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New house foundation question


banh66
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We are building a new house with a builder. They made a mistake by putting our house 62-foot away from the curb other than 52 fee as we wanted. That made our backyard very small, ~22-foot deep. When we found it out, they already poured concrete to the footer. We were not happy with it. So they added new footer to the existing one to make the foundation 10-foot forward. According to them, the new and existing foundation were linked by three #4 rebars.

We are really worried about future structural problems with this foundation because the new and existing foundation may separate? But they insisted that there should be no problem. Should we build the house on the modified foundation? Is it safe to leave those old footer in the backyard? or maybe we should build on the original foundation.

Any thoughts? thanks a lot

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We are building a new house with a builder. They made a mistake by putting our house 62-foot away from the curb other than 52 fee as we wanted. That made our backyard very small, ~22-foot deep.

Good grief! Who did you hire, the three stooges?

When we found it out, they already poured concrete to the footer. We were not happy with it. So they added new footer to the existing one to make the foundation 10-foot forward. According to them, the new and existing foundation were linked by three #4 rebars.

We are really worried about future structural problems with this foundation because the new and existing foundation may separate? But they insisted that there should be no problem. Should we build the house on the modified foundation?

Is your lot on a hill or is it on level ground?

When they placed the newer footings, did they excavate down to the same level as the other footings?

Did they place the new footings (and the old ones for that matter) on undisturbed earth?

Is it safe to leave those old footer in the backyard? or maybe we should build on the original foundation.

No, the old footers should come out. Not because they're dangerous, but because they might interfere with drainage and they'll make your landscaping look goofy. However, they have to be removed carefully so as not to damage the portion of the footing that is staying. If there's rebar in there, that will take some care to do properly.

Send pictures.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I'm not entirely clear on what's there, and what's not.

Do you now have "2" foundations? Or, is it just the footings?

If there's an old foundation in place, I'd insist it come out. If it's just the footing, it might not be a problem, but it certainly is stupid.

I'm not sure what Jim means when he says it would make the landscaping look goofy...(?)...

Either way, put up a lot of pictures if you have them. Like I said, I'm not clear on what you have now.

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The house will be on level ground, and then ~ 22 feet level ground in the backyard, then there is a rather steep slope in the back. That is why we want the house to sit 10-foot forward to make the usable backyard bigger.

The new footer is at the same level as the old one (please see the picture). And yes, they put the new and old footer in undisturbed earth.

Please see the picture

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/CF ... directlink

(somehow, I could not directly upload the picture)

Thanks a lot

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I am more concerned with the depth of the footings than leaving old ones in place. If they used rebar to tie the new footings into the old then there should not be a problem. Most of PA has a frost depth of 42" to the bottom of the footing. Looks like you will be bringing in lots of fill.

The code inspector should be requiring a set of revised prints or a change order allowing this situation to happen. You are in PA and are under the PA UCC which is currently the 2006 IRC. You are on the other side of the state otherwise I would swing by and take a look for you. Go to my website and email me what county and township you are in and I will contact the code official for you if you give me your name and the address of the property.

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From what I'm seeing, there's no bsmt. At least, no below grade bsmt. The footing is going to be at (approx.) grade level, no?

If that's correct, make them tear the old footing out. The footing that's "inside" the foundation shouldn't be a problem, but I wouldn't want a footing in my yard a couple inches below grade for several reasons.

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Waynesroper is correct in recommending that you contact the local building dept. They'll have something to say about all of it. I'd be surprised if they allowed the footing to be left in place. Then again, I'm constantly amazed at the idiotic things that muni dept's. let go.

He is entirely incorrect in projecting that you're somehow confused by any of this. You seem capable of talking and making decisions.

The idea in here is talking things over, and figuring out what's going on. I've found the participants @ TIJ to be among the most knowledgeable I've ever encountered.

Now that I see what's going on, the reasons I'd want the footing out would be pretty much what Jim said.

1) Landscaping. It'll screw up anything you want to do down the line. How about that planting you wanted around your future patio? Or terraced landscaping down that bluff? Kinda hard to do it through reinforced concrete.

2) Water retention, or at minimum, it'll reduce dissipation of water into the surrounding soil. It'll hold subgrade water adjacent to the walkout. You don't want that.

Removing reinforced concrete is not fun. You don't want to do it. You want the builder to do it.

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I know things are done different around the country, but shouldn't there be either a keyway or maybe even some rebar in the footing to tie the foundation to the footing?

I know it can be added later, but to me it would be logical to added during the pour.

Tony

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I know things are done different around the country, but shouldn't there be either a keyway or maybe even some rebar in the footing to tie the foundation to the footing?

I know it can be added later, but to me it would be logical to added during the pour.

Tony

Ding! Ding! Tony wins the prize (good catch).

How on earth do they think they are going to attach the foundation to the footing?

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Agreed with all the above. Soupy concrete, no forms, no keyway, screwed up layout, and who knows what else all paint a picture you don't want.

Don't count on the muni folks to know, or do, squat. It's unfortunate to have to say that, because there's a few good folks out there (props to Remas & Fabry), but overall, the muni building dept's. are a wasteland of incompetence, often due to builders groups lobbying city mgt. to rein in or eliminate competent inspections and enforcement.

Get some knowledgeable representation like Steve just said. You need an advocate on site. If they screwed up the first (relatively simple) step, they're likely screw up several more.

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Wow, I am really scared to continue with this builder now. This is a big local builder in Pittsburgh, they have ~ 30 communities and claim they are Pittsburgh's #1 custom home builder... I don't know if the footer of other homes they have built in the subdivision had forms and keyways. But I guess they are the same as ours.

We met with them today and was told if we back out, our earnest money could not be returned ($20,000). so I guess we are screwed. Not sure if we have a case if we sue them.

But we will have a structural engineer to look at it first. Again, thank you for your help

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Wow, I am really scared to continue with this builder now. This is a big local builder in Pittsburgh, they have ~ 30 communities and claim they are Pittsburgh's #1 custom home builder... I don't know if the footer of other homes they have built in the subdivision had forms and keyways. But I guess they are the same as ours.

We met with them today and was told if we back out, our earnest money could not be returned ($20,000). so I guess we are screwed. Not sure if we have a case if we sue them.

But we will have a structural engineer to look at it first. Again, thank you for your help

The work they've done so far is crap. There's no nicer way to say it.

Get a lawyer, get your money back, and find another builder.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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The big boys in Chicago, those that are the "#1 builders", are often the biggest xxxholes, and the least competent on all the details that really count.

Of course, most of the "big boys" are all bankrupt gone now.

You don't want to sue, even though. You'll blow much more than $20,000 getting satisfaction, which you might not get. "#1 builders" have substantial legal dept's. and they'll burn you. That's why they're "#1".

Get a good engineer or architect that knows the building code, and put it to them. Harass the local muni guys to enforce the law.

Buckle in, because you're in for an unpleasant experience either way.

Get someone in your corner.

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What is "Custom" about a builder who is #1 in the area with more then 30 developments?

Is the only difference between him and a tract builder, the tract builder builds the home first and then sells it and the "Custom Builder" sells the home first and then builds it?

Ezra Malernee

Canton, Ohio

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contacted a local structural engineer today and sent him the pictures. He said what they did is fine and it is not necessary for him to come out to see the actual work. And he asked " is this xxx builder? they are pretty reputable"

He probably figured it out by the house address. I guess this guy may has connection with builder.

I will contact more but it is really hard to find one just by searching online.

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