Home not structurally sound, new owners say

Kelly Holleran Nov. 3, 2008, 2:24pm

A Dupo couple has filed suit against the company and its owners who built their house, claiming it is not structurally sound and the builders have failed to repair it, despite a warranty.

Leland and Clara Venable purchased a home from William Levin and Sons New Construction, which the company built, according to a complaint filed Oct. 23 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Along with the house came a warranty that provided protection for one year against "latent defects," the suit states.

The Venables claim that less than one year after they moved into the house, they made complaints about problems they had with the house, including cracked door frames and drywall cracks, but that William and Judith A. Levin, owners of William Levin and Sons, failed to repair the problems.

They also hired a structural engineer to inspect their house.

He told them their "home is in a state of structural failure which jeopardizes their habitability of the premises," the suit states.

The Levins constructed the house in an unworkmanlike and inferior manner because they failed to construct the house in accordance with industry standards and failed to install materials for the house in accordance with recommendations, according to the complaint.

In addition, they failed to install a foundation that falls below the frost line, failed to install a concrete pad thick enough to resist internal bending to support the building, installed less than eight inches of concrete between the soil and wood frame and failed to provide a concrete masonry unit adequate to be considered a great beam, the suit states.

The Venables claim the Levins also failed to repair the door frames or the drywall cracks, failed to install an operable front door, failed to repair the front door, failed to properly install the exterior siding, which is warped, failed to properly install the vinyl tile in the dining room, which is not level, and failed to attach the bottom of the wall to the concrete slab, resulting in a 3/8 inch air leakage.

The Levins also installed exterior vinyl siding less than eight inches away from the finish grade, a violation of building code, according to the complaint.

In the five-count suit, the Venables are seeking a judgment in excess of $250,000, plus cots.

They are represented by Flynn and Guymon of Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 08-L-537.

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