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Thread: The house next door...or how to NOT build a house

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    Supporting Member jdurand's Avatar
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    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house

    This is an ongoing construction project.

    In theory they are building a McMansion next to our house. The first thing was they had to cut down our giant redwood tree because the roots would be in the way of their basement. It turns out that is the least of their problems...

    The plan called for 28 drilled and cast piles around the perimeter to prevent the sides of the pit from slumping. Only thing is, they never did a soil test or asked anyone around here if this was feasible...this is an old creek bed and there are a LOT of rocks in the ground. They never got the first hole below about 6 feet.

    Plan B, just start digging and see what happens.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190622_182623.jpg

    200 truck loads of dirt later they have a hole 14 feet deep on the street side and about 20 feet on the hill side. We're also starting to notice the hole is only a couple of feet from our fence, the roots from our former redwood tree are the only thing holding the UNDERCUT wall up.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190711_155748.jpg

    Continues next message...

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  3. #2
    Supporting Member jdurand's Avatar
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    Remember they were supposed to have drilled and cast piles to hold the hill back? Well, since they removed the dirt the piles were to be drilled through, why not just put them where they would have gone...sort of. Plumb is not something they understand.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190722_140304.jpg

    At this point the inspector came by, had a cow, fit, and several other bouts of attacks and put a STOP order on the job.

    A few days later an engineering firm truck showed up, the contractor showed him around, lots of pointing and measuring. They need to add in some sort of wall that makes the engineer happy.

    Columns peeled, more digging.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190808_163703.jpg

    They then cut off one column and left it where it fell behind the others. They cast two more columns and then drilled, and added rebar between columns.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190820_171149.jpg

    more...

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    Ok, not happy with that, they shaved off part of one of the columns

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190821_174114.jpg

    Then cast the wall

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190822_172759.jpg
    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190823_162036.jpg

    Then filled in the column they had cut the piece out of and scraped one panel of the wall with the excavator until...I don't know, they liked the looks.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190823_162125.jpg
    Last edited by jdurand; 08-31-2019 at 05:56 PM.

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    Oh, we're not near done with this!

    In the last message you may notice they already have plumbing in, I couldn't believe they didn't drive over one of the pipes. Oh, these are also around 10 feet below the sewer main so I hope they have backup batteries planned for the pump.

    Next they put down forms, gravel, and vapor barrier. Note that there's no hint of a foundation, apparently they're just doing a slab.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190829_182723.jpg
    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190829_182812.jpg
    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190830_164949.jpg

    We're not done yet!

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    Yesterday they spent all day sawing and jack hammering the wall. By the way, our chicken coop is directly above that green ladder against the other side of the fence. My office is slightly to the left of that.

    Note that the column that they had cut, then patched, has now been jack hammered more than the cut was.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190830_165058.jpg

    The story continues Monday, they appear to have taken the weekend off for a change. No fumes coming into the office or jack hammering outside my door.

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    I should probably add that all the houses in this neighborhood run $1-2 million dollars and this contractor supposedly builds McMansions all the time.

    We're building a new house and our contractor understands things like foundations. Here's pictures of the foundation for our new house for comparison (it's also sitting on piles for extra strength).
    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-2019-05-30_rebar-6.png
    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-2019-06-17_floor_rebar-1.jpg

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    Today they're carving more on the wall and laying rebar.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190903_145019.jpg

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190903_145102.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-img_20190903_145102.jpg  

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    they appear done carving on the wall

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-photo_2019-09-04_19-03-12.jpg
    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-photo_2019-09-04_19-03-18.jpg

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    They seem to be putting in the rebar for the foundation, but is the floor really going to be that thick or will they pour a thin floor and then build more forms to make the foundation on top of the floor? Several contractors I know wait for each day's pictures to try to figure out what these guys are doing.

    The house next door...or how to NOT build a house-photo_2019-09-05_17-04-29.jpg

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    If I had to make a guess I'd say they are going to pour a unitized floor foundation and basement walls.
    I would hope they pour the floor then set the forms for the wall/ foundation wait a few days for some curing to take effect then pour the walls.
    I've seen contractors try to make a pour of the walls and floor all at once but that hardly ever turns out well.
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