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  1. #1
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    Default Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    Hi Everyone,

    I've introduced myself and posted before, my name is C.J. Johnson, a commercial litigator in western Montana with an emphasis/special interest in real estate defect and disclosure litigation. Full disclosure, as I've noted in prior posts, I do handle cases against home inspectors, principally for negligence and violations of the Montana Consumer Protection Act and Montana Home Inspection Trade Practices Act. My website is at www.bigskytrial.com. I very much appreciated the courteous and professional give-and-take on my prior post, and have an additional question regarding the inspection of homes and light commercial structures in areas known to contain expansive soils.

    First, I do not have any cases going against home inspectors dealing with this issue, nor am I considering any at this time (if I have a case or am considering taking one that I'm asking for comments on, you'll know that from the get-go). As a home inspector, if you know that you're assessing a structure in an area that has experienced expansive-soils movement and differential settlement, do you: (1) note the history of the area generally in your report, even if there are no signs of differential settlement; and/or (2) bring a level with you to spot-check beams, posts, walls, or floors? I've spent a lot of time recently at sites in Missoula containing significant expansive clay deposits (particularly in the Hellgate Meadows Subdivision, but it seems like we've got it most everywhere, including off Mullan Road, the South Hills, Mansion Heights, etc.) and structures sporting signs of significant earth movement. My thought is that it would be a good idea to spot-check but I wonder what the home inspection community thinks about that and whether there are concerns that this expands the standard of care or takes the inspection out of the purely visual realm into something more technical. But if that's true, why use moisture meters, etc.?

    So, how do you inspect and report when you pull up to a home that by all indications is "on the level" when there are three other homes on the same street with heaving sidewalks, porches, or large visible cracks in foundation walls?

    Thanks in advance.

    C.J. Johnson

    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    First of all, I don't live in an area where there are known soil conditions, so my input may not be useful.
    I will add that my contract says that certain things are outside the scope of the inspection, including geological stability or soil condition.

    I can also say that I really don't spend time checking out the neighboring houses either.

    I do have a level, and I do use it periodically to verify my suspicions that something is amiss.

    If I did live in an area where there are well known soil conditions, I "might" add comments in my report, but it would depend a lot on the extent of the "conditions", and what my peers were doing. If every other inspector in town was making notice of soil conditions in a certain area, I would be foolish not to. However, if none of the local inspectors was making note, then I might not. I guess it really depends on the extent of the problem, and how widely known it was.

    It will be interesting to know what inspectors in the areas where there are know soil issues are doing.


  3. #3
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    I am ot in Montana either.

    I will say I am in Texas. We have expansive soils just about everywhere but a neighborhood a quarter mile away may have little clay and have sand and gravel for the most part.

    Because I see a heaving sidewalk as I am driving into a home , would I mention it? I doubt it. That could be from anything. I do mention that there are, and it is mentioned on the reports automatically, expansive clay soils throughout Texas.

    As far as pulling a level out, I do if, as Jack said, see something a bit out of whack . If I see cracks in the brick exterior, interior drywall, tile floors and doors out of square or windows jammed I obviously check a bit deeper but there is really no sense as an engineering company/foundation company (usually engineers on staff and engineered software on their laptops), is recommended to do a more extensive evaluation as I have already found way more than enough to turn it over to someone else for that deeper evaluation and cost of repair.

    Back to other homes in the neighborhood. SO. They mean nothing to me. Just maybe they did the soil prep (engineering) properly by the time they got to this home. Maybe all those other homes did not have proper soil prep. If I see nothing in this home it is not going any further than the typical (but extensive) visual inspection. The home that is visually in great shape and appears to not have had obvious or even not so obvious patching done all over and you are not walking down hill etc, just the typical already in the report jargon about expansive clays throughout Texas is in there.

    We are not in the business of telling our clients, DON"T buy a home in that neighborhood! The rest of the homes are falling apart.

    I have been in homes where, albeit slight, I feel I am walking down hill. One home had no other signs at all but again, as Jack said, I new something was out. This home turned out to be, form back to the front, 6 inches down hill. The entire home. Obviously I saw it was out and checked a bit deeper then recommended a foundation company to follow up.

    There is no All Inclusive in this business. Each home is evaluated individually.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    We have a local lawyer that comes in and talks to our home inspection group from time to time.

    He is quick to point out that the standard of care for a home inspector is considerably higher than say a lay person. We know that when we see certain conditions, that other potential problems or issues may exist that the homeowner may not know about.

    He claims that anytime we find one of these conditions, it would be prudent of us to make sure the buyer knows of these other potential risk.

    His example is: Whenever we see moisture, we also know there is a potential for termites or mold. We not only need to be talking about moisture in our report, but also the potential for termite or mold related issues.

    I tend to follow the same advice when I go into an area with expansive soil or high sulfate levels in the soil. Even if I do not see any type of issues with the house, I will make mention in my report of the potential problems or issues that they may encounter. I then recommend that they do further research on the problems and or issues and talk to an expert as need be.

    On the north side of town, we have an area that has had a lot of problems with expansion soil. When I do an inspection in that area, I still do my normal home inspection. However, I do pay close attention to cracks in the stem wall or slab, how hard doors and windows are to open and close, heaving or settlement related issues.

    I tend to believe, that anytime I can give the buyer information on potential issues, it will save me future problems after they move in.

    Jeff Euriech
    Peoria Arizona
    .


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    I use to live in an area that had severe expansive clay. Geologist actually named it, it is called Yazoo Clay. It is basically bentonite clay.

    In my agreement and in my report I told my clients that expansive clay was in the area and its detection and or evaluation of any structure that was impacted by it was outside the scope of my expertise. I also informed my clients that a structure might not show any signs of movement associated with expansive soil at the inspection but that could change at anytime. I then added that they could get a geological engineering survey if they had a concern.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    The sentence below is in all my reports. What follows after is the standard jargon in all reports under Structural, foundations

    All homes move over time and this home is not now and will not be any different.

    Then tell them the concerns with the home as in----------But I found non major concerns at this time, or---------------What ever concerns you did find.

    Performance Opinion: (An opinion on performance is mandatory)
    Note: Weather conditions, drainage, leakage and other adverse factors are able to effect structures, and differential movements are likely to occur. The inspectors opinion is based on visual observations of accessible and unobstructed areas of the structure at the time of the inspection. Future performance of the structure cannot be predicted or warranted.


    SUGGESTED FOUNDATION MAINTENANCE & CARE - Proper drainage and moisture maintenance to all types of foundations due to the expansive nature of the area load bearing soils. Drainage must be directed away from all sides of the foundation with grade slopes. In most cases, floor coverings and/or stored articles prevent recognition of signs of settlement - cracking in all but the most severe cases. It is important to note, this was not a structural engineering survey nor was any specialized testing done of any sub-slab plumbing systems during this limited visual inspection, as these are specialized processes requiring excavation. In the event that structural movement is noted, client is advised to consult with a Structural Engineer who can isolate and identify causes, and determine what corrective steps, if any, should be considered to either correct and/or stop structural movement.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I do not and will not get into the fact that this home is going to move all over the place and you need an engineer to follow me. Or "the neighborhood has crap for soil and you will have problems". Or "there is excessive moisture in (blank) areas of the home and you may have mold or you may have termites.

    If I added that it would be considered by, ME, not caring about the Realtors or a lawyers opinion, an unnecessary deal killer. You may as well go on about the plethora of possibilities that the home could have for safety and or health concerns when you do not even know for a fact if they are there.

    You stick to the home and the concerns that you find. As far as the soil you tell them of the (throughout the south and other parts of the country) expansive clay soils. But you tell them "In General" unless the home you are inspecting has those concerns

    Mold....Termites. You can talk to them about termites if you wish but are you inspecting for termites. Are you inspecting for mold. Your local lawyer is going way to far as to what you need to write to CYA

    In this state we cannot go into termites or wood destroying insects unless you are a termite inspector.Most inspectors here have a termite inspection license but fe an applicators license. I leave it up to a separate termite company. Even if I inspected for termites I would not talk about them unless they paid for a termite inspection. I am not there to do that. I tell all clients before I make the final schedule that they DO need a termite inspection. All homes could or will have termites. They do not pay for one, they do not get the benefits. Same with mold.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 01-27-2014 at 07:36 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    In my brief home inspection career, I recall inspecting only two homes that were built in areas of known expansive soil conditions. They each had a few minor issues, but nothing related to foundation problems caused by the "adobe clay" of SW Colorado. I don't think I even mentioned expansive soils in either report. Nor did I mention the potential earthquake-causing fault line a few hundred miles to the west, or the potential for major flooding should the upstream dams on the Gunnison ever fail. I did the standard caution of suggesting that every reasonable effort be made to prevent runoff from reaching the foundation and its subsoil.

    Regarding having some properties showing no signs of distress while others in the same neighborhood are falling apart because of un-mitigated expansive soils, a plausible explanation for same would be some homeowners taking the runoff cautions seriously while others obviously do not. Or some builders using properly-designed foundations to resist uplift--having designed a few, they aren't really all that complicated or more expensive to build.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    If I pulled up to inspect a house and noticed neighbouring properties in distress, experience has taught me to look for the same exterior defects or areas of concern as they may apply to the house being inspected.

    Its not uncommon to find similar conditions in neighbouring houses, so that should be an indication that conditions may be evident in this house. I often point out to my clients that the house next door has the same type of cracking in the same areas, and give my opinion as to why or how it might have occurred and if its serious or not, or repairable, requires further investigation prior to close of title, or query vendor as to the history of the defect.

    Further I sometimes will see the neighbouring owner outside and will strike up a conversation and ask about the neighbour hood, and if he has had any issues with his house. I have also instructed my clients periodically to speak to the neighbouring house owners in order to satisfy their own interests from a historical point of view since neighbouring homes are most likely (not always) built by the same builder, using the same materials and construction methods.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Johnson View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I've introduced myself and posted before, my name is C.J. Johnson, a commercial litigator in western Montana with an emphasis/special interest in real estate defect and disclosure litigation. Full disclosure, as I've noted in prior posts, I do handle cases against home inspectors, principally for negligence and violations of the Montana Consumer Protection Act and Montana Home Inspection Trade Practices Act. My website is at www.bigskytrial.com. I very much appreciated the courteous and professional give-and-take on my prior post, and have an additional question regarding the inspection of homes and light commercial structures in areas known to contain expansive soils.

    First, I do not have any cases going against home inspectors dealing with this issue, nor am I considering any at this time (if I have a case or am considering taking one that I'm asking for comments on, you'll know that from the get-go). As a home inspector, if you know that you're assessing a structure in an area that has experienced expansive-soils movement and differential settlement, do you: (1) note the history of the area generally in your report, even if there are no signs of differential settlement; and/or (2) bring a level with you to spot-check beams, posts, walls, or floors? I've spent a lot of time recently at sites in Missoula containing significant expansive clay deposits (particularly in the Hellgate Meadows Subdivision, but it seems like we've got it most everywhere, including off Mullan Road, the South Hills, Mansion Heights, etc.) and structures sporting signs of significant earth movement. My thought is that it would be a good idea to spot-check but I wonder what the home inspection community thinks about that and whether there are concerns that this expands the standard of care or takes the inspection out of the purely visual realm into something more technical. But if that's true, why use moisture meters, etc.?

    So, how do you inspect and report when you pull up to a home that by all indications is "on the level" when there are three other homes on the same street with heaving sidewalks, porches, or large visible cracks in foundation walls?

    Thanks in advance.

    C.J. Johnson

    I have worked in areas of Dallas that have clay that moves +/5 inches from nominal over the seasons. Some of the houses are post stressed, others are not. I have inspected homes that engineering firms stated had damage due to soil movement. In fact the true damage in one was a structural failure due to poor design. All previous inspections blamed the soil!

    What this tells me is that in those areas it is generally KNOWN that the soil causes damage to homes regularly and is blamed for many things that may NOT be soil related.

    With regard to being a real estate agent or a home inspector, I believe that looking for signs of major structural movement and noting it is appropriate. It is INappropriate for an inspector (not a geologist or engineer) to determine the root cause of any damage. That is CLEARLY beyond his training and ability.

    I also believe that a standard notation that highly expansive soils exist in the area is reasonable. Also a statement that homes may have been engineered properly for such conditions, or not engineered for such conditions should be included. Most inspectors are NOT PE's, geological engineers, or architects with proper background for any kind of determination. Even if they were, they would probably not make any determination as an inspector, instead they would suggest that they be hired to evaluate the structure and foundation as well as the substrate the house was built upon.

    All that being said, in essence ONLY DISCLOSE observed conditions and known facts. DO NOT presume to determine ANY root cause as an inspector. THis is above your pay grade and ability generally. (yes, you may actually KNOW what is wrong and why, but why place your insurance on the line for something not in your line of work?).

    Technically, I would include a boiler plate statement that as an inspector determination of soil types and expansive conditions of such soils is beyond the scope of both ability and contract. I would include a suggestion to seek information from the county or city building departments regarding soils in the area and or a geological and foundation engineering firm to inspect to assure any property was built for the soil conditions under its foundation.

    No inspector should be held responsible for the lack of engineering of any property. There is a wet stamp on every blue print, and even the city or county is supposed to assure the foundation is fit for purpose intended.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    Hello CJ

    You note "My thought is that it would be a good idea to spot-check but I wonder what the home inspection community thinks about that and whether there are concerns that this expands the standard of care or takes the inspection out of the purely visual realm into something more technical. But if that's true, why use moisture meters, etc.?"

    The Standard of Practice and standard of care are two different things. The SOP being the minimum one should expect, whereas (at least I believe) the standard of care can vary from locale to locale.

    The SOP is not intended to provide the client with a technically in-depth (technical/invasive) inspection. As some may say intended to be primarily a visual inspection, of course not discounting our God-given senses - hearing, touch and smell.

    Most home inspectors utilize common inspection tools to corroborate thus to verify problematic concerns. For that thermal imaging, moisture detection tools, and even a level, etc can validate my findings.

    With regards to "expansive clay soils" - I have encountered a few cases in older rural properties where the lack of rain over several consecutive years caused clay soil consolidation and caused major movement in the home. I called for geotechnical help and it identified the issue, but the home eventually (aside from the obvious tell-tale signs of cracking) went back to its' normal state the following year after the rainfall became more normalized.

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  11. #11
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    Quote Originally Posted by Claude Lawrenson View Post
    Hello CJ

    You note "My thought is that it would be a good idea to spot-check but I wonder what the home inspection community thinks about that and whether there are concerns that this expands the standard of care or takes the inspection out of the purely visual realm into something more technical. But if that's true, why use moisture meters, etc.?"

    The Standard of Practice and standard of care are two different things. The SOP being the minimum one should expect, whereas (at least I believe) the standard of care can vary from locale to locale.

    The SOP is not intended to provide the client with a technically in-depth (technical/invasive) inspection. As some may say intended to be primarily a visual inspection, of course not discounting our God-given senses - hearing, touch and smell.

    Most home inspectors utilize common inspection tools to corroborate thus to verify problematic concerns. For that thermal imaging, moisture detection tools, and even a level, etc can validate my findings.

    With regards to "expansive clay soils" - I have encountered a few cases in older rural properties where the lack of rain over several consecutive years caused clay soil consolidation and caused major movement in the home. I called for geotechnical help and it identified the issue, but the home eventually (aside from the obvious tell-tale signs of cracking) went back to its' normal state the following year after the rainfall became more normalized.
    That is an insane amount of movement. There is a fix for that. You do not leave it alone. House movement, especially that amount, will eventually have the home in ruins. There should have been sufficient repair to that home to keep it from moveing practically at all.

    I hate terminology "standard of care" Almost anyone I ever heard that from was only covering their back side.

    That home in the picture had serious issues from before the home was built on the site. If that is the "normal movement for that area then there should have been certain technicians used that they do today to keep that soil from expanding and contracting sdo much. Even then it should have pier work as well. The soil will try to move the home no matter how much work is done but absolutely, positively not as much as that home has.

    "CLEARLY beyond his training and ability."

    Who's training and ability. I have maybe missed the mark twice on what the root cause was for a particular homes movement. But when I say missed, I mean barely but close enough for an engineer or foundation company to say I was about spot on. Yes, some folks have no training and ability (but should be gaining that knowledge and ability over time) and simply follow written guidelines of SOPs and such. Is that a bad thing? No! But one should gain the ability and get more training. Or over time you will get the ability.

    You are a professional. You should know the basics of all field. Do you have to go to school for engineering to do this job and give an educated opinion with follow up? No, but then there are a lot of folks out there that will have a different opinion on that.

    It the beginning could I see what was actually going on? Well, not as good as now. You don't have to go into lengthily detail. You can still give a knowledgeable opinion but still call and should call for the next professional in line to confirm or deny and price for repairs. Giving an opinion is and should always be part of being a home inspector.

    Just my opinion


  12. #12

    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    I am retired and am not in Montana. I guess the home inspection profession has come a long way when the Litigator seeks advice from potential targets. But I think it's a good exercise. We should be able to learn from each other. But I would ask the Litigator why a Municipal Body, would allow construction of homes in areas known to have moving soil? Just a thought.

    If I lived in an area known to have this problem I would report it to each and every client to allow them to be aware of the issue. Whether I saw movement at my inspection or not. And, using a level as a routine practice does not make sense as one would have to check "level" throughout the house. Not practical.

    Many years back - a section of a town in Connecticut had houses sinking. Newly constructed Raised Ranch style homes began to fold, sink, twist and separate. A very large neighborhood, built mostly at the same time. https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q...t+sinking+city .

    Once we became aware that this was happening, each and every one of my inspectors were required by me to report the condition on any house on any street in that neighborhood whether we saw movement or not. Most inspectors referred to the area as "sunken city". We were never taken to task by homebuyers, but were chastised by realtors because this strong reporting almost always caused the "deal" to slow down. Ultimately some bought and some walked. But, you can read the articles and get some idea of the trauma it caused to folks using their hard saved money to buy a home.

    I would suggest to the litigator that the reporting done by some inspectors today lacks any important information because inspectors have become too defensive in reporting. Many do not want to offend realtors as they are often the most common source of our incomes. Realtors have been appointed overseers of inspectors on many governing boards. Rules written in states that have regulation do not allow for aggressive reporting of conditions. It was so nice before inspection agreements that run to multiple pages became required. We almost never recommended that someone else should check a finding. We reported the problem and recommended a solution. Very rarely did we recommend a structural engineer.

    Back to the point: If I inspected in an area of known soil problems I would devote a section of my report to that issue and refer the client to further investigate whether any problems were occurring in the area in question. And, any house that showed any signs of settlement would be marked as a potential problem house.

    I would suggest that in cases where you must litigate against an incompetent inspector you use a wide net and bring in the realtor that recommended him. Only when the realtors who sell realize the damage they ultimately do by recommending "kiss ass" inspectors will our profession start to man up and tell it like it is.


  13. #13
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ghent View Post
    I am retired and am not in Montana. I guess the home inspection profession has come a long way when the Litigator seeks advice from potential targets. But I think it's a good exercise. We should be able to learn from each other. But I would ask the Litigator why a Municipal Body, would allow construction of homes in areas known to have moving soil? Just a thought.

    If I lived in an area known to have this problem I would report it to each and every client to allow them to be aware of the issue. Whether I saw movement at my inspection or not. And, using a level as a routine practice does not make sense as one would have to check "level" throughout the house. Not practical.

    Many years back - a section of a town in Connecticut had houses sinking. Newly constructed Raised Ranch style homes began to fold, sink, twist and separate. A very large neighborhood, built mostly at the same time. https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q...t+sinking+city .

    Once we became aware that this was happening, each and every one of my inspectors were required by me to report the condition on any house on any street in that neighborhood whether we saw movement or not. Most inspectors referred to the area as "sunken city". We were never taken to task by homebuyers, but were chastised by realtors because this strong reporting almost always caused the "deal" to slow down. Ultimately some bought and some walked. But, you can read the articles and get some idea of the trauma it caused to folks using their hard saved money to buy a home.

    I would suggest to the litigator that the reporting done by some inspectors today lacks any important information because inspectors have become too defensive in reporting. Many do not want to offend realtors as they are often the most common source of our incomes. Realtors have been appointed overseers of inspectors on many governing boards. Rules written in states that have regulation do not allow for aggressive reporting of conditions. It was so nice before inspection agreements that run to multiple pages became required. We almost never recommended that someone else should check a finding. We reported the problem and recommended a solution. Very rarely did we recommend a structural engineer.

    Back to the point: If I inspected in an area of known soil problems I would devote a section of my report to that issue and refer the client to further investigate whether any problems were occurring in the area in question. And, any house that showed any signs of settlement would be marked as a potential problem house.

    I would suggest that in cases where you must litigate against an incompetent inspector you use a wide net and bring in the realtor that recommended him. Only when the realtors who sell realize the damage they ultimately do by recommending "kiss ass" inspectors will our profession start to man up and tell it like it is.
    I agree with almost everything you said but the fact you almost never recommended an engineer/foundation company. The folks do in fact need a dollar value for any repair. It is almost impossible to determine the cost involved for foundation repair unless unless you are in the foundation repair business or in fact am engineer that prices repairs on a regular basis.

    Any recommendation I make I stress the fact of a firm dollar amount be obtained for the repair. Then they have something to work with in the negotiation with the seller. If they are getting the home for a real good price they may forget about negotiating and just buy the home and fix it themselves. Or put right back on the seller.


  14. #14

    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I agree with almost everything you said but the fact you almost never recommended an engineer/foundation company. The folks do in fact need a dollar value for any repair. It is almost impossible to determine the cost involved for foundation repair unless unless you are in the foundation repair business or in fact am engineer that prices repairs on a regular basis.

    Any recommendation I make I stress the fact of a firm dollar amount be obtained for the repair. Then they have something to work with in the negotiation with the seller. If they are getting the home for a real good price they may forget about negotiating and just buy the home and fix it themselves. Or put right back on the seller.
    Well, you got me on that. We did recommend some foundation repair, but most of our foundation stuff involved block construction with horizontal cracks at the frost line. Very few foundations were problematic to the point of needing engineering. Most simply needed redirecting of runoff, additions of gutters, simple stuff. More of a problem, however, were additions built without proper footings (enclosed porches etc) and in those cases where there were structural issues we suggested a knockdown and rebuild unless we saw a way to a reasonable repair. It was then up to the seller to come up with a repair or an alternative solution.

    And one of the opening comments in our reports stressed that any and all repairs mentioned be estimated for costs before closing on the property.

    I was alluding to inspectors who call for second opinions on everything they don't know about, which seems to be considerable in many cases.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    As a home inspector, if you know that you're assessing a structure in an area that has experienced expansive-soils movement and differential settlement, do you: (1) note the history of the area generally in your report, even if there are no signs of differential settlement; and/or (2) bring a level with you to spot-check beams, posts, walls, or floors?
    (1) Yes
    (2) Yes

    So, how do you inspect and report when you pull up to a home that by all indications is "on the level" when there are three other homes on the same street with heaving sidewalks, porches, or large visible cracks in foundation walls?
    See (1) above.

    Texas Inspector
    http://www.texasinspector.com
    What the plainspoken man lacks in subtlety, he makes up in clarity.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    Clay, expansive soil..... can cause basement walls to bow in, crack, leak, mold, efflorescence etc
    About 1/2 way down in this article......... **Basement Wall Damage, Cause, Resolution**
    Overcoming Problems with Marine Clays*- Fairfax County, Virginia


    Here, wall is bowed in, clay soil, no exterior parging/no nothing, multiple exterior cracks etc which is why/where the water gets into the blocks and shows up on inside along the bottom of wall/floor
    Picasa Web Albums - LeakyBasement - Crawlspace


    Same house, back corner, disintegrated blocks
    Picasa Web Albums - LeakyBasement - Crawlspace


    2 walls bowing in, clay soil and lots of trees/underground roots, all walls have multiple exterior cracks
    Picasa Web Albums - LeakyBasement - BasementWater...
    a pathetic interior basement system was previously installed,cost $15,000+


    Another piece of incompetent junk.... an inside system and 3 sump pumps, fraudulent morons
    Foundation Problems in Paoli PA - YouTube


    Some home/city inspectors, homeowners, lawyers etc..... on block, brick basement walls there will fairly often be existing EXTERIOR cracks, aka defects, that you will NOT see on when looking at the inside wall(s)..... like this house, if you look at all the photos you will see a step crack on inside wall but you don't see the vertical--corner crack on the inside
    http://picasaweb.google.com/10104903...aterproofing81
    one point is, just because there may not be a visible interior crack does not at all mean there isn't 1++ exterior cracks, aka existing defect which is most often WHY the basement leaks


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    Last edited by John Bubber; 07-14-2014 at 12:21 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    FL, TX
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Inspecting Structures in Areas Known to Contain Expansive Clay Soils

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bubber View Post
    Clay, expansive soil..... can cause basement walls to bow in, crack, leak, mold, efflorescence etc
    About 1/2 way down in this article......... **Basement Wall Damage, Cause, Resolution**
    Overcoming Problems with Marine Clays*- Fairfax County, Virginia


    Here, wall is bowed in, clay soil, no exterior parging/no nothing, multiple exterior cracks etc which is why/where the water gets into the blocks and shows up on inside along the bottom of wall/floor
    Picasa Web Albums - LeakyBasement - Crawlspace


    Same house, back corner, disintegrated blocks
    Picasa Web Albums - LeakyBasement - Crawlspace


    2 walls bowing in, clay soil and lots of trees/underground roots, all walls have multiple exterior cracks
    Picasa Web Albums - LeakyBasement - BasementWater...
    a pathetic interior basement system was previously installed,cost $15,000+


    Another piece of incompetent junk.... an inside system and 3 sump pumps, fraudulent morons
    Foundation Problems in Paoli PA - YouTube


    Some home/city inspectors, homeowners, lawyers etc..... on block, brick basement walls there will fairly often be existing EXTERIOR cracks, aka defects, that you will NOT see on when looking at the inside wall(s)..... like this house, if you look at all the photos you will see a step crack on inside wall but you don't see the vertical--corner crack on the inside
    Picasa Web Albums - LeakyBasement - BasementWater...
    one point is, just because there may not be a visible interior crack does not at all mean there isn't 1++ exterior cracks, aka existing defect which is most often WHY the basement leaks


    - - - Updated - - -
    Great stuff really.

    BTW, many of the resident in one area of Dallas use a drip system to keep the clay moist and expanded. This seems to stop the damage but does not address the root cause in ay way. Purchasers are NOT informed of coarse because people dont think they have to.

    It was really funny the few times that I told them that they needed disclosure or they could be liable for future repairs. Didnt matter much because the HOA had thousands of major repairs to structures without permits or engineering. The place was a suit waiting to be filed.


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