A home is the single most important and largest investment for most Americans. Homeowners need to know material facts concerning the quality of their home in order to determine whether they can afford to purchase and to maintain their home. In the Pacific Northwest, of paramount importance to a reasonable homeowner are facts relating to the care a builder takes to protect the home from the corrosive effects of our region’s most dominant weather feature – water.
Water and moisture intrusion are the most serious corrosive and degenerative agents for homes in the Northwest. It is critical that homes here are planned to withstand water and moisture and are built in accordance with such plans. A builder must take care that the windows, doors, garages, columns, external architectural features – that all surfaces that are exposed to groundwater or weather—are constructed to account for such exposure.
Code requirements, industry norms in the Northwest, and plans that builders submit to regulatory agencies to obtain building permits are scrutinized to ensure finished construction will withstand our wet climate. Home buyers expect, and reasonably rely on the premise, that a reputable builder will not deviate from code, industry norms, and its own approved plans when constructing homes for retail sale, especially without notification to buyers of such deviations from submitted plans, codes, and regulatory requirements.
Plaintiffs in this lawsuit filed by Levy – von Beck and Hagens Berman allege that developer Shea Homes, Inc. (“Shea”) chose to build and sell over 1,500 homes in the Trilogy at Redmond Ridge development (“Trilogy”) that it knew deviated from its architects’ and contractors’ guidelines, county-approved plans, and recommendations. Shea intentionally omitted nearly all industry-standard methods for building homes to withstand our wet weather. And, even after its first homes suffered from various forms of water intrusion due to the substandard construction, Shea refused to tell its customers of the problems and continued building new homes with the same defects.
To increase its profits, Shea consciously cut out crucial weather-proofing methods that all responsible Northwest architects and builders include in their homes. Shea ignored applicable code requirements, industry norms, and its own submitted and approved plans, all of which required Shea to build homes with metal flashings and sufficient moisture intrusion barriers, drainage, soil compaction, and construction elements for the homes to withstand the Pacific Northwest climate.
As detailed below, Shea’s own experts, architects, and subcontractors have admitted and confirmed that Shea purposefully omitted King County-required water and moisture intrusion prevention components that were specifically called for in Shea’s approved building plans. Yet Shea never disclosed its purposeful and repeated deviations from the county-approved building plans.
KIRO TV: Owners sure of rotting Redmond homes