Pre-fab concrete & wood foundation with no footing - is this a problem (C) Daniel FriedmanHow to Recognize & Fix Foundation Defects of Omission - things left out

  • FOUNDATION MISSING INCOMPLETE - CONTENTS: How to Recognize Foundation Defects of Omission - things that were omitted that later lead to foundation damage, cracks, settlement, movement, leaks. Missing foundation footings & piers. Missing columns: Lally columns that were removed during remodeling. Visual inspection of foundations and structures to locate missing elements. Photographs of foundation, footing, pier and column mistakes
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about missing or incomplete building foundations

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Missing or incomplete building foundations:

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?

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Foundation DEFECTS OF OMISSION - Identify Foundation Defects of Omission, things that were left out or forgotten during foundation construction

Brick veneer over concrete block, no expansion joints (C) Daniel Friedman

Construction defects of omission refers to leaving out or removing necessary structural components.

It is considerably more difficult for a building inspector to learn to observe the absence of a component than to notice defects involving a component which is present.

This brick veneer wall was constructed over a masonry block structural wall; the veneer contained no expansion joints though some of its sections were nearly 100' in length.

The cracks visible in this photograph had that omission as their root cause.

Northridge Earthquake Building Collapse - Check out These Supporting Columns

Northridge Meadows Earthquake Collapse 1994 (C) Daniel Friedman Northridge Meadows Earthquake collapsed column (C) Daniel Friedman

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.

Northridge Meadows earthquake collapse photo showing hollow Lally Column (C) Daniel Friedman

Perhaps due to material shortages or rush during construction, these hollow, and weaker supporting columns were wrapped with a fire-barrier just as were the "real" supporting columns used elsewhere.

Our photos show a section of Northridge Meadows which collapsed during the earthquake. At left you can see that this column was hollow.

Our opinion was that these were defective columns and that they were a factor in the structural collapse during the Northridge earthquake. Other areas of the same complex moved, columns even leaned, but they did not collapse where the columns were of the proper type and were properly connected to the structure.

Other factors in the collapse appeared to include how exterior sheathing had been nailed across or not across certain sections of the building supporting walls. Our list of examples of defects of omission during foundation construction continues below.

See Earthquake Damage to Foundations for more about the defective supporting columns that failed at Nortridge Meadows during that 1994 earthquake.

Missing lally column  (C) Daniel Friedman


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