On high standards, 'cheap' deals

"The Brand-New Snag," Jan. 27, left the impression that new homes are poorly built, that builders don't care and that the best recourse for homeowners who do have construction problems is litigation.

In fact, today's homes are built to the highest standards ever. The fact that builders utilize third-party inspectors is proof that our industry takes quality control very seriously.

If there are problems, builders want to work with their buyers to solve them, not spend years in court. That's why our industry worked so hard to pass SB 800, the right-to-repair legislation. Too often in the past, the first time a builder would hear about a construction problem was when a trial lawyer filed suit.

SB 800 benefits consumers because working with the builder is the best way to make sure that any problems are resolved.

Is SB 800 the magic bullet? It's still too early to say for sure. But the fact that insurers will once again insure condo and town-home building and that insurance rates continue to fall is a pretty good indicator that the new system is working as intended, which is good for the building industry and the homeowner alike.

George Dale

Los Angeles

As a heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems contractor, your article struck a nerve with me. Because of this type of litigation, my liability insurance restricts me from bidding on new condos and new projects of more than seven homes on a lot.

Shoddy construction is the fault of the developers, general contractors and homeowners.

Developers are looking for low bidders to build their projects cheaply. Some general contractors are looking for the lowest-bidding subs to make their bids look more attractive to get the work -- even if it means quality is sacrificed. A great number of homeowners are looking for the lowest bid because they would rather spend the extra saved money on something fun rather than on a necessity.

When I answer homeowner calls about problems of improper installation of heating and/or air-conditioning equipment, I commonly hear they picked the cheapest bid, used an unlicensed or improperly licensed workman such as a handyman or relied on a relative or friend to get the equipment they needed through a backdoor source.

This gives all contractors a bad name and leaves homeowners saying, "I was ripped off" -- all because they were shopping with the attitude of, "What can I get the cheapest?"

Ed Sandoval


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