Author Topic: Home building CATASTROPHE!  (Read 2969 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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Home building CATASTROPHE!
« on: June 10, 2018, 12:49:10 PM »
Having been frugal all my life, I've set myself up in a position with passive income, side business, investments, real estate, etc and have decided to take some of the spoils and build a house.

I purchased the plot of land and have the build all set up to go.  To add stability to the house (I plan to live here for a long time) i had the build do piers.  They said they weren't required, that the soil was stable, but all the neighbors who built in the last couple of years in this area (i bought the last plot in the neighborhood) put piers in.

The builder had their guy go drill the piers.  They drilled 50+ of them.  Then realized they were all filling up with water.  That's a problem.  (the other people in the neighborhood said they didnt haveI this problem but maybe 3-5 years ago the water table was at a different spot at that time).

This is where the chaos begins.

I met with the builder and he said the only option is to case them (EXPENSIVE) or simply fill them with concrete and move the house over a few feet.

I talked to someone that has done this for years and said that's not necessary.  Just ahve the engineer on site, dig the hole, certify it (maybe pump out some water if need be), feill with concrete and move on to the next hole.

The builder had never done this before but said they would try.

They went out the next week and drilled 15 more holes and said the water then started showing up in the first holes.  This is of course in no way what they said they'd do (drill hole, certify, fill concrete, drill hole). 

Met with builder again.  They said house had to be moved and, while i could case them, it makes no financial sense.

Then, without my direction, they went and filled the holes with concrete to, i guess, try to force my hand.

So now I'm left with a couple of options:
1) Case the holes (probably $50,000 vs the $15,000 they quoted me when this saga began back in March).

2) move the house two feet over
     - There's enough room to do this
     - QUESTION - Is there risk in de-stabilizing my foundation now that they've drilled 60+ holes on my property that some have concrete (all will be filled) but will have water in the concrete?

3) Can I simply get out of this?????
     - This started 10 months ago and the house was supposed to be done around July.  It's almost July and I'm nowhere near being able to move in (plus won't be able to sell my house at the peak time during the summer when people are moving for schools, etc and i currently live in a great school district)
Any help here from other's experiences? 

I'm a very planful person and am using a reputable builder but I cannot believe their incompetence and worried this is going to be a money pit that, even if i build, will have significant foundation issues later due to them poking a ton of holes in my 1/2 acre property.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Home building CATASTROPHE!
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2018, 01:06:09 PM »
I would take a step back. If everyone is telling you that you don't need to do piers, but all your neighbors added them, why? Something isn't lining up. If the soil is stable, then no piers are needed. If it's not stable, then piers are needed. Now you're getting water in the holes. So take a step back and reassess. Get someone out to the property to look at it and tell you what's going on. Not the builder, because obviously they're biased at this point.

Regardless, you won't be moving this year, so don't worry about that.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Home building CATASTROPHE!
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2018, 01:06:24 PM »
What does your contract say?


  • Stubble
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Re: Home building CATASTROPHE!
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2018, 04:41:51 PM »
Really sorry to hear this. There may be some folks around here with some insight, but if you havenít already, I would post this on some contractor forums. This is obviously a big enough issue to warrant a lot of different opinions.

Like Sibley said, get other professional contractors and engineers out there ASAP, even if you have to pay them for their thoughts. It will be negligible compared to the money at stake with a botched job.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Home building CATASTROPHE!
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2018, 04:54:35 PM »
Do you have written instructions to the builder?  Because if you do, and the builder did something different, you're in a better position than if it's all verbal.


  • Walrus Stache
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  • Stubble
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Re: Home building CATASTROPHE!
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2018, 08:52:45 PM »
A geotechnical (soils) engineer can do soils testing and prepare a soils report.  That report contains their recommendations and is given to a structural engineer to properly design the foundation based on the data and recommendations in the report.  The report and structural design drawings are stamped by the engineers.  The construction contractor can give you an estimate or bid of cost to build what the structural engineer has designed.  That should give you good indication whether you wish to proceed with the project.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Home building CATASTROPHE!
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2018, 10:03:34 PM »
     - This started 10 months ago and the house was supposed to be done around July.

Hahaha. Good one.

Seriously, though, did someone hit a water main when digging the piers? Where's all that water coming from? How deep are the piers?


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Home building CATASTROPHE!
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2018, 07:22:22 AM »
There are lots of other ways to do piers and they can be done in the water table without a problem and without using casings.
Sounds as if you're builder is unfamiliar with other methods and is now stuck with limited options.   It's going to cost you some money, but put your builder on hold and get an independent engineer that is good with foundation systems involved.   You could do; auger cast pumped concrete piers, driven steel piles, wood piles, augered piles, or some type of spread footing or mat foundation.   There's always more than one way to skin a cat.