Grade code needed for swales

I do a lot of new build inspections. Almost everyone of these homes is not graded properly with swales that don’t go towards the street. I need code because I’m dealing with builders and it is the only way to force them to do something. If the homes are close together then I can get them on the " The grade shall fall a minimum of 6 inches (152 mm)within the first **10 feet" from IRC as Texas (where I am) has adopted IRC to code here.

If I’m doing a larger home, the houses will often be greater than 20 feet apart, but still have a swale in between them and that swale is often not draining very much. Results are obvious; dead grass, mud, degradation of fences on property line. I’m looking for another code I could get the builders on in this situation. We do have one city around here that I found their city code requiring swales to be drained fully to the front of home, but not anything more than that.

The builders are able to fight me in other cities where I can’t force them to do it. I need to be able to make them re-grade or install drainage. Thanks

As a “Home Inspector”… you don’t have the authority to “make” a contractor (or anyone else) do squat!
That is the AHJ’s responsibility!


you need to hire me either to perform your inspections or as a consultant
read all of R401.3 Drainage including the exception
this is your last freebie ;~}


Let me give it a try… Edit where necessary .OK ?

Lot grading and drainage have a significant impact on the building, simply because of the direct and indirect damage that moisture can have on the foundation. It is very important, therefore, that surface runoff water be adequately diverted away from the home. Lot grading should slope away and fall a minimum of one (1) inch every foot for a distance of six (6) feet around the perimeter of the building.
While performance of lot drainage and water handling systems may appear serviceable at the time of inspection, the inspector cannot always accurately predict this performance as conditions constantly change. Furthermore, items such as leakage in downspout/gutter systems are very difficult to detect during dry weather. Inspection of foundation performance and water handling systems, therefore, is limited to visible conditions and evidence of past problems.

Does that handle it mostly? just askin’?


That is a futile tasks! You will not force me to do anything… Nope!
You are just a simple home inspector … Nothing more or less
I’m one as well and a Florida contractor.!
I will take your finding into considerations. And hopefully you are a good inspector. And that I will investigate further.

Typically there will be a site grade plan that is executed in stages and finished upon construction completion. Factors involve types of soil and available space. R401.3 says 6 inches in 10 feet but the exceptions point out you may not have ten feet from adjacent structures (20 feet total) in which case you just direct the water elsewhere. Good luck trying to get a builder to comply with something that was probably signed off on.

Note: Backfill around foundations does settle and may need more dirt which is reasonable. Consult page 1 Site Work of the NAHB “Residential Construction Performance Guidelines” which is a more reasonable approach to talking with a builder than ‘codes’ which is out of your jurisdiction. Not all builders will honor NAHB guidelines, you need to see what their contract says.

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Are you the buyer or somethin’?
Why do you wanna force the builder to do something?

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You can’t ! Nope!
Checkmate !.. I will always win. When a home inspector starts spouting off.
They don’t even look at the flippin’ engineering of the property. Nor do that even know what they are looking at if they do. I read the engineering over and over again before I even before breaking ground . Some times on a big project . I may read it for a year maybe longer if necessary.
It is just the way it is.

Just make a recommendation and if there are barriers in the way, make the swales closer to the house. BUT, you need impervious surfaces within the first 10 feet to ensure drainage away from the building foundation that shall be sloped a minimum of 2 percent away from the building.
Example from MI (IRC 2015).

Geeez. So stubborn. This is the reason why I don’t like posting on here because half the people that respond are so arrogant. Yes I do MAKE builders do things all the time, because I’m looking out for the best interest of my clients. Joe Bob that is on site managing a large new subdivision always has a boss and that boss will MAKE him correct it when the potential home owner threatens to back out of the deal on my recommendation. I have unfortunately had to recommend this 3 times and all 3 times Joe Bob did the work the way it was supposed to be done. I saw one of them on a final walkthrough after we went through this just recently and he had to bite his lip so hard I’m sure it turned into a canker sore. Everyone says it’s not an inspectors job to reference code, but it is needed in some circumstances. Why are you trolling the inspector’s forum anyways? With your attitude I would NEVER have a home built by you and neither would any of my clients. Go to a builders forum where you can all stew together about how much you hate inspectors and how you all know just so much more than them. I shouldn’t have even taken the time to write all this. I won’t be checking this tread again as I got enough nice answers from others and I don’t want to even think about you again so save your time and don’t bother with a response.

Thanks Barry!

Thanks Bob!

Thanks Larry!

Thanks Rodney!

Thanks for the response on your first post, but no thanks for jumping on the inspector hater bandwagon.

What are you talking about?

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I wonder who Joe Bob is?

Poor Joe Bob was really taking it in the shorts with that rant! The OP claims half the people on this forum are arrogant yet refers to workers on job sites as Joe Bob. Talk about arrogant. I’ll bet this pencil neck wouldn’t call a construction worker Joe Bob toe to toe.

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Sounds like a washed up insurance agent or used house salesman… … …


You wanna see arrogant??..

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