I am buying a house which has a 4' tall and 150' long timber retaining
wall about 8' from the back of the house. The wall makes one short
turn and spans two houses.
My question is... given that it is alreadly completed. How can I
inspect the wall to ensure that it was built correctly. What specific
things should I look for?
I am concerned because a collapse could directly impact the house, not
to mention the additional cost of doing it again.
Make sure the timbers are tied into the hill there should be timbers that go
back into the hill to stop the wall from falling forward. Make sure the
timbers are in good shape and not rotted or soft. Are they pressure
treated? Was a permit pulled for the wall was a drainage plan done?
How are the different layers of the wall tied together?
That should get you started!
Many cities and counties require a permit for any wall that is over a
certian height. Sometimes it's 3 ft and some areas it's 4 ft..
If your house is in and area that requires a permit, then I would check with
the goverment agency that issues permits.. There should be approved drawings
or details on file..
I will have to admit that I do a lot of things without permits if I feel
confident in my skills and judgement (not an excuse). It sounds like your
wall effects two homes so it may have been built by a licensed contractor or
the developer that built the homes. Here again, the drawings and permits
should be on file..
However!! If you check with the permit office and find that the wall never
had a permit, you run the risk of being required to prove that the wall is
to code requirements, etc..
There should be a drainage system. If you dig a foot or so down
behind the wall you should hit gravel (preferably wrapped in cloth).
The joints for the timbers should not be aligned... they should be
interlocking and you should see some small pieces in the wall which
are timbers that are perpendicular to the wall and anchor it by the
weight of the soil. I would hope the treate lumber is 6"x6". If in
doubt higher an engineer to check the wall. And if you don't know
much about houses, have him check the house particularly if it is
stone, brick, stucco or similar materials.
On 16 Dec 2003 13:34:57 -0800, email@example.com (jacktripper) wrote:
Sue the bastards! (sarcasm)
Your efforts are middirected. You state that you are buying the
house and that the wall is completed. Since everything is already
done, then you should now be asking how you can spot a problem before
it does damage to your house and how you can prevent any further
movement from occuring.
I would just take several measurements from your foundation to the
retaining wall and follow up on annual inspections. You are right to
be concerned as the property will continue to move downhill, but
hopefully your retaining wall will slow it down, enough.
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