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Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade

 
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:32 PM   #1
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Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


I have a family member (parents) that hired a hack to build a garage/storage building. Not a low price hack, but hack work at a premium price.

He poured a monolithic slab only about 1" above grade in the lowest part of their yard. In fact the aproach/ sidewalk to the garage door was poured with an angle towards the building so that water ran right in when it rained. Last fall they had that removed and wanted to see what would happen over the winter. Well, this winter came and as the saturated ground froze, it heaved up above the top of the slab and water ran in under the sole plate all winter. The osb under the vinyl siding is deteriorating already at the bottom. In addition, there is no house wrap or felt under the siding.

The only solution to the problem is too jack the building up and pour a new slab. I have talked to a concrete guy (the best in town) and he can lay a course of block around the perimeter of the slab, the building can be lowered onto it, and a new slab can be poured inside to the height of the block.

The hack that built it refuses to return phone calls. A lawyer has been hired. I am handling the details of this for my parents. They are simply not able to understand the problem and deal with it and the builder has preyed on their weakness.

Here is my question to you guys: Does the International Building Code specify a minimum distance above grade for a building slab and if so, can you provide me with the article number?

Thank You in advance for your answers.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:45 PM   #2
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Don't know the article number but I think says 8"

Some one will correct if I am wrong.

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Old 03-16-2010, 10:06 PM   #3
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


My advice would be to find a new lawyer if he can't answer that question or find out in about 2 seconds.

Here in California he would need to look at 2007CBC 2304.11.2.2 (as a starting point). You can grade up against a structure, but you need to follow the rules.

Also have him look up the requirement for slope away from a structure. Here it is 1/4" per foot for 10'. There are exceptions, but water must drain away and not collect at the edge of the structure.

The IBC is not as strict as our CBC codes, so yours may be different.

Good Luck
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:16 PM   #4
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


The code for the drainage is CBC2007 1803.3

Again, it may be different in the IBC
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:43 PM   #5
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Thanks for the info so far. It should not be absolutely necessary to referance a building code. But, I would like to have it. I can't imagine a judge will be of the opinion that it is acceptable for a building to have water leak into it under the sole plates. At times as much as 3/4" of water is on the slab. Like I said, I did peel back the bottom piece of vinyl siding and the osb is already rotting.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:11 AM   #6
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


I just did a little searching.

Couldn't find the siding code on the internet but several manufactures of siding say 6-10"

3. ROOF AND GROUND CLEARANCE
Trim that extends down to a roof (dormers, second floors, etc.) and decks requires a minimum of a 2 inch gap to
avoid wicking. Trim, such as water table or skirt boards must be a minimum of 6 inches above the grade

Ch. 4 Foundations: Section R401.3
R401.3 Drainage
“Surface drainage shall be diverted to a storm sewer conveyance or other approved point of collection so as to not create a hazard. Lots shall be graded to drain surface water away from foundation walls. The grade shall fall a minimum of 6 inches (152 mm) within the first 10 feet (3048 mm).”



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Old 03-17-2010, 08:01 AM   #7
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


just wondering, but is your concrete guy laying that course of block temporarily, for a form, or is he putting in a full foundation. Or do you mean he's laying it on top of the slab, then pouring inside it? If that is the case then why even bother with the block, just form and pour. BTW around here it is 6" min. to grade, but IMO the more the merrier, where possible, water is the enemy, it also gives the termites further to build thier tunnels, they're not our friends either.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:07 AM   #8
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Quote:
Originally Posted by Diamond D. View Post
just wondering, but is your concrete guy laying that course of block temporarily, for a form, or is he putting in a full foundation. Or do you mean he's laying it on top of the slab, then pouring inside it? If that is the case then why even bother with the block, just form and pour. BTW around here it is 6" min. to grade, but IMO the more the merrier, where possible, water is the enemy, it also gives the termites further to build thier tunnels, they're not our friends either.
I would just pour one too, drill some hole, put in some read heads and hook bolt it, form it, and pour. Here in cleveland it is 8" code. I hope he poured a "rat wall" below grade.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:14 AM   #9
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


R403.1.7.3 Foundation elevation. On graded sites, the
top of any exterior foundation shall extend above the elevation
of the street gutter at point of discharge or the inlet
of an approved drainage device a minimum of 12 inches
(305 mm) plus 2 percent. Alternate elevations are permitted
subject to the approval of the building official,
provided it can be demonstrated that required drainage to
the point of discharge and away from the structure is provided
at all locations on the site.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:31 AM   #10
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


As mentioned above the new IBC is 8" from the edge of the slab to grade and 5% slope for 10' from the edge of slab perpendicular to the length, however if there is hardscaping then it is reduced to 2" below the bottom of the weep screed or bottom of siding I believe.

Is it possible to remove some of the grade from the perimeter of the slab? If it is this might be a way to avoid having to redo the slab. Just throwing out ideas here.... maybe remove enough dirt to allow a sidewalk to be placed around the perimeter. If the slope is towards the garage and it gets worse as a result of removing the dirt use drains in the sidewalk to carry away the water...........................
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:40 AM   #11
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Like Rio, I would think of ways to fix it without pouring a new slab if possible, just seems it may be less $. Since the guy may not even be around anymore to try to collect damages from, you may be chasing bad $ with good $ hiring a lawyer.

I'd look at re-grading the yard or build french drain/retaining wall to move water around the garage.
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:48 AM   #12
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Codes? Did someone mention building codes?

I have a deep personal distaste for the IBC and have written about it more than once. In short the IBC is so bloated and confusing it's largely unusable. However, it's all we have and in this case, miraculously, it does provide the ammunition your lawyer will need:

2304.11.2.2 Wood supported by exterior foundation walls. Wood framing members, including wood sheathing, that rest on exterior foundation walls and are less than 8 inches from exposed earth shall be of naturally durable or preservative-treated wood.

2304.11.2.6 Wood siding. Clearance between wood siding and earth on the exterior of a building shall not be less than 6 inches except where siding, sheathing, and wall framing are of naturally durable or preservative-treated wood.

1803.3 Site Grading. The ground immediately adjacent to the foundation shall be sloped away from the building at a slope of not less than one unit vertical in 20 units horizontal for a minimum distance of 10 feet measured perpendicular to the face of the wall. [etc.]

There is also 1805.3.4 which talks about foundation elevation above receiving drainage devices, but I dont' think that's the issue here.

And 1805.2.1 which talks about frost protection but that's about the depth to the bottom of footing, not the top.

A word of warning about lawyers. I've done enough expert witness work to know that most have never touched a hammer or saw and wouldn't know a mud sill from a king stud. Do not assume they know the building code - they probably don't and will have to "research" it at $250/hr. Anything you can do to steer them in the right direction will save you money and help your cause. If you're serious about the lawsuit, I would only retain a lawyer who does construction claims regularly. Just like you never hire a tile guy to build a spiral staircase.

And also beware that you may win the lawsuit, at great cost, only to have the hack go bankrupt. In which case you lose. The only winners are the lawyers. I've been down that road several times. The ONLY time I would pursue legal action is if the opponent has enough money to pay should he lose, and if the stakes are large enough to justify the time and expense on your part. Bear in mind the opposing lawyer will do everything in his power to make it look like the problem was your fault. In a judge's eyes there are always two sides to any story.

Good luck!
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:05 PM   #13
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


lot of good advice so far but was a permit pulled for this project? i can't see any competent inspector approving a pour with the forms set at grade. just curious!
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:02 PM   #14
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Quote:
Originally Posted by catspaw View Post
lot of good advice so far but was a permit pulled for this project? i can't see any competent inspector approving a pour with the forms set at grade. just curious!
Well what I would do is go to city hall and find out if the contractor pulled a pemit, if he did,then I would see if he broke the city code,if he did then I would ask the city to attach his bond, if he did not pull a permit, good luck with the lawyer. It may cost more than what it is worth. In court it will make a difference what that city codes are, nothing more,nothing less. Then you need to prove bad workmanship next. In most city you will need to submit a drawing with the permit, if he did and the city approved it, then I would think you are SOL. When you set up a garage floor you don't need to hang the forms for the curb prior to pouring it,you can hand roll them if you are good or you can hang them with curb hangers after the floor is in. The bad news in most city you cannot pour over an exsisting concrete floor, some will let you if you put a sand cushion, most will not,and I recommend NOT.

Last edited by CONCRETE MIKE; 03-17-2010 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:37 PM   #15
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubleoh7 View Post
I have a family member (parents) that hired a hack to build a garage/storage building. Not a low price hack, but hack work at a premium price.

He poured a monolithic slab only about 1" above grade in the lowest part of their yard. In fact the aproach/ sidewalk to the garage door was poured with an angle towards the building so that water ran right in when it rained. Last fall they had that removed and wanted to see what would happen over the winter. Well, this winter came and as the saturated ground froze, it heaved up above the top of the slab and water ran in under the sole plate all winter. The osb under the vinyl siding is deteriorating already at the bottom. In addition, there is no house wrap or felt under the siding.

The only solution to the problem is too jack the building up and pour a new slab. I have talked to a concrete guy (the best in town) and he can lay a course of block around the perimeter of the slab, the building can be lowered onto it, and a new slab can be poured inside to the height of the block.

The hack that built it refuses to return phone calls. A lawyer has been hired. I am handling the details of this for my parents. They are simply not able to understand the problem and deal with it and the builder has preyed on their weakness.

Here is my question to you guys: Does the International Building Code specify a minimum distance above grade for a building slab and if so, can you provide me with the article number?

Thank You in advance for your answers.
The problem with pouring a slab onto another slab is that you will still have seperation between slabs, what is going to prevent the water seeping under the new slab that you are going to pour? I think you should grade around and just pour or set blocks for the curb. If the slab is not pitching the correct way that is a max 1/4in per foot or a min 1/8in per ft then you have a big problem. There are four possible solutions I have: sue, live with it, ardex the floor, jack the garage up and re-pour correctly.

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Last edited by CONCRETE MIKE; 03-17-2010 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:52 PM   #16
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Garrison PE View Post
Codes? Did someone mention building codes?

I have a deep personal distaste for the IBC and have written about it more than once. In short the IBC is so bloated and confusing it's largely unusable. However, it's all we have and in this case, miraculously, it does provide the ammunition your lawyer will need:

2304.11.2.2 Wood supported by exterior foundation walls. Wood framing members, including wood sheathing, that rest on exterior foundation walls and are less than 8 inches from exposed earth shall be of naturally durable or preservative-treated wood.

2304.11.2.6 Wood siding. Clearance between wood siding and earth on the exterior of a building shall not be less than 6 inches except where siding, sheathing, and wall framing are of naturally durable or preservative-treated wood.

1803.3 Site Grading. The ground immediately adjacent to the foundation shall be sloped away from the building at a slope of not less than one unit vertical in 20 units horizontal for a minimum distance of 10 feet measured perpendicular to the face of the wall. [etc.]

There is also 1805.3.4 which talks about foundation elevation above receiving drainage devices, but I dont' think that's the issue here.

And 1805.2.1 which talks about frost protection but that's about the depth to the bottom of footing, not the top.

A word of warning about lawyers. I've done enough expert witness work to know that most have never touched a hammer or saw and wouldn't know a mud sill from a king stud. Do not assume they know the building code - they probably don't and will have to "research" it at $250/hr. Anything you can do to steer them in the right direction will save you money and help your cause. If you're serious about the lawsuit, I would only retain a lawyer who does construction claims regularly. Just like you never hire a tile guy to build a spiral staircase.

And also beware that you may win the lawsuit, at great cost, only to have the hack go bankrupt. In which case you lose. The only winners are the lawyers. I've been down that road several times. The ONLY time I would pursue legal action is if the opponent has enough money to pay should he lose, and if the stakes are large enough to justify the time and expense on your part. Bear in mind the opposing lawyer will do everything in his power to make it look like the problem was your fault. In a judge's eyes there are always two sides to any story.

Good luck!
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:18 PM   #17
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Maybe install drains the length of the openings to divert the water from coming in there. And lay the course of block under the garage to elevate it. If you water proof the block and keep the water from coming in the openings I don't see the need to pour another slab??
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:49 PM   #18
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


I did a job many years ago on a home that had pour drainage and similar height issues and all permits were pulled and inspections received. The solution was to make a 18" buffer on the poor draining side of the wall with a perforated pipe wrapped with a sock and covered w/ 3/4" stone which was properly pitched. I've been back to the site over the years and have had no complaints.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:36 PM   #19
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Quote:
Originally Posted by CONCRETE MIKE View Post
I would just pour one too, drill some hole, put in some read heads and hook bolt it, form it, and pour. Here in cleveland it is 8" code. I hope he poured a "rat wall" below grade.

The block is neccessary because the building will be jacked up from the inside and supported temporarily. Then the block will be laid and the building set down on the block. After that all the bracing and jacks will be removed. Then a new slab will be poured inside the building up to the bottom of the sole plate. I don't know the trade name of the blocks to be used. They are the ones that have 1/4 of the block missing on the long side.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:48 PM   #20
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Re: Hack Job: Slab Only 1" Above Grade


Quote:
Originally Posted by deckman22 View Post
Like Rio, I would think of ways to fix it without pouring a new slab if possible, just seems it may be less $. Since the guy may not even be around anymore to try to collect damages from, you may be chasing bad $ with good $ hiring a lawyer.

I'd look at re-grading the yard or build french drain/retaining wall to move water around the garage.

The guy is around and has the means to pay, one way or another. In fact he has a decent job. He is a side work hack! I hope Mom and Dad learned a lesson here.

If my folks win and get a lein on his property and he does not pay, they are OK with that. They are committed to having the problem solved even if they never collect. I am documenting everything and the plan is to correct all of the problems with the building and pay for everything and then persue legal action to collect.

The building is on the lowest point of the property and there is simply no where to divert water too. This is one of the dumbest mistakes I have seen. I may only be an electrician but I know that water runs down hill, not up.

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