One of my biggest concerns with any inspection is lot grading and drainage. Because most folks assume that they understand it – after all, we all can grasp that water runs downhill – but practically all have no idea of the significance. This statement includes home builders, municipal inspectors, and home buyers.
North Central Texas has some of the most expansive clay soils in the nation. Add to that the fact that, for the most part, foundations here are woefully under-engineered. Let’s include one last pertinent fact: Texas builders and contractors are totally unregulated. It should then come as no surprise that Texas has the most significant number of foundation failures and repair companies in the USA.
The problem begins with a near-total lack of understanding (or concern, or both) of the aforementioned facts on the parts of the builders and municipal inspectors. These are unreachable by merely appealing to reason by presenting arguments based on facts. That just leaves you – the home buyers. Hopefully, I can make some headway with you.
Texas builders are only interested in profit. The Texas Legislature is only interested in one thing – getting reelected. The more profit their constituents (the builders) make, the more they have to spend on getting their favorite congressman back into the office to support builder-friendly legislation. Grading and drainage is not their concern.
The number of lies I’ve heard told by builders regarding lot drainage is staggering. They range from “looks like it drains to me” to “if it drains within 48 hours, it’s OK” to “our surveyor says it is just fine.” While these may, at first blush, sound like plausible explanations, they consist of nothing more than lightly-veiled bullshit.
I go to a lot of trouble to illustrate in my reports the problems with lot drainage on each inspection. I use a ZipLevel Pro 2000 leveling instrument that is accurate to ±1/8″ over 100 linear feet and costs about $800. Often, builders will supplant the facts in my reports with their typical BS, and the home buyers fail to insist that the grading be improved. Just as often, the builder will claim to have made improvements when none were made. How can one verify this without paying me to return to the site?
Simple. Measuring Yard Slope- Ludwig. Do your due diligence.