Fayetteville-Area Home Builder Cutting Corners, Skirting Buildin - WNCN: News, Weather

Fayetteville-Area Home Builder Cutting Corners, Skirting Building Codes

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By Charlotte Huffman

Some homeowners say a Fayetteville-area builder is cutting corners and selling homes that are not up to par with county inspection standards. But the county building inspectors aren't catching the problems until it's too late.

Regina Wills, a military contractor, and her husband, an active-duty sergeant major, are one of several families who purchased a home from Caviness Land Development and is now experiencing issues with their home's construction.

Wills bought the home in the Baywood South subdivision near Fort Bragg for more than $260,000; four years later, a state-certified general appraiser valued the home at only $7,000.

"This has been a house that we bought as our retirement home," Wills said. "This is where we planned to stay."

Swayn Hamlet, North Carolina Certified Appraiser, who appraised Wills' home, said he found 19 code violations in the home.

Among the problems: moisture in the floors, no roof paper underneath the shingles, no weather resistant wrap behind the brick veneer, signs of mold and an improperly built foundation. Wills deemed the issues worthy of a lawsuit.

In a deposition, a structural engineer determined that it is "likely cheaper to rebuild the house than to do all these fixes."

"It’s only worth $7,000, and it has to be bulldozed," Wills said.

In the fall of 2010, a jury found the builder, Caviness Land Development, guilty for "failing to deliver a fully constructed residence" and awarded Wills and her husband about $240,000. But Wills contends that the cost of the house, legal fees and extensive testing fees add up to a $700,000 debt.

"It's wiped us out completely," Wills said. "Every last penny: gone."

Cumberland County Planning and Inspections Director Tom Lloyd said it is the inspector’s job to catch major code violations and deny an occupancy permit. Lloyd says Cumberland County only employs certified inspectors.

Watson Caviness initially agreed to an on-camera interview, but later changed his mind.

With base realignment scheduled to be completed by 2013, the Fayetteville-area population is expected to increase by more than 40,000 people.

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