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Contributor
Labelas
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎10-28-2012
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House on a lot with a drop in the back

Hi everyone,

I have a question about a house which is located on a lot that has a 15 feet drop in the back. The lot is small so there is almost no backyard and the back of the house is about 10 to 12 feet away from this drop. The drop is basically to another street in the back (the house is on a hill).

 

We were wondering if this is something that we should worry about or we should just trust the builder and city codes. Obviously, we are going to do an inspection but since this is a newer house and currently does not show any sign of damage, we want to make sure this is not going to be a problem in the feature.

 

I can post pictures if you think that'd help.

 

Any advice?

 

Thanks,

Silver Contributor
bld999
Posts: 449
Registered: ‎04-15-2011

Re: House on a lot with a drop in the back

Ask the seller or builder if there was a geotecnical report done on the property, and if so, ask for a copy to review. It is also likely that the building permit history will show a requirement for a report if the building official thought  a problem may be caused building there without special consultation..

 

What is the town or jurisdiction?

Contributor
EFArchitects
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎04-13-2011

Re: House on a lot with a drop in the back

I agree with bld999.  If none ofthat info is available (or even if it is), having a geotechnical engineer take a look at the property wouldn't be a bad idea.

Contributor
Labelas
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎10-28-2012
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Re: House on a lot with a drop in the back

[ Edited ]

bld999, The house is in Capitol Hill. It is only 6 years old.

 

Also, how much does a geotechnical report cost? any recommendation on which firm/consultant to use?

 

Thanks,

Contributor
EFArchitects
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎04-13-2011

Re: House on a lot with a drop in the back

If you're just looking at this in terms of risk assessment before purchasing, I don't think you'd need a full geotechnical report, soils testingetc.  Just having an engineer take a look and evaluate the site (maybe 2-4 hours of their time) should be enough.  If there are geotechnical issues with the site, they might advise you to get a full report as part of the contingency process.  However, they might be able to just tell you that the site is pretty stable, or let you know that there's a real red flag.

 

You might want to get in touch with Pangeo Incorporated.  They're just down the hill in Eastlake.

Super Contributor
ardell
Posts: 336
Registered: ‎08-27-2011
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Re: House on a lot with a drop in the back

Given the house is already there 6 years I would get a structural engineer like Dave Pioli out of Bothell in addition to a regular home inspector to see if there is any stress going on. I think his company name is Criterium. His cost is reasonable enough for me to add that to a regualar home inspection whenever I have foundation questions/concerns.

ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty
Contributor
Labelas
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎10-28-2012
0

Re: House on a lot with a drop in the back

[ Edited ]

Thanks, Ardell!

Do I need a structural engineer or a geotech? or either one is ok?

Super Contributor
ardell
Posts: 336
Registered: ‎08-27-2011
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Re: House on a lot with a drop in the back

I haven't done a lot of these and the three that had the big drop already had signs of mulitple band aid fixes, and we passed on those homes. They were older homes where the problems had already repeatedly appeared and been "fixed". The few where we did proceed that had questionable issues but no steep drop, I went down to the City and pulled all of the records on micro-fish. newer homes are likely on line. I would expect the City to have required a geotech report at time of construction. I would pull all of those records, you may have to pay for copies as I did, and have them available for the inspector and structural engineer.

 

On the run to an appointment. Hope that helps...typed it in a rush.

ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty
Regular Contributor
Dooley
Posts: 113
Registered: ‎07-20-2010
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Re: House on a lot with a drop in the back

No less important then Geo or structural is the drainage plan....Where is your water going and what water is coming on to your lot. 6 year old house ..There should definitely be a plan at City Hall or with the owners.

Contributor
Labelas
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎10-28-2012
0

Re: House on a lot with a drop in the back

First, let me clear something up. I misspoke. This is a brand new house. Here is the view looking up to the house from the street below: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=309+24th+Ave+E,+Seattle,+WA+98112&hl=en&ll=47.6218,-122.301135&spn=0....

 

In this map, the house has not been built yet. I have two issues:

 

1- In the same street, all the other houses have done something to this slope/hill. That makes believe that over time there were issues and the had to put some sort of wall in front of the slope. For example look at what this guy has done: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=309+24th+Ave+E,+Seattle,+WA+98112&hl=en&ll=47.622002,-122.301135&spn=...

 

This is just two home to the right.

 

2- The builder told us that city did not require him to do any special inspection or study. So, he has not done any geotechnical study. His claim is that this lot has been like this for a long time.

 

At this point, we are not feeling comfortable with the situation, and we are walking away from this. Unless someone has a better idea. :smileyhappy: