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Lennar Pinehurst townhome on Heritage Loop, Market Commons, Myrtle Beach, SC, purchased 28 June 2017


BOTTOM LINE:
Would I buy another Lennar home ?   NO
Would I buy another home with a tankless water heater?   NO
Would I use ?? Palmetto Electric 843-767-4448 again ?   NO
Would I use ?? Coastline Plumbing 843-421-6537 again ?   NO
The company that did the blinds also left room for improvement.

Cosmetically: looks OK, some minor cosmetic misses here and there.
Functionally: they get an 'F'.


PROS:
1. My windows work, and pretty much the doors too; (a neighbor says some of theirs do not)
    in my Surfside Beach house the contractor, Tom Baker, did not shim any of the doors or windows.

2. the screens fit, but some of the spring loaded things that you have to pull
    to release the screen are jammed up and very hard to pull down.

3. the Lennar workmen left most (but not all) of the User & Installation manuals.
    On my Surfside Beach house they threw them all in the dumpster
    and each time I went to see the house I had to go dumpster diving to reclaim them.

4. Lennar put actual light fixtures (2x60watt 2700K LED bulbs) in the rooms instead of cheap-junk half-hots.

5. Lennar put an additional switch and wiring in each room for future/optional addition of a fan/light.

6. Lennar put a nice insulated plug in the small hatch-hole that goes up into the attic.
    however, the ceiling is 9 feet, standing on the top step of an 8 foot stepladder
    still leaves a big step up into the attic
    and when you push the plug up into the attic, there is no room to put it
    other than the small piece of particle board that you need to step onto from the ladder !
    (a 10 foot step-ladder would not fit in the room,
    and if you could buy a 9 foot step-ladder, it would be difficult to maneuver into place)

7. Lennar did caulk around various places for both looks and insulation.

8. The main house water cut-off is a quarter-turn valve in the first-floor centralized Laundry Room.
    Which is convenient but required a lot of extra pipe for things to go wrong to.

9. Trim and paint job was reasonable, much caulking was done.

10. Is this a 'pro' ?   There are worse builders in the Market Commons, unfinished exterior work, unfinished electrical work, etc.
    The residents are talking class-action lawsuit.
    If the City of Myrtle Beach cared, they would suspend the permit of these builders.
    I am not sure if saying that Lennar may be the least bad builder is a 'pro';
also I have not seen the work of all the other builders.


CONS:
1. No hot water.
    We basically have no hot water in the town home. The water heater is a Rinnai, gas, tankless unit, placed outside of the house. It turns on the gas when the water-flow is above a certain level, so if you run the hot water slowly you will never get hot water.
If you run the hot water full blast, it takes minutes and gallons of water to get warm water, then more to get hot water.
The pipe from the water heater is too long, it goes under the concrete slab to a 'manifold' under the stairs, then from there to the various sinks in the house. It takes a minimum of 2 gallons to get warm water, and after that another 2 gallons to get hot water because the pipes are too long and uninsulated, and absorb so much heat out of the first gallon of hot water. The water heater was initially set at 105 degrees F; I raised it 5 degrees F each day until I got to 125 deg. F; but after a few days I raised it to 135 deg. F to warm up the pipes faster and compensate for the extreme thermal losses due to the long run and lack of insulation of the hot water lines. We only waste the 4 gallons of hot water for our shower, we are stuck with cold water at all of our sinks. We catch the 2.5 gallons of cold water in 2 small buckets and use them to flush the 1.28gpf toilet, which is another problem.
And when you turn off the hot water, you are left with 2.5 gallons of hot water in the pipes, for which you paid the gas company to heat and did not get to use. The pipes are uninsulated, the 'hot' water goes cold again in mere minutes.
Tankless water heaters have been around since before 1960, but they were meant to be used at the source. For example, in France in 1963, they had a tankless gas water heater mounted right above the bathtub.
Now with a tank water heater, gas or electric, hot water flows into the pipes no matter how slow the water is running.
I called the City of Myrtle Beach building director and tried to explain that installing a 1.28gpf (gallons per flush) instead of a 1.6gpf toilet does not make up for having to waste 2.5 gallons or more every time that you want hot water somewhere in the house, and that they should be looking to the overall design to reduce water usage. The director didn't care at all, he said that they just followed code, no matter how stupid and wasteful it is.

In the below photo, taken in the kitchen sink, the bucket is 9 3/4" in diameter,
the water measured 7" deep just to get WARM water, not hot water.

bucket of water

The kitchen sink, run full blast, takes 1.5 minutes to get warm water.

The water lines in or below the outside water heater froze in the 20 deg. F cold snap January 2018.
The two garage spigots froze even though I put foam covers on them.
The shower pipes may run up an exterior wall and may also have frozen.

If I wanted to change-over to a tanked electric water heater, I could not, without tearing the house apart.
The best place to put an electric water heater would be under the stairs by the mancill,
where all the water pipes are, but an electric water heater would require a dedicated 30 amp circuit,
not even 15 amps is available there.

2. Exterior color: Lennar did not permit selection of exterior colors.
    I was unlucky and got the darkest color.
    Not only will this drive up my cooling bills,
    but my garage is so hot that I don't even want to park my car in there
    much less store anything in the garage in the summer.
    On 12 October 2017 at 6PM with heavy cloud cover, I touched one of the exterior walls;
    my first thought was that there was a fire on the other side of the wall
    but I heard the neighbors talking so I knew that there was no fire.
    Choosing such a dark color in the South is totally irresponsible,
    especially when the builder does not allow the homeowner to select the color !

2a. Garage is much to hot, no airflow: the garage has 2 roof vents, the smaller one was completely blocked,
    they had butted the sheets of 'wood' up against each other and not left any space.
    I complained and they had a man rip off the roof vent, cut a hole, and put the thing back together with 6 nails and some caulk. I have no faith that it will stay on in a big wind; and the garage is not any cooler. In my Surfside house there was a noticeable draft from the garage up to the garage attic as the heat pushed air out the roof vents; in my Lennar garage I cannot feel any draft at all.
On the other garage roof-vent there is some light coming in but I can see that they put shingles over the gap, I will try to repair that myself in the future.
I had the same problem with my Surfside house builder, each time I complained about something, he sent someone that did an even worse job, and caused more damage than the first bungler; so even though I am totally incompetent, I tried to fix things myself in order to prevent additional damage, and often did a far better job than the 'professionals'.
'Professional' means that they get paid for the work, it does not mean that they are any good at it.

3. Garage is TINY !   Many of my townhome neighbors park in their driveways, and I assumed that this was so that they could use their garages for storage; only slightly true. Once I got enough stuff out of my garage for my wife to put her Toyota Corolla in the garage I realized how small the garage is, and that the neighbors larger cars would not fit in the garage!
There is inadequate space both front to back, and side to side for opening car doors without hitting the other car.

4. light switches: bad placement, most are left handed and a far reach from the doorway.
    In the master-bedroom closet the switch is behind the clothes instead of next to the doorway.
Poor quality workmanship, and, again, lack of supervision.
Below is the light switch in the garage, installed with two slanted sheet-rock screws (black circles on right side of photo).
Notice that it is inset so far that you can see the wood of the 2x4.
Note what long screws they had to use instead of the normal screws.
light switch light switch

5. Lennar painters painted over needed stamped information on exterior doors. Painted over the bathroom fan,
painted over the wires everywhere, I scape or sand paint off the wires when changing fixtures or switches,
both the copper and sometimes the insulation, because they painted over all the wires, I cannot tell which wire is white and which black
they have all been painted white.

6. (see # 6 above in the 'Pros' section)
    When the time comes, how is a new air-handler going to be put into the attic
    through the 19.5" x 27.5" house attic hatch hole ?   I think that the original air-handler was put into the attic
    with a crane before the roof was put on.

7. Lennar put an additional switch and wiring in each room for future/optional addition of a fan/light
    except in the 1/2 bath where I needed one.
    the half bath has a Panasonic FV-05-11VK1 fan installed with the optional motion sensor.
    It turns on automatically when you enter the room
    and will turn off automatically after 20 minutes of blowing your heated/cooled air out of the house,
    even if you just stick you head in to look at something.
    The painters painted over the model # plate, the CFM switch, and everything else.
    Disconnecting the Motion Sensor causes the fan to stay on indefinitely, as far as I can tell.
    There is an additional $25 module that can be purchased to reduce the 20 minutes of run time
    but it is hard to plug in, and has fixed settings of .5 minutes, 5 minutes, etc.
    and after your set time period is finished, the Motion Sensor will restart the cycle again if you are still in the room.
   
    I was talking to a neighbor about the fan and she said that the fan went on and off with the
    light switch because the electrician wired it wrong.
   
    I needed to know where the model # was on my fan and there was only one unit left that had not been painted so I went inside to look and there was no fan at all, either they sheet-rocked over it, or forgot to put one in.   Did I mention that there was no or no effective supervision ? After I found out from the manufacturer where the model # plate was, I scraped off the paint with my fingernail and took the serial # right off !
The black spot in the photo below is where I took a cover plate off, it was painted white also.

fan painted white

8. Seagull disk-lights: hard to change, no flexibility, dim 2700K, no whiter colors available, do not support illuminated (locater) light switches.
    ALL the lights in the house were 2700K, 60 Watt LED's, very dim and dingy looking.
    All non disk-lights are in enclosed fixtures so you cannot upgrade to 100 Watt bulbs without installing a new light-fixture first.

9. Black Shingles: absorb too much heat, white or light colored shingles are preferred in the South.

10. The 'hurricane panels' mandated by the City of Myrtle Beach to be mounted over the windows
    in case of hurricane, were a waste of wood.
The heavy particle board (most neighbors threw or gave them away) had pre-drilled
holes which did NOT line-up with the screw-openings on the windows; the holes in
the wood were centered, the screw-openings on the windows were NOT centered;
also on the particle board for 3 of the first floor windows the pre-drilled holes
were one inch to low. The first-floor hurricane wood required a lot of hole
changes, the particle board was much too heavy to put on the 2nd floor windows.
I think that only 3 townhomes out of more than 60 tried to use the hurricane boards;
the two Pinehurst models only did the first-floor windows, the Augusta model has only
two 2nd floor windows, the owners paid someone to re-drill the holes and put them up.

On an individual window one could install functional 'colonial' shutters, my favorite option,
but putting 3 windows next to each other leaves no room for shutters.
Absolutely no thought was given to actual hurricane protection of windows,
Lennar just dumped wood in the garage to satisfy 'code'.
Lennar actually dumped the wrong panels in my garage, the punch-out man had to switch most of them with the Augusta model next door.

11. 2nd floor floor entertainment room: about half of the rooms floor on the stairs side flexes downward when walked upon especially approaching the stairwell. I weigh less than 200 pounds and walk softly; but it moves even when my wife walks softly in the area, about 130 pounds. I didn't think about it too much until I leaned a plastic clock against the wall, and each time I walked to the top of the stairs there was a big squeak; the squeak was the clock edge sliding up and down against the wall !

12. We were not given a copy of the house plans, wiring, or water-lines.
    As far as I can find out there are no water-line, electrical, etc. plans !
Each unit was built differently, whoever built it just made things up as they went along.

13. No supervision during construction.

14. Overall bad design. For example, a 1.28gpf toilet vs a more normal 1.6gpf, saves .3 gallons per flush;
    yet we waste 2 to 4 gallons of water each time we want hot water !
Also, little or no thought was given to making the unit easily maintainable, repairable, or modifiable.
Bad design in the location of electrical switches.
Bad design in the garage wiring, both electrical and garage door.
Difficult to impossible to modify due to 2-floor design.
Bad design in location of main water cut-off.
Bad design in location of cable coax junction box.
Bad design in location of kitchen sink, no splash guard, splashes all over the countertop.
Bad design in unit-to-unit sound insulation, low frequency passes right through;
the neighbors door slams and stair stomping comes right through.
Bad design: no privacy courtyard to courtyard.

15. No standardization: it seems that every unit is different depending on who
actually did the work.   I took a photo of my own water manifold, then
wanted another photo (I can't remember why) so I took a photo of the manifold
in the next building, which should have been identical to mine, and the
manifold was done very differently.
Also the electric in the kitchen was done very differently,
receptacles and phone jacks were on the opposite side !

16. Poor acoustic and physical insulation/isolation. I can easily hear the neighbor kid running
up and down stairs, jumping around in the 2nd floor, playing basketball in the courtyard, etc.

17. Neighbors dryer vent blows lint into my courtyard. This should have been mounted on the other side
of the roof, only a few feet away; I think that on some units it was, see # 15 'no standardization'.

18. Bad concrete/cement work. Numerous driveways & courtyards ripped out and redone.
    poured cement over trash and uneven dirt which causes cement to crack ?
Failed to install expansion joints which were laying in the mud a few feet away ! (Buyer saw this and made them redo it).
Failed to install drains under the concrete in some units.
Again, NO supervision !

19. The dish-washing machine was pushed in right over all the construction garbage,
    just a statement of fact, not a complaint.  
My complaint is that the dishwasher instructions call for 120 to 140 deg.F hot water
which, see # 1. above, is not going to happen any time soon. I don't know how much water the
dishwasher pulls in at any point in its operation, but the first 3 gallons are going to be cold water.
And if it hesitates a few minutes between cycles, that means more cold water again.

20. Warranty: forget it.
If they can't do it right the first time, why should I think that they can do it right the second time ?
The warranty for the electrical and plumbing is offloaded from Lennar onto the companies that actually did the work.
This makes it difficult to impossible to find out, for example, what model sink, or doors you have; which is the first thing you are asked when you need repairs or parts.

21. Lennar left a "Homeowner Reference Guide"; it is generic, many of the items do not apply to our townhome.
    At the end is 55 pages of 'exclusions', meaning things that are NOT covered by their 'warranty'.

22. Lennar put coax in house for cable TV/internet. They put the junction box in the Master Bedroom Closet on the FIRST FLOOR (which the wife does not like, she correctly says that it should have been put somewhere else, such as the Laundry Room, or the larger upstairs closet),
    but NO wire going up to the attic for an over-the-air antenna ! Adding such a wire after the house is built is almost impossible.

23. Some kind of blue & green plastic pest duct was run through the unit.
    The first non-Lennar pest expert I talked to said that it does not work.

24. The entire garage is on the same electrical circuit as the living room TV and entertainment receptacle !


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