Tuesday
Apr212015

Big Changes to Maricopa County GIS

Cant access Maricopa County GIS Map Viewer? Heres why!

As of this writing 4/20/2015 Chrome version 42 no longer supports plugins (including Silverlight) by default.  There are a series of steps a user can take to override Chrome’s default settings.  In particular the flag for “Enable NPAPI” can be changed to allow access to Silverlight for a few short months.  After September 2015, Chrome will stop supporting plugins all together (see steps below). 

 

As of this writing, Firefox version 37 supports Silverlight.  This most likely will be discontinued but if/when is not certain, and Internet Explorer 11 does and will continue to support Silverlight.  This means only Windows operating systems will have continued access to the Parcel Viewer after September 2015.

 

The Assessor’s Office Technology Division is currently building a plugin free replacement for the Parcel Viewer.  This will enable access from any modern web browser including many of your mobile devices.  The new Parcel Viewer will be released Summer 2015.

 

Below is a temporary fix for Chrome users…

 

Chrome 42 will prevent Silverlight from running and act as though it has not been installed.  To temporarily allow Silverlight to run in Chrome you will need to use a multi-step process to re-enable Silverlight.  It is anticipated that Google will not allow this work-around to work beyond September of 2015. 

1. Enter chrome://flags/#enable-npapi into your Chrome address bar.


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 2. Click Enable.

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3. Click Relaunch Now to activate the changes.

 

 

Then navigate back to maps.mcassessor.maricopa.gov

 

 

Monday
Nov172014

Water Damage Restoration in Phoenix

Having been in all different types of buildings over the years, we can honestly say we have seen the worst and the best buildings. Recently we worked closely with a large facility and water damage restoration contractor in Phoenix that was flooded from a fire sprinkler system. Platinum Disaster Relief is definetly on our list of recommended contractors for water, flood, fire, smoke, or mold remediation. Truley a professional firm to work with!

Saturday
Jul122014

County considers building code changes...

 

Courtesy photo Soil tests aim to prevent problems like cracked foundations.
Courtesy photo
Soil tests aim to prevent problems like cracked foundations.

Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier


PRESCOTT, Arizona - The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors reviewed some of the home construction changes Wednesday that would come with updated building codes.

Most of the discussion centered on safety measures and soil testing. 

County staff and the county planning commission are not recommending a move from the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code to the 2009 or 2012 International Energy Conservation Code.

The draft new safety requirements in the newer 2012 International Building Codes include arc fault circuit interrupters, tamper resistant electrical outlet receptacles only if they're within reach of children, carbon monoxide alarms outside each sleeping room, and inspections for water heater replacements. 

The most expensive potential change that the board reviewed was the requirement for soil testing when inspectors believe the soils could be expansive. However, this item also would potentially save thousands of dollars for people who live in clay soil areas.

"We're seeing more and more problems," Yavapai County Chief Building Official Jack Judd told the supervisors during their Wednesday meeting in Prescott with their planning commission that recommended the changes.

He estimated a basic soils test would cost $200-$400 and if expansive soils were found, a more complete bore hole test costing $1,200-$1,000 would be required. The county has no soil maps.

The Yavapai County Contractors Association discussed the code changes with county officials on Thursday. Although members voiced support for the soils testing, some believed the basic test could cost more like $3,000-$4,000 since the county wants the soils tester to take the samples on site, YCCA Director Sandy Griffis said.

The code should define the basic soils test, she said.

Williamson Valley, the Coyote Springs and Prescott Ridge subdivisions north of Prescott Valley, Cordes Junction, and rural Sedona are examples of unincorporated areas with expansive soils, Rudd said.

Retired electrician Larry Meads told a personal horror story about buying a San Antonio home with a hairline crack in the garage floor. It cost him $12,000 to jack up the slab and he felt lucky that he caught the problem before interior walls were damaged.

"That's an easy choice" to conduct a soils test, he said.

Rudd said more than one excavator subcontractor has contacted the county with concerns about contractors ignoring expansive soils.

People who see 'free dirt' signs in places like Prescott Valley should be wary of what kind of soil they are getting, Rudd added.

More and more contractors are automatically installing post-tensioned slabs that protect against expansive soils, Prescott Chief Building Officer Randy Pluimer said.



Other changes



Yavapai County building officials are not recommending that the county require Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) throughout most of the home. Prescott and PV are not planning to require them, either. Right now they all require them only for circuits in bedrooms.

Meads said the AFCIs prevent electrical arcing that cause fires, while the more common GFCIs prevent electrocution. They cost only about $35-$45/unit and homes would need 5-15, experts estimated.

Some supervisors expressed support for the newer AFCI requirements.

Supervisor Chip Davis and others wondered how the county would enforce a code change to require inspections of all replacement water heaters.

"We're just asking people now to become law breakers," he said. "When I work on my house, I want as little government intervention as possible."

Others including Griffis voiced support, telling stories about how even national chains have improperly installed water heaters.

"It is a life safety item," Pluimer said.

The county would charge more than local cities for the inspection, $102.50 versus about $60, because inspectors have to drive much farther. But that cost made some planning commissioners concerned about the new requirement, Commissioner Larry Jacobs said.

 

Thursday
Jun192014

Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence

Do You Know the Four Areas of Inquiry?

Albert Einstein: 

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

 

cropped-dreamstime_m_4416964.jpg

I am a big fan of Albert Einstein. He’s one of my intellectual heroes.  He could see and understand what others could barely imagine. His greatest gift, I believe, was his ability to find answers to questions others didn’t even know existed.

Real estate due diligence requires insight as well. To find the answers, you must  know the questions.

Of course, I’m no Albert Einstein but, then, real estate due diligence is not inter-galactic science.

The term itself is confusing.  “Due diligence” is used grammatically like it’s a thing or a process. “We need to complete our due diligence”; or “Let me review your due diligence”; or “due diligence is expensive”.   I admit, I use it the same way.

In fact, however, “due diligence” is a standard of conduct.  Due diligence refers to the degree of diligence we should exercise to investigate and analyze all important issues facing a particular transaction. That is to say, the degree of diligence that is “due” under the circumstances.

 This definition has two important components:

  1. a focus on “important issues”; and
  2. the degree of diligence appropriate under the circumstances of the particular transaction.

The art of the deal, so to speak, is in understanding what is “important” and what degree of investigation is due.

Failure to accurately identify these two threshold considerations will lead to one of two outcomes. The due diligence investigation will be either: (1) incomplete – and therefore ineffective to discover and resolve the important transaction risks it is intended to protect against; or (2) overly broad – in which case it will be more time-consuming and expensive than it needs to be.  Either way, its value is diminished.

 

Due diligence can be expensive. We need to avoid making it more expensive than necessary.

 

So, how do we make sure we get full value for our due diligence dollars?  By making sure we know the right questions to ask, and then answering them.

This requires two preliminary sets of questions:

           First:          What is the vision for this property? Why is it being acquired, and how will it be used?

           Second:     What is necessary to be known in order to confirm the vision can be fulfilled?

To be sure, we must know the first to answer the second. It is in answering the second that due diligence must be exercised.

For guidance, please review: “Due Diligence Checklists for Commercial Real Estate Transactions”.

For commercial real estate, there are four principal areas of concern:

  1.     Market Demand
  2.     Access
  3.     Use
  4.     Finances

Once the vision is clear, addressing these four areas of concern will determine whether that vision can be fulfilled. Within these four areas of concern we will find all the questions that need to be asked and answered to determine the feasibility of any commercial real estate transaction or project.  How straightforward is that?

So what do these areas of concern entail?  In simple terms, they can be summarized by a description of the inquiry they present.

1. Market Demand

Market demand asks this question: Is the proposed project needed or wanted by target consumers in the geographic area within which the property is located?

Market demand is the most fundamental of the four aspects of commercial real estate. If there is no market demand, the transaction or project should not go forward. If you are developing, financing or investing in a real estate project, make sure there is market demand for what is being offered. If you are a strategic user intending to occupy and use the property yourself, market demand may be satisfied by your own business needs. If you are investing on speculation, be sure you know the demand of your intended market.

Determining market demand seldom involves a legal question.  No attorney time is necessary. [See? I’m saving you money already.]

2.  Access

Access asks this question: Assuming adequate market demand to justify the proposed transaction or project, can target consumers seeking the goods or services to be offered at or from the property get to it with ease? This aspect includes evaluation of:

  • existing or proposed highways, streets, and drives that will serve the site;
  • availability of in-and-out curb cuts for consumers and for delivery trucks and vans;
  • vehicular traffic flow to, from, and within the project site;
  • volume and convenience of pedestrian traffic;
  • ability of the project to accommodate the needs of the disabled in a manner compliant with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.       §12181, et seq.;
  • adequacy of available parking (which, for business reasons, may need to be greater than the minimum required for zoning);
  • availability of public transportation; and
  • all other factors that may affect the flow of consumers and users to and from the      site.

3.   Use

Use asks this question: Can the property be used as intended? This aspect includes an inquiry into:

  • applicable zoning and private land use controls;
  • availability of utilities;
  • internet/social-network connectivity and availability of telecommunications;
  • site topography;
  • quality of soil compaction to enable improvement using cost-effective methods of    construction;
  • evaluation of the environmental condition of the property to determine whether           environmental impediments exist that would prevent use of the property as intended absent remediation, institutional controls or environmental impact mitigation; and
  • all other factors that may prevent the site from being used as intended.

 4.  Finances

Finances asks these questions: (a) Can funds be obtained to acquire, construct, and operate the project? and (b) Will the investor receive an adequate return on investment to justify proceeding with the transaction or project?

To answer these questions we must know the cost of acquisition or development and the net operating income and capital recovery expected to be generated by the project.

We must determine whether costly environmental remediation or institutional controls will be required; the amount of applicable user fees; environmental impact mitigation costs, if any; real estate taxes; special assessments; tenant allowance or build-out requirements; and all other factors having an economic impact.

Although finances are primarily a business concern, certain aspects of project finance do fall within the realm of legal due diligence. Thus the reference to one-half of the Finances concern being within the realm of attorney conducted due diligence.

Documentation of equity investments and project loans, as well as hybrids such as mezzanine financing, demand the attention of legal counsel.

If the property is leased, an evaluation of the amount, velocity and durability of the revenue stream and any financial commitments of the owner/landlord are often considered by counsel.

Certainly, if public money is sought to reduce the net cost of development, legal counsel is required.

Other Due Diligence Concerns

The four areas of concern described above pertain to the “real estate” aspects of the transaction.  If you are dealing with commercial real estate, your due diligence must focus on these issues.

Every capital transaction has other due diligence concerns as well.  These other concerns are beyond the scope of this post, but may include issues pertaining to entity structure, authority of the parties, income and capital gains taxation and tax deferments, securities, and the overall structure of the transaction, to name just a few.

Commercial real estate due diligence is not rocket science but . . .

                                                . . . it certainly helps if you know what you’re looking for.

Thanks for listening!                                                                          

Kymn

Saturday
Apr192014

Springtime is home-purchasing season in Arizona

At this point most individuals know you require a home inspection before you purchase a home. On the off chance that you don't, let me provide for you an update: You can wind up purchasing a container of worms that will take you countless dollars to alter. 
As a purchaser, getting a home inspection is shrewd, given that paint can conceal an universe of inconvenience. In the event that your inspector discovers issues, it can help renegotiate the asking cost. 
Be that as it may home inspections don't simply help homebuyers. They can work further bolstering your good fortune when you're offering, as well. 
Anybody offering a house will experience a home inspection — you can't dodge it. However getting one preceding posting your property puts you on the ball. 
You will take in of any issues or fixes before purchasers discover them. You can't essentially trust they don't take in of them; there's a great chance they will, and that may mean your home will stay available longer. 
Furthermore get primed for some overwhelming renegotiation. At the point when purchasers discover issues, they won't be cheerful, and they will demonstrate to it by cutting the offer cost — in a few cases, by a considerable amount. 
Settling any issues ahead of time helps build the property's estimation, diminish the time its available and stay away from renegotiation. 
Some Phoenix home inspectors will provide for you a color hard duplicate and CD of the inspection report however becoming obsolete due to technology. On the off chance that you put these on the foot stool when individuals are taking a gander at your house, a dependable homebuyer will like it. 
You can likewise reference the inspection report in postings, characteristic sheets and on the web, to help accelerate a deal. 
Today, individuals need to get to the extent that as they can on their telephones, when its helpful for them, such as throughout their lunch breaks etc. In the event that you have an inspection report with photographs in addition to some excellence shots of your house, you can accelerate the offering methodology. 
Anyway the key here is discovering the comfortable, whether you're purchasing or offering. You would prefer not to depend just on the home inspectors your land executor prescribes. 
Land executors need to make a deal — its their occupation. In any case their requisition is dependent upon the last offering cost of the house, so its not impossible they need to keep it higher. This is fine, yet its not in the event that its carried out by concealing issues. 
When you're purchasing a house, a deceitful land operator may propose a home inspector who will probably not "get" all the issues, so hopefully the deal will experience rapidly. A corrupt home inspector may do it on the grounds that they need to continue getting referrals from the operator. 
In case you're offering, this executor may not need your home's issues gotten — once more, to keep the offering cost up. They may have your best enthusiasm toward brain, yet the methodology is off. You could wind up confronting renegotiations or not offering. 
Find the issues, get them altered, include the expense of the repairs to the offering cost, and surely accelerate the deal. Everyone wins — you as the dealer, the land executor and the purchaser, on the grounds that they will be getting a more legitimate appraisal of the house and its value. 
When you rundown your house, offer the inspection report, photographs, all the work that was put into it, and if a potential purchaser is not kidding, you can even include the foreman's contact data and reveal to them any licenses for work finished. 

Springtime is home-purchasing season in Arizona. At this point most individuals know you require a home inspection before you purchase a home. On the off chance that you don't, let me provide for you an update: You can wind up purchasing a container of worms that will take you countless dollars to alter. 
As a purchaser, getting a home inspection is shrewd, given that paint can conceal an universe of inconvenience. In the event that your inspector discovers issues, it can help renegotiate the asking cost. 
Be that as it may home inspections don't simply help homebuyers. They can work further bolstering your good fortune when you're offering, as well. 
Anybody offering a house will experience a home inspection — you can't dodge it. However getting one preceding posting your property puts you on the ball. 
You will take in of any issues or fixes before purchasers discover them. You can't essentially trust they don't take in of them; there's a great chance they will, and that may mean your home will stay available longer. 
Furthermore get primed for some overwhelming renegotiation. At the point when purchasers discover issues, they won't be cheerful, and they will demonstrate to it by cutting the offer cost — in a few cases, by a considerable amount. 
Settling any issues ahead of time helps build the property's estimation, diminish the time its available and stay away from renegotiation. 
Some Phoenix home inspectors will provide for you a color hard duplicate and CD of the inspection report however becoming obsolete due to technology. On the off chance that you put these on the foot stool when individuals are taking a gander at your house, a dependable homebuyer will like it. 
You can likewise reference the inspection report in postings, characteristic sheets and on the web, to help accelerate a deal. 
Today, individuals need to get to the extent that as they can on their telephones, when its helpful for them, such as throughout their lunch breaks etc. In the event that you have an inspection report with photographs in addition to some excellence shots of your house, you can accelerate the offering methodology. 
Anyway the key here is discovering the comfortable, whether you're purchasing or offering. You would prefer not to depend just on the home inspectors your land executor prescribes. 
Land executors need to make a deal — its their occupation. In any case their requisition is dependent upon the last offering cost of the house, so its not impossible they need to keep it higher. This is fine, yet its not in the event that its carried out by concealing issues. 
When you're purchasing a house, a deceitful land operator may propose a home inspector who will probably not "get" all the issues, so hopefully the deal will experience rapidly. A corrupt home inspector may do it on the grounds that they need to continue getting referrals from the operator. 
In case you're offering, this executor may not need your home's issues gotten — once more, to keep the offering cost up. They may have your best enthusiasm toward brain, yet the methodology is off. You could wind up confronting renegotiations or not offering. 
Find the issues, get them altered, include the expense of the repairs to the offering cost, and surely accelerate the deal. Everyone wins — you as the dealer, the land executor and the purchaser, on the grounds that they will be getting a more legitimate appraisal of the house and its value. 
When you rundown your house, offer the inspection report, photographs, all the work that was put into it, and if a potential purchaser is not kidding, you can even include the foreman's contact data and reveal to them any licenses for work finished. 

Thursday
Mar062014

Aerial Unmanned Drone Building and Property Inspections in Arizona...

We were the first company to utilize aerial remote video drone building inspections in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Almost every building inspection we perform will have an aerial flight completed, this helps the property owner achieve up to date pictography and video to make fast accurate decisions and planning. Now that Trappy has won his case with the FAA this unlocks the gates for a flood of amatuer aerial remote drone operators in the country. Be sure you choose a firm that is not only licensed as a building inspector however is also insured, the last thing we want is for an umanned ship to fall from the sky and/or harm/injur property or people.

(Flight over large Home Owners Association identifying drainage and erosion issues)

Check out some of our flights on You Tube here:

We utilize DJI equipment, they are the leaders in multi rotor unmanned flight. We have the experience, know how, and several operators to scan your property, buildings, associations, and whatever else you need filmed or photographed.

Our Equipment:

DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter with 2D gimbal, Go Pro Hero 3, FPV 5.8mhz Video Downlinks to several monitors, distance achieved = 2 miles. This machine will accomplish the majority of property and building inspection needs.

DJI EVOS800 six blade copter with Gimbal, Canon or Sony Camera of your choice, FPV 5.8 mhz Video Downlinks to multi monitors, distance achieved = 3/4 mile. This is our "Flagship" machine-heavy lifter with more stability, also used for real estate video and photography in Arizona.

 

Check out some of our flights on You Tube here:

 

Friday
Apr262013

HOA’s have a duty to inspect? Yes, annually!

That’s right…

      • Most CC&R’s require associations to conduct an annual, detailed, un-biased inspection of the  common areas, by an independent firm.

      • Many of Arizona’s reputable law firms recommend annual inspections as a “best practice” of HOA’s.

What’s the annual community inspection for?

      • Helps the Board plan budgeting of deferred maintenance items and repairs.

      • Shields the HOA and Board from potential claims for failure to comply with CC&R’s.

      • Protects the HOA and Board from affirmative defenses if a construction defect claim is brought.

This isn’t as costly as it sounds…

      • Target Building Inspections can perform this service for $900 on most communities.

      • Timing is quick with reporting delivered usually within a few days.

 Typical example of a CC&R’s  “Duty to Inspect” …

 8.2 Duty To Inspect.

Following expiration of the Period of Declarant Control, it shall be the duty of the Board of Directors to appoint an unbiased and independent professional to inspect the Arizona Community at least once annually for the purpose of determining the overall condition of the Community exteriors. The scope of the inspection shall include the Common Area and structural Common Area including, but not limited to, the exterior of all buildings and structures, roofs, walkways, irrigation, landscaping, drainage, and recreation facilities. Structural components of any building or structure, foundations and soils shall be inspected if the inspection otherwise required hereby would place a reasonable person on notice of any defect or need to maintain, repair or refurbish such item. The Board of Directors may inspect the interior of any Unit if required to do so in order to fulfill its obligations pursuant to this Article. The purpose of the inspection shall be to determine the condition of the Community including, but not limited to, the state and adequacy of maintenance, the need for· additional maintenance, and the need for any refurbishment, replacement or repair. The Board of Directors may employ such experts and consultants as are deemed necessary to perform the inspection set forth in this Article and to report and recommend to the Board of Directors any correction or remedial action necessary. The Board of Directors shall prepare an annual report of the inspection of the Community required by this Article. The report shall be furnished to Owners within the time set forth for furnishing Owners with the Association Budget. The report shall include at least the following:

        (A) A description of the condition of the Community, including matters inspected, and the status maintenance, repair and need for replacements of all such matters;

        (B) A description of all maintenance repair and replacement planned for the ensuing fiscal year and included in the Association Budget;

        (C) If any maintenance, repair or replacement is to be deferred, the reason for such deferral;

        (D) A summary of all reports of inspections performed by any expert or consultant employed by the Board of Directors to perform inspections;

        (E) A report of compliance with the maintenance, replacement and repair needs set forth in the report for the immediately preceding years; and

        (F) Such other matters, as the Board of Directors deems appropriate.

 

We have performed hundreds of Annual Duty Inspections in Arizona. If you have any questions feel free to contact us any time…

Monday
Apr082013

What Areas are covered in a Commercial Building Inspection?

Commercial buildings require special inspections to ensure they are kept up to date and are safe. A high quality commercial building inspection will ensure that the building is up to date with the structure, roof, and many other things. It’s ideal to know what areas will be covered in a commercial building inspection.

 

Whether you are seeking a commercial building inspection for retail, mall, restaurant, apartment, hotel, gas station, or any other type of commercial building, they all require a certain type of inspection. An inspector collects information by doing a walk-through survey of the property, creating a report about the property. If an inspector finds an issue with the building, they put the owner into the responsibility of fixing the issue before it becomes a bigger problem, and the inspector then will make a follow up appointment to ensure that the issue has been fixed.

 

When inspecting a building, an inspector has a whole check list of what to look for during the inspection. They must take into consideration the building structure, fire, heating and ventilation, electrical system, and local codes. The building structure is one of the most important aspects of an inspection. The inspection will make sure that the building is in good condition, including the concrete, wood and steel components, as well as the roof. The older the building, the more maintenance and care it will require. Commercial buildings require fire safety routes and comprehensive fire suppression systems; an inspector will assess fire escapes, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, and the accessibility of them all. Heating and ventilation will need to comply with state and federal codes and regulations, along with the electrical system.

 

Every state has their own local codes and regulations in regards to commercial buildings. Buildings need to be adequately protected to fit their geographical or climatic conditions. It’s important as a commercial building owner to know what your state’s local codes and regulations are. Every time a commercial building changes ownership, an inspector is sent in to report on the structure and point out any potential problems that they might encounter later on.

 

Knowing what areas are covered in a commercial building inspection will help you know how to keep the building safe and prevent issues in the future. An inspector should be thorough and be able to pinpoint any worrisome areas of the building, ensuring you that the building is up to code or will be with some repairs.

 

About the Author

Steve Willis is pleased to bring you this article on what areas are covered in a commercial building inspection. Steve Willis primarily focuses on Colorado Springs home inspection. If you are interested in learning more about Steve, check out his website at http://www.willishomeinspection.com

Tuesday
Mar052013

Structural Cracking, Expansive Soils, Post Tension, Edge Lift...

It is not uncommon for us to have a home that we inspect with issues difficult to explain regarding Structural Cracking, Settlement, Expansive Soils, Edge Lift, Post Tension Slabs, Drainage, Grading issues etc. There are lawsuits against builders that have been filed, settled, are currently in litigation, and/or will no doubt be filed in the future. When purchasing a home, you should always order a home inspection, however does your inspector even know what he/she may be looking for? This brief excerpt should answer some of those questions you may have.

 Where is your building site?


Expansive soils (shrink-swell) are soils that expand or swell, typically have a high content of clay minerals of the smectite family,

which includes bentonite and montmorillonite. Expansive clay acts like a sponge, absorbing large amounts of water and subsequently increasing in volume. Expansion of clay minerals can cause walls and foundations to crack and roads and sidewalks to warp, in a manner similar to frost heaving. Expansive soils are common and widespread in Arizona. Soils in Arizona present a number of hazards to homeowners. This is why we stress the importance of having a good grade and slope away from the foundations and perimeter of the home. Expansive soils can cause cracking of foundations, walls, driveways, swimming pools, and edge lifting of the post tension slab. Severe or recurring damage can lower the value of a house or property. Expansive soils and collapsing soils cause the most problems in Arizona. Maps of expansive soils potential have been created for two areas of the state, the Greater Phoenix and Tucson Areas of Arizona.

Copies of published soil surveys can be obtained from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. For information about Expansive Soils in this report, contact the: Natural Resources Conservation Service, (602) 280-8801 or http://www.az.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/soils/shrinkswell.html Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service Date of Government Version: 06/29/2006

Courtesy: http://www.taoengineering.com

 EDGE LIFT DISCUSSION/RESPONSE

If your foundation was built over a fat black type clay soil. Highly expansive clay. Which means the soil will change volume when the moisture content changes. We were in an exceptional drought for over two years here. Now we are getting quite a bit of rain. Expect substantial edge lift. If the engineer did a grading survey, it should look like a bunch on concentric circles with the perimeter generally having heaved relative to the center of the house. If you have trusses, expect the possibility that the ceiling will lift off the interior walls near the center of the house. Interior doors close to and perpendicular to the perimeter ought not to be functioning with the jamb closest to the exterior wall lifting. And cracks near those doors that a pencil can be pushed through.
If someone were to pour a concrete slab on grade foundation on dry clay at the end of a drought, the above stuff should be positively expected to happen in various degrees. There will be some houses that are substantially worse than others, but all the houses built in the same dry corn field near the end of a long dry period will predictably experience edge lift and the resultant distress associated with that movement.
The big question is how do you fix a slab on grade foundation that is floating on an expansive fat black clay. Or if you should even try to. Partial piering is something to avoid. And doing the total foundation including interior piers is a major project that is very expensive. And not always very effective. In all of this process, make sure somebody checks the wastewater lines to make sure the pipes are not broken or leaking under the house and causing another source of inconsistent moisture. If the differential movement caused by the edge lift is up in the three or four inch range, it is possibly that the wastewater pipes are no longer graded or draining correctly.

Source(s): Engineer from Austin

 Why Post Tension Slabs Are Used In Phoenix

Post Tension Slabs  reduce settling issues

This giant checker board is actually the “guts” of an un-bonded post tension slab.

Post tension slabs are used to create a monolithic slab that is stronger than the typical slab and foundation that is poured in stages.  Post tension slabs are used in many parts of the country where the soil has high shrink / swell potential, also commonly know as expansive soil because they resist soil movement.   Many parts  of the Phoenix area have soil that is expansive  and exhibits a high shrink / swell potential.  The USDA has published a shrink / swell potential map for Phoenix which identifies the cities or towns most affected by this condition.

The Process of Creating Post Tensioned Slabs

Concrete performs extremely well under compression (pushed together), but poorly in tension (pulled apart).  The cables or tendons are stretched with hydraulic jacks  up to 25,000 psi and clamped at the ends.  The result is the tendons constantly keep the concrete in compression forming a stronger more reliable foundation and slab.

The plastic sheathed cables are positioned in the slab at the correct height and distance  using “chairs”, the little cone shaped supports. The plastic coating allows the cables to move within the concrete after it is poured and  stretched.  This is why you may also hear the term unbonded, since the cables move independently of the slab.  Once the concrete is poured and has reached approximately 75% of the desired strength, the cables are stretched using a hydraulic jack.  Applying the pressure to the concrete after it is poured and cured is the “post tension” part of the name.  The cables are then anchored at the ends and allowed to cure.

How Do I Know If My Home Has A Post Tensioned Slab?

Since the cables or tendons in the slab have been stretched to high tensile strengths, it is extremely important that you do not drill, cut, chisel or do anything to expose the tendons.  An easy way to  verify if the slab is post tension is to go to the edge of the garage by the garage door and check for  stamped warning in the concrete similar to the one above.

What If My Dream Home Doesn’t Have A Post Tensioned Slab?

The majority of the homes in Phoenix do not have post tension slabs.  Home builders may choose not to use post tension slabs if the house is not in a high risk area.  The best approach is to consult the shrink / swell map of the Phoenix area to be aware of the areas where it would be a concern.  If the house uses a slab on grade type of foundation, look for severe settling cracks, especially if they are recent.  A qualified inspector can also be a good source of information.

One of the most important and simplest things you can control is to keep water away from the house.  Many home builders suggest keeping sprinklers and landscaping at least 12 – 24  inches away from the side of the house.

Being aware of the expansive soil condition is the first step.  Looking for excessive settling cracks and continued settling is important.  Using a qualified inspector is key and ultimately keeping water a safe distance from the perimeter of the home will help avoid further risk.

A typical Arizona home below, standard home constructed on expansive dry soils with evidence of Edge Lift via drywall cracking at central areas of the interior of the home.

  

And here is a link to a 587 page ASU Engineering Report compiled in 2008…

MOISTURE MOVEMENT THROUGH EXPANSIVE SOIL AND IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE

OF RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURES

by: Heather Beata Dye

http://www.taoengineering.com/PhD/PhD_All.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Monday
Mar042013

Arizona Seller Disclosure Reports

Property owners that may be looking to sell their building are increasingly utilizing our seller disclosure reports to expedite the potential sale. These reports are prepared by Target Building Inspections for the seller, our client, to disclose any known physical deficiencies, deferred maintenance, or needed reserves to a possible buyer.

The disclosure report is not intended to supplement a buyer's independently conducted physical due diligence or property condition assessment, however to serve the possible following purposes:

  1. Reducing the potential buyer's due diligence hurdle by providing in advance, a general description of the property and known physical deficiencies therein.
  2. Hence, a seller is now able to offer the property at an accurate selling price knowing the buildings encumbrances. This can help eliminate the buyer's opportunity to demand a reduction in the asking price to cover any physical deficiencies or deferred maintenance later discovered by the buyer's PCA consultant they possibly hire.