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Grading Boiler Plate


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I am in the process of going through all of my boiler plate and changing things up.

What do you think about this? What will make it better?

The ground slopes towards the structure in some areas which can lead to water intrusion into the crawlspace, structural issues, etc. There should be a min. 5% grade away from the home within the first 10' to ensure proper drainage. Hire a landscaping contractor to adjust the exterior grade to slope away from the home, or have a drainage specialist install an alternative drainage system.

Thanks,

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Assuming this is not new construction, I will note that the grade tips towards the house, but I don't recommend regrading or some drainage system unless I see actual water intrusion issues. Where I'm from, next to nobody has good grading or even close to what code recommends for grade requirements. Some of these houses have seepage. Some don't.

Also, "There should be a min. 5% grade away from the home within the first 10' to ensure proper drainage," does not ensure anything. It's a case by case thing.

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Can you edit the comment before dropping it into the report? That way you can be more specific about the location(s) of the problem instead of saying "some areas".

I edit about half of my boiler plate on each inspection, but edit once I drop it into the report. "some areas" seems to work on about half of the inspections.

Also, "There should be a min. 5% grade away from the home within the first 10' to ensure proper drainage," does not ensure anything. It's a case by case thing.

It was meant to say "to help ensure"-- my bad, and thanks.

My drainage boiler plate seems to change at least every couple of weeks (when I am working). I can't seem to find that perfect paragraph.

I am at the point where I am considering writing up a separate group of boiler plates........ one for new construction, and one for existing construction.

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

I am in the process of going through all of my boiler plate and changing things up.

What do you think about this? What will make it better?

The ground slopes towards the structure in some areas which can lead to water intrusion

This says that the areas can lead to water intrusion. I think you mean to say that the slope can lead to water intrusion.

The ground slopes towards the structure in some areas which can lead to water intrusion into the crawlspace, structural issues, etc.

Intrusion is a nominalization. Bonnie says they're to be avoided.

What kind of structural issues?

Is there a reason to say structure instead of house?

There should be a min. 5% grade away from the home within the first 10' to ensure proper drainage.

Aiee! Don't make me do math.

Will a 5% grade really *ensure* proper drainage or will it just make it more likely?

Hire a landscaping contractor to adjust the exterior grade to slope away from the home, or have a drainage specialist install an alternative drainage system.

It'll be expensive to carry out that work. Is there something going on with the house that merits the investment or is it just a preventive measure?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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The ground slopes towards the structure in some areas which can lead to water intrusion

"This says that the areas can lead to water intrusion. I think you mean to say that the slope can lead to water intrusion."

That it does....Thanks.

It'll be expensive to carry out that work. Is there something going on with the house that merits the investment or is it just a preventive measure?

Should expense be a consideration when recommending repairs?

I've floated back and forth between telling clients to make repairs vs. telling them to monitor/ repair if necessary when not seeing actual problems.

Jim, would you mind giving me an idea of what you write when the soils are sloping toward the home, but don't see any problems at that time?

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For cryin' out loud, go buy Jack Kilpatrick's paperback, Fine Print. You can get it for less than four bucks at Amazon. It's actually a fun read.

Fine, but I won't like it (read about writing.... arghhh). I'm more of a numbers guy..... Thanks for the advice on the book.

No offense, but that's wretched writing -- an error that a good 8th-grade English teacher wouldn't tolerate.

Are we talkin' public school here? I know, you said "good", so probably not). I aced those classes all through high school and had no problem in college, but always knew I wasn't a good writer.

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

. . . Should expense be a consideration when recommending repairs?

At a certain level, yes. If it's a 20+ year old house with negative grades all around it and no sign at all that there's ever been any problem as a result, why would you advise spending a bunch of money on re-grading? A newish house is a different matter. Without a track record of several years, you can't tell if the grading is likely to be a problem or not.

I've floated back and forth between telling clients to make repairs vs. telling them to monitor/ repair if necessary when not seeing actual problems.

There aren't a whole lot of situations where I find myself facing that conundrum. The choice usually seems pretty clear to me. What are some examples of situations where this come up?

Jim, would you mind giving me an idea of what you write when the soils are sloping toward the home, but don't see any problems at that time?

Since I don't really use boilerplate, it's a little different each time. Here's what I wrote in a report that I just randomly opened up:

Grading

There are level and negative grades around the house. The soil should slope away from the house to discourage water from running into the crawlspace.

37. Establish positive grades, away from the house in all directions – particularly at the north and west sides.

This particular house had a slight water problem in the crawlspace. For context, here's what I wrote about that:

Water Entry in the Crawlspace

A small amount of water has entered the west end of the semi-finished crawlspace. Stains on the floor suggest that this is a chronic problem. Water in a crawlspace is bad for the foundation, the framing and the occupants.

2. To reduce the risk of crawlspace water entry, clean and maintain your gutters so that they catch all roof water and direct it well away from the house. Also grade the soil away from house in all directions. If you still get water in the crawlspace, consult with a drainage contractor to install a drain tile system.

Like I said, the notes are different each time. I just don't find boilerplate to be a very useful form of communication.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Quote: I've floated back and forth between telling clients to make repairs vs. telling them to monitor/ repair if necessary when not seeing actual problems.

There aren't a whole lot of situations where I find myself facing that conundrum. The choice usually seems pretty clear to me. What are some examples of situations where this come up?

Hmmm, besides drainage....

a) New construction home with Hardi siding. The required gap between the siding and GSM flashing does not exist (caulked/ materials butted tightly against each other) I had several jobs where the siding contractor came back and made "repairs" which made matters worse. I'd rather just have the client keep an eye on everything and keep the joint caulked.

Or how about fiber cement lap siding. The lap is only 1 or 1- 1/8" instead of the required 1 -1/4". I don't see this causing any problem. Do I tell them to rip off all of the siding or not?

b)With corrosion at nipples on water heaters, I'll tell clients to either be proactive and replace the rusted ones, or just keep an eye out for future leakage. This is only if in a garage. If leakage would cause damage, I'll most likely tell the client to replace them.

I can't think of others off the top of my head, plus it's past my bed time so I'm not thinking too clearly.

At a certain level, yes. If it's a 20+ year old house with negative grades all around it and no sign at all that there's ever been any problem as a result, why would you advise spending a bunch of money on re-grading? A newish house is a different matter. Without a track record of several years, you can't tell if the grading is likely to be a problem or not.


With that example, I would tell my clients that if they were planning on re- landscaping at some point, to re- grade then. Otherwise, they should just keep an eye out. Sometimes, it's not so easy.

I am a very fast typer, so I don't need the boiler plate to speed things up. I often use boiler plate on issues that I have trouble wording, such as with grading. I change my grading boiler plate more than any other.

Like I said, the notes are different each time. I just don't find boilerplate to be a very useful form of communication.


Yeah, but you are an excellent communicator, and according to WJ my writing/ communication skills are a mess (my girlfriend would agree). Until I become a better writer, I will have to stick to some boiler plate.
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Brandon,

Here's what I'ved used without incident from about 1987. :

Areas next to the foundation which are flat or sloped toward the house will pond water which contributes to basement dampness, wood decay, the growth of allergens like mold and mildew, and can saturate the soil that supports the foundation walls. These flat and depressed areas of soil next to the foundation should be regraded to maximize the distance between the soil and all wood members, and to slope and drain water away from the house. The regrading will also reduce the attraction for woodboring insects.

Hope that helps,

Jimmy

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Pardon my saying so, but boilerplate isn't the cure. It's the disease. Using more boilerplate will make everything worse. (If boilerplate were a good thing, wouldn't brother Katen be using it?)

Try this, starting tomorrow, seriously: Write like you talk.

I've improved since joining TIJ. At times, I will read reports from years back........ I embarass myself at times.

I've only got about 20 more years to improve. I hope to have it figured out by retirement. [:-graduat

Thanks to all of ya for taking the time to help me out.........

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