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  1. #1
    Lance Jolly's Avatar
    Lance Jolly Guest

    Default Post-tension foundation issues

    Hello all,

    I would certainly appreciate some advice on a problem I'm facing.

    Issue: I am in the process of having a home built. The builder used a post-tension foundation with footings. A crack developed within the first week. (I suppose this is not unusual, based on other posts I've read.) it concerned us, but the builder said it was normal and proceeded to begin framing the house as soon as the foundation dried. By the time the engineering team tightened the cables (about 20 days later), the crack had widened to about 1/8 inch. After tightening, the crack closed pretty well and there were no apparent issues at that time.

    Fast foward three months in the middle of the worst drought in recent history. The back right corner room in the house (just beyond the crack) is now sagging about two inches low. The proposed solution is to use jacks to level this part of the house.


    Questions:

    1) Is there a reasonable possibility that the builder (or sub) may be liable for these repairs OR was this simply an issue of the ground shifting, which would not be under his control?
    2) Since no other area of the house seems to have a problem, how comfortable should I be after these repairs are made?

    The estimated cost to repair is $5-6k.

    Sorry about the long post. I'm trying to stay calm about this, but it's not easy.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Regards,
    Lance

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    so so, California
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    Default Re: Post-tension foundation issues

    Picture?
    Place a ball point pen or other object near the crack(s) for perspective.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Post-tension foundation issues

    Lance,
    Your best answer may be invest in a good structural engineer. His report will be something that you, if needed, can use to mitigate the liability if there is any. Also, more valuable in court than many other opinions.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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    574

    Default Re: Post-tension foundation issues

    Lance,

    Most states keep the builder "on the hook" for a least one year after purchase.

    I believe the builder IS responsible for the repair AND any repairs should be in accordance with industry standards AND the repairs should be permanent.

    My advice -

    - Hire a lawyer.
    - Get your own expert opinion of what the problem is.
    - Get your own expert opinion of what the fix is.
    - Either:
    1. Have the building repaired by your builder in accordance with your own expert's solution (Monitored and inspected by your own expert engineer or inspector)
    2. Collect the funds from the builder and repair it using your own contractor (supervised and inspected by your own expert inspector)
    I don't recommend you have any verbal communication regarding the fix or any agreement with your builder. Do it all in writing through your lawyer.

    You shouldn't let the builder force you or hurry you into any solution or fix until you are confident that the end result will give you a sound and safe home.

    You should also check with the town to determine if an additional permit and inspections by local authorities is required for this work.

    If you take the proper steps the work will be completed satisfactorily
    Good luck.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  5. #5
    Lance Jolly's Avatar
    Lance Jolly Guest

    Default Re: Post-tension foundation issues

    Marc, Ken and Garry,

    Thanks very much for your advice and quick response. It was all very helpful to me.

    Quick update:

    1) I'm out of town on business, so my wife took several pictures of the crack. This was very timely advice, because they are laying the flooring. If I had a copy of a photo, I'd post it here. At least I have what I need now.

    2). Good news. My builder called and said that although he doesn't believe he's responsible for the foundation issue, he will cover the cost to repair it. It sounds like I may not have to go the legal route to get him to fix it. However, I am collecting documents from the concrete folks, the post-tension company and the pier company to provide to a lawyer. I do want to make sure it is fixed correctly, so I am lining up an inspector to check everything. I've talked with an engineer and a home inspector.

    I will keep all of your advice in mind as this situation plays out.

    Thanks again for your assistance!

    Lance


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
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    Default Re: Post-tension foundation issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Jolly View Post
    2). Good news. My builder called and said that although he doesn't believe he's responsible for the foundation issue, he will cover the cost to repair it.
    Lance,

    I had to laugh at that one. In California (and I assume the rest of the U.S.), the contractor is responsible for the quality of all parts of the construction. That is what he is paid for. Whether or not it was in his control is immaterial.

    From what I understand, OK has a lot of expansive clay soils and may require additional measures to ensure that the soil does not heave or contract excessively, leading to further cracked/settled areas of the foundation. As has been already said, I recommend that you get a licensed structural engineer to look at the current conditions and the repair to ensure that it is adequate, or to design appropriate repairs.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Post-tension foundation issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Jolly View Post
    Marc, Ken and Garry,

    Thanks very much for your advice and quick response. It was all very helpful to me.

    Quick update:

    1) I'm out of town on business, so my wife took several pictures of the crack. This was very timely advice, because they are laying the flooring. If I had a copy of a photo, I'd post it here. At least I have what I need now.

    2). Good news. My builder called and said that although he doesn't believe he's responsible for the foundation issue, he will cover the cost to repair it. It sounds like I may not have to go the legal route to get him to fix it. However, I am collecting documents from the concrete folks, the post-tension company and the pier company to provide to a lawyer. I do want to make sure it is fixed correctly, so I am lining up an inspector to check everything. I've talked with an engineer and a home inspector.

    I will keep all of your advice in mind as this situation plays out.

    Thanks again for your assistance!

    Lance
    OK, let me see if I understand this.... The home you are posting about is not even complete and it has a failed foundation?

    My experience with foundation repairs on post tension slabs is that they are seldom if ever stabilized to the point that they will not move in the future. If the house has dropped 2" you have a pretty significant problem. If you have not closed on the home and the builder still owns it, I would be looking for another place to live. Would you buy a "New" and pay a new car price if that car had fallen off the delivery truck, crushed its roof but they repaired it so it looks like new?

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: Post-tension foundation issues

    Lance,
    Before you get any further along you need to get the foundation inspected before any repairs. To cover yourself for the future get a detailed and documented structural report from a good qualified engineer.

    A fix today can just be a repair tomorrow. $5,000 today can be $15,000 in 14 months


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