Dating back to ancient Egypt and the Laws of Hammurabi, builders have been held responsible for the structures they build. In those days, the warranty was literally “an eye for an eye”. If a structural beam fell and killed the occupant’s dog, the builder’s dog would be put to death, etc.
Today’s model building codes are adopted by state and local governments to set the minimum requirements for design and construction. State laws also often require the builder to guarantee the structure for a given length of time, often a year or more. When the subject of construction is a new home, New York law provides a ‘Housing Merchant’ warranty that applies to the construction of a new residence. Originally stemming from a 1988 court finding, this was later made part of Article 36-B of the NY General Business Law and provides
- The home will meet or exceed building code requirements;
- In the absence of any defined standard, the home must be constructed with workmanship and materials that meet or exceed locally accepted building practice standards;
- One year from the warranty date the home will be free from defects due to a failure to have been constructed in a skillful manner;
- Two years from the warranty date the plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling and ventilation systems of the home will be free from defects due to a faulty installation;
- and six years from the warranty date the home will be free of material defects.
Harvest Homes helps builders get past this concern. Not only does the company provide a 10-year Structural Warranty through Residential Warranty Corp. (RWC) with every house package, it solves many of the issues described in the BUILDER Magazine article, “Construction’s Seven Deadly Sins”.
- Improperly constructed structural components. Harvest Homes takes great pride in the quality of the components, assemblies and materials it delivers to the building site.
- Improperly designed and constructed building envelopes. Due to the varied nature of the geographic regions in which Harvest Homes are built, the package will rely on the experience of the builder and/or designer and the applicable codes to determine how the drainage plane, air barrier, vapor barrier and insulation will be applied. As building materials are developed in response to these four basics of building science, the use of the Huber ZipWall System has been the most common modification to the Basic Harvest Homes specifications.
- Improperly installed windows and doors. Harvest Homes developed a delivery system that protects the walls with windows tacked in the openings. What does that mean? It means the windows are set in the wall opening and held with screws. The panels are squared up in production, but sometimes things change by the time the panels are finally installed. Therefore, the builder needs to double check each window to insure it will properly operate. In addition, Harvest Homes can flash the sill of the window opening against the intrusion of water, promoting drainage to the outside.
- Improperly constructed exterior siding. Exterior siding and trim are not commonly included in the Harvest Homes package. When they are, the package can also include any strapping, drainage material, or other materials necessary for proper, sustainable assembly protecting the exterior.
- Improperly installed insulation and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. This work is beyond the scope of the Harvest Homes product and service offering.
- Defective concrete foundations. A level, square and backfilled foundation and sill plates are required prior to delivery of the Harvest Homes floor panels.
- Improperly designed, built and maintained balconies. This issue is addressed on a case-by-case basis and is often referred to local expertise. Compatibility of products with preservative-treated lumber, proper drainage away from the building, and redundant flashing are keys to a sustainable balcony.
For builders who would like greater comfort in the long-term performance of their structures, a Harvest Homes panelized building is the best answer!
 John Caravella, P.C., Construction Law Blog, https://www.liconstructionlaw.com/construction/construction-warranties-new-york/
 Don Neff, Construction’s Seven Deadly Sins, Feb. 25, 2019, BUILDER Magazine, ©2019 Hanley Wood Media, Inc.