I recently came across a foundation inspection and noticed it wasn’t being waterproofed/damproofed. They were backfilling. So I called out to the A/E firm, they said it doesn’t need to be. I said if it doesn’t call for it in the Codes, I won’t ask for it, but it does so I’m calling out for it.
But the Engineer called me said they are not going to because the water table is not high or a problem.

I have not responded yet but I will.

What are your thoughts?

It’s a bad practice not to at least go the minimum and damp proof a foundation wall, but I am afraid that this A/E is cutting design costs to the maximum.

The Code reads;

R406.2 Concrete and Masonry Foundation Waterproofing

In areas where a high water table or other severe soil-water conditions are known to exist, exterior foundation walls that retain earth and enclose interior spaces and floors below grade shall be waterproofed from the higher of (a) the top of the footing or (b) 6 inches (152 mm) below the top of the basement floor, to the finished grade .

As a designer and what he says is true, then he doesn’t have to waterproof the foundation the way the code is written.

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You are way over your head as a home inspector.

“noticed it wasn’t being waterproofed/damp proofed.”
How in God’s heaven did you come that conclusion.
If the next new inspector even alludes to codes …
You will get mine and many others inspectors the cat of nine tails…
Please before you post here at the minimum take the NACHI courses.
Really !

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Home inspectors are not code inspectors!

That’s not necessarily true.
Would depend on the SCOPE of the inspection.
It was already stated in the first sentence that this was a “Foundation Inspection”.
Don’t make me call you “Roy”!! :wink:


I’m not a minister either but that doesn’t prohibit me from quoting the Bible…so yes we can talk about codes…just have to let people know you’re not a municipal code inspector…no need to keep telling them… in my opinion…

I would write it up starting with “A best practice is to…” and would do so in this situation, even here in the SW desert. One could make a case for severe soil-water conditions under a canale (scupper) with a concentrated point source of water, but that is my opinion.

Would you want to buy the home knowing it was not damp proofed? Is the engineer going to disclose that it was not done to all potential Buyers? And put his name on a document stating there will be no future concerns?

Thanks Marcel for sharing your always superior knowledge.


Your observation is excellent. The method I use is to defer to an authority or expert. If they supersede my opinion I don’t argue. If the buyer asks I tell them they can have a second opinion from another expert. I can, but I don’t argue with supposed experts.

If you are Code Certified then by all means you can state code, especially if it is commercial. In most states the Design Professional is the last word on a subject. I recommend stating your opinion but ask for a statement from the Design Professional in writing to cover yourself. Do your best then CYA, good luck.

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First…good observation. EVEN IF…the water table is not high there, don’t you occasionally get rain or irrigate the yard. And even if there is a positive drainage apron around the house, back fill can settle or homeowners do things they shouldn’t and cause surface drainage to pool against the foundation. And even if the home has nice surface drainage, once that surface water gets below the surface, it doesn’t necessarily go straight down to the closest aquifer. It can move laterally. You didn’t say if this was a crawlspace or basement, but a dry wall on a basement foundation is even more important. So, the obvious best practice is to water proof the foundation and shame on the engineer for his “save a dime” response.
Secondly…unless you are a code inspector, you are not a code inspector and should avoid that four-lettered word. Obviously, most of what we do overlaps with code, but most of us do and should make it clear that we are not code inspectors. One huge reason is that for most parts of the country, local AHJs make up their own personal codes. So, keeping up with what your AHJ wants to see today, can be difficult.

Hold on a second. Orin are you doing what I occasionally must do? That is, are you doing the phases of construction for an outfit out of Texas that hires home inspectors to take pictures of a new home under construction, fill out a brief report and send it to the people who then send it to a bank to get approval of the completion of four phases of home construction? The future home owner may live out of the state where the home is being built. I send in the photos and capture such things as foundation coat. Is this the case?