7 common warranty claims for builders

Homeowners’ typical solution to an issue is to make it the builder’s problem
Builders need to be clear on what their clients' warranties cover.

Homeowners with a warranty claim believe that all calls are emergencies and are of course warrantable, meaning that the builder should have foreseen the issue in their crystal ball and should take care of it. There are some calls that we receive seasonally and some that come regardless.

[Related: Lost in translation—Deciphering builders’ insurance]

Here is a (short) list of the top calls we receive as a third-party warranty administrator.

Summer

Issue: The air conditioner doesn’t work.

Homeowner’s solution: The builder should install a larger AC unit.

Reality: These types of calls include complaints that the AC won’t cool the home to 75 degrees when the outside temperature is 105 degrees. Often, what we find is the current system is exceeding the national standard, but the homeowner is not happy with this. In many cases, the furnace filter has never been changed, restricting airflow. This is a homeowner maintenance issue.

Winter

Issue: Ice is forming in gutters.

Homeowner’s solution: The builder should clean out the gutters.

Reality: This is a homeowner maintenance issue and not a builder’s responsibility.

[Related:  Guide clients through winter warranty issues]

Spring

Issue: Water is leaking in the basement.

Homeowner’s solution: The builder should come out and replace a broken spigot.

Reality: We often find that the homeowner left a hose on a spigot in the fall and it froze. Cases like these aren’t construction defects.

Issue: The sprinkler system is leaking or not working.

Homeowner’s solution: The builder should come fix it.

Reality: These calls are common when a homeowner didn’t winterize the sprinkler system, everything froze and it’s a total mess of broken parts.

Everyday calls

Issue: Circuit breakers are popping or tripping.

Homeowner’s solution: The electrician should come fix it because he or she obviously installed a defective breaker.

Reality: The building code requires arc-fault circuit interrupters, which are very sensitive (annoying) and perhaps a bit overboard on the code requirements. Older appliances, vacuums and blenders create more problems with these types of breakers. As a builder and electrician, the code has tied your hands regarding this one. Cross your fingers (or tied hands) for a code update.

Issue: The floorboards are squeaking.

Homeowner’s solution: The builder should come fix it.

Reality: Our dry climate will cause lumber to dry out and shrink. Unless floorboards are loose or subflooring is improperly installed, builders cannot guarantee a squeak-proof floor. Somehow, a squeaky floor gives an old home character but is unacceptable in a new home. At what age does a defect turn into character?

Issue: The water pressure in the shower is too low.

Homeowner’s solution: The plumber needs to turn up the water pressure.

Reality: Regulations are against us again by prohibiting manufacturers from selling shower heads that don’t have low-flow or water-saving features. The funny thing is that homeowners never seem to notice the pressure is good everywhere else in the house. Homeowners with this issue should replace their shower head with one of their choice that doesn’t have a water-saving feature.

Bill Armstrong is president of ProHome Colorado and a founding member of Construction Resource Group. He can be reached at [email protected].

Bill Armstrong

Bill Armstrong is president of ProHome Colorado. He can be reached at [email protected]

Bill Armstrong has 7 posts and counting. See all posts by Bill Armstrong

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