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So... I found my first leaning house, out 1 7/8" on the 1 1/2 storeys above ground. Built in '65, poured concrete foundation, wood frame walls, the entire yard sloping towards house. Corrective action was noted, moisture proofing sprayed inside of basement (I know, it's a bandaid), fresh parging patching the cracks on diagonals from corners of foundation windows. Interior was renovated apparently 4 yrs ago (upstairs) and I noticed cracks at edges of drywall sheets, tape buckling etc. I suspected house is still settling. So I recommended they have an engineer come in for further evaluation. They forwarded the engineers report to me and they basically repeated everything I wrote in my report, corrective action noted etc. They didn't take soil samples or anything. They said to "monitor". I don't think someone buying a house wants to "monitor". What would you tell your client? Get another engineer?

Leighton

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I'd tell them the engineer wimped out and didn't provide any useful information. I'd say I was sorry but there was no way I could know about future settling without extensive investigation well outside the scope of my home inspection.

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This is the trouble with the phrase "further evaluation" being used in inspectors reports.

There is a place for it but not nearly so much as is common and as taught in inspector schools.

When you call for further evaluation it does remove the liability from your back but it does little for your client, especially if the "expert" is one from the Realtors handbag that does not want to "hurt the deal".

Call it like you see it, spell out the problems and tell them who they need to contact to FIX it.

If an engineer must be contacted for their expertise, recommend that they hire an engineer to design a REPAIR.

The rare time I do call for an expert for further evaluation is when I can't tell clearly what is going on and they need someone smarter than I to figure it out... but I still tell them the problems that I see and what their next step should be.

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That's a decent way to go. The "further evaluation" commentary is usually horse shit.

I've been involved with a few foundation and footing repairs, and it gets really expensive. $50k to pin support a foundation isn't out of the ordinary around here.

I'd probably tell them that.

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Thanks gentlemen, I called the foundation company that sent out the engineer. I couldn't talk to the engineer that went to the house, as he was busy, but according to the office manager, there is several neighbourhoods that automatically raise concerns and this wasn't in one of those areas, so they aren't that worried. I asked for a map of the problem areas but apparently they just have it memorized.

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Thanks gentlemen, I called the foundation company that sent out the engineer. I couldn't talk to the engineer that went to the house, as he was busy, but according to the office manager, there is several neighbourhoods that automatically raise concerns and this wasn't in one of those areas, so they aren't that worried. I asked for a map of the problem areas but apparently they just have it memorized.

I would equate their "memorized" situation as something akin to: "Knowledge is Power". They (supposedly) have the knowledge (won't share it) and thus have the "power".

Also, good comments from Jim L. and Kurt M. above about "further evaluation". I agree whole-heartedly.

As I often tell my clients (no dis-respect to NASA engineers), but this is not rocket science. It is about common sense knowledge. Unfortunately we are seeing more and more of the "lack" as time goes on.

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Being an engineer I often get called out to do this type of inspection. I try to give an opinion stating that it is not a problem, or is a problem and should be repaired. I then try to give a sense of what type of repair could be needed and a rough cost. However, sometimes it is not very clear whether movement is ongoing and suggesting monitoring is all we can do. OTOH, many engineers are not that familiar with houses and settlement so that lack the experience necessary to evaluate these conditions.

Regarding soils samples, etc. any meaningful evaluation can easily cost $3000 to $5000. Not usually practical.

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I seldom recommend an engineer for the reasons above.

I usually tell them something along the lines of:

Consult a foundation contractor, who utilizes the services of a licensed engineer to design repairs, to determine needed repairs & best repair methods, estimate costs, and to perform any repairs that you and he agree are needed.

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Deck posts for a second story deck were supported by Sonotube concrete posts set into the steep slope dirt bank. Several concrete posts were protruding 2 or 3 feet above ground level and leaning downhill.

I called for bracing to tie the deck posts back to the house. The sellers 'hired' a geotech, a soil engineer, who declared there was no problem with erosion on that site.

My clients felt that was good enough but wanted a confirmation from me. Nope I said it was still a structural problem, and it would still need repair.

It is also a soils problem. The bank below the house is loose gravel with no retaining wall, so you cause erosion just by climbing around on it. I wonder how that all got twisted into being OK? My clients bought the house as is, so good luck to them.

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