FRONT ROYAL – The Warren County Board of Building Code Appeals ruled Thursday partially in favor of a homeowner’s claim that building officials did not identify all of the construction issues at her house.
The house in question belongs to Kristie Atwood, whose home burned down in a 2015 fire. She later signed a contract with Buracker Construction LLC to oversee the reconstruction. An occupancy certificate was issued in July 2016, but Atwood said this should have never happened because of issues with construction. Since issuing that certificate, Building Official David Beahm has conceded that there were five building code violations that went uncited.
Atwood’s lawyer, David Silek, said an independent building inspector found at least 60 other items that also should have been found in violation of the building code. In addition to the five violations found after the occupancy certificate was issued, the appeals board decided by a 4-1 vote that there are seven additional violations. George Cline represented the lone dissenting vote.
Beahm said after the meeting that he believes the board’s decision was illegal because specific code sections were not cited in identifying the new violations.
During a previous hearing regarding the matter, Silek noted several other issues that revolved around the contractor, Martha Buracker.
He said those issues included a building permit application designating Buracker Construction LLC, which is an unlicensed entity, as the applicant. The state contractor’s license on that application, however, belonged to Buracker Construction. The building permit was subsequently issued to Buracker Construction. The contract for the job, however, was between Kristie Atwood and Buracker Construction LLC.
Since Buracker Construction LLC is not licensed, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has notified Atwood that she would not be able to access recovery funding. That recovery funding, Silek said, would be used to correct the violations found by the appeals board.
Members of the appeals board noted that it is not within their purview to rule on any issues relating to the permit and unlicensed contractor.
Atwood said after the meeting she would leave it up to Silek to determine the next step that should be taken.