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  1. #1
    Cody Atkinson's Avatar
    Cody Atkinson Guest

    Default How to report if foundation is good or not????

    I've been seeing this more and more over the years in North Texas.

    I will try to say this without writing a book!

    Foundation is a slab/post tension, heavy foilage all around house. grade is too high to brick ledge, cracks observed in house (one 3 ft long sideways crack in upstairs wall over family room, which was repaired, no measurable cracks observed on brick veneer, no separation at windows, rafters,windows open and close. Anyway, my question is, how would you report something like this on foundations? We all know that movement is so common in North Texas, but how would you report this? Could there be a problem? There is no way to tell unless I have the structural tools to check. I just need feedback on what you go with on this problem. I mean, there could be something hidden, but what is a good way to come across to the buyer/agent/seller? I know this is a very general question, but hopefully you guys and gals have come across this in your inspections.

    Do I say Foundation is performing correctly, but structural movement noted?

    Do i say Foundation is in need of further review from a licensed/insured structural engineer?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Quote Originally Posted by Cody Atkinson View Post
    I've been seeing this more and more over the years in North Texas.

    I will try to say this without writing a book!

    Foundation is a slab/post tension, heavy foilage all around house. grade is too high to brick ledge, cracks observed in house (one 3 ft long sideways crack in upstairs wall over family room, which was repaired, no measurable cracks observed on brick veneer, no separation at windows, rafters,windows open and close. Anyway, my question is, how would you report something like this on foundations? We all know that movement is so common in North Texas, but how would you report this? Could there be a problem? There is no way to tell unless I have the structural tools to check. I just need feedback on what you go with on this problem. I mean, there could be something hidden, but what is a good way to come across to the buyer/agent/seller? I know this is a very general question, but hopefully you guys and gals have come across this in your inspections.

    Do I say Foundation is performing correctly, but structural movement noted?

    Do i say Foundation is in need of further review from a licensed/insured structural engineer?
    You need to have your own comfort level and know your limitations. When I lived in Mississippi we had some of the most expansive soils in the country. The clay is called Yazoo Clay, after a town in the MS delta. It is a form of bentonite and expands and contracts with moisture like a rubber band.

    I had the 3 crack rule. If I found 3 or more cracks on opposing walls, I reported the home as needing a structural engineer. You also have to look a the miter cuts around windows, doors and trim work. You have to look at the frieze boards, fascia and soffits for separations.

    Interior wall cracks carried more weight as did windows and doors that did not open or close properly.

    If I had any doubt I had no trouble calling for an SE to take a look at the home.

    I would advise using a phrase like "Normal Cracking". Cracks are not normal in walls. Cracks are not normal in brick veneer. You need to be able to read the crack, cracks will tell you what is moving and in what direction.

    I would note any interior wall repair and say that you found a repair and that this indicates foundation movement. I would also tell my client that if this is a concern that they should have an SE inspect the foundation for them.

    Do not bless the foundation as not having any problems....

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Also a "good" foundation can have problems, and a "bad" foundation not.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Quote Originally Posted by Cody Atkinson View Post
    Do I say Foundation is performing correctly, but structural movement noted?

    Do i say Foundation is in need of further review from a licensed/insured structural engineer?
    A foundation with structural movement is NOT performing correctly. It might be common, typical, etc. but I would never use performing correctly.

    I rarely call for a SE unless I see problems that I cannot see the cause (big tree, poor drainage, drought, etc.) or I can see it needs repair.
    I report what I see and do NOT use realtor friendly terms like minor, typical, etc.


    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Also a "good" foundation can have problems, and a "bad" foundation not.

    Micheal,

    I would say it differently.

    A "good" foundation is one which does not have problems yet.

    If a "good" foundation "can have problems", then it is not a "good" foundation, it is a "bad" foundation.

    And a "bad" foundation without problems is simply a "good" foundation (see above).

    A "bad" foundation, on the other hand, has apparent problems already.

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

  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    I advise for a foundation company to come in and take some measurements if in fact I cannot figure out exactly where the concern is stemming from. Many occasions the foundation company could not locate the root cause. I also tell them that a foundation company will take measurements and most of the time can come up with a good plan for repair and sometimes they will find movement throughout the foundation and come up with the same cause I do, grading and drainage etc. I also advise them that in fact the foundation company may not come up with a repair due to the wide spread concern and they will recommend an SE at that time.

    Most of the time and I will say the vast majority of the time I will come up with exactly what a foundation company or SE will come up with.

    As Scott says it does take a good deal of time to get a trained eye for exactly what is going on.

    Structural engineer 3 to 500. Home inspection already paid for. Foundation company, free evaluation.

    Some inspectors will go right to an SE and the clients pay out way to much money for no reason at all. Back ground plays a huge part in the home inspection business and without it a lot of mistakes can be made before getting that comfort level of seeing exactly what is going on.

    Oh well, enough on that rant.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Structural engineer 3 to 500. Home inspection already paid for. Foundation company, free evaluation.

    That is something I would also do with foundations, except that I worded it differently.

    I would recommend a structural engineer design appropriate repairs, because no one else is authorized to do so. However, I would also recommend to my clients that they get a foundation company as the foundation company has, either on payroll or on retainer, a structural engineer, and the structural engineer is the one who makes the calls and designs the repairs.

    Then, as you said, the initial 'looksee' by the structural engineer is covered in the initial 'free visit' by the foundation company.

    I did not do that with the intent of saving my client money, that was not my concern, however, if you just recommend a structural engineer and they find a problem, then they will need to bring in a foundation company to correct it anyway, so starting with the foundation company was simply the right and best way to start.

    Covers two birds with one stone, as the saying goes (well, almost as the saying goes)

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

  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That is something I would also do with foundations, except that I worded it differently.

    I would recommend a structural engineer design appropriate repairs, because no one else is authorized to do so. However, I would also recommend to my clients that they get a foundation company as the foundation company has, either on payroll or on retainer, a structural engineer, and the structural engineer is the one who makes the calls and designs the repairs.

    Then, as you said, the initial 'looksee' by the structural engineer is covered in the initial 'free visit' by the foundation company.

    I did not do that with the intent of saving my client money, that was not my concern, however, if you just recommend a structural engineer and they find a problem, then they will need to bring in a foundation company to correct it anyway, so starting with the foundation company was simply the right and best way to start.

    Covers two birds with one stone, as the saying goes (well, almost as the saying goes)
    Out here in the great state of Texas the foundation companies will draw up there own plan. If the client goes with that plan the engineer will stamp it after reviewing it. I have never seen (except the serious cases where the engineer gets called in) where the structural engineer had changed the repair plan. They pull the lap top out and design a repair on site in many cases. Then sometimes they come up with no repiar with the exception of grading and drainage because the total movement is less than the specified movement that is call for for pier work.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Out here in the great state of Texas the foundation companies will draw up there own plan. If the client goes with that plan the engineer will stamp it after reviewing it. I have never seen (except the serious cases where the engineer gets called in) where the structural engineer had changed the repair plan. They pull the lap top out and design a repair on site in many cases. Then sometimes they come up with no repiar with the exception of grading and drainage because the total movement is less than the specified movement that is call for for pier work.
    Now if Nolan Ryan comes to the front door, ya might just want to call for that engineer!

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

  10. #10
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
    Darrel Hood Guest

    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    I grew up with Nolan. If he comes to your door, at least you know you are talking to an honest man, not some shade tree crook that calls himself a foundation expert.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES
    (936)827-7664


  11. #11
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    Rockwall Texas
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    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Nolan Ryan was a great pitcher for sure.

    Don't know that I want him deciding or designing my foundation repairs.

    I can just about assure you he is a paid spokesman.

    Rick


  12. #12
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    I grew up with Nolan. If he comes to your door, at least you know you are talking to an honest man, not some shade tree crook that calls himself a foundation expert.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES
    (936)827-7664

    Yeah yeah, just another guy makin a buck. Can't trust anyone when it comes to your money.

    Take the sports hoopla away and he is just an ordinary guy. Really no big deal. I have never been inpressed (other than their accomplishments in their particular field) with any title from anyone.


  13. #13
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    Aug 2007
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    Bethlehem,Pa.
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    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Call for an SE if the cracks are offset.On block walls offset Horizontal or offset step cracking is usually an indication of stuctural failure or at least the start of failure,same for poured concrete if the cracks are offset and on opposing walls err on the side of caution and call for the engineer,


  14. #14
    Robert Olson's Avatar
    Robert Olson Guest

    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Cody,
    Without writing a book simply state, "Cracks noted in concrete. Could indicate possible problems. Should be evaluated further."
    You've done your job and noted them.
    The new rules in Texas do not require HIs to note "in need or repair" but that is a "discrepancy". Some cracks indicate movement, some are simply shrinkage aggravated by moisture from under the slab and some occur when applying pressure to the post tension cables. Just as a note when you find cracks or looking at them check the mortar joints for any difference in texture. Most repair mortars available at the DIY stores do not use as fine a sand as masons do. From a distance they look good buy closer inspections sometimes show a DIY fix to sell the house and hide problems.


  15. #15
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Olson View Post
    Cody,
    Without writing a book simply state, "Cracks noted in concrete. Could indicate possible problems. Should be evaluated further."
    You've done your job and noted them.
    The new rules in Texas do not require HIs to note "in need or repair" but that is a "discrepancy". Some cracks indicate movement, some are simply shrinkage aggravated by moisture from under the slab and some occur when applying pressure to the post tension cables. Just as a note when you find cracks or looking at them check the mortar joints for any difference in texture. Most repair mortars available at the DIY stores do not use as fine a sand as masons do. From a distance they look good buy closer inspections sometimes show a DIY fix to sell the house and hide problems.

    Deficiency or deficient.......sounds like in need of repeir to me


  16. #16
    Robert Olson's Avatar
    Robert Olson Guest

    Default Re: How to report if foundation is good or not????

    The newly adopted inspection report form looks very similar to the current form, with a few important changes. The explanatory text on the first page of the report form has been expanded to two pages to provide more information about the inspection process. That text also explains the “Deficiency” check box, which will replace the “Not Functioning or In Need of Repair” box. Inspectors will no longer be required to report issues as “Not Functioning or In Need of Repair.” Instead, they will report these issues as “Deficient” or “Deficiencies.”

    I stand corrected it is deficient.


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