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Mike McBride 01-08-2007 11:00 PM

Post-Tension Slab Problem Advice/Help
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I'm looking to get a few opinions of what our builder might do in regards to a problem we have. We have MANY, but we'll just focus on this one for now!

We bought our home and moved in during Dec. 2005. It was a new build home here in AZ. When we moved-in we noticed we had significant amounts of water leaking into our garage anytime that it would rain. Basically, one of our driveway slabs was forcing the water into the garage because there was a negative slope. There is about a 20" space between our garage flooring and the front walkway. The problem came about because when they poured the cement for the post-tension slab, they never properly leveled it off as it should have been. The garage is about 3" lower than the walkway, thus the driveway slab which connects the two will never be as it should be. They tore up 2 of the driveway slabs and re-poured them a few months back. They eliminated the water from entering the garage, but it instead now ponds on the driveway for days at a time. And they also created a pretty bad 3" trip hazard.

Please note we are in a master-planned community and there are MANY exact models of our house within our subdivision. Ours is the only one that has this obvious problem. We've had 2 inspectors note this problem and the builder has yet to do anything about. My opinion is they are avoiding it because they know there is nothing they can do that would fit within the original contract agreement when we bought the home. On another site it has been suggested that they could install some kind of drainage system, but we've been advised to not let them do that because there's no way to guarantee they won't leak, which would cause the driveway to heave. The walkway is actually part of the post-tension slab, so I don't think they can do anything with that, and even if they could drop it 3" you would to ter up and re-install our entire landscaping, not to mention it would create a step up into our house, which was not in our original house plan. Finally, some have suggested they could add cement to the garage and then have to dig up and re-pour the driveway. This again would cause major headaches because there are uniform stucco designs on the outside of the house above the garage that would need to be altered, not to mention the garage door, etc. Again, this would go against the original plans of the house.

So, at this point I really don't know what to think anymore. I am of the opinion that they had to know this would be a problem, but of course they didn't tell us before we closed on the house. We are very upset when you consider they may have sold us a home with a known defect. We even looked into selling it a few months ago and our agent stated we would have to lower our price because any potential buyer would likely want the problem fixed, but we would have to tell them we really can't do anything, thus we would lose money because of the error the builder made. We just feel cheated.

Again, I realize there are possible solutions that can be done, but we would only accept something that fits within the original plan of the house that we agreed to purhase. No drains, etc. I listed a few pictures below. Please note that the last house shown is an exact model and you can clearly see how the cement on their home is level between the walkway and the driveway. So, any advice or suggestions on how to proceed will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

joasis 01-09-2007 07:27 AM

Well, in my opimion, the crew who did the prep and form work for the driveway are the culprits. The builder should have never accpted and paid for this job...but it comes back to what the builder is accountable for...and you canmake him fix this correctly...and that doesn't mean come in and saw the concrete and install a drain. This means ripping out the driveway, at least the from the slope, to the porch, and place a new driveway with the correct drainage. I would not allow him to saw and trough the driveway either...just because you have had record ammounts of rain in Arizona this year, doesn't mean an unsightly fix is all it needs, since he will not want to rip out all the concrete neccessary to fix this correctly. I would guess you will ned a lawyer to write him a take care of this or we'll be seeing you in court letter, if he keeps ignoring you. Would not hurt to call the Home Builder's Association in your area, if he is a member, and complain either....and don't forget the realtor who sold you the home...and the inspector who issued the certificate of occupancy...the home is livable, but still....and you can ask your mortgage lender their may be surprised the clout they carry.

Good luck.

Mike McBride 01-09-2007 01:51 PM


Thanks for your reply. Yea, right now we are getting advise from a few people that we should likely start to look for a lawyer. As I mentioned before, no way do we let them install a drain system. No other new home has this, and no way should we have to worry about it leaking and causing the driveway to heave, etc.

I think you head the nail on the head when you mentioned the builder should have never let this happen. The super should have noted this and had it corrected before it was too late. Every single other home is level as it should be and ours sticks out like a sore thumb.

At this point I don't even know if they can repair it as it should be by tearing up the entire driveway. We would still have the deviation between the walkway slab and the driveway because the garage would still be 3" lower than the walkway. They had to have known this when they finished the house and you know they must know they screwed up because keep in mind they have already replaced two of the driveway slabs and this was the best they could do?

We can make an official complaint with the AZ ROC and even the AZ Attorney General's office. I just think we'll get a lawyer first so they can work up the appropriate complaint, etc. It's just frustrating that we even have to go through this to begin with. It's got to be some kind of breach of contract or something for them to sell us a home with a defect like this.

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