I am on dire need of some professional help on my new home. I know nothing about post tension slabs, nor pretend to know even a little bit.
I live in a suburb of Dallas, Tx. Our slab was recently poured this past Wednesday (3-21-18). I was told by the builder that framing would begin a few days later, which it did approximately 72 hrs after pour.
We walked the property today and noticed the cables have been tightened, as well as some significant slab breakage at the location of the brick ledges on both sides of the slab. There are parts that are so gaped that i am concerned for the support for the brick wall. There is also a section that has cracked and broken, exposing the post tension pullers on one side.
Again, I have no idea if this is typical, but it just doesn’t seem like a good pour. I have read that tension should be about 10 days after pour, and no where close to 3 days like in our case.
Can you please take a look at my photos and give me some insight and guidance on what I should do or be concerned about?
Workmanship looks pretty crappy. Curing 3 to 10 days after the concrete has been placed or has obtained a minimum compressive strength of 2000 psi would be typical. Looks like they just piled on the dirt dug from the trenches and never compacted the soil under the slab. Those exposed embedment plates are not acceptable. The cables touch the plastic in several locations and the slab thickness is nowhere close to uniform. The soil at the bottom of the footing trenches is not compacted either. You better get someone local to looks at those pictures before you pay this contractor.
WOW! These are only quick thoughts as I go through the pics. Some of these appear to have been finished/corrected in later pictures.
Trench for the main water line was not properly prepared. Should have all hard clumps and debris removed and a proper bedding under the pipe and proper cover over it.
Hard to tell from the pictures but the waste lines appear to be bowed. Does your local municipality (city) require camera scoping of the waste lines after slab pour to ensure there are no bells, bows, damage, etc.? Also see waste lines where the trench appears over-excavated and not properly filled back in. Pipes appear to be above the soil surface and no support under them.
In one pic with the pipe vertical on the metal pole there is a Zurn PEX valve to the left of the two waste line clean-outs. Is that suppose to be the house side main water shut-off or was this just temporary? You should check that valve as many are not rated for sub-surface use in valve boxes like this might be.
In that same pic the main water line also was not properly bedded under it.
I see vertical waste lines that were not properly wrapped where they pass through the concrete. Also the metal supports for them should be wrapped and sealed at their tops.
Moisture barrier (black plastic) that is not properly draped in trenches and balled up in the bottoms.
PT Cables (PTC) not properly supported where they cross over at intersecting trenches.
PTC in contact with the plastic and not raised above it. Hard to tell if they fully cleaned the pad surfaces of all the clumped dirt or not. If you look at some of the PTC they appear bowed above the pad surfaces like there may be large clumps still underneath and not a smooth pad surface.
Moisture barrier not sealed around vertical penetrations through it.
PTC not properly supported within 6" of trenches.
Moisture barrier wrapped on/around PTC.
Waste lines passing across/through trenches that have not been wrapped.
Electrical conduit and waste lines against form boards. This will result in them being exposed (insufficient concrete cover) once form boards are pulled.
A lot of anomalies with the concrete itself and work on it. You can see it at the pour as well as later with the bugging, pop-outs, and spalling.
Baseplate anchor bolts missing, improperly placed. They are using pneumatically driven nails (redheads) which are typically not called for in many engineered plans. It is obvious the Engineer called for anchor bolts so redheads are not expected.
I see gaps between wall studs and the baseplates as if not properly cut.
There is a lot of brick ledge damage that needs to be properly rebuilt. Many times they try to use brick mortar during brick placement which is not correct.
Concrete damage around PTC live end and dead end points.
Possible cold pour joints or concrete disparities at those dead end PTC points.
Quite a bit just in those pictures and not everything commented on here. Everything you see after the pour can be corrected. The builder’s Engineer of Record for the home should review and specify the corrections. Hopefully prior to the pour all of the other issues were dealt with properly.
I noticed all the things mentioned above. Very shoddy work. I would definitely have a structural engineer look at these pictures.
Poor or no consolidation of the concrete around the perimeter along with cold joints etc.
Uncompacted soil, improper vapor barrier installation. It is terrible.
Not acceptable in my book.
And the big question, how do you fix it?
What will happen when things start to settle?
What you see here unfortunately is very common in Texas! Local Building Inspections Departments are so undermanned they have no time to perform proper inspections. Instead they rely on builder third party inspection companies and Engineers reports. When I do pre-pour inspections I can see a lot of crap before I even get out of my truck and step foot on the property.
The entire deck is stacked against the consumer here in Texas. There is little to no oversight for residential construction. The last attempt at it was the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC). They were disbanded after about 5 years but not before the builders got the opportunity to write all the laws and rules they were running by. Many TRCC people were very conscientious and did not even like what was happening.
Now the problem we face here are builders who want to force unreasonable requirements and clauses on the buyers and their Third Party Inspector. All of this are the builders attempts at preventing the buyers from hiring their own third party inspector. The State of Texas won’t lift a finger to protect consumers. INACHI said a very short time ago they were looking into these practices and yet nothing has been heard about it either.
Consumers in Texas are not totally screwed but they need to take the lead to stop this type of construction!
So what is the bottom line, Manny?
The consumer has to live with these defects and hope for the best that nothing will happen in the future?
And I am sure that many of these properties probably don’t get to be inspected at all before or during their construction.
The bottom line is that only the buyers (consumers) can get shoddy construction corrected. First consumers need to realize they are not the only ones having these issues. Many do not like to advertise that they might have been treated improperly and tend to hide or not say anything. Instead consumers need to be voicing their anger with their lawmakers and the media outlets so others can see what is happening.
It is unrealistic to have all of the local AHJ’s ramp up their Field Inspector numbers to properly perform full inspections. Instead this is what really needs to be done.
I have not heard of any builder that allows a potential buyer to take a complete contract away from the signing location without first signing it. Unless a consumer brings an Attorney with them they wind up signing these contracts and literally getting stuck. There is no “Right To Rescission” law for one of the largest purchases a consumer can make and that is a new home. There needs to be a sufficiently long “Right To Rescission” period enacted so consumers can take contracts away and have them reviewed by Attorneys.
Builders need to be PROHIBITED from attempting to force any conditions on the buyer that can prevent or limit the buyers ability to hire their own Third Party Inspectors.
Consumer laws must be strengthened and added to place the buyer on at least level playing field with the builders.
Local Building Inspection Departments need to become WAY MORE responsive and aware to a buyers complaints. We have a local AHJ that apparently got very tired of consumers coming to them with Third Party Inspection reports and requesting they take immediate action for further reviews particularly for the fast paced pre-pour period. This AHJ responded by implementing a new requirement that any consumer that wants to complain must file a written complaint with documentation and the AHJ will review and decide whether to take action or not. Obviously the builder sure isn’t going to wait for the complaint to be settled and is going to pour. Now that it is covered over the AHJ won’t rule because they no longer can see the condition. How did that even come close to helping the consumer?? There is a VERY EASY solution for this and that is to get the buyer involved in the permit inspections process if the home has been contracted for sale prior to build. If the buyer has a concern and it is documented why shouldn’t they be able to request a red tag on a build and have the AHJ re-inspect before the builder proceeds??
New home buyers need to always have the home inspected in phases if they contract before the build. Any sane and good builder I have dealt with has been extremely happy to have yet another set of eyes on the build. Not only does it help them find and repair issues they and their Third Party inspection company misses it also provides a significant peace of mind to the buyer which is worth its weight in gold. The builder can have all of this at no additional cost to themselves.
Consumer protection is a great thing and noble concept. However here in Texas the “Follow The Money” concept tends to win out and consumers get screwed!
Randy, soil compaction of the pads around here is whatever pressure the labor applies underfoot before the pour, that’s it & all I’ve ever seen during Phase Inspections while looking at other sites as well as the sites I am hired to inspect.
We had rain the 17th & 18th, my experience is the beams, trenches & tendons are often not cleaned of caved soil & pumped of residual water prior to concrete placement. All are bad for proper PT slab foundations.
The engineer of record may or may not take issue. I’d want my own S.E. to evaluate & prescriptively design repairs if for no other reason as to have a comparison and for future reference if needed.
Marcel, as you know some of what was photo-documented by the consumer is no longer accessible & what is accessible will unfortunately not have much done beyond parge coating, is what I customarily see.
Manny and Bear, thanks for the insight of how PT construction goes on screwed up and passed down to the consumer for your area.
Very sad for the consumers that get stuck with this crap of a job and the Contractor gets away with it.
Having worked with a Commercial Building Contractor for well over 40 years, there is no way we could have got away with work like that in the Commercial Sector.
Architects, Engineers would have surely stepped in.
It is unfortunate that Builders like that get away with it also.
Thank you to all that shared your honest opinions. I take all of these post seriously and have decided to contact a structural engineer. We have been referred to Paragon because the original SE we contacted said that since the builder has now patched over the defects, it would require a more in depth evaluation. We talked with Paragon and they are planning on coming out as soon as they can schedule with the builder.