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Poured concrete foundation build 24" too low

Paul Sweet

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
1,519
Location
Richmond, VA
Burying the water, electric, phone & cable deeper shouldn't be a problem, although there might not be enough slack to go down 4 ft. then back up again. The sewer needs to slope down to the manhole (or septic tank). You might have to pump the sewage, if your health dept. will allow that.
 

Dropstone

Sawhorse
Joined
Sep 2, 2020
Messages
33
Location
Marietta Ohio
Ok now I really need to tap into the experience levels in this forum. We have moved to settlement stage. Ivee been as real and accurate as possible to quantify this thing. I should say that he doesn't want to come back and help fix and this is not surprising as he probably hates me. He wants to pay out. So, I came up with a nice compromise in which he would not have to open his wallet. Im trying to save him some anguish. The idea is he would give me a scrubby little drainage ditch half acre behind my lot which means nothing to his farm but it gives me another build site. That way, the values of the properties will go up as my property becomes more valuable and he gets to sell houses for that much more after every build because of it. All was well, but then he wants to be full release from all liability having to do as a residential contractor. Meaning those implied warranties, the foundation warranty and all the others i dont know about. Given that his ding dong subcontractor already built the thing two feet too low and made the walk out basement, a full 12 inches to shallow, im sort of expecting more excitement in the future. My garage at basement level already has full span cracks in the pad and a crack in the poured wall. Im wondering if the footers are sinking. Sometimes I wonder, if he plumbed the roof downspouts into the footer drain which at this point, wouldn't surprise me as he plumbed a surface water drain in the yard to a footer drain already. I should have a plumber send a camera in and check that out. Anyways, my question is......

What value do you put at a full release of liability? Ive got thoughts, but i need the thoughts of some experienced people. The square footage is around 5000 with walk out basement and first floor. Poured concrete foundation. 4 car garage attached and stacked 2 on 2. 6 bed, 3 bath. I think if this thing sank, it would cost 100k in a ramjack.
 

Sifu

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
1,465
Based on what I know about the build I would be hesitant to release the contractor from any enforceable expressed or implied warranty.. Not sure I understand your compromise, but I would say your house has some very worrisome defects and disclosing those defects will damage the value to the extent that an additional build site wouldn't offset your losses (plus, imagine the relationship you will have with the future owner and neighbor when he has to live with the mistakes). You will be taking ownership of every mistake the contractor made, passing it on to some future buyer, and contributing to the same mistakes he will undoubtedly make for others in the future. I think your generous offer to help him avoid proper restitution is a mistake, and you are correct to worry about future, undisclosed and unknown defects as well. Maybe you love the house, location etc., and are looking at it through rose colored glasses. If so, you have a decision to make about how bad you want to keep it, hopefully that decision is a little more informed now. Personally, and again this is only based on what I know from you, I would be seeking to have the contractor buy it back from you and I would move on.

Maybe I missed something, but I assume you found a process by which the contractor was forced into accepting some sort of responsibility. What process was that? Was there a building department? Permits, inspections? Also, I don't think I ever got a response about whether you had sealed engineered drawings for the structure.
 

Dropstone

Sawhorse
Joined
Sep 2, 2020
Messages
33
Location
Marietta Ohio
There were no engineered plans for this house. He just sort of wings it and it shows. Unfortuanly he isn't even required to have any plans since there is no enforcement here however now he is open to liability should he choose not to. Ive basically followed the guidelines in ORC 1312 as self represented but I feel like Ive done it in the most meticulous and well documented way I can with as much evidence as I can. In the beginning, when they responded to my 'Notice to Contractor' which was a heavily reinforced 150 pages or so, document, he hired a lawyer to write up a scare letter. Accusing me of trespassing. So, in response I looked up the laws pertaining to criminal trespass and proved to them that its not criminal trespass if a person has privilege to property. Since we are engaged in a legal and public business during business hours, this is not criminal trespass and furthermore, I held his lawyer accountable for unsubstantiated claims leading to the delay of intervention on a time sensitive construction matter in which time with out repairs could lead to further damages. That is the last I heard of trespass. Thats one of a hundred ways these guys are dodging any accountability. A part of me sort of wants this to move into arbitration just to have a judge hold these guys accountable. So, why are they complying? I think they think I have a justifiable case against them or not. Who knows. Basically they've chosen to settle. There offers have been low ball. Their numbers are unbacked and exaggerated. I think my next letter will be that I am no longer believing that both sides have the potential to come to a settlement as their offers are so off. Then again, I really need to be able to quantify how much a full release is worth. Since that is what they are wanting. My offers to settle have been only the matters at hand, thus far which is just surface things like th drainage, the shower, the god awful electric(3800$ in repairs). My offers do not include full release and only include the matters at hand. Id offered for him to exchange property instead of money. I thought this would help matters because I dont know his finances and I do know he has property which is connected to mine and inconsequential to his so I thought we could come to settle sooner and I would fix the mattress at hand with the house, myself. I dont believe he will be making the same mistakes again or doing business in the same way. Especially since I would just forward all of my work to the next person, should this every happen again. I cannot control him into proper business practices. What is in my control is to make sure this current case has been executed to its fullest extent and any consequence for bad business that can be imposed, is imposed.
 

Sifu

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
1,465
Not having an engineered plan for some of the things I see are concerning. Aside from the prescriptive violations I see in the photos I would be curious how the engineering for things like what appears to be a wood framed garage floor was arrived at. I have been at this stuff for a while, and I have never seen anything like that, never mind the fact that it is wood, absorbs water, burns, swells, rots and deflects, though I guess it will make a conversion to living space a little easier. Which is about the only viable option for that space since it is a blatant and direct violation of code. I would consider finding a code consultant to provide a list of deficiencies, then find an engineer to evaluate the structure, then a contractor to provide a number to bring the code and engineering deficiencies up to snuff. That would be the start, add in the cost of doing all that, the time and resources you spent, all the legal costs, and potential damage to the ability to sell in the future.
 
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