No. of Recommendations: 2
Most structural issues with homes are a result of the soils they rest upon. If LGIH warrants against structural issues due to settlement, it is indeed a big value. Structures tend to do all of their settlement within the first few years.
A little late with a reply, but here goes.
I agree that soils are the main culprit of structural issues. I also agree that if there was any structural issues with a house, and that the builder is covering that risk for 10 years, it may indeed be a big value.
My overall point is that LGIH or anyone else of any size (relative here I know) should be doing soils analysis in the first place. Hire a geo-tech engineer, and based upon their findings, all of the work related to bad soils and settling should be resolved before the first house is built. If that means digging down further and importing more structural fill, or adding micro piles for example, then that is what it needs to be. Add the engineering and additional “fix” to the cost of the house.
Now if the builder is doing a house here and a house there, the cost would likely become prohibitive.
If however, a builder is big enough to be doing entire subdivisions themselves, and they are building in an area that has soils issues (or even if there are no known issues), they certainly should (my opinion) be doing a geo-test on every subdivision they own.
Now, with the structural issues resolved (theoretically) before construction begins, building a house that won’t fall down (exaggeration a bit) within 10 years seems highly likely and thus “expected”.
If a builder doesn’t know what he is building on, or cuts costs on up-front concept/design/engineering, and builds on an area that ends up failing, the builder has problems. Big problems. And the structural guarantee doesn’t mean much in the end as they will likely be getting sued for a boatload of cash, and likely more than one or two homeowners. This far outweighs the cost of hiring a geo-tech engineer.
That is why I feel offering a 10 year structural warranty sounds good and is good for the most part, but in reality it still isn’t worth all that much. It’s a “selling point”. I feel this is likely a strong selling point to a lot of customers, when in reality, it should be expected.