializes in construction law. You can look online all you want and talk to plenty of civil servants and get all kinds of advice from a newsgroup, but the one person who has experience with the laws and issues will be a local attorney. Then you will be well informed to decide how to proceed. Sometimes the laws are written in such a way that you can recoup your legal fees.
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Be prepared to make a lot of phone calls if you seek a lawyer. I had a problem with a botched home inspection and called numerous lawyers to no avail. They all either worked for the insurance companies or din't want to get involved, no money in it. I guess slip & fall and medical malpractice are easy money makers.
As was already suggested ask your engineer for the reference to the 4 year limit. Then call the builder and ask him to make good on his product. If he refuses then get a lawyer, BBB and guvment agencies are worthless.
You might also want to talk to your local building department and ask for their help. I wouldn't offer the name of the builder or the address of your house unless they seem like they are really going to be helpful.
Good luck.
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Suggestion to contact the local building dept is a very good one. They should have some familiarity with the state requirements for coverage for defects. Here in NJ, it's generally 10 years for structural defects.
I'd also consult a lawyer. Many offer free initial consultations.
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John Wheeler wrote:

No can do other than to look for the applicable Code sections of your State. Needless to say, as others have pointed out, getting professional help in doing this is far more likely to result in a successful conclusion both in time and likelihood of the proper outcome.
It is, of course, also true that one could start w/ the engineer who told you this "fact" as to his source.
Following that, others have already mentioned the local building regulation code enforcement folks (if, of course, you're in a place where there is such an animal--where we were in TN code enforcement consisted of leaving a bottle of Wild Turkey or other appropriate flavor in the most obvious nook).
I'd only add that I would think your likelihood of success in pursuing this is directly related to the integrity of the builder himself and whether it was a simple mistake or a deliberate act. The strength of the case could also be related to whether the building in question was done under permits and w/ fully engineered and stamped plans or was simply built from layout view plans as opposed to blueprints.
Far too much unknown and variables for usenet to be of any real use...
--
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John-
You have not said how old the home is or how long you have owned it.

The home builder who built the home, right?
I think you're leaving out lots of important details (some have been filed in as the thread has continued)
Looks to be like you contacted the builder about a "costly structural defect" (how you determined its existence or cost is another issue).
He said "contact a structural engineer"..did the builder also say "& see what he says or see what the fix would be".
Going the legal route is costly, time consuming & usually unsatisfying.
Sounds like the builder is being reasonable. Just get the engineer to take a look & develop a concept for repair. You'll get a lot more for your money working with the engineer & the builder, plus the problem will get fixed (if it even needs to be fixed) The lawyer will spend your money on letters, phone calls & meetings. Your money is better spent on calcs & concrete. cheers Bob
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John Wheeler wrote:

Time periods for tolling the statute of limitations are all over the map. Some start when the defect is first noticed. Some start when you obtain title to the object (home, power drill, etc.). Some are governed by the contract.
The technique that always works is to approach the original builder and threaten to kill his cat unless he fixes the problem.
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Just look at the length of this thread so far. Why wouldn't you first contact the the engineer? He's the one knows all about the specs. Why would you come here until yu've exhausted the most logical contacts first? And if you DID do that, why didn't you say so? And what research have you done on your own so far? Any at all?
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Pat, I make it a point to give people a beating...errr...education, when they ask questions on a newsgroup and they obviously haven't done any research on their own.
The last thing I will do is to spoon feed an adult that doesn't actually physically require it.
R
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You need to bring your construction contract to an attorney to review. Only he can tell you if you have any rights against the builder. The engineer is going by local building code but the contract may exclude liability for that and have a binding arbitration clause and if you signed such a contract than you are screwed. It is amazing to me that people will sign a contract to build a $500000 house and not spend $200 to have an attorney explain to them what they are signing.

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