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STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS
ADVANCED INSPECTION METHODS
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING COMPONENT ID
BEST CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES GUIDE
BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS
BRICK STRUCTURAL WALL BULGED, LOOSE
BRICK WALL THERMAL EXPANSION CRACKS
BRICK VENEER WALL LOOSE, BULGED
BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
BUILDING DAMAGE ASSESSMENT & REPAIR
BUILDING SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
COLD POUR JOINTS, CONCRETE
COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS
CONCRETE FOUNDATIONS, PRE-CAST
CONNECTORS, FASTENERS, TIES
Cracks, Checking or Splitting Beams & Log Homes
DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
DECK COLLAPSE Case Study
DEFINITIONS of MOBILE HOME, DOUBLEWIDE, MODULAR, PANELIZED CONSTRUCTION
DEFINITIONS of ENGINEERED WOOD OSB LVL etc
DEW POINT TABLE - CONDENSATION POINT GUIDE
DISASTER BUILDING INSPECTION & REPAIR
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOR, ENGINEERED WOOD, LAMINATES INSTALL
FLOOR FRAMING & SUBFLOOR for TILE
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOOTINGS EXPOSED, Repair Methods
FOUNDATION CONSTRUCTION TYPES
FOUNDATION CONTRACTORS, ENGINEERS
FOUNDATION CRACK DICTIONARY
FOUNDATION FAILURES by MOVEMENT TYPE
FOUNDATION INSPECTION METHODS
FOUNDATION INSULATION OPTIONS
FOUNDATION MATERIALS, Age, Types
FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS
FRAMING DAMAGE, INSPECTION, REPAIR S
FRAMING CONNECTORS & JOIST HANGERS
FRAMING MATERIALS, Age, Types
FRAMING SIZE & Spacing, Age, Types
FRAMING TABLES, SPANS for DECKS
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
HOUSE PARTS, DEFINITIONS
I-JOISTS, Wood Roof Floor
ROOF ICE DAM LEAKS
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
LOG HOME GUIDE
LVL Laminated Veneer Lumber, Beams
MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS
MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
OSB - Oriented Strand Board
PLYWOOD Roof, Wall, Floor Decks & Sheathing
PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING
PRE-CUT & KIT HOMES
PRESERVATIVE TREATED LUMBER
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
RETAINING WALL GUARD RAILINGS
ROT, FUNGUS, INSECT DAMAGE
SEARS KIT HOUSES
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
CONCRETE SLAB CRACK EVALUATION
CONCRETE SLAB CRACK REPAIR
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
STONE VENEER WALLS
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE PROBING
STRUCTURAL WOOD ASSESSMENT
SUMP PUMPS GUIDE
TEST KITS for DUST, MOLD, PARTICLE TESTS
THERMAL EXPANSION CRACKS in BRICK
THERMAL MASS in BUILDINGS
TIMBER FRAMING, ROT
TRUSS UPLIFT, ROOF
TRUSSES, FLOOR & ROOF
WALL CONSTRUCTION BARRIER vs CAVITY
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
WOOD STRUCTURE ASSESSMENT
This article explains how to notice missing foundation footings, missing structural columns, and other foul ups - How to Recognize Foundation Defects of Omission - things that were omitted that later lead to foundation damage, cracks, settlement, movement, leaks and other problems. Detecting omissions, such as leaving out a foundation footing is an important step in learning how to recognize and diagnose various types of foundation failure or damage, such as foundation cracks, masonry foundation crack patterns, and moving, leaning, bulging, or bowing building foundation walls. Our page top photo shows a pre-fab concrete and wood foundation which has been installed over no footing and no backfill (yet). Is this a problem? Also see COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS
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FOUNDATION DEFECTS OF OMISSION - Identify Foundation Defects of Omission, things that were left out or forgotten during foundation construction
Northridge Earthquake Building Collapse - Check out These Supporting Columns
Here are examples of types of omission that contributed to a structural collapse. During our work at the Northridge Earthquake site in California in 1994 we noticed that some of the supporting Lally columns were hollow rather than concrete filled.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to detect that a foundation is missing proper footings or other components
Questions & answers or comments about missing or incomplete building foundations
Water table in my area is high. During winter and rainy season, I get water under my crawl space. I have installed two sump pumps, which takes care of that. But since the original owner had done nothing to it for 40 years or so, now I have spots around the permitter of the crawl space that dirt has been gone and my foundation is exposed. It is still OK but I need to dump dirt on the entire permitter. But I do not know how.
I need close to 6 to 7 yards of dirt to be dumped there. I either have to hire 6 or 7 people to pass bucket of dirt under the house or open up my brand new floor at couple of locations to dump dirt from top.
Any suggestions? - S.E.
Reply: temporary foundation openings may make interior backfill easier: three different methods
1. emporary Foundation Openings for Foundation Footing Backfill and Repair
Where foundation or backfill repairs are needed due to inadequate backfill inside of a crawl space, or where as in your case the soil has settled or been washed away by water entry and years of sump pump operation, you will want to consider the following steps:
Assure that the foundation footings themselves rest on compacted fill or virgin soil and that the footings have not been undermined by soil loss. If footings are undermined then you'll need to either pour new lowered footings or your backfill will need to include some soil compacting steps to reduce the risk of future footing settlement or tipping and subsequent movement in and damage to the foundation wall. Start with a visual inspection of the exposed foundation and footings in the whole crawl area.
Make one or more temporary openings through the foundation walls to provide an access opening through which soil can be brought into the crawl space to fill to the desired level. If the crawl area has sufficient ceiling height to make working and moving about in the crawl space practical, one opening at just one end of the building may be sufficient. This is the approach I'd take for cases in which we do not want to pull up the flooring and subflooring over the crawl space.
Finish the crawl space grade and put down a moisture barrier: When enough soil has been placed into the crawl space to provide a relatively smooth floor you might want to add a layer of 6-mil poly to hold down soil moisture, keeping it out of the building and reducing the risk of future mold and humidity problems. See CRAWL SPACE GROUND COVERS and also CRAWL SPACE VAPOR BARRIER LOCATION.
Some contractors place rounded river-stone gravel atop the poly moisture barrier to protect the plastic and to provide a walking surface that is less slippery. A down-side of the gravel-on-top-of-plastic approach is that if you didn't keep the ground surface smooth below the plastic, there is a risk of hidden puddles that may form atop the plastic in the future. I like to slope crawl space soils (and surface covering of plastic) to a low point where one or more sump pumps are installed (or can be added) should they be needed in the future.
2. The Bill Tsukamoto Conveyor Belt Method of Foundation Excavation and Repiar
And a friend of ours in Honolulu addressed an under-house excavation and construction problem by building a chain-driven bucket conveyer that moved dirt from where it was to where he needed it. But for smaller under-home foundation excavation or backfill, other means may be more appropriate.
3. Complete Under-Home Excavation and Repair
Eric Galow described to us a major under-home foundation repair project that involved temporarily jacking up the entire structure and using a Bobcat to dig first a ramp to the bottom of the building foundation and then to excavate the entire space below the home in order to install both a full basement and properly-constructed footings and foundation walls. When the foundation walls were complete and a slab had been poured below, the house was lowered back onto its new foundation walls.
Keep Water out of the Crawl Space
Watch out: regardless of the method you may choose to add fill around exposed crawl space footings, make sure that you have taken the proper steps to keep water out of the crawl area. It is far better for the building to prevent crawl space water entry in the first place than to let water enter the space and then pump it away. See CRAWL SPACE DRYOUT - home
Questions & answers on how to determine if foundtation footings or other components are missing.
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