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Old 01-26-2010, 07:09 PM
2,721 posts, read 3,434,490 times
Reputation: 1536


The retaining wall integrity had nothing to do with it. It was uncompacted fill that was the culprit. Engineering specs. are only good if they are closely
monitored, inspected, tested and documented. Only in damp terrain are re-inforced walls needed- Shoring or cantilevered design.
Nor did the Balcones fault Line cause this, that is really assinine. A wall is not even needed unless there is a large elevation, or grade change as in a developer trying to squeeze as many homes as they can as closely as they can into a development.
A stone wall is more than adequate to hold stessed backfill as long as
the fill has been correctly compacted with a piece of heavy equipment
from a manufacturer like caterpillar- a roller or sheepsfoot compactor
weighing around 40 tons. Done in a maximum of one foot lifts
with uncontaminated materials in will hold almost anything short of skyscrapers or heavy manufacturing operations as in 50 ton stamping presses
both of which need shoring or a massive deep pillars called piers as in bridge
type piers.
All that happened here was a minor screw-up in the earth moving operations trying to do it on the cheap using uncompacted fill for
a building foundation. There are far worse engineeering disasters.
Whether or nt the house will be stable into the future, I doubt it.
Varying rates of compaction will cause different rates of soils
expansion and contraction underneath causing foundations to crack,
separate and heave at different rates.
The house will begin to lean and then collapse, I would think,
in the future.

There are 10' (and much higher) retaining walls all over SA (and all over the country). It's quite common when developing land.

As another poster in this thread posted, there are very specific/technical criteria prescribed when these improvements are designed and built. And, yes, they're inspected during and after.

Moderator cut: see comment[/quote]
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:26 PM
1,902 posts, read 4,029,620 times
Reputation: 848
Resident: Pulte Homes offers help (http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/Resident_says_Pulte_Homes_offers_to_repair_slope-failure_homes.html - broken link)

How do you explain the fact that according to this article, Pultex is going to try and repair the most affected houses? I realize they are probably listening to their corporate attorneys and if they did offer the most affected homeowner a buyout, they may be opening the floodgates. But the fact remains that these houses will never, ever be the same. I think Pulte is making a huge mistake by not being more.....ya know....more.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:10 PM
155 posts, read 330,093 times
Reputation: 121
Originally Posted by 01Snake View Post
Sounds like you just made some pretty bold comments based on hearsay alone.
This isn't a courtroom. It's the internet! Folks can say whatever they want to. I believe the poster more than anything coming out of the Pulte PR machine.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:14 PM
242 posts, read 594,791 times
Reputation: 156
Originally Posted by TexasNick View Post
I doubt those homes cost more than 150k, but I could be wrong.
According to the Centex website, homes in Rivermist start at close to 200K.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:11 PM
Location: Somewhere in San Antonio
417 posts, read 875,821 times
Reputation: 269
They are now, going to look at all retaining walls all over San Antonio and checking permits...who got one and who didn't Cha ching
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:36 PM
197 posts, read 542,520 times
Reputation: 92
I heard on the news tonight that the city is going to get a team of inspectors together to look at all the other retainer wall subdivisions in San Antonio...and of course, they will be checking permits as well. I hope more pain can be prevented....I hope this doesn't happen to any other subdivision....

Oh yes....and here comes the rain.........and wind.....lots of it......

Last edited by coffeepotbend; 01-26-2010 at 10:12 PM..
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:48 PM
Location: TX Hill Country-Helotes, Pipe Creek/Lake Hills & San Antonio, TX
845 posts, read 1,384,493 times
Reputation: 1370
So now Centex admits they did not have the require permits............!

This is a bit of some more recent news from http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/No_permit_for_failed_wall.html (broken link). This article mentions the name of the engineering firm that designed the subdivision. However, it is unknown if they constructed the failing retaining wall/slope?

While reading the comments below the article this website was mentioned: The Hills of Rivermist Collapse

A before and after shot of the land prior to the subdivision development. What a significant difference.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:21 AM
30,159 posts, read 47,386,444 times
Reputation: 16110
Multiple walls in different locations have to be evaluated according to their own particular set of circumstances---
just because there are more walls and they have not come down does not mean they WON'T at some point in time perhaps...
frankly I think the city is culpable because that construction was supposed to be inspected at certain points from beginning to end...
most city inspectors are under paid, over worked, disinclined to really cause waves because developers put so much money back into city coffers with permits and taxes and driving up land/home prices normally, and many are not that knowledgeable about ALL aspects of construction--
if they are not at a job at the right time/place and for long enough--they can be sold a bill of goods--
they can also be too buddy-buddy with whom they are supposed to inspect--
just like the accountants that were supposed to audit Bernard Madoff--you see how that turned out...

The Texas Building commission is technically defunct except for cases already filed for arbitration
so these homeowners might stand a shot at being able to go to court vs arbitration...
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:05 AM
15,065 posts, read 19,719,168 times
Reputation: 12234
I was listening to talk radio this morning and I got pissed off.

Here's the way I see it (from what I understand):
- Engineering company designs the retaining wall
- Engineers approves and seals the drawings, making himself responsible for the design.
- Contractor/builder builds the structure based 100% on the engineer's design.

This morning on talk radio, the whole time they were saying:
"Why did the city allow them to build it if it doesn't meet city code?"
Constantly blaming the city, and not saying 1 word about the engineering company or the builder.
It's also funny that this is the same guy that everysingle day says: "Take all regulations off of business and let the market decide"

It bothered me, because it seemed to me like the people on radio were making a huge effort to take the blame from the people that build that POS and pass the blame to the city.
If the city is responsible for any mistake made by engineering companies or their contractors.... what's the point of hiring them?

From my point of view, it's like blaming the city for allowing people to drive without insurance.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:07 AM
15,065 posts, read 19,719,168 times
Reputation: 12234
Originally Posted by kittykat13 View Post
So now Centex admits they did not have the require permits............!
I was guessing that they didn't
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