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Leaning Foundation


Mike Lamb
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It sounds like it was formed with a slight lean, if, I understand what you are saying, that the side of a formed poured in place concrete slab has a tilt from the ground to the top of the 8 inch thick of 1/4 inch, in or out doesn't really matter. Is it only on one side of the slab or does the opposite side of the slab have a corresponding lean. If it was just on one side I would think more formed out of square and would not call for a PE.

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It's kinda hard to move an 8' wall over 2" (8' x 1/4") after it's been placed without it cracking all to bejeezus.

Sounds like it was built that way. I'd have less interest in a PE looking @ it than I would have in talking to the foundation & general contractor's for their explanation.

There isn't anyone, including a PE, who can divine what is going to happen from here on out; walls aren't supposed to be installed out of plumb.

If I had to place bets, I'd bet that it isn't going to do anything that anyone can see for a great many years, and even after one could see movement (if any), it probably wouldn't mean much of anything. I would not put that in the report.

It kind of boils down to old fashioned values; if someone was asking me to pay the ridiculously inflated prices for new homes that folks are paying, I'd be damned if I'd pay my good money for a whacked out foundation wall, even if I didn't think it was going anywhere.

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It happens.

Probably the result of an accident during placement.

I was once atop a form wall during a foundation pour when the boom operator swung the boom past me just as a strut gave out behind me. It was like a friggin domino game, except slower. The wall gave a big lurch, tossed me onto the ground and I ended up lying there looking up at the wall as it began slowly leaning over toward me. Got the hell out of there, the old man let out a bellow and we all just reacted.

Somehow, using struts and a Bobcat, we stopped the roll before it had progressed more than 10ft linear or the wall was more than a couple of feet out of plumb and pushed it back to as close to upright as possible. The old man was swearing like a drunk sailor and had the boom operator swing it over to the other side. He sent a couple guys over there to continue placement, and then we pushed vertical dams into the the last plumb forms at either end of the buckle, nailed 'em in place, disassembled those panels, dumping all of that wet mud, probably a couple of tons worth, onto the ground, cleared off the footings, reassembled the forms and snap-ties, plumbed them up, nailed on whalers and put struts in place all in the space of about 8 minutes. You wouldn't believe the noise the old man was making!

We got the forms braced again and had just finished prying out the last of the two dams when the operator yelled over that he needed to come our way again. The old man gave him a thumbs up and we placed the last of that load into those forms and worked those damned ends with a couple of 2 bys. We probably had more than a yard of concrete on the ground. The old man had figured it so close that we had to shovel some of that mud back into the forms in order to make the line.

Pretty intensive 15 to 20 minutes and when it was all over I learned that I had a gash on the back of my head and had been bleeding all that time. I'd never even noticed it, because I'd been too damn busy to worry about it. In the end, the section that we'd disassembled, raked out and reassembled was plumb but the bottom of the wall at a section about 4ft. from the end of the area that buckled was an inch off the line. Nobody had noticed it with all of the activity and the mud everywhere. The top of the wall was right on the money though and the old man wasn't worried about it. Said he'd placed a few worse as a new fish 30 years before.

Did you check the far wall of that foundation to see whether the entire thing had leaned a little bit toward Aunt Sadie's?

OT - OF!!!

M.

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In addition to the other good questions raised, do the floor joists run parallel or perpendicular to this wall? Is the sill plate properly anchored to the wall? What is the height of the unbalanced backfill? Does the yard slope toward the wall, or direct drainage away?

What does NAHB's Residential Construction Performance Guidelines say about tolerances for plumbness of foundation walls? Even if this is not new construction, it can give you a reference point for what is generally considered to be "not a problem" (at least from a builder's point of view!).

Brandon

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Originally posted by Brandon Chew

What does NAHB's Residential Construction Performance Guidelines say about tolerances for plumbness of foundation walls? Even if this is not new construction, it can give you a reference point for what is generally considered to be "not a problem" (at least from a builder's point of view!).

Brandon

ANSWER: Concrete walls shall not be out of plumb greater than 1-1/2 inches in 8ft. when measured from the base to the top of the wall.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Once I measured a leaning poured retaining wall, that made a side foundation for attached garage and extended to contain fill beneath a poured driveway, at 3 1/2" out of plumb over about seven feet of height.

Buyer walked for this and many other reasons. A cpl. of years later I happened by the site and saw a whole new wall formed and poured about six feet away, with the gap filled and made into a planter strip. Looked great.

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