Touchstone Homes

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Nightmare
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SUWANEE, GEORGIA -- Since moving into the brand new home it has been the worst experience. Below is a brief explanation of the troubles that I have been going through since moving into the brand new home I purchased in October 2008. I have all documents from the builder and inspectors, also pictures for evidence.

I have had by basement flood 4 times due to the builder not waterproofing correctly and not pouring the concrete for the foundation correctly.
The basement floor is cracking very badly in sections throughout the floor. In fact the concrete floor in the garage is cracking as well and pulling apart from the concrete wall that it is attached to. Only a 1.5 yr old house.
Plumbing problem December 2008 (two months after moving in), after gutting my entire kitchen ceiling to find the problem (since the builder did not want to hire a plumber to find the issue he used 3 non plumbing workers) they cut 3- 3' X 3' squares in my kitchen ceiling and finally found the problem. The issue was a pvc pipe that was completely level (hello water runs down hill). It took them 6 months to fix the ceiling. However, it is still noticeable where the builder cut out the squares in the ceiling, which is real good for reselling the home. The plumbing throughout the house is still not up to pair. I have done research and looks like my home built by Touchstone is not the only home that has plumbing issues.
The bathtubs and stand up shower floor were all very soft and loose when walking on them. The builder had a worker inject each of them. In doing so he had to drill 3 holes in each floor. In did fix the problem. However, once again this is a new home it looks very bad.
The main subfloor of the home is very soft in areas (this is noted in the original home inspection before purchasing the home). I had sections of hard wood floors replaced due to loud cracking and popping. The new wood flood sections are uneven and stand out when walking throughout living room area. Some of the truces under the subfloor have been replaced due to the floors being soft. However, the work looks very poor and another eyesore when reselling the home.
Since moving in all doors in the home have had to be adjusted in order to close completely, this has been done on 4 different times. The foundation of the home seems to be the problem. The builder states this is normal. Even a home inspector told me that the foundation could have been poured incorrectly.
Outside of the home, the front walkway/stoop leading to the front door has basically dropped 4 inches due to the soil not being packed before the concrete was poured. This resulted in the walkway breaking off the stoop. Under the walkway the builder attempted to backfill with dirt to prevent this problem from reoccurring. The home inspector stated that concrete would be the permanent fix for this in the past, however, Touchstone's policy is only do the bare minimum to fix the problem temporarily. This problem is also causing water to flow under the walkway to collect at the foundation putting pressure against the foundation. Also this same problem occurred at my neighbors townhome as well. This resulted in water when raining to pour from underneath his walkway/stoop down to the side of my foundation and pour into my basement. The builder said this was normal. If having a basement flooding is normal then this builder did not read his code of builders handbook. Also this is another area that is decreasing the value of the home not to mention instead of looking like a new home it looks 30yrs of age.
During the 11 month paint touchup. Before this I told the builder and the workers (well showed the workers due to not speaking or understanding English) exactly what I need covered. I know I thought all painting companies covered everything in the home before the work took place. Not Touchstone Homes. I told them to cover the $4,000 hutch/console, $1500 50" LCD TV, and a $300 picture that you can not buy anymore. This items were not covered at all. I have paint on all 3 of these items. On the console someone actually tried to clean the sheetrock dust off using a rag. This grinded the dust into the paint. I notified the Kennesaw Police and have the police report. Even the police officer stated that Touchstone Homes did this intentionally.
Just last week my girlfriend discovered that the wall upstairs is pulling away from the ceiling. I know that is foundation problems.
Retention Wall has blown completely out. Touchstone Homes states it was due to the 100yr flood. Their own engineers states it was not constructed the way they had designed it. Stated they did not want to spend the money. Therefore the back of my home looks like a landfill. There has been trash and debris for 6 months. The city will not enforce them to clean this up nor will the HOAs. Finally workers have been out to repair this issue. Will digging to remove the trash and debris they finally reached water. Yes water there is now 4' deep and 8' wide of a pond just 30 ft from my home. I was told my home was built on piers that were 30ft below to the hard ground, problem the crew is past that 30ft mark so what is hold my home up.

Above are just some of the issues that I have been facing since moving into my new home purchased from Touchstone Homes. I have contacted them numerous of times and even have signed 11 month warranty documents from the president stating that these problems will be fixed. They have not been fixed. Some have been attempted but I was very unsatisfied. I am the customer one would think in bad economic times as we are facing that the president, Jeff Abraham, of Touchstone Homes would be going out of his way to fix and compensate the customers for the mental and physical drain this company has put my girlfriend and myself through.

I would be greatly honored if I could get your company to help me resolve these issues as quickly as possible. I have even contacted the city officials and have gotten nothing in return. I just can not understand why I am going through this nightmare. I have taken 9 days off from work. Numerous hours on the phone at work dealing with Touchstone Homes and their workers. I bought a $185,000 home and personally I get treated better when buying a ceiling fan from Lowes. This company has ruined my mindset on buying a new home.
     
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Faulty Workmanship
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SUGAR HILL, GEORGIA -- On August 31, 2003, I purchased a Touchstone home. Shortly after moving in, I began having plumbing problems. On several occasions when doing laundry in the upstairs laundry room, the toilet and bath tub on the first floor would fill with dirty water and sewage. Then once while I was doing laundry, dirty sewage water started pouring out of the center of the living room ceiling, down the ceiling fan and off its blades onto the walls and floor. The dirty water had also started running from the ceiling in the basement. I called Touchstone and was told to call the plumbing service listed in the home owner’s manual. I called Touchstone's plumbing company and they came out. The plumber snaked the line and opened it up. He suggested that the clogged line was caused by diapers that my husband, my children, or I had flushed down the toilet. I pointed out that our children were not of diaper wearing age and we had no diapers in the house. He further suggested that the house was very new and that may be a workman had flushed something (a rag) that he shouldn’t have. He stated that this was a common problem.

With the line cleared, he left. We continued to have problems. I had to have them come out again for the exact same reason, and they snaked the line again and left. Touchstone told me that I would have to pay the bill in which I did. Still the problem continued. I called Touchstone Customer Service to inform them that I was having this ongoing issue with the plumbing and they insisted that it was my problem because it was out of warranty. Since the plumbing was backed up again, with my tub overflowing with sewage and my ceiling fan dripping once again, I snaked the toilet myself. The problem was temporarily resolved, however it happened even again. My ex-husband came over and tried to snake the drain from the downstairs toilet. When he was unable to clear the line from the toilet, he went to the basement to try to clear it from the main line. When he unscrewed the cap to the main line, filthy water and sewage poured out over him and onto the basement floor. It finally cleared.

When Touchstone was called again, they continued to state that it was my problem and my responsibility to get it corrected even though they were contacted numerous times regarding the same problem before our first year warranty. It continued to happen again. This time was even worse. The tub overflowed and sewage went into the ventilation system and poured into the basement damaging the remainder of the items that were left down there. The insulation was covered with sewage as well. That had to be removed and thrown out with furniture and lots of toys and electronic equipment. We seemed to be getting no where with Touchstone or Northwest Plumbing, so I called a different plumbing company. They came out and put a camera down the line and found that the plumbing between the house and the sewer did not come together and only about 30% of the overall piping was open to allow sewage through. The plumber determined that not only was the plumbing not connected properly, but there was a slump in the line. There was evidence of roots in the lines and leakage into the soil even causing more growth in the surrounding shrubbery. This is a glaringly obvious construction defect, especially noticeable because of it being a left to right shift opposed to an up and down one. On page 80 in the Touchstone Home Information Book, under BUILDER WARRANTY GUIDELINES, it states:

No leaks should exist in any soil, waste vent or water pipe. Condensation on piping does not constitute leakage and is not covered. Your builder will take corrective action to eliminate leakage unless the leakage is caused by freezing pipes.

Sewers, fixtures and drains should operate properly. Your builder is not responsible for sewers, fixtures and drains which are clogged through the homeowner’s negligence. When defective construction is the cause, your builder will repair it; when homeowner negligence is the cause, the homeowner is responsible for all repair costs.

This defect has caused thousands of dollars in damage to personal property. I tried to have Touchstone resolve the problem years ago without success. I would not have so much damage in my house and to my property if Touchstone had held to the agreement in the owner’s manual and first year warranty responsibilities. It has caused bacteria-ridden, feces and urine filled water to be strewn about the house and allowed to seep into its carpets, drywall, duct work, insulation, et cetera…causing an unhealthy and hazardous living environment. Since I called Touchstone about this, I have done some research regarding sewage spilled in residential environments and the biological hazard that such contamination creates and the professional cleaning that is required. According to the Health Department, this faulty construction has caused hazardous conditions in my home in which two young children and I live, and I work there on a daily basis. Touchstone not only has not provided the cleanup service to make the house a healthy living environment for my children, but they were actually rude to me when I discussed any of this with them. It did not seem to affect them when I explained to them that I had been experiencing continual headaches which I believe could be caused by the contamination of waste material still present in my home structure and ventilation system. While Touchstone sent out a crew to fix the line between the house and the sewer after many attempts to resolve this within months of my purchasing the house and moving in, they have not done anything to address the damages caused by the faulty plumbing. Affected areas of the house need to be sanitized. Personal property that had to be disposed of, needs to be replaced. The damage to the yard and landscaping need to be repaired as well. While initial repairs to the pipe have been completed, this matter is far from resolved; however Touchstone has only now offered me a mere $1,200 that will only cover my latest plumbing bill and some of the structural damages. The representative from Touchstone Homes in charge of customer service, stated that if I accepted the money, I would have to sign a full release stating that Touchstone is not liable for any of the damages or anything else that could possibly arise from this situation (which in now adding up it appears to be an additional $8,000 in damages). I feel this is unacceptable. In addition to numerous damaged toys, furniture, and electronics, over $1,200 in plumbing costs, numerous costly carpet cleanings, damaged landscaping - the insulation, ventilation system, ceiling, contaminated and rusted ceiling fan, and the carpet in hallway and great room will have to be repaired or replaced. I will also have to have the house inspected and possibly treated for contamination.

I am pasting some information that was copied straight from the Touchstone website. I am disappointed that this information is not true.

The philosophy of Touchstone Homes says it all, "We pledge to build quality designed homes that will satisfy the highest expectations of our customers. Excellence, integrity and honesty in the conduct of our business, and above all, consistency in quality and performance, are the cornerstones of the success of Touchstone Homes." "We are focused on giving our buyers the most home for the money," emphasizes Richard Stein, Chief Executive Officer of Touchstone Homes. "Our product offers a high degree of finish for the money; more than the consumer might get from our competition. We do not want to sacrifice quality or design, which are our trademarks."

Touchstone Homes has been the recipient of numerous Professionalism Awards from the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Associations, in recognition by its peers in the industry for its solid construction and its exciting floor plans. Touchstone Homes has also earned the designation of Certified Professional Home Builder, which reflects a solid and successful company that will be around in the future. Bryan Cohen, President, believes, "It is important to make certain that every home we build and every community we build in lives up to our standards of high quality, because each home we build is a home that we would be proud to call our own."

Touchstone Homes is a customer and community driven homebuilder offering diversified, personalized products serving the greater Atlanta marketplace. We are striving to become a production oriented builder providing a wide array of standard options to our standard plans.

Core Values

At Touchstone Homes we........

Focus on providing value to our customers, trade partners and employees.
Believe in accountability, responsibility and communication.
Ensure that all decisions support our mission goals and maintain our guiding principles.
Strive to create a company culture focused on a family environment.
Strive to employ the best team members.
Focus on systems development and use of technology.
Provide opportunity for personal and professional growth for all stakeholders.
Foster entrepreneurial spirit among all team members.
Continually re-evaluate company resources, market environment and stakeholder's expectations.
Emphasize honesty, integrity and fairness in all that we do.

I requested of Touchstone Homes that they uphold their warranty and fairly compensate me for the damages that have affected my family and me. I requested that my home be professionally inspected to ensure there are no collateral contaminates still located in the house. I feel that Touchstone needs to replace the contaminated ventilation system, insulation, and ceiling fan. Also, depending on the professional opinion of a qualified inspector, Touchstone needs to either professionally clean or replace the contaminated carpet. In addition, I need to be compensated financially for the damaged items in the house and landscaping repairs, plumbing bills, and carpet cleanings. Touchstone has refused to do this. I am extremely disappointed from a company that was named "America's Best Builder".
     
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moneybags on 2007-12-12:
I hope you kept good records of your service calls to Touchstone and all your receipts/cancelled checks of everything you've paid to correct this horrendous situation. First, contact your attorney. Sometime a good "lawyer letter" will get them to do the right thing. You should also let them know that if they do not correct everything and restore you financially, you will sue for your costs, replacements and punitive damages, too. Also, contact the consumer protection division of your local DA's office. Then contact the newspaper and TV stations. They just LOVE this sort of thing.

Let the Homebuiders Association know and also contact the Board of Realtors. Just informational. Some of them have review committies.

Did you use a Realtor? If so, contact the RE company and your agent and let them know about this cruddy construction. If this happened to one of my buyers (yes, I am a realtor) I would let every agent in my company know about this and would let the builder know that I will not show anymore of their homes due to construction problems and failure to live up to their own policies and warranties.

Best of luck to you.
Principissa on 2007-12-13:
That is horrible. Clearly a case of shoddy building. I'm no plumbing expert, but IMO it's only going to get worse when the tree roots start getting bigger. I'm not a fan of lawyers, but it sounds like you really need one. Take all copies of service calls that you have, including the report from the plumber you paid for, as well as the hand book that clearly states that they will fix it and go to a lawyer. They need to fix this.
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Bad Work From Touchstone Homes
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KENNESAW, GEORGIA -- I just purchased a brand new townhome (only 2 months old)in Kennesaw, GA. and I'm already having plumbing problems. First, the basement floods when it rains (even light rains). The water is coming in at the main water line and the builder told me it's probably from the neighbors gutter/down spout. WHAT! I am an end unit and the water enters from the side not connecting to anyone. Also, 3 minutes into taking a shower, the toilet starts to gargle. When the toilet starts making that sound, water from the shower drain will start to back flow into the shower and you have to get out instantly. When this happens all the water drains from the toilets so there is no water in any of the 3 toilets, yet the shower is almost over flowing with dirty water. In order to get the shower to drain, you have to flush the toilet downstairs.

Builder keeps giving more off the wall excuses and he's now passing me off to the plumber who in return keeps sending me back to the builder. Still no resolution and still can't take a shower in my new home.
     
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madconsumer on 2008-12-05:
there was an issue similar on the telley describing exactly what you are seeing. the issue was caused by improper instalation of the drain lones under the slab. this repair meant digging up the basement concrete. once opened, it was discovered the wrong traps were installed, and sewage was draining into the ground.

I would suggest seeking the help of a qualified plumbinf expert with water leak detection experience. they can video the drains and and othe ways of testing this issue.
madconsumer on 2008-12-05:
there was an issue similar on the telley describing exactly what you are seeing. the issue was caused by improper installation of the drain lines under the slab. this repair meant digging up the basement concrete. once opened, it was discovered the wrong traps were installed, and sewage was draining into the ground.

I would suggest seeking the help of a qualified plumbing expert with water leak detection experience. they can video the drains and and othe ways of testing this issue.
Ponie on 2008-12-05:
madconsumer, you're repeating yourself as often happens to me. I think that's a sign that what we're saying is correct and right on the mark. :)

Never having been a new home owner, I wonder if the poster would have to bear the cost of taking your suggestion? If yes, I don't think it's fair--but that's just me.
madconsumer on 2008-12-05:
if the other company finds fault with the first install, the home owner can take them court to recover all monies. including new inspections.


my bad on the double post ....
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