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Varmint burrows

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In the crawlspace of a POS house a day ago (I know I know, raise my prices!) the uncovered ground started to collapse under my elbows. I immediately remembered Hausdoks story of hundreds of rats running around him. Luckily nothing came out.

Would you report the condition and recommend further investigation? Could it be some other concern other then burrows from varmints?

Chris, Oregon

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If the integrity of the soil is effected it can effect the structure. The loads from piers and footings are dispersed into the soil in a conical shape. Soil that is loosened next to a load point can be a problem since the cone of compression is made weaker by the rodents excavating. Rodents or not, loose and poorly compacted soil is not good. It is hard to make a call without actually seeing it like you did.

You don't really have the ability in the normal scope of a home inspection to determine the extent that the soil has been effected. I realize what I have said could be considered a stretch. The bottom line is, if you believe what you saw could have a negative effect, it should be reported.

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I am with Randy on this one....

Typically when I run into the soft soil, it is from rotted tree roots/ stumps that were not removed during construction (usually in older homes). If the softness does run beneath the foundation in a large area, I make note of it in the report as a potential concern and recommend additional support (case by case of course).

I remember dropping into a hole a couple of feet deep where a stump had rotted out in a tight crawlspace-- kinda freaked me out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

New sewer system installed at my neighborhood in 1958. Abandoned the cess pools and connected to the street in 1958.

Helped my elderly neighbor one day cut his grass. Stepped thru a rotted covered wood cover into a dry cess pool. Should have been filled back then!!--is now!. Any thing can happen around a house or in a crawl space.

Great story for my new neighbors. Tough being the "old guy" in a neighborhood.[:-banghea

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