foundation wall hit by bulldozer

turtle3639August 21, 2013

Hi! We are just starting to build our new home. Friday, I went to check on things and noticed a big crack in the foundation wall. I called our builder and he said,"yeah, the bulldozer guy "bumped" it. But he assured me he would take of of it- I went back out there 3 days later and the crack was much wider. I called him again, and he said I'll fill it in this this super bonding agent. I told him I didn't like that and he said Well, now I've been doing this for many years. Please check out pictures and see what you think. Should I call the building inspector for my area? I hate to make the builder mad so early in the building process!! Thanks! turtle

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rebel222

I would require that an engineer inspect that and sign off on whatever solution your builder offers. Obviously, this should be done at the dozer company's expense.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:49PM
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galore2112

Why would the crack expand over time? Looks like it may be shifting?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Spottythecat

How tall is that wall? We had the same thing happen with our stem wall that was 3 courses high (24 inches). The builder knocked down that section and rebuilt it. Yours look like it is much higher?

Pam

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 3:02PM
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turtle3639

The wall is 7 feet high, it is the back right corner of the house. The lot slopes towards the back so we will have a high back porch. The cracked area will be below the covered back porch.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 3:36PM
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turtle3639

Here is another picture.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 3:38PM
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kirkhall

Engineer all the way.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:01PM
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LOTO

There is no way I would accept that work even fixed with the super duper bonding agent. For a crack to be that wide I assume that the wall is not straight anymore.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:21PM
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Spottythecat

I agree...engineer. It may have disturbed the whole wall where it is pushed off the footer too...

NO bonding agent...

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:37PM
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lazy_gardens

Definitely do not allow them to spackle it.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 5:41PM
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worthy

yeah, the bulldozer guy "bumped" it.

Then the "bulldozer guy" can pay the blocklayers for redoing the wall.

That's totally unacceptable and I don't need an engineer to tell me that.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 6:20PM
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DLM2000

You hate to make the builder mad so early in the building process????? Seriously? Who's paying who? No way no how would I accept that.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 6:35PM
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dgruzew

I would think this would fail any city inspection , does your city come by and do inspections throughout the process ?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 7:54PM
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renovator8

What is the purpose of the wall? Is it just a perimeter foundation wall in which case it might be a structural issue or is it a full basement foundation wall in which case it might also be a waterproofing issue?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:06PM
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ohbldr

Two things:

That portion of the wall (say 4'-6' each way from the crack) needs to come down and be reconstructed if you want a "good as new" wall. That's what you are paying for, right? The issue goes beyond cosmetic appearance. It's strength and continuity within the wall.

Secondly, as a builder, I have a problem with the overall quality of masonry work I see on that wall. Some of the mortar joints don't look completely pointed or struck. Look particularly at the horizontal joints. Fully struck joints are important in terms of full mortar-to-block bonding.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:29PM
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windowsonwashington

In either case, needs to be rebuilt.

As most of the posters have said, there is zero % chance that I would accept a repair in this case and nor should the GC.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:39PM
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millworkman

I fail to see why your builder would think a quick "repair" would be permissible, And that looks like a little bit more than a "bump"

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:12AM
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virgilcarter

If it was my house I'd demand removal and replacement. If your general contractor resists or says it can be patched, it will tell you a lot about him and his work.

Good luck with your project. And contractor!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:40AM
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CamG

I understand your hesitance to make your builder mad, but if this is a problem you would much rather deal with it now, and you will make him much more upset when you have to sue him later. The people here know what they are talking about; your general probably does not, despite the fact that he's "been in business many years."

Make it clear that you want to be consulted before moving forward with the fix. Whatever the proposed fix is, run it by an independent expert (an engineer or mason?) and if that expert disagrees with it, refuse. This is your house and it needs to be built according to workmanlike standards, regardless of delay. If this situation does not get resolved to your satisfaction, contact an attorney who handles building disputes for further advice. This situation can quickly delve into a potential legal dispute which is best addressed with a qualified attorney.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 10:19PM
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LOTO

Is the other side of that wall backfilled with dirt?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:08AM
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nicinus

In reference to ohbldr above about the mortar joints not looking correctly pointed or struck, there seems to be a difference in quality in general three courses up. The first three seems to have much nicer joints and a different block altogether? Did they change sub in the middle of work? I don't see any scuff marks from a bulldozer either, are you sure this is the real reason it cracked?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 12:10PM
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DLM2000

I have a question - what are the smaller blocks for? Is there a purpose in that type of construction? I don't remember seeing that on any other foundation pictures.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 2:17PM
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nicinus

It's a corner.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 2:59PM
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nicinus

Oops, hit twice.

This post was edited by lordnelson on Fri, Aug 23, 13 at 15:21

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Brian_Knight

I agree with all of the above but will add Iam not surprised if a "bump" caused the damage. A hollow CMU block wall is among the cheapest and weakest masonry walls allowed by code. Are the cells not to be poured? No rebar? I dont see this happening with a bump to a traditional poured wall or pre-cast concrete panel.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:25PM
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DLM2000

lordnelson thanks for the response but I don't think that is a corner. Look at the second pic from the OP. I've seen the type of corner work I think you mean on brick work but this is different and sure looks to me that it's not at a corner.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:34PM
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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

The foundation is perhaps single most important thing that your builder MUST get right if your home is to be structurally sound. Please DO NOT accept a patchwork job.

If your builder won't make this right, and I do mean RIGHT, not merely patched over so that it "looks okay" then you are better off not moving forward with him at all.

So stop worrying about whether you might make your builder mad and realize that he should be worrying about keeping you happy!

Yes, it can be scary to stand one's ground with a builder who pulls that "I'm a professional, I been doing this for many years, I know what I'm doing" card. But this is going to be YOUR home. You have the right and the responsibility to stand up for yourself. Remember that the builder works for you, not the other way around.

I notice you chose "turtle3639" for your screen-name so I'm guessing you identify with turtles in some way. Well, do keep in mind that the only way a turtle can make progress is by sticking his neck out! LOL!

Good luck and stick with this board as you build. The folks here can get a bit contankerous sometimes but they will always give you the benefit of their hard-earned knowledge and their HONEST opinions.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 4:30PM
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nicinus

dlm, what I meant was that it was the end of a course approaching a corner, and the blocks had to be cut in order to fit.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 6:29PM
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Karen15

Did your builder tell you about the bump or is it because you went to the site and noticed it? If that's the case that's scary you didn't get notified.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:03PM
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DLM2000

lordnelson - (hanging my head in embarrassment) I get the *duh* of the day award. Makes perfect sense now. Thanks

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:32PM
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greendesigns_gw

You won't have a 10 year relationship with your builder. You are likely to with your house. Which one do you need to worry about being right here?

Right now, with the house damaged to the degree it is, and with the suggested "fix", I'd be worried about finding a lawyer to write a termination of contract letter to the builder. Something that major, and he wants to do an unengineered kludge? No way! It calls into question all of the other work on the job.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:00PM
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Spottythecat

When our stem wall got "bumped" we noticed it NOT the builder. He was ready to haul it dirt to fill the foundation on Monday. We saw the "bump" on Saturday. We had to call and convince him to cancel the dirt delivery....it was once we saw the bump that we noticed other crappy parts of the stem wall. The builder tried to tell us that what we saw would be covered with stucco and we would never see it....

We found an independent concrete inspector and he did a walkthru and told us the whole wall would never pass inspection and it didn't meet FL building code!

Guess what....we ended up terminating our contract with our builder. Like Green Designs said, it was enough and we started to worry about how it would try to "smooth over" other mistakes and poor workmanship.

Two months later, we found the perfect builder who took over the project...we will move in this November. No looking back, just forward.

Pam

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 6:04PM
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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

Turtle, I do hope you've come back and read all these messages and hopefully acted on them. I know you are a brand new member so I suspect you stumbled across GW in looking for some answers on this issue and it's possible that after posting your question you misplaced the site, or forgot your log in name or something. I know I've done that myself on other forums when I had a question that wasn't really all that critical. LOL!

But we Gardenwebbers tend to worry about our on-line friends (even brand new friends like yourself) who are having house building problems! And the particular question you posted really is critical! So please post one more time and just let us know how things turned out.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:39AM
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turtle3639

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for the responses- My teaching job started back and I was snowed with work!! The builder has since filled the crack with epoxy- 10,000 pound epoxy---Upon seeing the responses, I did contact our city inspection department- the inspector came out- he stated the area should be double rebarred and blocks should be filled with concrete- the builder stated that was exactly what he was going to do , if I would have given him time. Also the inspector sent out a structural engineer, which happened to be the same engineer that we used on the house plan. The structural engineer gave us a letter which I attached. So... the builder did the repair as requested...the slab is poured and the inspector came back a second time and said it looked great. I hope he's right!!!!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 12:35PM
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