Structural Support - Building Problem Solutions
On The Drafting Board

Raising Houses in Flood Zones After Hurricane Sandy

We have recently been made aware of a problem with state and municipal code officials in New Jersey incorrectly applying DEP and municipal zoning regulations that govern required height of first floor when raising a house in a flood zone.
 
The following is a basic explanation; determing actual requirements for any particular house may be somewhat more involved. 
 
For further discussion, the term "structure-line" is defined as follows;
 
-- For A and AE Flood Zone: Lowest (usually first) floor of house, considered to be top of floor sheathing

Defective foundation walls; extensive problem

Defective foundation walls are a common problem, especially for concrete block walls. Foundation walls around full basement are all-too-often cracked and pushed inward by soil against the wall.
 
In New Jersey alone, at least several tens of thousands of basement foundation walls built in the last 40 years have a major problem with excessive height of soil backfill. Many of these walls have been damaged or severely damaged.
 
This extensive problem most often begins with faulty design. The wall is not thick enough to resist lateral force from soil pressure against the wall.

New Homes; Failure to Design For Wind

During evaluation of two new homes (one for new owner; one for buyer) in New Jersey, design plans were reviewed. Each two-story single-family home is in a development containing 200 or so homes, built by the same major builder.

Design wind speed is over 100 mph for each house. The building code (IRC 2006 NJ) requires specific engineering design for wind resistance when design wind speed is 100 mph or greater.

In each set of plans, a standard detail is provided showing an exterior wall, with plywood sheathing.

New Jersey Home Warranty Program

Homeowners in New Jersey should carefully consider the risks of filing a claim through the NJ New Home Warranty Program (NHWP). For many owners, results are frustrating at best, especially for structural defects.

See the article on this site for basic description of the program and detailed discussion about one recent case. Home Warranty Case Study.

 

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Raising Houses in Flood Zones After Hurricane Sandy
Defective foundation walls; extensive problem
New Homes; Failure to Design For Wind
New Jersey Home Warranty Program

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