Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Overheard at the Table Behind ... | Meet Me at Moe Bar »

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Props to Chopp (and Rossi) from the BIAW

posted by on January 8 at 14:01 PM

The latest edition of the Building Industry Association of Washington’s right wingy newsletter hypes some of its favorite politicians.

In addition to endorsing Dino Rossi for governor, they also give a shout out to Speaker of the House Frank Chopp for killing a homeowner protection bill last session after the Senate sent it his way.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Brian Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island), would have given homeowners the right to sue builders for faulty construction.

Here’s the BIAW’s blurb on Speaker Chopp and Sen. Weinstein

Son of Weinstein Last session BIAW successfully stopped Senator Brian Weinstein’s so-called “homeowner bill of rights” legislation thanks to House Speaker Frank Chopp. Weinstein’s bill would have imposed mandatory warranties and extended homebuilder and remodeler liability, which would have ultimately created another liability insurance crisis and forced small contractors out of business. In response to Weinstein’s bill, Speaker Chopp created a task force headed by Rep. Mark Ericks to examine ways to better protect consumers. This group may make some recommendations in the upcoming session. BIAW is participating in this process. Unfortunately, Senator Weinstein will most likely reintroduce his ‘warranty’ legislation—be prepared for another fight.

“Unfortunately” for the BIAW maybe, but given shoddy—and shocking— work like this, it seems like a good thing for consumers.

RSS icon Comments


The lead pipes were almost certainly as spec'd out though, so that's not the builders fault. It's the developper's. The same goes for much of the shoddy construction we've seen over the last few years. It's all to spec for the most part. It's the specs that suck. The problem is caveat emptor for new buildings, not a lack of warranty on new work. This bill did nothing to address that problem.

Posted by kinaidos | January 8, 2008 2:10 PM

It's only a liability risk if you do shitty work. In theory it sounds good, but I can see many people abusing the additional "power" to try and skip out of paying for legitimate work by holding builders to too high of a standard. The bill should have included provisions outlining a mediation process and not a strict liability mandate.

Good in theory, but in actual application there were glaring loopholes that our "sue happy" society would have taken to the bank.

Reality Check

Posted by Reality Check | January 8, 2008 2:26 PM

Oh, and Weinstein, always prickly, is leaving the State Senate. So Chopp will have one less pesky liberal to worry about.

Posted by George | January 8, 2008 2:40 PM

I don't see how the housing bill would help the lead pipe situation you cited. Would this hold the construction company more liable than now? It sounds as if the company providing the fittings is already getting sued, appropriately; I don't really see how more legislation would help this.

Posted by Chip | January 8, 2008 2:49 PM

@1, they're not LEAD pipes--a component used in the system is depositing lead in the pipes and, indirectly, the water.

Although the manufacturer of the system probably carries most of the direct liability for the lead, the story is an example of how things can go REALLY wrong in new construction.

There are a number of reasons why the SHA story isn't the best example of why the bill is necessary, but that doesn't make the bill itself irrelevant. If you go to the legislative summary of the bill (as killed by Chopp), it's fairly reasonable.

Posted by Gidge | January 8, 2008 3:56 PM

@2 Washington State has held that if one house in a subdevelopment is defective, that the owners of all the houses in that subdevelopment can sue. Because of that, Farmers is the only company selling insurance to artisan contractors (plumbers, electricians, painters, etc.) that will allow policy holders to build more than five units. No general contractors can build more than five units under any policy sold in this state. To do that, you have to purchase a policy through a surplus lines broker, and those are fucking expensive.

Posted by Gitai | January 8, 2008 6:44 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).