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Consumer complaints flood Colorado’s largest homebuilder

DENVER -- Weak foundations and shoddy construction work are two of the big complaints from dozens of new homeowners throughout the Denver area.

Denver is one of the fastest growing home building markets in the country, but that growth is spreading contractors too thin and bringing down the quality of new homes, according to scores of new homeowners.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with this house,” Bruce Marshall said. “I just don’t have any idea.”

Marshall has been in his new Oakwood home in Castle Rock since July. It's a place he and his wife hoped to enjoy their retirement, but a pile of customer service emails shows it has been one headache after another since Marshall’s closing date.

“You go to customer service and you send [a stack of emails] over a period of four months and you get nothing,” Marshall said. “My carpet, which I paid a $3,000 premium for … the seams are all coming up.”

Marshall’s home is under warranty. He showed his kitchen cabinets under direct light, revealing defects to the $7,000 worth of new cabinetry.

Molding along the staircase and elsewhere in the home are not level. Pictures from homeowners across the Denver metro area show siding is one of the biggest issues for Oakwood Homes.

“I’ve watched siding falling off daily, and these homes are brand new,” Marshall said.

When the wind picks up, homeowners say it’s not uncommon to see siding falling to the ground.

Jeni Aymami had serious water problems after a blockage caused water to leak from her kitchen ceiling. The leak started shortly after she moved into her new home.

Oakwood has since fixed that issue, but Aymami is still waiting for her back patio.

“Our patio is sinking,” Aymami said. “When you step off the stairs, you can physically feel it going down and slopping down.”

Emails to the FOX31 Problem Solvers and multiple complaints on Oakwood’s Facebook Page show customer support issues that run the gamut.

The Better Business Bureau has also received more complaints, causing it to review Oakwood’s current A-minus rating.

The company, known for giving back to the community, has been in business for more than 25 years. Company representatives said just like other builders, it is experiencing tremendous growing pains.

“While the demand is great, there’s not a big enough labor pool to service the demand,” said David Bracht, president of Oakwood Homes’ Denver division.

Bracht said meeting customer demands is taking longer than expected. In response, Oakwood has doubled the size of its warranty department to meet the needs.

“We are not going to stop until everything is taken care of -- period,” Bracht said.

Reports from across the country show a surge in unsatisfied homeowners. In response, the National Association of Home Builders said no new home is perfect and many consumers’ expectations are too high.

But homeowners who have been waiting months for repairs don’t agree.

“I’m stuck until I just keep kicking and screaming until they do something,” Aymami said.

Oakwood said it has responded to every complaint issued to the Better Business Bureau, and more complaints don’t necessarily mean a higher percent of complaints for the growing company.

According to Oakwood Homes, much of what consumers can’t see makes homes more energy efficient and of better quality than ever before.