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  1. #1

    Default Broken foundation & thoughts on solutions

    Inspected a home for the son of a friend. They told me ahead of time that they had a foundation problem - which they definitively did. The back wall of the garage, which is attached to the house, with level grade on the front and sloping off steeply to the back so the foundation is mostly exposed, has broken off along the back wall. the slab has settled on the inside about six inches. (See photo; unfortunately the photo of the crack seperating the back wall from the sidewalls would not load up). The crack was approximately 3/4 inch in width, with a smaller crack on the other side of the garage where the garage abuts the house.
    So, its not hard to figure theres a problem and I did recommend a structural engineer evaluate the situation to lay out a repair option. The owners stated they would simply pin the front to back walls to the rear wall to hold it in place. My friend (buyer's father) thought this was inadquate.
    Here's the dilemma: my friend is going to go at this himself. I don't think he wants to go the structural engineer route. I'd like feedback on his proposed solution:
    Break up the slab. Dig out down to the footing at each corner. Pour off an 16 X 16" (or so) section at the corners with pins (I advised epoxy pins in) into the foundation walls so that this would secure the front-to-back and rear walls together. Fill in rest. Compact ground and repour slab.
    Anyone want to critique this. (I advised that if the foundation broke first due to footing failure (no evidence of this, though) with the slab settling afterwards then this would not deal with the failed footing issue.
    Other advice (other than to rx structural expertise)?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Connecticut
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    Default Re: Broken foundation & thoughts on solutions

    There is alot of caveman stuff we can do here, but we have to think of resale and how it's gonna look then.
    So SE is thge way to go with repairs.
    There may be more than you are seeing with that much settlement.
    How high is the rear sill plate off the ground?


  3. #3

    Default Re: Broken foundation & thoughts on solutions

    The rear wall of the garage was roughly six to seven feet off of the ground - so its 'up there'. That was probably the source of most of the problems - that and the proabable lack of compaction on the garage floor slab.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    2,365

    Default Re: Broken foundation & thoughts on solutions

    I quit going down the road of justifying partial/substandard repairs shortly after becoming an inspector. There's always somebody with an "idea" and a "patch". Honestly, some of them would probably work. I just don't want to be the one responsible for picking which ones.

    I'd tell my friend to get it done right or plan for the worst.... hopefully, it will come out better but no guarentees. Financially, the resale factor is a big one. A jalopy "fix" + no documentation = a walking buyer.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
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    Default Re: Broken foundation & thoughts on solutions

    Tell your friend that a fellow inspector who lives in a place where they have lots of structural problems says to absolutely get a structural engineer's opinion and remedy (and maybe a second opinion). Pay whatever it costs for the reports and then fix the whole thing properly.

    First, having an engineer's report on file to show a future buyer when they sell the home down the road is important. Secondly, half as**d repairs always come back to bite you in the rear.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Hercules, CA
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    158

    Default Re: Broken foundation & thoughts on solutions

    Without an engineer's guidance your proposed solution might just be a waste of time and effort. With that much slab settlement there may be something else going on. Also, where are the anchor bolts? It looks like MA anchors may have been used, but they don't appear to be properly installed.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Omaha
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    143

    Default Re: Broken foundation & thoughts on solutions

    If he is buying the home why is he not having the seller fix this. As a buyer I dont want to take on this project not knowing the extent of damage and a clear course of action. Even if the buyer does the repairs the reduction in sale price should reflect the cost of repairs done by a professional. How can you do this without a scope of repairs and bids. Otherwise you are saving the seler money and removing his risk.

    The other thing is that this is a sale and I would assume he needs financing with an associated appraisal. The appraiser should pick up that there is a possible structural problem and require a structural inspection. The lender will then bring in a structural engineer and get a report ( at buyers cost). The lender will not make a loan untill the repairs are done.

    If the owner was aware of the problem before listing the owner should have disclosed the issue in the disclosure staqement. This will be available to the appraiser. IF the seller did not know about it then this will be his notice and he will be required to disclose the defect. That puts the buyer in a better bargaining position.

    Another reason to have a structural engineer involved is that in the future the buyer will be selling the home. At that time they will have to disclose the structural problem and how it was fixed. A future lender may request proof that the home was properly repaired.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Broken foundation & thoughts on solutions

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie Simpson View Post
    Inspected a home for the son of a friend. They told me ahead of time that they had a foundation problem - which they definitively did. The back wall of the garage, which is attached to the house, with level grade on the front and sloping off steeply to the back so the foundation is mostly exposed, has broken off along the back wall. the slab has settled on the inside about six inches. (See photo; unfortunately the photo of the crack seperating the back wall from the sidewalls would not load up). The crack was approximately 3/4 inch in width, with a smaller crack on the other side of the garage where the garage abuts the house.
    So, its not hard to figure theres a problem and I did recommend a structural engineer evaluate the situation to lay out a repair option. The owners stated they would simply pin the front to back walls to the rear wall to hold it in place. My friend (buyer's father) thought this was inadquate.
    Here's the dilemma: my friend is going to go at this himself. I don't think he wants to go the structural engineer route. I'd like feedback on his proposed solution:
    Break up the slab. Dig out down to the footing at each corner. Pour off an 16 X 16" (or so) section at the corners with pins (I advised epoxy pins in) into the foundation walls so that this would secure the front-to-back and rear walls together. Fill in rest. Compact ground and repour slab.
    Anyone want to critique this. (I advised that if the foundation broke first due to footing failure (no evidence of this, though) with the slab settling afterwards then this would not deal with the failed footing issue.
    Other advice (other than to rx structural expertise)?
    I reviewed your other posts and found you've mentioned before practicing in Massachusetts.

    My advice? stop already, and stay out of it. You've already said too much to your friend post reporting sufficiently. Your client is the son, you've already inspected (and reported) this property, and the subject property is pending transaction

    See: http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...tml#post197320

    226 CMR:

    6.06: Prohibitions

    Inspectors are prohibited from:

    (1) Reporting on the market value of property or its marketability and/or the suitability of the property for any use.

    (2) Advising their Client about the advisability or inadvisability of the purchase of the property.

    (3) Testing Automatic Safety Controls.

    (4) Activating the sump pumps and/or dehumidifiers.

    (5) Offering or performing any act or service contrary to law and/or 266 CMR 6.00.

    (6) Determining the cost of repairs of any item noted in their Report and/or inspected by them and/or their firm.

    (7) Offering to make and/or perform any repair, provide any remedy: including but not limited to performing engineering, architectural, surveying, plumbing, electrical and heating services, pest control (treatment), urea formaldehyde or any other job function requiring an occupational license and/or registration (in the jurisdiction where the inspection had taken place) on a Dwelling, and/or Residential Building inspected by his/her firm. The only exception is if those repairs and/or services are part of a negotiated settlement of a complaint and/or claim against the Inspector and/or the firm he/she/represents.

    (8) However, nothing in 266 CMR 6.06 shall prohibit the Inspector and/or his/her/firm from offering consulting services on a Dwelling, and/or Residential Building his/her firm has not inspected as long as the consulting service is not pursuant to the sale and/or transfer of the property and/or dwelling.

    (9) Operating any system or component that is shut down or otherwise inoperable. (However, the Inspector shall recommend the Seller and/or the Seller's Representative demonstrate that those systems and/or components are functional).

    (10) Turn on any electrical or fuel supply and/or devices that are shut down. (However, the Inspector shall recommend the Seller and/or the Seller's Representative demonstrate that those systems and/or components are functional).
    Remember the adages, "no good deed goes unpunished", "a friend in need is a friend indeed", and "loose lips sink ships".


  9. #9

    Default Re: Broken foundation & thoughts on solutions

    Thanks for the input. I'm forwarding the entire thread to the son and father and again recommending a structural engineer (with a little more emphasis this time).
    A bit of background: the seller is a divorce case, no money and no willingness or ability to do anything. They are taking big loss on the property. Buyer is getting the home for a good price (for around here) so is willing to put money into this (and other) repairs.


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