Home on Piles

Originally Posted By: lungar
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Hi fellow inspectors;

How would you handle this???

Home is next to some wetlands off of the great south bay on Long Island.

The home could not be built unless piles were driven and home built on piles at ground level according to buyer. In turn I told the buyer that he would have to get a separate insp on piles since I am not a PE. Is there anything else that I should do??? Also the home is about 15-18 years

old. Greg Bell from Fla. have you ever come across this???

Regards Len

Originally Posted By: ekartal
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Hi Leonard,

Is there any reason to suspect that the piles are not properly supporting the home? If not, a PE evaluation may not have been necessary. These can be very expensive evaluations. But you are near the wetlands…so that’s a tough call and probably a good one too.

Erol Kartal

Originally Posted By: jonofrey
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If there is a local municipality or AHJ, they will have information on their current and possibly historical requirements for pilings and foundations such as how deep the pilings need to be set in the ground and the minimum thickness of the pilings and the minimum height that the structure can start on the pilings. If they don’t have any information or there is no AHJ, check the pilings for their condition. Pilings have a tendency to rot below grade so do a little probing below grade to make sure they are not rotten below grade. Tap on the pilings with a hammer or other hard object to determine any significant difference in sound indicating hollowness. Check how far they are spaced. Check how the beams are attached to the pilings and their size in relation to their spans. If no AHJ it becomes a matter of common sense and careful inspection of the current condition of the pilings. call out what you see. I would bet that 15 years ago there was little or no concern for the way the pilings were installed. If the owner does any remodeling (depending on the AHJ) an older piling foundation may be rquired to be completely redone. Be careful and do your homework on this one.

Inspection Nirvana!

We're NACHI. Get over it.

Originally Posted By: mkober
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John was pretty much on the money, but I'd like to add a few things. Having inspected many hundreds of pile-supported structures in several states in the last 35 years, I have a deep respect for the abilities of a properly-constructed pile foundation. Service lives exceeding 60 years are not unusual
1. You didn't mention if the piles are treated or not. Effective treatment (usually creosote, or possibly pentachlorophenol or chromated copper arsenate, among others) will add considerably to the service life. If CCA, attachment hardware deterioration can be an issue.
2. If pile-driving records are available, they should show the tip elevations and bearing capacity, and possibly some drilling logs. All should be evaluated by a competent authority. If records are not available, you would do well to defer the client to a P.E. for further evaluation. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea anyway, just to CYA.
3. Robert O'Connor (NACHI member and P.E.) is somewhere in your area; he'll no doubt have some thoughts on this issue.
4. I inspected a home on a partial-pile foundation east of Albuquerque about 20 years ago--had some serious problems related to the foundation, among other things.

Michael J. Kober, P.E. and H.I.

"NACHI Member and Proud Of It!"

Originally Posted By: Blaine Wiley
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And for what it’s worth, I’ll add:

The keys here (islands to northerners ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif) ) are full of piling foundation homes. They are pretty simple, actually. For the HI, you can't see anything below grade, just like in any other home you do. Look for signs of failure or movement, especially in the area of each piling. Look for beam warping, loose or broken strapping or bolts, fasteners as a previous post said. If you find doors not closing properly, windows out of level or plumb, or especially dips or waves in the ridge line, there could be issues. Support beams in this style house are often not allowed to be cut or notched (not allowed here at all) so check with your local AHJ and see.

Take your time and be careful.

Originally Posted By: jpope
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Silly me. My first thought was that the piles were concrete (that’s how they do it here on the hillsides). I couldn’t figure what all the fuss was about.

A home on stilts? I can see where there might be some concern.

Jeff Pope
JPI Home Inspection Service
"At JPI, we'll help you look better"
(661) 212-0738

Originally Posted By: lungar
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Thank’s Everyone;

It’s great to have fellow inspectors give there thoughts and advice on subjects of importance to a good inspection. Thanks again.

Regards Len