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Old 12-07-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
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Frustrated in Ooltewah, Tennessee


Bought a brand new house nearly two years ago that has turned into the house from hell. Builder put the footers in the water table which has resulted in a swimming pool under my slab and all of the problems that go along with it. Not to mention that the federal government is investigating whether or not the builder encroached on federal lands.

I have been referring to this forum for over a year and thought that I should join. I am a retired mechanical engineer with experience in commercial and industrial construction but, clearly, not residential. I have some pretty good construction knowledge but now and then I just get stumped. I am hoping that this will be a good place to put those puzzlers out there.

I guess for now you would just have to call me a Gullible Grandma.

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Old 12-07-2011, 12:33 PM   #2
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Frustrated in Ooltewah, Tennessee


Well that's confusing, is this a slab foundation?
Most slab homes have no real footing. And if this was a stem wall foundation all it needed to be is below the frost line, most often this also would be in or near the water table.
If there's water coming up though the slab it's most often caused from poor grading, no gutters, no french drain.

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Old 12-07-2011, 01:22 PM   #3
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Frustrated in Ooltewah, Tennessee


So...what's the problem?

Wouldn't the builder have needed permits to build and approval from some local government agency to do what he did where he did it? Is this just one house in the middle of no-where?
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:22 PM   #4
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Frustrated in Ooltewah, Tennessee


Welcome neighbor, we are glad to have you with us. Wow, you do have some concerns, I would also, hopefully we can help you in some way.

Joe, there are very few homes in Tennessee built on a slab that don't have a footing. The frost line here is 13 inches and in East Tennessee rebar is called for in the footing, which is 8 inches of concrete, blocks are laid with rebar and blocks filled with concrete with foundation bolts and straps. The area is backfilled and the slab poured over this, there are post holes 4 foot on a center grid down to undisturbed soil, 6 mil poyl vapor barrier, rebar or wire. The same is for West Tennessee also, I can't say for center Tennessee as I have never built in that area. Just thought you might want to know.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:31 PM   #5
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Frustrated in Ooltewah, Tennessee


Which is called a stem wall, as I also mentioned in my reply.
And I totaly agree with you and that's how it should be built, but who knows how hers was done.
To orginal poster did you buy title insurance when you bought the home? If so they should be involved if there's a land dispute.
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:31 PM   #6
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Frustrated in Ooltewah, Tennessee


Yes, joecaption, it is a slab with stem walls on footings. I have another post which describes the problem a little bit more in depth. The builder put 4 feet of gravel as fill under the slab and left lots of large openings under tubs so the vapor from the 2-3 feet of water under the slab just acted like a sauna in my house. It took a while to open walls and find all of the penetrations but I think that I have them all covered now. I also installed French drains and routed all downspouts away from house to the drainage ditch near the lot. The house had gutters. There is a question of improper grading.

Jiju1943, that is exactly the situation. (Thanks for the welcome.) You described it perfectly. However, the builder "neglected" to place the 3 feet of engineered fill on the lot before the build as required by the good ol' TV of A per a deed modification.

Nothing noted in the County records on the mod, not on plats, not by the building department...which...BTW...issued my Certificate of Occupancy even though the Rough-In Framing Inspections had not been done. Apparently, not much accountability in this county. I live in a neighborhood and so far, one other neighbor is having the problem.

And, thank goodness, I bought an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance. Right now the builder is being sued by me, my homeowner's insurance company, investigated by the State of Tennessee Board of Licensure, investigated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Owner's Policy Insurance. I really don't see winning anything but what's on paper so I am trying to fix this mess by myself. And I'm getting there...slowly but surely.
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:08 PM   #7
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Frustrated in Ooltewah, Tennessee


My stars you do have a full plate, I hope it all comes out to your favor. As for inspections in this county, they really don't know. I moved here from Memphis and asked for some specs on a few things in this area and the man over the inspectors told me I would have to ask the inspectors as he didn't know.

Joe, I got 42 years under my belt building and wood working, one thing I have found out in the last few years is, different areas of the country call different construction terms different names, I haven't heard the term "stem wall" before now. Sorry.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:55 PM   #8
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Frustrated in Ooltewah, Tennessee


SavartiTN, cant really give any advice on the issue but wish you all the best, sounds like the builder is in for a bad day when his chickens finaly come home to roost.

Oh yeah... welcome to the fray, kinda new here myself but glad to see another Tennessee'n on here .

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