Patrick and Marci McCalley moved into their Lakelands home in 2002, excited to raise their two young daughters and make happy family memories there. They did not expect to spend a decade trying to fix what they say are problems that should never have existed.
The McCalleys say they quickly found numerous construction errors and code violations in their new house that the builder, NV Homes, has been unwilling to resolve after years of deliberation.
As one example, Patrick McCalley cites pieces of siding that have fallen off of his home due to improper installation. NV Homes promised to repair the problem, he said, but the company’s fix only intensified the issues.
He also said a more serious problem exists with the framing anchors, which serve as the go-between between the concrete foundation and the wooden framing of a home, and the sill plate, which is the first board. Because most of the framing anchors have either too few or no nails holding them to the sill plate, he said, the house is not properly attached to the foundation.
McCalley’s list of issues with his home is extensive, including such items as a hot water heater with no drain; a backup drain for an HVAC unit that would empty into the attic rather than the exterior of the house; and a gas stove in the kitchen installed without shut-off valve access. The family has never been able to use its basement fireplace because there is a cinder block in the middle of the flue.
“The chimney sweep could not get his brush past the obstruction,” McCalley said.
In total, he estimates it would cost close to $300,000 to make all repairs necessary to bring his home to code.
McCalley said he has found similar problems exist widely across NV Homes and Ryan Homes products in Maryland and beyond. (NVR, Inc. is the parent company of both NV Homes and Ryan Homes.) He believes the city of Gaithersburg inspectors missed these problems during the construction of the home.
“The homeowners are stuck with resulting consequences of … NV Homes not building to code,” McCalley.
NV Homes did not respond to calls or emails from The Town Courier.
In addition to the daily stress the McCalleys say these structural issues have caused, their home value has also been impacted. Their most recent property tax bill includes an assessment value that is $258,350 lower than the previous year’s bill. According to the assessment notice, the building value was lowered by more than 40 percent due to “extensive condition issues.”
McCalley said he was told by Carol McDonald at the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation that the lower value resulted from structural issues observed within the home.
McDonald did not reply to a request for comment.
McCalley said he has consistently attempted to resolve the problems with his home with NV Homes and the city of Gaithersburg since 2002. He has amassed a mountain of paperwork and legal documentation over the years.
In one email regarding the siding, Gaithersburg Director of Permits and Services Wes Burnette acknowledged that NV Homes did not meet code on McCalley’s home. “No doubt they did not meet code in that the product was not constructed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The city can attest to the fact that it is a code violation,” Burnette said in the email to McCalley.
There is legal precedent for addressing similar problems with NV Homes. In 2002, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer negotiated an agreement with Ryan Homes of New York and NVR, Inc. of Virginia to remedy numerous consumer complaints about the quality of its work including shoddy workmanship, improper installation of roofs and siding, failure to follow manufacturers’ instructions, failure to meet code requirements, improper anchoring, and failure to comply with architects’ plans and building permits.
McCalley also cited a similar case with a Maryland community that settled more recently.
Beyond financial loss, McCalley said the issues with his home have taken a toll on his quality of life. “I spend a lot of time attending consumer protection meetings, meeting with attorneys and corresponding with manufacturers. It’s caused a lot of anxiety,” he said. “I’ve become a weather nut because I need to make sure my family is not on the upper floors of the house in any severe weather.”
The McCalleys are spending the school year out-of-state and are renting their house while they are away. (The current occupants signed a disclosure agreement acknowledging the issues with the home.) They recently received an April court date for their lawsuit against NV Homes.