Newer building materials are just that, newer. They have not withstood the test of time like many other materials used (old chicago brick, stucco, wood/aluminum/vinyl siding). Every material requires specific maintenance practices to maintain the integrity of the building shell, especially when it comes to water and freeze/thaw cycles. Porous materials such as split face block value appearance over practicality. They create the appearance of stone, at a much lower cost, but like any exterior siding, need to be maintained. I would imagine that many of the problems with split face block relate to poor installation and or poor maintenance (home-buyers who own homes of this material likely believe it is very durable and don't pay attention). Go with an inspector who can adequately evaluate the installation and make sure it isn't doomed from the start. Not my first choice of material, but it is prevalent in new Chicago construction.