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GC/carpenter
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Will this protect me from expansive clay issues, if the the city didn't require a soils test?

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Im just a dumb nail banger, I bought my contract from the HBA. Let my attorney approve it.

I dont have an earth movement exclusion, probably should, never thought of it. No earth quakes here. Have to jack hammer footings most of the time
 

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GC/carpenter
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is the language I cut and copied from my insurance policy. It's very very expensive to have earthquake insurance. I would say 90% of the homes out here don't have it. Also it's only offered through a government program. Not to mention how could it be my fault if my deck got jacked up in an earthquake?

This is a page everybody signs with one of my contracts. You would be surprised at how many people smile and say, of course it won't be your fault, and sign it. However if there's ever an earthquake and someone's on one of my decks and gets injured, you can bet they're going to be looking at me. I always tell them if they want to be better informed about their soil and seismic conditions we can always hire an engineer to go above and beyond what is typically required. They always refuse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Jaws said:
Im just a dumb nail banger, I bought my contract from the HBA. Let my attorney approve it. I dont have an earth movement exclusion, probably should, never thought of it. No earth quakes here. Have to jack hammer footings most of the time
There is a lot of earth movement besides earthquakes. You may want to check your General Liability policy it probably excludes it. Like I said this is the exact language I found in mine.
 

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I don't think it will cover you in every situation. Soil issues may or may not be preventable. What if you back filled 10 feet of fill and built on top of it without compacting? Would your contract protect you if it was due to negligence? Saying you're not liable for damage due to earthquakes doesn't make a lot of sense either. Does that mean you can frame a house and leave off every strap, leave out a few anchor bolts, then if the house comes tumbling down you can say, too bad? Show that to your attorney, I think he will have the same questions.
 

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Can a contract with one party protect you from any claim or suit, or only from any claim or suit by that party? I would expect that to get protection from any claim or suit, you would need the other party to indemnify you (or whatever the term might be that describes them getting in the way of any suit against you).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
KennMacMoragh said:
I don't think it will cover you in every situation. Soil issues may or may not be preventable. What if you back filled 10 feet of fill and built on top of it without compacting? Would your contract protect you if it was due to negligence? Saying you're not liable for damage due to earthquakes doesn't make a lot of sense either. Does that mean you can frame a house and leave off every strap, leave out a few anchor bolts, then if the house comes tumbling down you can say, too bad? Show that to your attorney, I think he will have the same questions.
Well if I had a code violation and the home fell down it wouldn't be for earth movement it would be for the code violation. But if I built the deck as per plan and prescriptive code and it still fell down this is the issue I'm speaking of. Absolutely I'm liable for code violations or deviation from the plans. But again the building didn't fall because of an earthquake. It would theoretically of fallen from the missing hardware.
 

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Californiadecks said:
Well if I had a code violation and the home fell down it wouldn't be for earth movement it would be for the code violation. But if I built the deck as per plan and prescriptive code and it still fell down this is the issue I'm speaking of. Absolutely I'm liable for code violations or deviation from the plans. But again the building didn't fall because of an earthquake. It would theoretically of fallen from the missing hardware.
You might have a case but generally speaking, if it's your fault then you're liable, if it's not then you're not liable regardless of what's in the contract. But say you build a deck, everything is to code, per prints, inspected and signed off. Then a mole comes and digs a hole under one of your piers causing the deck to sink. Would that contract protect you? You shouldn't be liable anyway so I don't think that contract is doing anything, but like I said, ask your attorney.

It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to just throw in random scenarios trying to protect yourself. You can list a thousand different things and still not cover everything. What about riots? A car or a plane crashing into the house? Someone puts in a hot water tank that explodes and goes through the roof? Stuff out of your control is supposed to be considered an "act of god", legally, then the homeowners insurance takes responsibility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well here's a scenario which is a real possibility. I build a deck and it's on expansive clay. It rains like no ones business and the ground swells massively and moves the deck footing causing damage. We have Some bad clay out here. The home owner realizes I'm not responsible with the help of my exclusion so when they call me to fix the deck I still get paid for the fix and don't have to cover it in my warranty.

This may prevent a pissing match between the HO and I. Usually something like this is not going to get to court because of the expense to fix may only be a couple thousand bucks and not worth that fight from either party. I do understand why you are saying. An act of God doesn't need to be in writing it should be assumed without saying.
 

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I suppose it wouldn't hurt to include the expansive clay part when building your decks. Because that's something I can see someone pointing the blame on you, they can say you should have seen the clay and dug your piers deeper. But clay can be under a layer of organic soil under the piers and you wouldn't realize it. I would leave out earthquakes, mudslides, and everything else you put in, those are things obviously outside of your control.
 
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