Condo construction sinks floor, Valley man says

Posted at 7:23 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 19:38:49-04

If you live in a condo, you're affected by what your neighbors do.

Smelly food, noise and construction can have a direct effect on your unit.

Greg Simms of Phoenix said, he experienced those effects first-hand when the neighbor beneath his condo decided to remodel his place last fall.

"You could hear the localization of the sound of where they were cutting walls," Simms said.

He explained the day construction started his floor began to sink.

"I noticed that my floor in my kitchen had sunk along that wall," he said. "There was also damage to my kitchen countertops and backsplash and some of the cabinets."

Simms said a structural beam was removed without the proper support to hold up his floor.

He talked to the homeowner and the contractor working on the project.

"They then said we'll just re-grout it and everything else," Simms said. "But I knew better. That's the same as putting a Band-Aid on it. So it does not solve the structural issue that was caused by this."

He also said a permit was not pulled before the contractor began work.

"At that point I contacted the City of Phoenix," Simms said.

City inspectors agreed the project did not have the permits for a structural remodel and according to a spokesperson the project was issued a "notice of violation."

The City of Phoenix tells me that it "would have no role in ascertaining or verifying if any damage occurred as a result of new construction."

The permit was eventually pulled within a 30 day deadline given by the city, so no further action was taken. 

The beam was later replaced, but Simms say the damage was already done.

Simms filed a complaint with the Biltmore Gardens Homeowners Association hoping it would force his neighbor to fix any damage.

"I got a letter from the HOA's attorney that said it's not and we're not going do it and you have to sue him yourself," Greg said.

He also filed a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (AZROC) to see if it would help him get the contractor to do repairs.

The AZROC investigated.

According to a response from Helio Verde Contracting to the AZROC, "A structural header in a supporting wall was found to have been weakened by termite intrusion. The header was replaced with a larger sized glue lam beam."

The AZROC says permits were in place by the time it inspected the work—more than three months after the job's completion.

The agency concluded that it couldn't determine what caused the damage to Greg's condo.

A spokesman explained that "there was clear evidence of historic and previous settling in the same exact places as being alleged by the complainant. Due to this fact, the investigator was not able to determine whether the settling was due to the work performed by the contractor or due to the previous issues the residence experienced with settling."

Simms said, "For five and a half years none of this settling took place and all of this damage occurred over a period of four days. I was flabbergasted."

Still considering his options, Simms said he's filed a claim with the HOA's insurer, and is looking to into filing one with his own.

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