Help needed in AZ

Hey guys,

         I posted a few months back about problems we are having in regards to our home in AZ. Long story short, we contacted a construction defect attorney and he advised us to have our builder correct any problems they were willing to correct and after they have completed their work we should then make our complaints to the AZ Registrar of Contractors. Basically he said that submitting all of our complaints together should hopefully prevent any possible delays. 

        We have a pretty large list of problems we will be making complaints for. Our upstairs flooring is a nightmare. They send someone here a few week backs to pull the carpet and repair a few areas of our sub-floor. I knew we always had problem with some areas being uneven. There's an obvious spot down our hallway where the floor just drops off level. When he pulled back the carpet it was measured at close to 1/4". He said it should be like that but there was nothing he could do. Needless to say we have horrible differential creaks and noises because of the flooring being not level. It's even worse in our master bath. We were advised by our builder's rep that the floors in there would be fixed. We haven't been able to use our master shower for 6+ montsh because the shower tub creaks so bad due to the floors underneath it being so uneven. There are 3 different elevations in our master bathroom floor! The creaking when you walk through there is ridiculous. Again, our builder's rep said it's normal for the shower and tub and counters and walls to creak as you walk by them! 

        Also, we hear creaking and popping noises from our windows all day and night. Each window is about 4'x5'. We were told we hear the popping noises because of the temps outside. We'be talked to neighbors with the same model as ours and they are not experiencing this. If you press against the drywall next to each window you can easily make the windows creak. Every night as I sit and watch TV I hear about 3-4 pops an area from any given window.  

        Our most serious problem is with our driveway/walkway/garage. Basically the grading is way off. I posted about this before....We have standing water for days at a time after it rains. They attempted to repair a driveway slab before, but the problem now is much worse. In addition, we feel they created a trip hazzrd between the walkway/driveway. For the first 10 feet of driveway away from our garage there is pretty much a zero slope, thus when it rains the water just ponds. After complaining about this our builder sent the same sub out who did the original pour and the repair job. He did not water test the area or anything. He said it's fine and doesn't need to be repaired. No shock there! 

         Anyway, I am back because this weekend we are going to write up our complaints. We did ask a city code inspector if there are any guidelines in our area about site drainage, etc. Again, he did not want to stop by to look at it. He said there are only codes against water ponding next to the foundation, but this doesn't apply to water standing on concrete next to the foundation. Our city still uses the IRC-2000 ed. So, I have no idea if there is anything in there states there should be a required slope away from the foundation. It just makes no sense to me that water can be allowed to pond for days at a time on your driveway. During heavy rains the water is also leaking into our garage. It's just frustrating to have a new build home with this obvious problem. It makes it worse when we are surrounded by hundreds of homes by the same builder and none has anything close to this same standing water problem. 

            I've submitted some pics. Any advice or suggestions before we start our complaint process will be appreciated! Thanks!!

Master Bath Floor 2.jpg

Master Bath Floor 2.jpg

Upstairs Hall Floor .jpg

Upstairs Hall Floor 2.jpg

Master Bath Floor.jpg

Sorry, couldn’t fit all pics in one post…Here are some more:

Driveway Slab 5.jpg

Driveway 2.jpg



Driveway 3.jpg

Final Pics: Inside of Garage

Garage Door Leak 1.jpg

Garage Floor.jpg

Garage Side door leak.jpg

Slab Deviation 2.jpg

Garage Door Leak 2.jpg

Mike,. why don’t you hire a 3rd party Home Inspector to write up all the issues. He/She will be able to survey your complete home and report not only the already known obvious problems above. It will also help to avoid
frustration remarks in your write-up and supports your argument by having a qualified witness. Where in Arizona are you located ?


Hi Raymond…We’ve had 3 inspections ( walk-through, 6 mo, 1-year )…All of these problems, plus MANY more not discussed here were noted. Our builder’s warranty rep dismissed the reports and refused to address many of the issues within the reports.

We are in Maricopa, AZ.

We should have known from the beginning that we were buying a defective house. On our initial walk-through the house wasn’t even completed. We of course believed our rep when he told us everything would be finished to our satisfaction…Turns out the builder’s super for our build was fired about 2 weeks after we moved-in. At least half of the subs are no longer working for the builder. We were told by the builder’s CSR right to our faces about a month after we moved in that our house was built to substandard quality and he apologized over and over again and promised everything would be fixed…15 months later we still have all these problems and many more. It’s just been a nightmare since day one.

The drainage is addressed in the IRC in Chapter 4 under General R401.
" Surface drainage shall be diverted to a storm sewer conveyance or other approved point of collection so as to not create a hazard, Lots shall be graded so as to drain surface water away from the foundation walls. The grade away from foundation walls shall fall a minimum of 6 inches within 10 feet."

The cracking in the floor is addressed in the following document:

Framing lumber should meet lumber industry standards.

  1. PD Floors squeak or sub-floor appears loose.
    AT Floors and subfloors should not have excessive squeaks or be loose.
    CR Contractor should make necessary repairs.

  2. PD Wood or metal framed floors uneven or out of level.
    Unevenness of floor should not exceed 3/16" in 48". Floors should be level
    within 1/2" in any 12’.
    CR Contractor should make necessary repairs.

Raymond…I appreciate the response. Funny, I mentioned the IRC code and the AZ ROC standards that you mentioned and they had excuses for each.

The builder said as long as the water was less than 3/16" than they are NOT required to repair the area. So, according to that “logic” our entire driveway could be flooded at less than 3/16" and they would not be responsible.

When I mentioned the floors being out of level to the carpenter that they sent here to look at it he said he has no idea how they could ever fix the flooring given the area that drops off is an entire loft, and most of Master beroom and bath. It’s strange because at the back corners or Master bedroom you can feel an incline back to the level of the flooring before it goes off level. Bascially as you get upstairs everything is fine until you get halfway down the hallway and then it instantly drops about 1/4" and stays at that level until you get to the corners of the master bedroom.

The carpenter also said the upstairs floors are so off level because the downstairs floors are also off level and they built the framing for the upstairs based on that.

I feel the entire grading of our home was way off, thus all these problems. The concrete PT slab should never have been poured. The concrete sub likely knows he messed up and now is trying to cover himself by saying nothing is wrong with the driveway/walkway/garage.

It’s amazing how I can present these numbers and codes to them and they still come up with excuses to not make things right.


            I forgot to ask....Given our home was built here in Maricopa and they still use the IRC 2000, were they even required to adhere to this code?: 

The drainage is addressed in the IRC in Chapter 4 under General R401.
" Surface drainage shall be diverted to a storm sewer conveyance or other approved point of collection so as to not create a hazard, Lots shall be graded so as to drain surface water away from the foundation walls. The grade away from foundation walls shall fall a minimum of 6 inches within 10 feet."

Bascially, is this something I can officially submit with our complaint? I fear it will get thrown out based on the building codes at the time of our construction.

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]You should fall in this catagory:[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]On October 6, 2004, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to:[/FONT]Adopt amendments to the Planning & Development Local Additions & Addenda to adopt the following building codes with AZBO/MAG amendments:

  • 2003 International Building Code
  • 2003 International Residential Code
  • 2003 International Mechanical Code
  • 2002 National Electrical Code
    **All newly adopted Codes, Local Additions & Addenda become effective January 1st, 2005. **
    **Other Previously Adopted Development Codes: **

*]1994 Uniform Plumbing Code as adopted by the State of Arizona
and the above quoted code has not changed between 2000 and 2003.

I don’t believe that the code has changed on the quoted code between IRC 2000, IRC 2003 and IRC 2006. The only change I see is the exception rule.

So their excuse is they built the home off-level downstairs, so were forced to be off-level upstairs as well?

Blows my mind the crap people say. :frowning:


       It's crazy, I actually had him tell me to my face that if there was an initial problem with the grading that it would impact the entire framing process. If the grading was not as it should be, the framing would be "off" as well.....He then had the nerve to say that even though we have standing water, and uneven flooring, etc. that our house has no problems. Funny he says that yet we've had their subs out here at least 30+ times in the last 15 months and still nothing is fixed. Our drywall in our loft has been opened 3 times now because they can't get the walls straight. Our neighbors always ask us why they have crews here all the time.......But yet nothing is wrong, even though this is the same guy that admitted our house was built below their normal standards by inferior contractors and labor.

Mike, just so you know, floors don’t squeak because they’re out of level or flat. Squeaking is usually caused by a fastener problem of some sort. Usually the fastener (typically nails, sometimes staples, seldom screws) was left protruding slightly so that the subfloor is able flex as it’s walked across, resulting in the subfloor sliding up and down around the shaft of the fastener, causing the squeak.

If the foundation was built out of level and this was never corrected during the process of framing the lower floors, upper floors will also be out of level. Grading of the lot does not effect whether or not the framing is level.

With all this stuff about the building being out of level, what did your inspectors say?

I see worse puddles than that all the time. Not great, but certainly not terrible.

Thanks for the info. Yes, they did use nails on the sub-floors. I was told they now use screws instead. The noises from the floors are not so much squeaks as they are actual movement sounds There are areas I can stand on and literally pop the floor up and down by shifting my weight back and forth. This is happening primarily in locations where the floor drops off or rises suddenly.

      Our inspectors that we hired agreed that there were some issues with the foundation being built off level and recommended in their reports that a specialist should be hired to verify, etc. And again, our builder refused to acknowledge there is a problem. 

      Please note some of the pics of the standing water were taken many hours after water had been poured onto the area. The garage leak was due to rain. We now have stains all along the inside of our garage because of these continued leaks. 

       I can imagine you see worse puddles. However, in our case it is extremely frustrating when we bought in a brand-new community and we are the only ones with this problem. I have video of our street after it has rained. There are many of the same model home as ours, and each of their driveways is dry within an hour after any major rain storm. Ours will have puddles for days at a time afterwards. Also, because water ponds at the bottom of the slope they created, during last winter we actually had some water freeze when the temps dropped at night. Again, its just a major issue to us considering this is a newly built home and we are the only ones with this problem. 

       What do we tell any potential buyer when we go to sell when they ask about the slope and why water doesn't properly drain away from the foundation. Heck, if I were a buyer I wouldn't want any part of that problem. Why should we get penalized because of their error? Hopefully some of that makes some sense.

Sad really. Anyone, probably a five year old, could figure out that no matter the grade, when constructing a home you always level the area that you will be building on. They level it corner to corner and side to side, and then again…etc…etc… it’s VERY precise. I used to watch the crews working when my husband was in construction and even way back then I knew stuff like that.

I personally think that they are dragging out the process to keep you from filing within any sort of statute of limitations or something similar. They’re draggin their heels for a reason and it’s smelly…

You should contact the AZ Registrar of Contractors now as it doesn’t look like they are going to correct any of the conditions any time soon. So what if you have to file more than one complaint.
Also, you should contact one of the local TV Action Lines. They loved to do stories on cases like this. Maybe you will get some feet moving when the cameras start rolling.
Does Maricopa even have a city code inspector? Was he the one that singed off on it originally? I know that Maricopa use to be a speed bump
on the way to San Diego (pop of about 3,000) a couple of years ago and when we moved it had grown to about 50,000 in a little over a year. They were just starting to throw up houses on the south side of the railroad tracks and around the Casino when we moved in 2005 so the city inspector(s) are probably too busy to even think about visiting passed mistakes.
Who is the builder?

We are in a DR Horton home. And yes, Maricopa does have city code officials, but I’ve heard some horror stories about them. I think the official population is now close to 20,000. We are actually on the North side of the tracks in the original master-planned community ( Rancho El Dorado ).

In reference to what Raymond posted about the IRC code regarding the required slope from a foundation. Even though Maricopa may not have a specific code to address this, according to few defect laywers we’ve spoken to, they made it clear that the representive from the AZ ROC will indeed still order the builder to adhere to professional industry standards as noted below © in the AZ ROC Workmanship Standards. I’m hoping this will help in getting some resolution to our grading/driveway situation.


A. A contractor shall perform all work in a professional and workmanlike
B. A contractor shall perform all work in accordance with any applicable
building codes and professional industry standards.
C. All work performed by a contractor in a county, city, or town that has not
adopted building codes or where any adopted building codes do not contain
specific provisions applicable to that aspect of construction work shall be
performed in accordance with professional industry standards.

  • My fear is that to properly fix the problem will mean some major construction needs to be done. Our finished garage floor slopes at an extreme level compared to our neighbors. I think it’s in this error as to why they couldn’t pour the driveway at a higher level. Honestly, I see no way in which they can level the driveway with the walkway because it would be 3" higher than the garage floor!

Ugghhh…This is such a nightmare.

If other homes in the development are experiencing similar problems, the class action construction defect attorneys can’t be far away. Bide your time and when the class action begins, jump on board. The legal firms will generally hold a community meeting at a near by school and paper all homeowners in the development in question. They’ll present information on owner compliants and discovery issues relating to problems in or about the homes.

Sorry you’re having so many problems, but you’re not alone. It happens everywhere and at every price range.

Good Luck!

That’s just it, we seem to be pretty alone in this as far as I can tell. Nobody has anything close to the grading/concrete problem. I’ve spoken with quite a few neighbors and they have the usual cosmetic issues. Oen neighbor just shakes his head every time he seeks a work truck pull up at our house for more repairs. The thing is, the super that was on-site during our build did not supervise 95% of the other homes directly on our street. He was a really you ng guy and you could just tell he was over his head with everything. I’m guessing the subs walked all over him and he did very little to stop them. Our house was also built about a year and a half ago during the huge buidling boom out here so I’m sure the subs were ordered to get in and get out as fast as you can and on to the next job. Not to mention, over 75% of the subs that built our home are no longer employed by DR Horton. And again, the super that was on-site was fired a few weeks after our house was done.

Anyway…My wife and I filled out our AZ ROC complaint forms all day today. So, MAYBE, just MAYBE we can get something done.

Mike… I’ve done over 300 new HI in Maricopa including 50 or more in RED, ]over the last 2 years…
It looks like your only recourse is doing what your doing, file the complaint and don’t back off, [over 90% do and the builder gets away with it]
Couple tips on filing the complaint, file for everthing you can think of, the [size=3]ROC will** only** look at what is listed on the complaint. IE: look beyond the drainage issues… [/size]
Document everything repaired as your warranty on any corrected item extends another 2 years or untill completed properly.

Additional items to consider… That I commonly find.

If the builder provided the front landscaping, are there uneven or thin areas
in the rocks?

Is the surface raised at garage floor or side walk, poential trip hazard]

Tap several areas of the drive including surrounding PT areas to determine if there are hollow areas under the concrete.

Check everthing listed that can be claimed as a possible ROC complaint in The workmanship standards in the concrete section.

Is the surface pitted or spalling.
Unsightly finish on garage floor or drive.
Chipped at edges
Gaps at expansion joints,
Exposed aggreate …to name a few.

Stick to your guns and if you need you can appeal any decisions made by the ROC.

As far as filing a class action suit… From what i’ve seen and heard…
[1] The attorneys are the ones that make out best on most cases
[2] All work stops untill the complaint is resolved in court