Favorite

Empty house, full court 

Builder sues and homeowners sue over poor construction in The Ranch.

click to enlarge UNOCCUPIED: New home in The Ranch.
  • UNOCCUPIED: New home in The Ranch.


Renaissance Homes Inc. finished construction on a 5,424-square-foot home in The Ranch subdivision in January 2005. But no one has ever lived there. Instead of moving vans, litigation ensued.

The driveway has collapsed into airspace below the foundation and the garage, according to a structural engineer, will not support the weight of a car. The city refused to issue a certificate of occupancy after its inspector’s notices of framing and foundation code violations were disregarded.

The builders, who deny the city’s claim and say the owners of the house owe them money, filed a foreclosure suit shortly after completing the house. The owners countersued for breach of contract and negligence. The city ducked out when the lawsuits were filed, letting private engineering experts take over.

The case comes hard on the heels of other high-profile residential construction projects that have been completed or virtually completed while in violation of code or contracts. Most recently, the city discovered that contractors putting a $1 million roof on University Plaza and doing concrete work never took out permits. They then underestimated the value of the work and the city tripled their fees, the city code office said.

Inspectors go to building sites when contractors call them in; if work is completed without the proper inspections, the city can deny a certificate of occupancy to force corrections.

Renaissance filed its foreclosure suit against Raymelle and Philip Greening in March 2005, two months after finishing work. The company says the contract price for the home was $377,241.85 and that of that amount, $61,059.07 (plus $2,997.22 in interest) is due.

In April 2005 the Greenings countersued, demanding “recission” — that the money they’ve paid be reimbursed, the house torn down, and the lot returned to its original condition, creating a clean slate at 67 Ranch Ridge Road.

A four-day trial has been set to start Tuesday, Aug. 29.

Construction on the house started in 2003. Renaissance Homes’ filing says the Greenings stopped paying in July 2004, but the company completed the house anyway. Its lawyer maintains that the builders did everything the city asked it to do and that the case has come down to engineer disagreements on issues not covered by code.

City code manager Chuck Givens said, however, that there’s no record that Renaissance corrected deficiencies found by its inspector. Code violations included problems in the garage slab, the garage retaining wall, the driveway and first floor framing.

Engineer Edward Grubbs of Grubbs, Hoskyn, Barton and Wyatt engineers dug test pits at the Greenings’ expense and reported a crushed joist and problems with other joists and piers. The Greenings claim that doors and windows in the house do not open and close properly and that there’s damage to appliances. They say in their filing that they had to hire other contractors to tear out work done by Renaissance and rebuild.

That the driveway concrete has collapsed is not disputed; only the party at fault is. Grubbs found fill dirt had settled as deep as 7 inches beneath the driveway slab. Grubbs also found vertical cracks in a retaining wall and footings that may shift in case of frost heave. Renaissance Homes said it did not pour the concrete for the driveway.

Engineers have also noted that the foundation for the house, which is built on an angle of 24.7 degrees, is sloped, rather than stepped, which could make the house slip down the ridge it occupies. Though city code has required stepped foundations on slopes greater than 10 degrees since 2002, the rule wasn’t enforced during what code manager Chuck Givens called a “transition period” that covered Renaissance’s footing work.

Givens said it was “pretty rare” for a residential contractor to finish out a job without making fixes to problems found by inspectors.

The Greenings have also filed a complaint against Renaissance with the state Contractors Licensing Board.

The Greenings’ is the only complaint pending against Renaissance Homes, board records show.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Kanis development decried

    Fletcher Hollow wrong place for density, neighbors tell LR planners.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Inconsequential News Quiz: Trumpocalypse Now Edition

    • PLEASE READ!!! Celebrate this season with joy and gladness in your heart, Do you know…

    • on January 20, 2017
  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • I have been diagnosed with COPD for over 7 years. A couple of months ago…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • There is plenty of studies out there, which fill in the holes in this story…

    • on January 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation