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Did Builder Cut Corners w/ Pier & Beam on Clay Soil?

Discussion in 'Residential Foundation Codes' started by Kevin Stokes, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    Years ago I bought a book on California Building Standards that looked like an official Calfiornia publication but turned out to be written and published by an entitey that I had never heard of, it required that drip irrigation systems be installed around the perimeter and set to go off ehan it's not raining.

    I know a guy who builds $5 to $10 million dollar homes in Houston, to deal with those soils he has bell bottom piers a few feet in diameter, extensive grade beam systems, and cardboard cartons under the homes, Mr Stokes has bought a $200K home not a $2 million home, my friend spends more than 200K on the steel and concrete under his homes. I fault the contractor for trying to get by that cheap, but I find it hard in this day and age that anyone would think he could buy a home for $200k, to build that cheap you would have to cut a lot of corners, you get what you pay for.
     
  2. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Texas Building Code Politics
    Texas policies leave home building decision to cities, whose record is mixed: Corpus Christi uses codes that reflect national standards, minus the requirement that homes be built one foot above expected 100-year-flood levels, according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. Nueces County, which encompasses Corpus Christi, has no residential building code whatsoever.
    The consequence of loose or non-existent codes is that storm damage is often worse than need be. “Disasters don’t have to be devastating,” said Eleanor Kitzman, who was Texas’s state insurance commissioner from 2011 to 2013 and now runs a company in South Carolina that constructs and finances coastal homes that are above code. “We can’t prevent the event, but we can mitigate the damage.”
    Any proposal that would increase costs in Texas draws push back from home builders, a powerful group in a state where people despise red tape about as much as they hate taxes.
    “They are not big on regulation,” said Julie Rochman, chief executive officer of the insurance institute. That skepticism about government was on display in 2013, when the state’s two senators voted against additional federal funding to clean up after Superstorm Sandy. But it can be applied selectively: Governor Greg Abbott requested federal money for Hurricane Harvey before it even made landfall.
    Building codes elicit little support in Austin. At the end of this year’s state legislative session, the Texas Association of Builders posted a document boasting of its success at killing legislation it didn’t like. That included a bill that would have let cities require residential fire sprinklers, and another that would have given counties with 100,000 people or more authority over zoning, land use and oversight of building standards–something the builders’ group called “onerous.”
    Ned Muñoz, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Texas Association of Builders, said cities already do a good job choosing which parts of the building code are right for them. And he argued that people who live outside of cities don’t want the higher prices that come with land-use regulations.
    Muñoz said his association’s target is “unnecessary and burdensome government regulations, which increase the price of a home.”
    The fight in Texas is a microcosm of a national battle. The International Code Council, a Washington nonprofit made up of government officials and industry representatives, updates its model codes every three years, inviting state and local governments to adopt them. Last year, the National Association of Home Builders boasted of its prowess at stopping the 2018 codes it didn’t like.
    “Only 6 percent of the proposals that NAHB opposed made it through the committee hearings intact,” the association wrote on its blog. Some of the new codes that the home builders blocked had been proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency — the same agency that’s on the hook when homes collapse, flood or wash away. And when FEMA is on the hook, it’s really the taxpayer.
    https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2017/08/31/462844.htm
     
  3. ICE

    ICE Sawhorse

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    "cardboard cartons under the homes," What's that?
     
  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    No you can buy a mansion in Texas for that amount.

    One reason unfortunately people are moving to Texas
     
  5. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    c
    I use them under my grade beams, my Texas friend uses them under his entire homes, the idea is that heaving soils crush the cardboard so they don't crack the concrete, and I guess they eventually are eaten out by the termites. Cardboard Void Forms, all soils engineers specify them here even theough we don't have the expansive soils Texas does, I've argued with them but they scream that the grade beams will crack someday.
     
    ICE likes this.
  6. ICE

    ICE Sawhorse

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    Thanks,
    Looking at the product I notice that the void space is quite tall. That has me wondering what supports the slab.

    A local engineer recommended six inches of 3/4” rock believing that the soil would find it’s way into the voids when the soil expands,
     
  7. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    Tiger:

    The engineer's design the slabs as structural slabs spanning the grade beams, which themselves are engineered to span the piers. The whole concept is that no concrete, other than the bearing piers themselves, touch the ground so it can heave to it's heart's content without cracking beams or slabs.
     
  8. khsmith55

    khsmith55 Bronze Member

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    Maybe void forms under the grade beams?
     

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