State Bill Aims to Afford Better Protection of Homeowners with Construction Regulations

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2019 | Firm News |

Recently, in response to an onslaught of claims by Pennsylvania homeowners for defects in their homes, state senators have introduced a bill aimed at further regulating new home construction. Experts have labeled Pennsylvania as the epicenter of construction defects related to water intrusion.

A combination of a construction boom since the year 2001, poor construction practices and wet weather conditions has led to several homes experiencing severe water intrusion. The water intrusion has been so severe that some homes are structurally damaged due to rotting wood in the underlying framing of the homes. Many homeowners did not discover defects and damage caused by water intrusion until it was too late.

The Investigation that Prompted the Legislation

An investigation by The Inquirer in November 2018 uncovered widespread construction defects in recently built homes in several Pennsylvania neighborhoods. Over time, water and moisture penetrated into the home through cracks, crevices and poor-quality weatherproofing materials, causing the wooden framing of the homes to begin rotting. In some instances, there is finding of mold and infestation by termites and phorid flies. The water intrusion found was not limited to stucco homes only. It was prevalent in even brick, vinyl siding, cement and stone homes.

Proposed Bill

The bill known as New Home Construction Consumer Protection Act was introduced by State Representative John Galloway with bipartisan support. The aim of the bill is to protect new homes buyers and hold builders accountable for defects from their constructions. It requires registrations with the Attorney General of Pennsylvania as well as notifications to consumers regarding discoveries of defects.

Notification Requirement

The bill requires builders to notify their customers within three months upon discovering “defective building material product, special order material, or building technique.”

Monetary Fund

The bill also establishes a fund known as the Home Builder Guaranty Fund from which consumers can collect money if the builder is unable to pay any settlements. The money collected will be administered by the Attorney General’s Office. The fund will be financed by $50 fee collected from homebuilders for each home that is in contract and building permit for which is issued. The fund is designed to provide homeowners the ability to have recourse from their inability to collect on settlement awards from bankrupt builders. Such homeowners may be eligible to receive up to $30,000 from the fund.

Registration with the Attorney General

Builders and Limited Liability Companies would be required to register with the Attorney General. The registration would include the names, addresses and phone numbers of all partners, managers and offices. Builders will also have to disclose all prior business names used. Limited Liability Companies are required to provide names of Directors who have more than five percent stake in the company. Registration also includes proof of insurance. Builders will have to provide proof of general liability including coverage for personal injuries and property damage.

Philadelphia Defective Construction Lawyers at Harty Williams Represent Homeowners and Builders in Construction Litigation

The skilled Philadelphia defective construction lawyers at Harty Williams have been representing homeowners and builders in lawsuits involving construction defects throughout Pennsylvania for several years. Our Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey offices represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call 267-383-3899 to arrange a consultation or contact us online.