Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

The House Detective:  by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: The contractor who built my home won’t fix damages caused by flooding in our basement. We bought the house about a year ago, and the warranty covers one year of workmanship. We don’t trust the builder and want to hire a contractor to fix the problem and then have the builder pay for all of the repairs. We are preparing the case for court. What do you advise?  Marcos

Dear Marcos: If flooding occurs in the basement of a new home, this means the builder did not adequately provide for ground water drainage and waterproofing of the foundation walls. These are significant construction defects, and the builder is responsible for corrective work, which is likely to be very costly. In preparing your case, you’ll need professional evaluations for evidence. First, you need a report from a geotechnical engineer. In this case, that would be the fancy name for a drainage specialist.

Next, you should have the entire home evaluated by the most qualified and experienced home inspector you can find. A good inspector will find more construction defects than you are currently aware of, and the added list of defects will strengthen your case against the builder.

The entire matter should be handled by an attorney who specializes in construction defect law. And finally, you should file a complaint with the state agency that licenses contractors.