I did the only thing I could think of.
1. A letter of concern to various members of the California legislature.
"I am writing to express my concern about the recent Cal. Supreme Court
decision in the Aase case regarding construction defects. The court
ruled that builders could ignore every provision of the building code
and suffer no repair cost until there is an actual injury. This is the
worst possible public policy. California?s structural engineers have
been at the forefront of efforts to make our construction more
earthquake resistant. This ruling is a major setback for safe
The court?s decision is one of the stupidest pieces of reasoning I have
ever seen. It incents developers to hire the cheapest, most
unprincipled builders who simply gamble on not getting caught by the
building inspector. For the subsequent homeowner there is no recourse
except to wait for an earthquake to wreck the home and/or kill someone.
Construction quality is poor already and this will make it worse.
The Chief Justice?s dissent calls on the legislature to take action to
protect California?s residents. Please do so ASAP."
Chuck Utzman, P.E.
2. A letter to the editor of the Journal of Light Construction (they
carried a recent summary piece on Aase.)
"The example you cited in your piece is a perfect example of why the
Aase decision is aasinine. An electrical subcontractor is now invited to
build an electrical death-trap and the homeowner or General Contractor
must wait until someone is electrocuted to get money to fix it. The same
logic is applied to seismic safety problems, the court sees no problem
until an earthquake wrecks your house. This ruling is the work of
jurists with too many books and no common sense. It is doubtful that
the problem will be rectified by the California legislature until a
sufficient number of people are killed to get their attention."
Chuck Utzman, P.E., G.C.