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  1. #1
    Robert Perez's Avatar
    Robert Perez Guest

    Default Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Hello All! Does anyone know if there is a maximum slope degree or percentage for slopes going from the foundation to the bottom of the swale(sod). I know there is a minimum of 6" per 10' but my issue is I think my yard is to steep from the foundation to the swale. I have a downspout that empties near the steepest point and it is starting to slowly wash the dirt away. The sod is missing all the way down to the swale in that area. Were the builders suppose to put in an errotion netting (green one) if it was too steep or a retaining wall? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Robert,

    The code are minimum standards (minimum requirements) and addressing the minimum slope for drainage is all the code does in that aspect.

    The code then addresses the maximum slope, known as the angle of repose, for soil which is below the bottom of the footing and on which the structure is bearing. Typically, that angle of repose would be measured at a 45 degree angle down and out from the bottom of the footing, which would not impact what you are asking (and if it did, you would really have problems).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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

    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Perez View Post
    Hello All! Does anyone know if there is a maximum slope degree or percentage for slopes going from the foundation to the bottom of the swale(sod). I know there is a minimum of 6" per 10' but my issue is I think my yard is to steep from the foundation to the swale. I have a downspout that empties near the steepest point and it is starting to slowly wash the dirt away. The sod is missing all the way down to the swale in that area. Were the builders suppose to put in an errotion netting (green one) if it was too steep or a retaining wall? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
    If you are having any kind of drainage concerns, whether it be standing water, wash out, one lot draining onto another...I have not known a builder yet that did not fix it after I wrote it up. The guidlines are pretty clear about proper drainage. Your yard washing into the swale is just going to dam up the swale and not allow water to drain properly between the homes. I have seen builders add walls, inground drainage, surface drains etc to correct the problem. Almost any builder I have run into in Texas has a set aside for drainage issues. After a set time frame if there are no complaints and issues it goes back into the builders pocket.

    Talk to the builder and explain the concern. If that does not work (I believe it will) then get an inspector to write the heck out of it. That usually does work. They want to sell homes. They don't want issues hindering that.


  4. #4
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Ft. Worth is sure different than Houston. Almost every home I inspect, the front and sides are fine, but the grading in the back is horrible. The builders dont care and wont do squat about it.


  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Ft. Worth is sure different than Houston. Almost every home I inspect, the front and sides are fine, but the grading in the back is horrible. The builders dont care and wont do squat about it.
    Not just Fort Worth but the entire Metroplex. Have never had a problem.

    Maybe they just don't like you


  6. #6
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Your right Ted, they dont like me because I write it up and my clients call them and complain about their poor grading. Most back yards are soggy messes in the subdivisions. At least now they are starting to sod back yards on new homes. In the past, they always just left the back dirt unless the buyer wanted to upgrade to grass.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    John, do the municipal inspectors not require lot drainage plats and compliance with the IRC drainage? Around here, the drainage design goes in with the streets.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  8. #8
    Robert Perez's Avatar
    Robert Perez Guest

    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Thanks everyone for your helpful advice.


  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Perez View Post
    Hello All! Does anyone know if there is a maximum slope degree or percentage for slopes going from the foundation to the bottom of the swale(sod). I know there is a minimum of 6" per 10' but my issue is I think my yard is to steep from the foundation to the swale. I have a downspout that empties near the steepest point and it is starting to slowly wash the dirt away. The sod is missing all the way down to the swale in that area. Were the builders suppose to put in an errotion netting (green one) if it was too steep or a retaining wall? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
    Hello Robert,

    As Jerry pointed out the building codes do not really address the situation you are dealing with. Even when the Texas Residential Construction Commission minimum warranty standards were in effect they required the homeowner to protect the drainage patterns against damage and the site against erosion. From the now defunk TRCC standards:

    "The homeowner shall maintain the drainage pattern and protect the grading contours from erosion, blockage, over-saturation or any other changes."

    This basically left the issue up to the homeowner unless the swalles were not properly draining which the builder is then responsible. You actually have a good thing going as many builders don't put sufficient slope on the lot to handle drainage.

    As for the maximum lot angle and the need for a retaining wall that would be a function of the planning and engineering for the development, the lots in the development and any local building codes or ordinances. Fate uses the 2003 series of the International Residential Codes http://www.cityoffate.com/images/doc...ldingCodes.pdf. If you want to see what these codes state you can view a free copy of these at Ecodes. The lots should have been engineered to include coverage pad heights, slopes, drainage, soil preparation, etc., etc.

    If you have a concern about the erosion you can certainly speak with your builder. However, I have a suggestion that will lead to less aggravations for you. Repair your grade and replace the sod and create a discharge situation away from your home and closer to the swale. You can either create gutter extensions with downspout the same color as yours and use these until the grass takes hold and will not wash out. Then you can use extended splash blocks after that. The downspouts can be just placed on the end of the existing discharge point so they can be removed when doing lawn work or in the dry times. Or you can create an underground extension to the downspouts and allow it to exit the ground near the swale to keep the water away from the slope.

    I live just up the road from you in Royse City if you feel the need to have a home inspection performed. By the way, are you in Woodbridge or another development?

    Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!
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    Texas License# 7593

  10. #10
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    Sep 2008
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    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Ft. Worth is sure different than Houston. Almost every home I inspect, the front and sides are fine, but the grading in the back is horrible. The builders dont care and wont do squat about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    John, do the municipal inspectors not require lot drainage plats and compliance with the IRC drainage? Around here, the drainage design goes in with the streets.
    In our jurisdiction we require drainage plans while the builder is in the platting process. All of the lots are graded to that drainage plan prior to permits being issued.

    Where the problem comes in is the code requires positive drainage away from the foundation. The builder brings in fill to elevate the foundation to provide positive drainage away from the foundation.

    At this point they are "to code". There is no requirement for grass, so the builders call for a final. The only thing we (the inspection department) can require at this point, and it just an interpretation we have on erosion, is that we have to protect the drainage system from infiltration from erosion. We require the ROW to either have grass or curlex to protect from erosion.

    The builder calls for a final, the grading plan is "to code" per the approved drainage plans, the grass is in for erosion. All is good. Then after the tag..the builder starts doing grading, changing the way the lot drains all all that stuff. Once a final is given, it is tee total heck getting the builder to fix anything.

    This is where a good HI will save a lot of homeowners butts when purchasing a new home!


  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Robert,

    I'm in Rockwall and would be happy to drop by and give you my opinion at no charge. Fate is just a few minutes down the road from me.

    Call me at 972.412.1522 if you'd like.

    rick


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Fate is just a few minutes down the road from me.
    Pun intended?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Swale Slope for Residential Home in Texas



    Maybe I'd better stay out of it huh?

    rick


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