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Yet another, yet another "what's this?"


Inspectorjoe
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I found this protruding through the concrete foundation, about six and a half feet above the floor, in the basement of a c1920 brick twin. It seems to be heavy gauge steel pipe with a sheet metal cap on it. There is no sign of it on the other side of the foundation wall, which is the basement of a small addition that was added not too long after original construction.

It looks vaguely familiar, like I've seen something like it before. And no, I didn't try to turn the nut.

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The other side is an addition basement. There is no sign of it there. The grade at the front and side drops off pretty sharply, but it seems like the rear of the house, where this is located, has always been pretty much flat.

There are quite a few cracks in the foundation, mostly at the outside front corner, where the drop off is the greatest, but there were few cracks back in the area where this pipe thing is located.

There is also a bit of ground settlement at the exterior, along with a a big depression in the street and sidewalk settlement across the street, I normally don't comment on things that are off a property, but I included this in the report:

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Settlement is visible in the street and the sidewalk on the other side of the street. There is also settlement of the steps, and some minor settlement of the sidewalk slabs on the property. When you have a structural engineer evaluate the foundation cracks, make him aware of this settlement, because the cracking may be related to it.

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It is a cleat anchor. They have had some movement for a long time and have tried to handl it. You will need a soils engineer preferably one that can do hydro-geologic evaluation.

It might once have been a cleat anchor. Now it's just a hunk of metal on one side of the wall. Joe said that there's no sign of this thing on the other side of the wall. Not much for a soils engineer to evaluate.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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It is a cleat anchor. They have had some movement for a long time and have tried to handl it. You will need a soils engineer preferably one that can do hydro-geologic evaluation.

It might once have been a cleat anchor. Now it's just a hunk of metal on one side of the wall. Joe said that there's no sign of this thing on the other side of the wall. Not much for a soils engineer to evaluate.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Jim,

To test your logic I offer two examples.

1. If a shipwreck was found with a bunch of 1500 year old coins. You would tell them that they are no longer coins, and they have no numismatic value. They are no longer used as currency therefore they are just hunks of metal. Right?

2. Say I took the crankshaft out of an engine, and placed it on a table for ten years. Could I still use it by placing it in another engine? Yes it would fit in the new engine because it IS still a crankshaft.

The question posed is "what is this?" I identified it as a cleat anchor.

In fact the item on the wall in the photo IS still a cleat anchor. whether or not it still has the tieback and the dead man attached to it or it's current service is not the issue.

What do we know from the information available?

1. Previously an engineer decided that a retaining system was necessary.

2. Later some one came along and put in an addition on the other side of the wall. In doing so they modified it. That same person probably did not know what it was or the purpose it served, and thought nothing of removing it.

3. By the erosion in the front of this house, and street something IS going wrong, and left alone it will continue to go wrong.

Jim, from the photos and information available can you provide due diligence for the calculations, and evaluation? I cannot.

I reassert that Joe will need to defer to a soils engineer preferably one that can do hydro-geologic evaluation. There is in fact something for an engineer to evaluate.

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Jim,

To test your logic I offer two examples.

1. If a shipwreck was found with a bunch of 1500 year old coins. You would tell them that they are no longer coins, and they have no numismatic value. They are no longer used as currency therefore they are just hunks of metal. Right?

2. Say I took the crankshaft out of an engine, and placed it on a table for ten years. Could I still use it by placing it in another engine? Yes it would fit in the new engine because it IS still a crankshaft.

The question posed is "what is this?" I identified it as a cleat anchor.

In fact the item on the wall in the photo IS still a cleat anchor. whether or not it still has the tieback and the dead man attached to it or it's current service is not the issue.

From an archeological perspective, it was and still is an anchor cleat. But in terms of its function with regard to the house, it's a useless hunk of metal.

What do we know from the information available?

1. Previously an engineer decided that a retaining system was necessary.

At some point in the past, someone decided that a retaining system was necessary to support the unbalanced load on the wall. That person was trying to correct a deficiency in the wall, not a deficiency in the soil. The unbalanced load on that wall is now gone and the presence of the cleat is now moot.

2. Later some one came along and put in an addition on the other side of the wall. In doing so they modified it. That same person probably did not know what it was or the purpose it served, and thought nothing of removing it.

We don't really *know* that from the information available, do we? Isn't that just speculation?

3. By the erosion in the front of this house, and street something IS going wrong, and left alone it will continue to go wrong.

Maybe. But I can't tell that from the pics. The street in the picture looks like half of the streets in my area.

Jim, from the photos and information available can you provide due diligence for the calculations, and evaluation? I cannot.

Of course not. I'm just waiting to hear why due diligence should be necessary. A 90-year old house with funky hardware on the wall, some cracks in the foundation and some settlement across the street just doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary to me. In fact, it's pretty much the normal state of things around here.

I reassert that Joe will need to defer to a soils engineer preferably one that can do hydro-geologic evaluation. There is in fact something for an engineer to evaluate.

Well, Joe did recommend that a structural engineer evaluate the foundation cracks. He's a sharp guy so I trust that they were serious enough to merit that recommendation.

My observations about your first post in this thread stemmed from my impression that you thought that an emasculated anchor cleat should automatically trigger a soils evaluation. If that's what you were trying to say, then I profoundly disagree. If that wasn't your intention, then we probably don't disagree at all.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I'm afraid the answer to what that thing is and what it was for may have died with the person who put it in and the people who owned the house at the time.

It's very near the top of the foundation, so it couldn't be a plug in a sewer line. The frost line around here is over two feet. The probable height of the grade before the addition was added would have had the sewer line suspended in the air . Besides. the cast part inside is integral to the outer wall. If it was a compression plug, the plug, would have to have been on the other side.

One possibility that I considered, was it being an old cistern feed pipe. The problem with that was there was no sign that area had ever been a cistern and every pipe passing through a foundation wall to feed a cistern that I have ever seen has been angled.

If it's an anchor, I can't see how it ever had a deadman attached, again, because it would have exited the foundation above grade.Here's a picture of where it would have exited (at the rear). And I still can't understand why there is no sign of it on the other side. Maybe they put a thick parge coat on over it long ago.

I mentioned that there were quite a few foundation cracks at the other end of the house, but there weren't any of these devices in that area. I did recommend that a structural engineer check it out, because they appeared to be relatively new (relative to the age of the house). I was a bit concerned about the settlement in the street and the sidewalk accross the street, because this is sinkhole country. I've seen some bad things happen. I just dug these slides out and scanned them. I took them July 1983.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3609/331 ... 57fd_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3302/331 ... a5f0_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3506/331 ... 1cdf_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3429/331 ... 2350_o.jpg

On a grander scale, This building was located about three miles away from the one we're talking about.

Sinkholes in Pennsylvania

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