Things You Should Know

Pulte On The Stucco Problem
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It is very important to us that our homeowners have current and accurate information available.  For that reason we wanted to provide you an update on the latest concerns with stucco in Sun City Hilton Head.

Over the past few months, Pulte/Del Webb has responded to several homeowner calls regarding concerns with stucco cladding.  On some of the houses inspected, issues were discovered that required stucco repairs.  In those situations, Pulte/Del Webb worked with both the contractor that applied the stucco originally and the homeowner to rectify the issues.  Some stucco repair on these homes is going forward presently. 

Also ongoing is the arbitration initiated by a homeowner in 2006 relating to the stucco cladding on his home.  (In that case, the homeowner (plaintiff) alleged that certain defects in the stucco system caused his stucco to crack.) Unfortunately, due to restrictions placed on us by the arbitration process, Pulte/Del Webb has been unable to conduct testing on the house at issue to determine the cause of the stucco cracks. Pulte/Del Webb's desire is to conduct testing at this home in the next one to two months.

With regard to the stucco arbitration, we have received inquiries about the "class action" allegations raised in that litigation.  At this point, the arbitration still only involves the single homeowner that initiated the arbitration. However, that homeowner has expressed his intent to make a motion that could expand the current arbitration process into a class action. The plaintiff has not yet made a motion for class treatment, and based on the investigations conducted to date, Pulte/Del Webb will oppose any motion for class certification. Until such a motion is made by the plaintiff and granted by the arbitrator, the arbitration will continue to involve only one home.

Some Sun City Hilton Head homeowners have expressed concerns because attorneys involved in the arbitration are utilizing scare tactics and telling residents that there are “pervasive and systemic stucco problems” with their homes that may be causing water damage to the framing of their homes. While Pulte/Del Webb has determined that certain houses have required some stucco repairs, our stucco inspections and testing to date have not yielded evidence of systemic stucco problems in the community.

Del Webb/Pulte believes that a class action lawsuit provides more disadvantages to you than benefits.  Among the disadvantages is the lengthy class-action process – primarily that resolution or settlement may take several years.  In addition, if a class certification motion is granted, Del Webb/Pulte may be prohibited from responding to homeowner concerns relating to stucco.   The plaintiff's lawyers are already asking the arbitrator to prohibit Del Webb/Pulte from responding to homeowner complaints or to routine warranty inquiries related to stucco while the case is pending.  And lastly, class action lawyers often push for a monetary settlement, not a repair, in order to maximize their fees.  With a monetary award, it will fall upon the homeowners to hire their own contractors to perform repairs.  Our concern is that a homeowner with a valid issue with their stucco may receive the monetary award, and once Plaintiffs’ lawyers have taken their fees, the award may not be enough to repair the defects alleged by the lawyers.

As always, if you have a question or concern about your stucco, please contact Pulte Customer Relations.  If you have a concern about cracks in your stucco, we will be happy to come to your home to inspect your stucco system.  If we see that a problem exists and is covered by warranty, we will respond accordingly to remedy the problem.  Additionally, if you have a concern about water intrusion through cracks in your stucco, we will be happy to test the framing behind the stucco to confirm that it is not getting wet. 

Lastly, as with all aspects of your home, we encourage you to regularly inspect the stucco on your home.  Please remember that small cracks in your stucco (1/8th of an inch or smaller) are expected and are not normally considered to be a problem.  These small cracks usually occur because of the normal expansion and contraction of your home.  Often, it is a good idea to apply caulk to small stucco cracks on your home to keep them from expanding.  For more information about the maintenance of your stucco, you may refer to the Homeowner Reference Guide you received when you purchased your home.

Again, if you have any questions or concerns about your home's stucco system, please do not hesitate to contact your Pulte/Del Webb Customer Relations Manager.

On Behalf of Pulte Customer Relations Department

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Material furnished by CAM,  WWW editor - Steve Koehl. Revised: April 19, 2007.