27 Dec The Importance of Building on a Solid Foundation
Are you relocating anyone in or out of Connecticut? Then you should be aware of the recent discovery that hundreds and perhaps thousands of home foundations, primarily in Northern Connecticut, are crumbling. The counties most affected are Hartford, Tolland and Windham.
The homes, mainly believed to be constructed in the 1970s through the late 1990s, all have concrete provided by one concrete vendor and material obtained from a Willington, CT quarry. This specific concrete mixture has high levels of pyrrhotite, an iron sulfide mineral that can react with oxygen and water to cause swelling and cracking. The concrete vendor denies responsibility and claims the problems are due to improper installation. To further complicate matters, a fire destroyed all of the records.
Crumbling home foundations can lead to catastrophic home collapses. The only remedy once cracks start to appear is a total foundation replacement, which presents daunting financial and logistical challenges for homeowners. Insurance companies have, thus far, denied coverage for repairs; although, the Governor’s office is working on an agreement with insurers that would provide a fund for repairs. Per Connecticut’s Department of Insurance, insurance companies cannot cancel or non-renew a homeowner’s policy due to a crumbling foundation.
While not a guaranteed indicator of a future problem, prior to accepting a home into a relocation program, a thorough inspection of the foundation should be completed. There may also be a laboratory test that can be conducted at a substantial cost (in many cases upwards of $5,000); however, based on current research, the existence of pyrrhotite does not necessarily mean that cracking/crumbling will not occur in the future thus requiring a disclosure that would significantly impact the property’s value. Additionally, in-bound transferees should be made aware of this issue and encouraged to have a thorough foundation inspection to reduce the risk of purchasing an impacted property.
The Connecticut Association of REALTORS® has created a disclosure form that should be signed by all home purchasers in the impacted area providing notice of the potential issue.
If you are relocating employees to or from the impacted area or simply want a refresher on which inspections are recommended prior to acceptance into a home sale program, then let’s talk. 800-598-8887