Dayton, OH asked in Construction Law for Ohio

Q: What are my options if a new home builder is refusing to fix issue in a manner consistent with the blueprints,

We recently built a new home and took possession in Dec 2018. The blueprints for this home show a well basement exit with stairs "exiting to grade". The new home builder made a mistake when pouring the concrete steps and they now exit about 20 inches above the grade. The builder is unable to raise the grade of the yard farther without causing other issues. Give that the grade cannot be raised, we've stated they need to modify the steps, by removing concrete, to meet the existing grade. The builder wants to resolve the situation by adding a step down or by adding dirt in the local area around the steps. As I understand it, adding dirt in this fashion does not constitute raising the grade as there will be a noticeable difference in slope from the rest of the yard. In both cases we find these solutions unsightly and possibly dangerous. The blueprints which we signed do not show either feature. Can we compel the builder to cut out the steps so they exit to grade?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Bruce Martin Broyles
Bruce Martin Broyles
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Lancaster, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: I believe that you have a breach of contract. However, your damages maybe severely limited by the diminution of fair market value. The damages would be the cost to correct or cure, but those damages are limited by the amount that the fair market value of your home is diminished by the failure to complete according to the blue prints.

For example, if it will cost 10,000 to correct the issue but the fair market value of your home was diminished by only 500, then your damages would be limited to 500.

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