BLASTING DAMAGE TO MY HOUSE -- DETAILS -- HELP PLEASE

Thanks to the few folks who provided some response to my posting a couple of weeks ago on "BLASTING DAMAGE TO MY HOUSE". But I still need documentation sources or references to help me proceed with this thorny problem. With millions of homeowners in our great land, I am certain others with common house construction have experienced a situation such as ours. Surely we are not alone!
More details of our situation are in this message. I WILL TRULY APPRECIATE any response or guidance specific to our problem.
Several blasting sessions were done in our neighborhood at a construction site, about 1/4 mile from my house. The measured level of blasting recorded by a small engineering group shows only lower levels at their few monitored locations, which did not include our property.
My basement is a 2-car garage and large finished room. When first discovered and shown in photos taken by my insurance company's engineer, there were several slightly noticeable, hairline cracks "stair stepping" down my foundation. . The stair-step cracks start at the top of the foundation, and extend several feet down to approximate outside ground level. Previous to discovering the cracks our foundation and basement had always been very tight and dry. My wife and I saw no cracks during 11 years of ownership, including accompanying a pest control person in annual foundation inspections, and my daily parking about 2 feet from the foundation . I have documented the foundation cracks with many good photos and have a copy of the insurance engineer's photos.
In both bathrooms the tile was previously intact, but both now have long horizontal cracks through the tile. Also, we discovered several interior door frame mouldings throughout the house that separated slightly from the wall. There were no separations before the blasting. During the blasting period my wife found picture frames throughout the house hanging un level, but none fell off the wall.
Initially by phone, several repair contractors and people with basic knowledge of blasting all confirmed with me that we had no previous foundation cracking, and asked if the cracks were horizontal or "STAIR-STEP" in appearance. All said stair-step cracking is a characteristic of blasting. And that horizontal-lateral cracking is characteristic of outside earth pressure on a concrete block foundations. A structural engineer who inspected for us discovered the hairline cracks in the bathroom tile, and said that is another characteristic of blasting damage. He said "you have plenty of things to work with" related to the blasting.
My homeowners insurance company continues to maintain that because measurements of the blasting show only lower levels it didn't cause any of the cracking. Yet we had none of this before!
I've had to file my one and only law suit (in 60 odd years of life) against my home owner insurer and the blasting company. But my lawyer has not been able to find any DOCUMENTATION which supports the common knowledge that shock waves from blasting cause "stair-step" type cracking in concrete block foundations. My lawyer in the small firm has no experience in blasting related cases but he and the owner have a reputation of being very honest, meticulous, tenacious, and successful attorneys. They came very highly recommended and have definitely lived up their reputation in working with me.
This is why I am searching via the Usenet for some documentation showing that LOW LEVEL blasting or FRINGE-AREA disturbances of higher level blasting are known to have caused the types of cracking we've experienced. Documentation such as engineering studies, court trial records, or out-of-court settlements or repairs by blasting companies would be very helpful.
Specifically, I need to locate any documentation which discusses the following: (1) Stair-step type cracking in concrete block foundations being characteristic of blasting.
(2) Typical damage appearance from low-level or fringe-area blasting in above- ground below-ground, and sloping above-below ground, previously intact foundations. Appearance initially and in the months and years that follow is very important.
(3) Typical, initial blasting damage appearance in bathroom tile.
(4) Good practice requirements for geo-technical surveys before blasting.
(5) Good practice requirements for placement and density of seismometers in residential environments.
(6) Higher damage probability in certain types of soil, faults and rock formations, etc, etc.
(7) Higher damage probability during rainy periods.
(8) Other documentation which can help one understand and realistically deal with this situation. As a layman I have come to believe that shaking of house structures, even due to lower-level or fringe-area blasting can slightly damage and weaken foundations and other masonry, especially in older structures. Then over the next year or two, weight and forces in mother nature expose these flaws as major problems. And I think insurance and blasting companies work hard, incurring very considerable expense, to keep the issue from becoming public knowledge and well documented. I don't expect I can slay this sleeping giant but I certainly hope a few fellow citizens out there in "Net Land" will give a some guidance to help me clear a little of the muddy water, and get some justice.
Also, are there any true investigative reporters out there? This is an IMPORTANT ISSUE which ultimately costs american home owners major bucks. snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com
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http://www.walthamfire.com/kids/tips/Blasting.html
You didn't indicate what state you are in. I found the above link by doing a google search for "blasting damage" . You may want to try similar research.
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SNIPPED try here http://www.nvcc.com/fet-forensics / http://expertpages.com/engineer.htm and the last googled http://www.jansenkiener.com/Forensic.htm
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Research,
If by "stair-step" cracking you mean that the mortar is cracking in a stair step fashion then you are wrong that this is characteristic of blasting. This is commonly seen in foundations with settling. The cracking pattern in the bath room tile also sounds non specific. If these engineers really did say that these signs are specific to blasting then you should have no trouble in getting an engineer to inspect your house and write an opinion. Be sure to get estimates for repairs. Armed with this report you can then interview a few lawyers. After hiring a lawyer follow his advice on further testing and inspections. However, your insurer has already sent experts to examine your house. They have concluded that you won't be able to prove a relationship between your problems and blasting. So be aware that your experts will be contested in court. From your posts it sounds as if you do not want expert opinions; you want opinions that support your beliefs. That is not a good way to resolve your problem.
Good luck, Dave M.
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David, Thank you for the info. I've had no experience with foundations until now, and have relied on info from others. If "settling" (I assume this means foundation movement due to natural earth shifts over time) can cause stair-step cracks along and across mortar joints, then a central question is: Can shock waves from blasting cause earth movements which stress foundations/footings quickly, with similiar effects as long-term movements? i.e. What are the known effects on concrete block foundations from the type of earth movements typical of lower-level blasting? I definately DO WANT expert answers to this question, as well as known effects on wall tiles in bathrooms. Thanks again for your input Dave. I'm just trying to learn why I had all these cracks appear after the blasting and none before. P.S. A few vertical cracks through the blocks themselves also appeared. Hopefully someone out there will be willing to refer me to a good book or in debth study which addresses this issue.
Research -- Ed
are the equivalent the

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Call your City BLDG inspection Dept , They should help ....Ass I cant .
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You really need legal research not home repair. You need to find out what kind of evidence your local courts will accept. For that the best bet is a local attorney.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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