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Old 01-18-2012, 09:14 AM
 
6 posts, read 16,225 times
Reputation: 10

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We are just starting construction on a new single family home in Howard County.
Today we were told that they have hit unstable soil. I Googled and found info on how construction on unstable soil can cause significant structural issues (and lawsuits) later on, but also came across a couple of remedies.

I searched on this forum for first hand input, but couldn't find any post on this issue.

Has anybody here in MD come across this issue during new construction?
Please can you share your experience: Did you go ahead with the construction, what remedy was used, delay in construction schedule, any issues while settling of the house 1-2 yrs later, etc ?

Thank you very much.

Best
-DT
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:35 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
29,844 posts, read 65,530,266 times
Reputation: 34906
Quote:
Originally Posted by d2tbydt2 View Post
Has anybody here in MD come across this issue during new construction?
Sorta... a commercial space that was built on a *known* fill site.

Quote:
Please can you share your experience:
The extent of the problem was investigated in advance of sale.
That included an engineer cert as a contingency.

Quote:
Did you go ahead with the construction...
If you already own the land and have no way to back out of that purchase...
the you're stuck with getting the engineering done to quantify the nature, severity,
exact size/location and prescribe a suitable remedy to stabilize.

Remedy = beyond what you are comfortable with it...
must also be what the County and the Lender will agree with.

hth
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:22 PM
 
766 posts, read 1,418,771 times
Reputation: 567
I would put it back on the builder. What remedy are they proposing? Do they have a PE (professional engineer) willing to sign off on the remedy? Is this the first home in the development (I guess I should ask if it is a development or did you buy the land and hire the builder seperate?). Maybe a discussion with your builder on the warrenty surrounding the foundation is in order - say instead of a 1 year warrenty you would need a 3-5 year on just the foundation. The amount of rain/dry conditions can very and that will affect the foundation, but most settlement will occur within the year under normal conditions. The expensive route - if it's your land - and the best solution is to find a geotechnical engineer (or a general civil who knows foundations). Good luck.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:38 PM
 
40 posts, read 69,690 times
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my house was just built(July) in Howard county and had no soil issues but they are just starting on my neighbors house(30 feet away) and it had 'unstable soil' issues but it wasn't that major/large and what they did was put reinforcement(rebars, gravel, etc) underneath.

so It all depends on the severity and size of the affected area, I would talk to an engineer if you need it timely built
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Old 01-20-2012, 10:56 AM
 
6 posts, read 16,225 times
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Thank you for the responses.
It is a development and ours will be the 4th house. Their engineers are evaluating the situation and I expect a response early next week.
I like the extended foundation warranty idea and will bring it up.

On a different note - Does Homeowners insurance cover damage/losses due to such unstable soil issues?

thank you.
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Old 01-20-2012, 11:17 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
29,844 posts, read 65,530,266 times
Reputation: 34906
Quote:
Originally Posted by d2tbydt2 View Post
Does Homeowners insurance cover damage/losses due to such unstable soil issues?
Do you own a home (there) yet?

I suspect that your contract gives the builder LOTS of latitude to do what they can to "mitigate"
with very few options for you before their "reasonable attempts" are proved inadequate.

Of those few options... choosing a different lot or backing out altogether may be your only good ones.
If you haven't already asked your attorney to review the contract for these details...
now would be a good time to call him.
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:43 PM
 
6 posts, read 16,225 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you, MrRational.

We don't own a home yet. My question was more about future - if something does happen to the foundation making it unstable - does HOI cover the resulting damages?

Update: I was told that the Developer (the one who sold land to Builder) was aware of the unstable soil problem and had agreed to fix it. But now he has backed out. The Builder and Developer will now meet to decide who pays for the extra cost.

On a different note - Wouldn't a nearby lot have the same risk of unstable soil?

I guess its time to find an attorney, just in case. Quite an "unstable" start for buying a first home.

Thank you.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Baltimore
1,759 posts, read 4,546,004 times
Reputation: 1195
You really want to do all your due diligence before signing off on anything. You do NOT want to be stuck with what amounts to either land that can't be developed or can but with a very large $$ investment.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:05 PM
 
6 posts, read 16,225 times
Reputation: 10
thanks.
While we did sign the contract on the new home, I suppose there is no way to know about the unstable soil until the digging.
For now, we are just waiting for them (Developer and Builder) to figure out who will pay for the extra costs of fixing the soil issue.
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