I have a few questions that I am hoping someone can answer. I live in a community that is 7 or 8 years old. Only 150 townhouses. The community as a whole is fighting with our builder about some signficant issues. The one that most concerns me is drainage. The community is built on red clay and natural springs. Many areas within our community were poorly graded and have inadequate drainage, especially with the natural springs. The result, besides the issues with standing water and mud, is excessive settling of the homes. My house is built on a corner of the community property with a significant drop all along the rear of my house and the adjacent townhomes. The builder also installed a treeline behind the homes that was not properly graded. Because of the contours of the land, my property also has a rather sudden 4-foot drop on one corner (about 10 feet out from the house) with standing water at the bottom of the drop and all along the back of the house. I have a townhouse with a 3-story, 8X10 extension on that corner and a deck on the second floor nestled in "L" formed by the extension. I have noticed over time that the door to the deck is no longer square and we can't easily open and close the door anymore. The fence around the yard also began to leans away from the house. I suspect that my wet yard is very slowly sliding away from the house toward the lower ground. I also suspect that the extension is falling with it.My question: What will it take to fix this problem, not just apply a temporary bandaid (our builder's favorite solution). I know that french drains will help the water retention, but do I need a retaining wall to prevent bad problems in the future? I think the natural springs and clay soil holding water may require more than simple re-grading to really fix this problem. I know that houses settle, but after last night's homeowner meeting, I am concerned that my problem may be far more significant than simple settling. How would I know for sure?
I'm no expert, but it sounds like you need one. Look for a civil engineer who specializes in soils and foundations.Seattle Pioneer
It sounds like you have some serious issues. I don't have any answers on what to do, except seek legal advice. The builder will blame others, like the architect, the civil engineer, and the soils engineer. Possibly all share fault. If it is a large builder, these people are probably on staff and part of their own company. If not, it can really, really get ugly with all the fingerpointing.Good luck.Dozer
It is already ugly. These issues are affecting all of the community properties (pool, etc.) and the lawyers have had fun for years. The builder can't get his proffers released, the HOA has refused to accept ownership of community property until it is fixed, etcc. Unfortunately, the builder is big, we are small, and they simply ignore the gnat on their shoulder. Now that the County is involved and on our side, we hope to get resolution on some of these issues soon. I just wish I had learned about the drainage issues earlier so I could make sure my house is on the County's list of problems.
You need expert help. But you also could probably use a bit more education before you decide who to ask. I found a great book when I was trying to solve some of my water problems:The homeowner's guide to drainage control and retaining walls / by Jonathan Erickson.Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. : Tab Books, 1989.Although you aren't interested in doing the work yourself, this excellent book will explain how and why problems arise, what can (and can't) be done about them, and who can do it (do you need a civil engineer? soil engineer? plumber? etc).Unfortunately the book is out of print, but you might be able to find a copy through a library or used book store.Good luck.Chopec
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