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Building Homes or Extensions/Safety of Home construction adjacent to storm water channel

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QUESTION: Hi Griffin,

May i introduce myself as "Rama" working in software industry,india.
I have constructed home Adjacent  to stormwater channel(around 3 feet distance).The dimenstions of channel is 7 feet wide, 6 feet depth. Build up area of house is 1100 sqft, RCC roofed column design.There are two floors (Ground floor and first floor).

My fear is that whether leakage of the waste water flowing in channel (especially in rainy season) into column footings of building or leakage into foundation of building will affect seriously. Will my home collapse?
There are 12 Columns with footings of 5 feet depth (4 feet x 4 feet) each. Kindly suggest any precautions or corrections if it affects the building.
Regards
RAMA

ANSWER: Rama, I don't know how I can answer your question without seeing the issues and knowing a bit more.

The canal is there to move heavy storm water?
The canal is paved with concrete?
The area is prone to flooding?
The canal has a history of flood waters above the banks?
The soil conditions are clay, loam, or any soil prone to sliding and eroding?
The structure has a slab floor on grade?
The utilities are buried?  What depth?
The code authority allowed the construction?
The flow line of the canal is lower than the footings?
The footings have adequate bearing capacity?
Is anyone else in the vicinity having problems?



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The canal is there to move heavy storm water?
Rama> No heavy storm water. But drain water (1 feet depth) always flows.

The canal is paved with concrete?
Rama> YES
The area is prone to flooding?
Rama> NO
The canal has a history of flood waters above the banks?
Rama> NO
The soil conditions are clay, loam, or any soil prone to sliding and eroding?
Rama> Soil is prone to sliding.
The structure has a slab floor on grade?
Rama> RCC
The utilities are buried?  What depth?
Rama> The columns footing are buried in 5 feet depth.
The code authority allowed the construction?
Rama> Yes they have given approval, but usually they dont monitor the construction.
The flow line of the canal is lower than the footings?
Rama> The flow line of the canal is 1 feet lower than the footings
The footings have adequate bearing capacity?
Rama> Footings have 9 inch think concrete bed.
Is anyone else in the vicinity having problems?
Rama>No.

Thanks

Answer
Well, Rama, it sounds like there are no extreme issues.  The footings are down about 5 feet, what is the soil type at that depth?  It sounds as if there is a natural spring or other water table issue that is being addressed with the drainage canal.  I am aware of several of these here.  I've often wondered why they make them so large, as I've not ever seen them running bank full even during significant rains.

Things that would concern me:
The footings that are really close to the drainage might end up siting on saturated clay which would not have a good load bearing capacity.  If these footings are on shale, bed rock, or other select strata this should not be a problem.  

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Dan Griffin

Expertise

I can answer almost all questions related to the total construction process. My expertise is in commercial construction, though I can field most any residential question. I have hands on experience in concrete, heavy equipment, masonry, all phases of carpentry, interior finishes, and I am fairly strong in mechanical and electrical.

Experience

I have over 20 years experience as a commercial carpenter and commercial construction superintendent. I have another 20 years experience in facility management for a major school district.

Organizations
My favorite hobby for he past 12 years has been singing bass in a The OkChorale men's barbershop chorus and the Mature Moments quartet.

Education/Credentials
I hold a Bachelor's degree in English and Math. I have completed many continuing education hours in the building trades. I hold a Master Carpenter card from the AGC, Associated General Contractors.

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