Class action lawsuit filed over weather barriers
KB Home is being sued by a group of homeowners in Cary, N.C., because it installed weather barriers behind fiber cement siding in some residential developments but not others, according to a case summary provided by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.
A Business Court judge certified the lawsuit, describing the class as "all persons in the state of North Carolina who own a home that was constructed by KB Homes without a weather-restrictive barrier behind the exterior veneer of Hardiplank cement fiber lap siding."
But this group may only consist of approximately 300 homes in the Twin Lakes, Amberly and Wynbrooke developments in Cary. KB Homes said in court filings that it used Hardiplank only in those communities and that after June 2007, it began installing a weather-resistant barrier due to a change in local building codes.
The home builder, which contracted with Stock Building Supply to install the siding, has brought the North Carolina pro dealer into the lawsuit as a third-party defendant.
The plaintiffs claim they have elevated levels of moisture in their houses. KB Homes disputes the existence of any real damage, claiming that it received no complaints until an attorney mass-mailed a solicitation letter about the missing weather barrier to homeowners in December 2007.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers respond that it would be necessary to remove the Hardiplank to determine the extent of the damage. They also contend that KB Home was supposed to follow the manufacturer’s installation specifications and seek approval from the local building code authority, as opposed to looking to the building codes for guidance.
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Sales rise at Ply Gem
Ply Gem Holdings, a manufacturer of exterior building products, reported net sales of $242.4 million for its fourth fiscal quarter, a 3.9% increase over sales of $220.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Net loss for the quarter, which ended Dec. 31, 2011, was $15.2 million, compared with $19.6 million in the same period a year ago. Operating earnings for 2011 decreased by $11.9 million to $44.9 million compared with operating earnings of $56.8 million for 2010, reflecting increased commodity costs that were not fully offset within the year and higher selling, general and administrative expense.
The Cary, N.C., company reported annual net sales of $1.03 billion for 2011, a 3.4% rise over net sales of $995.9 million for fiscal 2010.
"Our fourth-quarter 2011 sales were up 9.9% over the same period in 2010, and sales for the first two months of 2012 have been even stronger relative to the same period in 2011,” said Gary Robinette, president and CEO of Ply Gem. “However, it is still too early to tell how much of the positive performance may be attributable to the favorable weather conditions that have been experienced across much of the country. As such, we will continue our focus on maintaining a lean overall cost structure while striving to outperform the market across all of our product categories.”
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LMC points to high-performance, new programs
Performing in a tough business environment was one of the themes at the LMC annual meeting held this month in Fort Worth, Texas.
“The essence of LMC is the collective strength of our dealers,” said John Somerville, LMC’s president and CEO, during his general session remarks. “Obstacles abound, but the strength of our dealers, suppliers and our staff has allowed us to beat expectations. While single-family housing starts declined 9% in 2011, LMC’s sales finished up 5% from 2010.”
Several LMC dealers were cited for their contributions to the industry including TW Perry as Home Channel News Pro Dealer of the Year and Kuiken Brothers as Pro Sales Dealer of the Year. Also recognized was LMC Dealer Cally Fromme, from Zarsky Lumber who was installed in October as new Chair of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association.
The Fort Worth event also showcased some new initiatives for Wayne, Pa. based LMC (Lumbermens Merchandising Corp.). For instance, Somerville pointed to the LMC Dealer Exchanger, The Aspiring Leaders Group and the Dealer Roundtables to foster communication and growth for participants. The show floor also included the LMC Modernview Brands Feature display, offering exclusivity in windows, decking and cabinetry.
The event was the 77th annual meeting for the LBM buying group.