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tagaravabha 2012-07-30 07:34 PM

basement flooding a week before possession? Help!
I’m taking possession of a new home tomorrow and had my walk-through last week. During the July 12th rains, I asked my builder if our basement had flooded, and they said no. When visiting the home two weeks ago, I noticed what appeared to be water damage on the floor and a clean-up operation. The builder confirmed that water had entered through the window well (sump pump was working properly), and after some probing, admitted that this was due to the downspouts having not been lowered and the rough grading having not been finished due to backlogs with the landscapers (as well as indirect suggestions that there may not have been enough gravel in the window wells/settlement had occurred). The problem was supposedly corrected, but then happened again after another rain storm. We saw the pooling of water in two locations in the basement, one near the window well and the other near the outlet for the sump pump (they eventually said that the "clean-up cap" (what is this?) was not tightened fully before frost walls were insulated (still dont understand this). They say they have now tightened it and tested it). The third-party inspector (hired by the builder) who accompanied us on our walk-through seemed to be okay with the whole thing and didnt even list it on his report until I told him to do so. Aside from lowering the downspouts, the only thing the builder has done is removed the insulation for drying, and says this will be sufficient. They’re trying to get pre-grading done and expediting the rough grade, but cannot confirm when this will happen. On my insistence, they have applied sandbags around the window wells and will be doing a full mold inspection.

I expressed my displeasure and concern at every stage and maintained an E-mail trail - the builder has acknowledged most of what I originally wrote by E-mail. I went with the builder's lawyer to save some money, and they have made it clear to us that they cannot act against the builder under any circumstances, and that we'd have to retain another lawyer in this case - I fear its too late for that. The builder does have a 1-year comprehensive warranty, and I do plan to have a home inspector come in and make all of our concerns known at some point during the year (maybe after 90 days).

Here are my questions:

1) regarding potentially inadequate gravel in the window well - is this negligence on their part?
2) regarding no rough grading done due to landscapers' backlogs - is this a legitimate excuse for them?
3) regarding downspouts not lowered - is this negligence on their part?
4) What are their obligations in these circumstances? Are they doing enough?
5) what can I do to protect myself at this stage?
6) What concerns/expectations should I make known in writing before I sign on the dotted line?

I'd appreciate any further advice you can give me - thanks!

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