and Video Courtesy of
Published August 7, 2007
First Coast News Investigation, last week, showed how a number of
homes in a Westside neighborhood are under inspection to see if the
houses meet state requirements.
More than 50 homes make up the Morse Glen subdivison. First Coast
News has learned that inspectors hired by a local law firm are
re-inspecting 34 of those homes for structural problems.
Our investigation found walls that hang over foundations by several
inches. We found threaded rods, that should be embedded in the
foundation, are visible.
Norman's home is one of those being re-inspected to see if it meets state
code. He says it does not.
First Coast News has learned Florida's Department of Business and
Professional Regulation has been in contact with Norman since January over
an investigation into the builder, Drees Homes, and the alleged problems
in the neighborhood.
Since our first story aired last week, Norman says that investigation has
"He said I'm sitting here looking at the news story," Norman
says that is what a state investigator called and told him after our story
Norman says state investigators called him asking questions, this time
about the private inspectors hired by the builder to check Norman's home.
"Brian Vaesa with the DBPR called me saying they've opened up an
additonal investigation into BPS, the private provider inspection firm.
The DBPR told First Coast News it cannot confirm or deny an investigation
because of state confidentiality laws.
The DBPR says a case won't be made public until a decision is made.
BPS, the inspection company, told us its attornies have told them not to
talk with us.
In our investigation, First Coast News uncovered a state law that changed
four years ago, allowing builders to hire private inspectors rather than
city inspectors to check homes.
Norman believes that law change played a role in his problem.
Norman says he's done a little investigating on his own and has turned
over results to state investigators.
Norman says he paid engineers to pull three samples of concrete from his
foundation for a pressure test.
Two of the three cores failed and were nowhere near the building code
"There's one(core) we don't have a sample of anymore because it was
in pieces when we got done," says Norman's attorney Jay Howanitz.
A third sample did pass the pressure test and went beyond state
Norman says he wants an answer as to why his home, less than two years
old, passed an inspection.
First Coast News has also learned that after our story aired, Drees Homes
sent letters to those in the neighborhood and made door to door visits.
The company says the purpose was to let neighbors know if they had a
problem the company is there to help.
Drees Homes says it's too early to tell if any neighbors want repairs
Both Drees Homes and the inspector, BPS, were investigated on the issue
last year. State investigators cited that there was not sufficient
evidence of a problem and the case was closed.
However, a new investigation started in January and is still incomplete.