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North Las Vegas Neighbors Struggle With Cracked Walls, Sinking Homes

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Residents of a North Las Vegas subdivision say their 2-year-old homes are sinking, and the developer isn’t responding to their concerns.

Some of the homes in Beazer Homes’ Colton Ranch development, near Cheyenne Avenue and Simmons Street, have cracked walls, sewer blockages, and sinking foundations.

“When I noticed the cracks they told me that it was normal house settling and that it would be OK,” homeowner Lorie Williams told State of Nevada.

Instead, the problems continued, and Williams called Beazer’s efforts at repairs “Band-Aids” that only dealt with the issue cosmetically.

The literal underlying issue is the soil on which the homes are constructed. A 2018 pre-construction engineering report found the development would sit on expansive soils, which swell when wet and push on buildings’ foundations.

“You can build on expansive clay, but you've got to keep the water away from it,” said Neil Opfer, an associate professor in the school of engineering and construction management expert.

Opfer said one option would have been to excavate around the outside of the slab and build an underground cutoff wall to impede water flow, something that was not done at Colton Ranch.

“Concrete is always going to crack; drywall is going to crack; stucco is going to crack, but to see the significant problems that Laurie Williams and the other homeowners are having this development is sad,” Opfer said.

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“The reason why you buy a new house in the first place is because you don't want to get stuck with the problems that you might run into with a used house.”

A reporter who looked into the complaints said several neighbors besides Williams report problems with their homes.

“We talked to at least seven different homeowners. We put three different families on camera for the course of our investigation, and the other families were sharing very similar stories,” said Darcy Spears, chief investigative reporter for KTNV-TV.

She described the Colton Ranch homeowners as “a close-knit community of neighbors, primarily minorities, and primarily people who are first-time homebuyers.”

An emailed statement from David Goldberg, Beazer's senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the company "follows best homebuilding practices and complies with all building code requirements."

"Construction in the desert soils of Southern Nevada presents challenging conditions for all builders, residential or commercial," the statement says. "With respect to the Colton Ranch community, Beazer Homes obtained and followed expert reports and recommendations throughout the construction process. Despite these best practices some drywall cracking occurred, which is not unusual in new construction. These issues are covered by the homeowner’s warranty."

Guests

Lorie Williams, homeowner, Colton Ranch; Neil Opfer, engineering professor, UNLV; Darcy Spears, chief investigative reporter, KTNV-TV

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