Concrete slab, build on less than 48 hours of pour

Doing a phase inspection, my client specifically instructed the builder to contact me prior to pouring concrete…(he was suppose to provide me his flow schedule)…needless to say that didn’t happen. As they were pouring I was notified…I was able to go out there; temperature 23 degree, pour made on a fill lot (waiting for engineer letter), accelerant used 2% (not sure what type), and still waiting to find out about PSI used, any air entrainment etc.

The failed to cover concrete during curing (temperatures below freezing) and actually started to build upon it in less than 48 hours of pour.
The framer stated (broken english) that thy will finish framing home in 2 days… rest assure my client will not be happy. It was a bit hard to see in the dark (they are still framing as I write this) but I can tell they used common nails in the foundation straps, fastening same to pressure treated lumber. If client goes forward, they will have quite a bit of nails to pull out…:mrgreen: Typical fast track builder.

Damn Jeff…

What did you do?

Hi Kenton,

The client is looking at walking away from the home… she will meet with the builder today and let me know.

I advised the client that I wanted speak with the site supervisor to ask some basic questions and for him to provide me documentation to assure us that the foundation was sound.

I initially requested:

  1. All concrete ticket stubs to show any amount of water that was added.
  2. Concrete supplier order detailing mix, slump, acclerants if any, type of cement, air entrainment details, and temperature of water that was added during the mix.
  3. Engineer soil verification letter.
  4. What precautions were being made to protect the foundation in light of the fact the forecast is still calling for subfreezing temps throughout the week and especially at night.
  5. To call me days in advance to inspect the footers.
    (so far I have gotten squat)

I went to the site yesterday because based upon their actions I suspected they may be your typical fast track builder and low and behold all the walls were up and the roof is being framed today…they will finish up Monday. I will be out of town at the International Builders Show next week so will not be able to inspect the framing for at least a week…hopefully they will wait until I get back…but then again I would not be surprised if she walks away from the home.

I looked at the foundation anchor straps and you can tell they used common paslode nails (not galvanized) on all pressure treated lumber. I didn’t say a word about that yet…will see what my client wants do today when we speak.

The client is very particular and rightfully so…she spoke with about a dozen home inspectors prior to selecting me…and she knew all the right questions to ask.
She then followed it up with checking my references and recent inspections I performed going back to last year.

I wanted to have a meeting with the builder and/or their site supervisor prior to construction so that we could work out any details about one another’s expectations so that the job would flow well and our client would be happy…amazing how all this could have been avoided with a 15 minute meeting.

As of now if they go forward I have already advised the client that an engineer will need to be brought into the equation to do further testing on the foundation…in addition I will be requesting that additional prep work be done for tile…most builders will lay ceramic tile directly onto the concrete slab which can be very problematic, especially in cases like this.

In a economy where every home sale is precious, this company and site supervisor screwed up big time.

You were there Jeff, I wasn’t - however - I worked on high-rise and other commercial & industrial structures for many years. Granted, most of my work was on the West Coast, but it was quite common to start framing (both steel and lumber) on slab/deck pours within 24 hours of finish.

Obviously, the quality, mix and additives of the concrete make all the difference. Ultimately, the results of the concrete-integrity are determined by the testing laboratory and unless there is a significant failure rate in the testing, there isn’t much that can be said.

As for the slab/framing anchors, I can’t speak to that. CA has much different standards than most other states. We are in SDC1 & SDC2 categories throughout the state.

Hi Jeff,

Most people don’t realize how much is involved with concrete…the mix, prep, on-site pour etc… I have yet to get any info from the site supervisor…quite frankly I don’t think he will give it to me because I suspect he used a standard mix and 2% Calcium Chloride and figured the temps would get up to the upper 50’s which for the most part they were in the 20’s. There was quite a bit of bleeding however I have yet to find out the slump.

When I was building in Ohio, I worked with a large framing contractor who had a contract with numerous track builders…they would pour one day and we would frame the next…they would put straw down so that we would not leave footprints in the concrete…pretty pathetic. I later would work with an old master builder from New England…we would pour the footing one day and the foundation the next…then stay off of it for about 4 weeks. He had been building for about 40 years…he said he never had a leak in any foundation / basement. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him…he was pretty much a master of all trades.

At anyrate, commercial work is so much nicer in the fact that its more controlled and of course you typically have more professional workers. I have been talking to my partner (contracting side of the business) about getting more into commercial work… we have a couple small commercial up fits and hopefully one small commercial building to do…however the competition is tough…people coming in from all over the US to bid on job for next to nothing…but I digress.

If I were a betting man I would say the client will walk. I met her to get paid and during the meeting the builder/rep called and she chewed him a new one…telling him that she was going to walk from the deal… in the end she said she would meet him tomorrow and decide at that time. Seeing what I have already, I am pretty confident she will not be happy. I enjoy doing phase inspections but I do wish the GC’s would meet with me prior to construction…it would make everyone’s job that much easier.

Most of the data I read advises to give the foundation anywhere from 3 - 7 days rest during winter pours. If the builder would have let me know that he was going to build
in less than 48 hours I would have had him do several samples for field test…right now we have squat, other than the foundation to test.

What extras did he add above code requirements to prevent leakage?..concrete shrinks/cracks as it sets with excess moisture being removed by drying.

It’s not the extras but simply not being in a hurry… we would not back fill until the very end…most of the custom homes we built took about 9 months - 1 year… he also was very detailed and thorough in water proofing the foundation…other then having a good pour, those two things he said accounted for having a good foundation.
As you know concrete gets stronger with age…not that its necessary to wait that long however I do believe many problems can and do arise within in the residential side of construction because of builders being in too much of a hurry to collect the paycheck.

In the south…at least I will say the Carolinas, many of the basements are
block…I personally think doing a poured basement is stronger and less chance of cracks / leaks.

It sounds like they might have a few problems, but I don’t think building on concrete too fast is one of them. It is typical and accepted construction practice to begin framing on a slab after 24 hours.

You actually expect the builder to wait a week on you??? Lot’s of luck on that one. With all due respect if I was the builder I’d work a LITTLE closer with you but you sir aren’t his boss and have no authority over how/when he does his job. You’d get laughed right off of the jobsite around here demanding stuff from builders. AHJ’s can get away with that but not us.


No where did I say that I was his boss…don’t know why one would think that, no
did I expect him to wait a week to build however to build under the current wx condition without following reasonable guidelines setforth by numerous concrete institutes / networks…just shows that they want to them up as fast as they can without regard to what is best for the home.

I had a conversation with the sup last night and let him know we are both have the same goal in mind, that being looking after the construction of our clients home.

Phillip, pouring in cold weather (in this case less than 25 degrees) and building the next day is not an acceptable practice. See ACI306R
The sup did admit that they typically pour one day and build the next… just as I suspected.

I have learned that rebar in fact was used (although I did not see any in the footings or slab… at least that which was visible when I got there) and Calcium Chloride was used as an accerlant…unless the rebar was coated, there could be a problem.
I have asked for the blueprints to look at same…

No insulation blankets were used and even though he said he used plastic, none was in place any time I drove by.

I did advice the sup some of the common problems I find with new homes… I also pointed out to him that he may want to look carefully at the nails used in pressure treated lumber.

I can about guarantee that when they install the trusses they will nail the bottom chord to all interior walls.

I did advice the sup that I was in Florida at the International Builder’s Show the rest of the week and asked that he hold off on installing insulation until I get back for which he agreed…will let you know what comes of this project.


I have done contract administration & construction inspection for over 30 years and I have learned a few things along the way. There are only two basic things that motivate a contractor; Making Money and Losing Money. Unless you have the authority to control either of them in writing by way of a signed contract your job function will be reduced from an inspector to an observer. Most clients do not fully understand construction contracts and/or contract administration. Clients need to be educated when bidding a construction project of any significant size. They should have a detailed contract, detailed construction specifications, detailed drawings, detailed work schedules, an established paperwork management system to track RFIs, change orders, plan changes and finally a problem/issue escalation protocol with required weekly progress meetings. I know it sounds like allot but its nothing compared to the time and headaches you and/or your client will endure if the contractor gets behind schedule, goes over budget, goes bankrupt and everyone gets dragged into court. Typically I find most clients pick a contractor out of the phone book and before they call someone to oversee the work they have already signed a contract. The contract, prepared by the contractor, typically gives the client no control over the quality of workmanship and no references to material or code specifications. In my opinion this is the biggest mistake people make when deciding to build a new home.

I agree with you in part however what I have seen (and expect to see) will most likely give me enough information to provide to my client that will allow them to make an informed decision as to weather she walks or stays.
I was present when she chewed them a new one and they were very eager to please her, more importantly fulfill their agreement with her in allowing me to do a phased inspection in a reasonable manner.

So far I have witnessed part of the footers in which no rebar was present although the plans supposedly call for it, concrete practices which do not follow cold weather pour, still plates using improper fasteners and I when I get back in state and conduct the dry-in stage inspection I will find a whole host of other issues. I am still awaiting documents detailing the concrete pour as well as the plans themselves. The client has already called them and advised them I better have them by the time I get back or she is walking.

Service is any business is a key element to success… I know from the homes I have built that while I am into make a profit, I know more importantly that profit means very little in comparison to my reputation / referrals that I get from a happy client. There have been a few (very few thankfully) in which I lost money (my fault) in order to make the client happy and they knew that…(some even offered to pay more however I refused to accept payment)… in return I win the client over for life…but yes, for the most part GC are looking at bottom line…at least the big track builder are using that model.

Will keep all abreast as to how it pans out…


This does not sound good and may not be easily resolved. I would advise the buyer to get a construction attorney involved just to make sure no mistakes are made on her part that could affect something in the future ie. the deposit.

If rebar was spec’d then the soil test must have had some issues or the plans were drawn up by someone that was playing it extra safe. I am thinking this is a basic 2200-2500sf tract house.

I am amazed at the casual attitude some of the builder reps have even when the buyer is a very picky detailed person. I had one that would have ended up badly if the builder had not made repairs and produced engineers letters very quickly as demanded by the buyer based on my reports. Some builders are happy to let some buyers walk away since they know the finish work will never suit them.

The act of allowing the framing to begin on a project with questions in the air about the foundation are simply astounding.

The problem is (as Randy indicated) the “questions” were not raised by anyone with the authority to effect a change. In other words, “no harm, no foul.”

Not if the buyer told the builder they had a report that stated improper practice or materials. The buyer has authority if they are savvy enough to realize it.

Why would the buyer hire an inspector and not utilize the information?

I have seen projects halted many times by my clients based on my reports.
When I was hired to go back for a reinspection, the superintendents usually thank me since they have had a day or two to cool off.


The fact that the client did not want to rely on the local AHJ speaks volumes that she has read enough to know that they don’t do their job.

Your right, the home is around 2200 sq ft. A home like that can be in the dry in stage in about 7 days once framing starts…this company definitely likes to knock them out…not that they have many going… I only saw one other one under construction.

You know how it is around Charlotte…hundreds of developments that are basically empty or with few homes. I would think that they would want to try to stretch it out a bit to give the impression that their is activity going on.

[quote=“jhaynes, post:10, topic:55484”]


Phillip, pouring in cold weather (in this case less than 25 degrees) and building the next day is not an acceptable practice. See ACI306R
The sup did admit that they typically pour one day and build the next… just as I suspected.

No insulation blankets were used and even though he said he used plastic, none was in place any time I drove by.


I mentioned that they had several issues, but building on the slab the next day was not one of them. The issue they had was not properly covering the concrete for a Cold Weather Pour, which you noted.
ACI306R requires you cover the concrete until it reaches at least 500psi.
Probaly about 10 hours after it was poured. Not very long.
ACI306R also does not state when you can begin building.
The bigger concern is what the temperature will be over the days following the pour, did you record those. Concrete produces quite a bit of heat during the first 24 hours of tge curing process. It is more important to be aware of the temperature ove the next two to three days.
I think you are providing a much needed service to this client, just be aware of what you call out as being deficient.

I have been on sites that pour when it -25.
They are at work the next day.
Everything is OK if t5he site foreman says it is so.
You did not ask what air they are using , what the psi was, accelerator, setup rate. You should know that before you are on site.
Ask the site foreman and get to know him and ease your way in instead of demanding answers.
You should Know these things.
Just my point of view. I could be wrong.
I worked with the white hats and they WORKED WITH ME.

[quote=“prichardson, post:17, topic:55484”]

He should know everything you are saying.
It is an over reaction to simple steps of introduction of yourself and being a gentle as can be working with CONTRACTORS.
When you know little they will smell you out in a shot and treat you like you should be treated. Arrogant and stickup.
You spend hours with them before you go on sight, tell them your training, and I even help with a hammer , pouring, anything even a fuccing broom,to show them you are one of the guys.

All due respect Robert but everything is not OK simply because a site foreman says so. As to me knowing the info before hand…my client and the builder agreed to notify me at least a couple days before the pour (I was out of town the week before)…I was notified less than a hour before the pour…so that doesn’t fly either.

This is your basic track builder who had no regard in fulfilling his agreement with the buyer as set forth… which may end up biting them in the butt.

There is plenty of data that explains on how to deal with cold weather pours… I have never said you can not pour in cold weather however precautions are to be made…so far I know that was not completely the case. Also, the site supervisor explicitly told me he had rebar in the footings…weather he realizes it or not, I have pictures showing that is not the case…even though according to him the blueprints call for it.

As to pouring concrete in -25…I question that in light of the fact that the ground would be frozen and as such under no circumstance is concrete to be poured on frozen ground and even if the ground has been protected pouring in -25 with who knows what wind conditions would be crazy.

Finally, I am not one of their guys… I certainly am not going to help do their job which would 1.)show a lack of professionalism and unbias toward my client and 2.)create a liability for me in regards to the project.
I offered to meet with the builder and/or his site sup however they obviously blew that off as well as blowing off the agreement they made with my client…now they are behind the 8 ball trying to make amends all the while having to come up with much needed documentation to support their actions.

Saying pouring the next day (which they did not do, it was actually about 38 hours) is not acceptable in and of itself without regard taking into consideration items I have previously noted.

There are also numerous requirements both by association and by AHJ’s throughout the nation that specifically state that under cold weather conditions, as defined by ACI, the foundation must be protected from freezing for at least between 48 (accelrant used) - 72 hrs (conventional cement used). Spring Hill Kansas goes even further and states that if the builder fails to prove same then further testings will be required to show that the strength of the concrete has been properly developed.
Also, not that I plan on quoting code, but it does require that in this particular case an air entrainment of 5 - 7% is required.
As per the site supervisor’s admission to me, this was not done.