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Brian, Architect
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2153
Experience:  Licensed Architect- 17 years, L.E.E.D. AP
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General Work Permit Issue: Neighbor next door recently

Customer Question

General Work Permit Issue:Neighbor next door recently purchased the home adjacent to ours, and applied and was granted a general work permit for plans to gut out the entire home and rebuild it with rooms in the basement. We filed a complaint after we noticed the construction team excavating the basement to a depth deeper than our new foundation. A City (San Francisco, CA) inspector looked at the job site. I even pointed out the 5-6 foot area that was deeper than our foundation. He said this isn’t a violation to my knowledge. He wouldn’t comment on the much greater than 49 cubic yards of dirt that had been removed.Met the inspector and a senior inspector to go over the issues. While the senior inspector previously told me that no digging deeper than the foundation is permitted, he said during the meeting that increments of 4’ or less are okay. Met with an architect and an engineer who both said that my property needs to be shored up simply because even if the construction builds a new foundation, if it is lower than yours, the pressure differences will cause swaying of your foundation, which means cracking, the sand and gravel beneath your foundation slab will bleed away, and pot holes or worse will form.Does this difference of pressure actually result from someone building in a footing deeper than our foundation? Please explain in detail, and if possible, include references.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.

Your situation is one that needs a local structural engineer to come inspect your home and foundation. Using their report you will either gain peace of mind or you will know you need to take action to stop construction until the proper precautions are taken.

Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.

If the engineers report ( certified structural engineer) does show a problem with the work being performed you need to present a copy to the local inspector/s and ask for a "stop order" until it is established that the work will be done properly.

Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.

The engineers report should be enough to get everyones attention and could help avoid or help with any legal action you may need to take.

Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.

If your engineer does find a problem you also need to send a copy to your homeowners insurance.