FRONT ROYAL – Bentonville resident Kristie Sours Atwood, who has unresolved issues with the new home she had built following a fire that destroyed her family home in 2015, addressed the Warren County Board of Supervisors in late June, imploring them to help her resolve the issues that remain three years after work began on her new home.
While the case did not seem to generate much interest amongst the elected officials, it did pique the interest of the State Building Codes Office.
Officials from Richmond have notified Warren County Building Official David Beahm that a team from the State Building Codes Office Technical Review Board will arrive at the Warren County Government Center on August 13 to hold an informal fact-finding conference regarding Ms. Atwood’s appeal.
Ms. Atwood’s home burned to the ground on March 15, 2015, and she subsequently hired Buracker Construction LLC, whose agent was listed as Martha Buracker, to rebuild her family home.
Atwood has previously stated that despite major issues with the home as building progressed –as well as unfinished items –the Warren County Department of Building issued a Certificate of Occupancy on July 19, 2016.
David Rushton, of Able Building Inspection, Inc. found over 125 items requiring attention in the wake of the county permitting, according to a report submitted at a Building Code Appeals Board proceeding on May 22.
Despite the fact that Ms. Atwood and her family have been living in the home, with repairs not made, the County did eventually perform a partial re-inspection March 16, 2018, after which a Notice of Violation was sent out regarding some, but not all of the issues that needed correction.
David Buracker, the husband of Martha Buracker, who helped build Atwood’s home, sits on the Building Code Appeals Board and has had to recuse himself from the May 22 hearing, as well as two subsequent proceedings.
Royal Examiner has confirmed the following:
Virginia Department of Occupational Professionals (DPOR) found that Buracker Construction LLC is an unlicensed entity and has never held a contractor’s firm license in the State of Virginia, though it has operated as a business in Warren County since 2002.
Mary Broz-Vaughan, of DPOR, wrote in an April 26 email, “Our records do not reflect a contractor license under the name BURACKER CONSTRUCTION LLC.”
“Board for Contractors Regulation 18 VAC 50-22-230 requires licensed contractors to operate under the name in which the license is issued. Contractor licenses are not transferable, and a change in business entity (e.g., from a sole proprietorship to a corporation) requires a new license pursuant to Regulation 18 VAC 50-22-210.”
- Martha T. Buracker trading as Buracker Construction is licensed in Virginia, according to DPOR.
- Buracker Construction, LLC is not licensed in Virginia, according to DPOR.
- Martha Buracker filled out a Warren County building permit application on July 8, 2015, in the contractor name of Buracker Construction, LLC and was granted a permit by Warren County in the name of Buracker Construction.
- Martha Buracker signed a consent order on June 12, 2017, after being found in violation of Virginia code and agreed to remedial education and payment of fines totaling $950 to avoid suspension of her Buracker Construction license.
- Virginia Attorney General’s Office Investigator C.M. Olson confirmed to Royal Examiner in May that the office is investigating the complaint as a possible violation of the Consumer Protection Act.
- On April 13, in a meeting with Royal Examiner Editor Norma Jean Shaw, County Administrator Doug Stanley and County Attorney Dan Whitten, Ms. Shaw was told by Stanley that the issues between Ms. Atwood and Ms. Buracker were nothing more than “a friendship between two people that had gone sour during the time the house was being built.”
- From the time the Burackers began their Warren County construction business in 2002 until late June/early July 2018, the Burackers did not hold a County business license.
It is likely that the State’s fact-finding trip to Front Royal regarding this case will not be the last we hear of it. In fact, Beahm said via email that he was awaiting the official decision of the local Board of Building Code Appeals.