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Proving incorrect pier & beam installation

Discussion in 'Residential Foundation Codes' started by Jwebb7797, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Jwebb7797

    Jwebb7797 Registered User

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    Normally hardcore DIYers, my husband and I opted to pay a contractor for a job that was more than we could take on. We live in very rural South Texas. Codes, Inspectors, and all the other "norms" of the big cities are hard to enforce around here. The problem with that is...we hired a company to install a whole new pier and beam foundation under our 50'x60 ' home that was cut in half and moved by a house mover onto our land. (This is not a mobile or manufactured home, it is a 3000 sq ft home built by United Built Home builders)
    We agreed to a $60,000 contract from a local company to install a completely new foundation once the home was moved. All the temporary blocks were to be removed after a completely new foundation was constructed. The contract includes all new beams (the original ones were cut or damaged in some way by the movers), all new concrete piers and a cinder block skirting wall around the perimeter of the home (the crawlspace).
    I've attached some pictures of his work. He even hired a structural engineer that came out and approved this work! The naked eye can tell our home isn't level, yet this engineer sets a ZIPLEVEL in a few random places on the floor and is signing off that it is level. None of the piers were poured level, the house is over 3 inches higher on the left side than the right side (which the engineer says is "within normal margin of error" on a house this size. He used scrap pieces of wood for shims, some stacked six inches or higher. Doors and windows will not open and close because it is so out of level and they tell me it is because the "house was built that way". (even though the home was less than a year old and used only as a "model" when we purchased it) Anyway, can anyone please tell me if this type of work is acceptable? Its actually considered more of a new foundation as opposed to a repaired foundation because he is being paid to start from scratch--form new beams, correctly install new beams, form new piers, correctly install new piers and of course, level the home.
    Is there code that dictates shim materials, size and height that would be applicable in our case? Pier dimensions & correct beam construction as well as proper installation? Can anyone tell me who I would call when he has an engineer telling him this is correct? We've tried to decipher the International Building Code with little success or comprehension. My apologies for the lengthy message, esp being a newby! And I am having trouble making the attached photos smaller?? Any help is greatly appreciated.
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  2. Msradell

    Msradell Sawhorse

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    To say that is hack job would be being kind! Any engineer who signed off on it should have his license revoked permanently! I don't even know where to begin telling you what's wrong because I don't see anything that's right! If you don't have local building officials you need to try contacting somebody at the state level. They are the ones that license engineers and they would certainly like to see what he approved.
     
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  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    I am not an engineer or foundation person

    But that looks sad.

    My thoughts would hire another structural engineeer to generate a report,

    Than unfortunately hire a real estate attorney

    I take it you do not live in incorporated city limits???
     
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  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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  5. Jwebb7797

    Jwebb7797 Registered User

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    Correct....unfortunately, we are in a very rural small county (Jim Wells) about 35 minutes west of Corpus Christi, TX. When I asked the engineer, "So, you're saying this is built "to code"? His response was a smirk, then "Code? in Jim Wells? Sure...we'll call it "to code". It has been the most frustrating experience! Thank you for your reply.
     
  6. Jwebb7797

    Jwebb7797 Registered User

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    Thank you! I know its sounds crazy, but having validation sure feels nice! I kept thinking, "My God, this CAN'T be right!". I will definitely begin actively pursuing your recommendation of contacting someone at the state level. You're help (and validation) is greatly appreciated!
     
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  7. Jwebb7797

    Jwebb7797 Registered User

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  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    BUT

    This agency or law may have gone away!!

    You need to check!!!!!
     
  9. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Texas is a strange state

    You should have been built to the international residential code,,, Not sure which year edition

    But unless mistaken since it sounds like you are in the county,,, there is no one to enforce it or government agency to inspect it.
     
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  10. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    I hate to say it but cheapest and easiest route might be to have someone fix it right
     
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  11. ICE

    ICE Sawhorse

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    Let me see if I understand this situation. There is no building dept. so: no permit required, no inspection, no plans. How can the work be deemed substandard when there is no standard. I don't mean to sound mean but you enjoy the luxury of miniscule government intrusion on your life but it is up to you to ensure your safety and the quality of the construction. This shoddy work should have been stopped during the work. Waiting to complain until it is completed makes it all the more difficult.

    On the flip side, the contractor enjoys the same lack of government involvement which may leave him open to getting screwed so if the opportunity is there, take it. And the engineer, gosh that's bizarre.
     
    #11 ICE, Jul 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  12. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    Is the contractor coming back for his lift-jack?

    Is the engineer related to the contractor? Maybe a family enterprise, who gave you the engineering referral?

    Did the engineer provide a signed and stamped letter or report or just a verbal okie dokie?

    Does Texas have a Board of Architects and Engineer's to report too?

    Is the town judge related to the contractor or engineer?

    Texas has right to carry, does't it?

    I'm In one of those conarb moods again.
     
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  13. tmurray

    tmurray Sawhorse

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    wow that's bad. I regularly see better work on decks foundations done by amateurs than these "professionals".

    Based on your post it does not sound like the engineer viewed the beam to column connections in your photos.

    You might want to bring an engineer from one of those fancy cities. Ask their report to answer very specific questions:

    Is the current beam bearing on the concrete foundation acceptable?

    What corrections should be required, if any, to the beam to column connections?

    The engineer should provide you a written report and will probably need to create a small diagram so they can indicate what corrections are required to each column if it is not a one correction for all situations.

    Second step is to get a quote from a reputable contractor to complete the work specified by the engineer.

    You will probably at least need to threaten legal action, so I would engage the services of a lawyer familiar with litigation for construction deficiencies at this time. They can help walk you through the process (letters etc.).
     
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  14. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    In Texas county areas IRC is adopted.

    I do not think there is anyone to enforce it
     
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  15. Msradell

    Msradell Sawhorse

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    Even when codes don't exist work should meet the industry norms for both quality of work and materials. Those obviously are lower than what most codes require but still are much better than the work we are seeing in this project. This work is even below the level that you expect from a DYI project.
     
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  16. Jwebb7797

    Jwebb7797 Registered User

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    Well, perhaps to some, the lack of an over sight committee, or inspector, or code enforcer would be heaven , but to me, that only allows shoddy contractors like this to thrive! Don't get me wrong, I'm not upset that I don't have to worry about permits, etc, but in instances like this, a code enforcer could have helped all along. My husband works out of town for a week at a time and so this was not discovered until he returned. I wish I had been able to stop it before it got this far. As for the possible relationship this contractor has with the engineer, I am suspicious. When they talk, the conversation is very "comfortable", the way you would sound when talking to a long time family friend. Cant put my finger on it, but there's something there. I hired my own engineer though. One that specializes in residential foundation inspection and he will be here tomorrow. Fingers crossed....I hope he can help me turn this around. Thanks for all your help! I'll update tomorrow.
    The moral of this story: Appreciate your local Building Inspector or Code Enforcement Agency. This is what the world would look like if they didn't exist!
     
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  17. Jwebb7797

    Jwebb7797 Registered User

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    I did research this a little more. This was apparently the Minimum Construction Standards enacted for homes that were found to be substandard and chosen for rehabilitation through the TDHCA Single Family Government Program. However..it was an interesting read though! Thanks again!
     
  18. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Ok there was an Tx angency that regulated houses

    But once again not sure if they are still active.
     
  19. Lothar

    Lothar Sawhorse

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  20. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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