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  1. #1
    Eric Laney's Avatar
    Eric Laney Guest

    Default Not performing as designed

    I'd like to hear your comments on this: at what point do you say a foundation is not performing as designed? 1) Any cracks at all in the masonry, 2) masonry and sheetrock cracks, 3) cracks in both, plus out of square doors, 4) all of the above in a major way plus sloping floors?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Not performing as designed

    Eric,

    I try not to get caught up in saying that a foundation is performing as intended. What is performing as intended really?

    I say things like, On the date of this inspection no visible indicators were present of foundation movement to this inspector. I don't like say "foundation is performing as intended"

    That is talk that is taught in real estate school to pacify the buyers.

    If I see any evidence of movement at all, I call it out as I see it. Cracks in the foundation were present. Deflection cracks observed in walls, doors were found to be out of square, floor slopes observed..............

    rick


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Not performing as designed

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Laney View Post
    I'd like to hear your comments on this: at what point do you say a foundation is not performing as designed? 1) Any cracks at all in the masonry, 2) masonry and sheetrock cracks, 3) cracks in both, plus out of square doors, 4) all of the above in a major way plus sloping floors?

    Hello Eric,

    The four items you listed above may be something, may be nothing. Many things need to be taken into consideration. Determining that a foundation "is not performing as designed" is complicated and (I think) could easily be argued that this is an engineering conclusion and such comments could be considered crossing the line into practicing engineering without a license.

    There are better ways to express your concerns.

    Sincerely,

    Corey


  4. #4
    Eric Laney's Avatar
    Eric Laney Guest

    Default Re: Not performing as designed

    How do you address the TREC requirement "an opinion on performance is mandatory" ?


  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Not performing as designed

    I did give an "opinion".

    I said I did not see any evidence of foundation movement.

    Thats my opinion.

    rick


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Not performing as designed

    I don't shy away from the "in need of repair" on foundations.
    If I see issues, obvious movement, post tension cable ends exposed, cracks, etc. that goes in the report with the box checked "in need of repair". That is my opinion, it is in need of repair. That takes care of about 50% of what I see.

    I think the mandatory opinion came from the Realtors, not my favorite requirement.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Not performing as designed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I don't shy away from the "in need of repair" on foundations.
    If I see issues, obvious movement, post tension cable ends exposed, cracks, etc. that goes in the report with the box checked "in need of repair". That is my opinion, it is in need of repair. That takes care of about 50% of what I see.

    I think the mandatory opinion came from the Realtors, not my favorite requirement.
    Depending on the amount of cracks and visible movement signs if more than minor, of course, I recommend that a foundation analysis at the minimum and if really major an engineer.

    This is a long term inspection thing. When I see a minor crack I keep walking logging it in as I make my way around the rest of the home, inside and out the automatic tally dinger eventually goes off and then compile it and use you judgement. Minor movement and obvious grading and drainage concerns I mention just that and recommend they consult with that particular expert. The vast majority of movement is from grading and drainage and that will continue unless corrected.

    To what point do you recommend who. Well that only comes after the entire inspection. Of course any brick crack should be repaired no matter what they do for other repairs so they can monitor future movement. This is by far the most written item. There is always something going on with movement and natural and forced settling/lifting. Like I said this is a long lived learned knowledge that only comes from a serious amount of inspections in areas with soil like this around here. I cam e from Mass and then Florida. I never saw this extent of movement in foundations in my life.

    By the way, it is not the foundation performing as designed or not. In this soil it is almost always the grading and drainage performing as it will with the swelling and shrinking of clay with poor grading and drainage. Homes I inspect with full gutters and proper slope and soil, and for that matter, proper watering in periods of drought, I practically never find much if anything to write up about foundations/settlement.


    You can't just mention cracks here, cracks, there and it needs repair. The intent is to give opinion and recommendation as to whom should follow behind you. By the way, I have never been questioned to my opinion and recommendation when it comes to the foundation section or grading and drainage section and recommendations.

    Ooops, sorry Jim I qoted you by mistake.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 07-17-2008 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Correction

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Not performing as designed

    Foundations crack, doors get out of square, floors can be built out of level and drywall cracks. Normal stuff. What you need to look for is a pattern that ties these things together. Spend time carefully looking at conditions to see if they appear to relate to each other. If you have doubts or suspect trouble then refer your client to an engineer's evaluation. Nothing wrong with telling your client that you're not sure of a condition and that further follow up is just being on the safe side. They will appreciate your honesty.

    One other thought. Try to stay away from saying it's a foundation problem - that's an engineering analysis that you don't want to be a part of. A foundation problem could be due to a soil problem. Sometimes steering a client towards a cause can be very bad for the inspector if he turns out to be wrong. Put that burden on someone else.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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