Winner 2003

Building Homes: Building Problems

WESH-TV and The Orlando Sentinel

Building Homes: Building Problems, a joint undertaking of WESH-TV and The Orlando Sentinel, investigates shoddy workmanship by the building industry in Central Florida. A University of Central Florida study that inspected 406 homes in the state, producing a statistically valid assessment of new home construction, prompted reporters Jim Payne, Stephen Stock, Michelle Meredith, Shannon Hori, Dave McDaniel, and Kathy Marsh to uncover problems ranging from major cracks in walls to leaky windows and roofs in new homes—all previously “undetected” by professional housing inspectors. The investigation concluded that Florida’s building code and local and state inspectors offer little or no assurance that new homes meet minimum standards. Equally disturbing is the lack of attention paid by Florida lawmakers to improving the homebuilding industry and protecting homebuyers. Executive produced by Travis J. Sherwin, Ed M. Trauschke, and Jim Payne, Building Homes: Building Problems receives a Peabody for exposing a problem presently affecting hundreds of families and that, left unaddressed, could potentially affect thousands more.