Subject: Moving Faults and related foundation damage
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 03:00:43 EDT
/ '| From the Desk ()_________)
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(__) Dennis S. Wish PE
Dear SEAINT Listservice,
About a month or so ago I discussed a client that had a foundation problem
where the building was settling (differentially) and moving in a north to
south direction. The building was on a level and flat site located at the
base of a Cove (a horeshoe shaped area surrounded on three sides by
A geologist was brought in who performed X-ray studies of the site. He also
reviewed airiel photographs taken up to 50 years ago and on file with the
local water district.
There appears to be a fault located on the site that, combined with reduction
of underground springs) is causing or contributing to the differential
settlement and the movement of the fault.
Today I received a phone call from a woman who is in escrow to purchase one
of the single family homes in this exclusive country club. She was given my
number by the director of the country club who I am working with to resolve
the problem that is affecting the club house.
Some of the single family residences are experienceing cracking of the slabs,
differential settlement of the slab on grade foundations and interior gypsum
She asked my opinion as to whether she should invest in the home or start
looking for something elsewhere.
I tried to avoid an opinion but advised her to weight the potential cost of
repairs (when known) with the association dues that she will pay to maintain
the buildings. I also told her that we have not received all of the
information or a commendation from the Foundation company hired to
investigate the damage.
I do not now, nor have I in the past considered the problems to be life
threatening. I would expect that a solution would include isolating the
foundation from the movement of the formations below. This, in my opinion,
will be a costly repair.
I recommended she hire a geotechnical firm that can evalute the information
available at this time so as to help her put her choices in a financial
perspective. I do not feel that this is my responsiblity since I can only
work with the results of the geotechnical hired by the club and determine an
adequate fix for the buildings.
I am interested in how some of you might have handled the situation had the
country club recommended the prospective buyer call you for an opinion.
Remember that you are hired by the board of directors of the club and that
all of the information is not yet available to draw a professional conclusion.
Dennis S. Wish PE
Structural Engineering Consultant