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Last Post 03/17/2013 3:51 AM by  rickhans
Water leak below foundation
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CatAdjusterX
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07/27/2012 1:54 AM
Posted By Rod on 18 Jul 2012 01:22 AM
Nice diagram! :)

I'll just say that if you raised the grade and added you hypothetical slab on the (new) grade, a pipe within the slab would be clearly excluded.
Consequently, it would make sense that a pipe on the same elevation between the floor joists would likely be excluded as well.

Just food for thought....but now back to the language.....

I think the analysis is wrong.
the words "within or below" refer to both "the slab or foundation of the dwelling"

Aren't the the joists and beams considered to be part of the foundation of the home?
I believe the demarcation point would be the floor - anything below the floor is the "foundation" that the remainder of the structure rests upon.

......................................

Hi Rod,

It is my belief and understanding that to be classified as "part of" the foundation necessitates being "permanently" affixed to the foundation. Joists and beams are not permanently affixed to a concrete foundation,  when the footings/stem walls/masonry for the home are poured there are foundation bolts ,straps, and stab bolts in the forms . Then a mud sill or green plate goes over these and bearing plate and nuts go onto the foundation bolts. hold downs attached to the walls will be bolted to the stab bolt. and the straps are nailed through the the wall into studs once it has the shear panel on it.

So whilst these joists and beams are solid and securely affixed "to the" foundation, they are not considered "part" of the foundation.

With Fred stating the pipe ruptured and sprayed water on the sub flooring that ultimately damage the finished flooring brings additional questions to the table:

1) Water sprayed on the sub flooring shouldn't be a major issue being that this wood is pressure treated and waterproof. Was the damage a result of sudden failure on the pipe rupturing or was this something that went unnoticed until a period of time elapsed and a gradual degradation resulting in interior damage?

2) The last question is being crawl spaces just like an attic must be properly vented. Inproper venting or no venting will lead to a build up of moisture and mold and quite possibly the resulting damage could be excluded from coverage

"A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
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Mike Kunze
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07/28/2012 12:25 AM
There is no need to apologize for your late response.........I just recently saw a Supreme Court Ruling on a loss I handled as a local branch IA in 2002 in the briefs of PLRB concerning a property loss with coverage issues.  6 years post loss, I had to take part in a telephone deposition while deployed as an IA during Ike as in-house commercial consultant. Never heard word one, until the recent ruling.  And I do think it was wrong.........given my knowledge of the parties involved.    
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Leland
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08/10/2012 12:29 PM
Water spraying onto the underside of the subfloor can definitely cause a lot of damage. If the home has diagonally laid doug fir subfloor with oak flooring above, the water will soak in between the spaces of the subfloor and get to the oak flooring, causing it to swell up and buckle. Older homes don't have any tar paper (felt) between the subfloor and oak flooring to prevent the moisture coming through. The doug fir might be OK but the oak flooring gets easily water damaged.

If the home has plywood or OSB subfloor then that will easily get damaged. Solid lumber framing can withstand some short term water squirting better than plywood that is glued together. But the plywood might protect the flooring above a little better.

Also if the water runs a long time it can soak the dirt where the cripple post is and make the pier sink down, cause the floor to be uneven. This can be very difficult to repair from within the crawl space. If the subfloor and flooring are being removed it becomes much easier to repair - the workers can stand up, mix concrete right in the room, dig the dirt with full size shovels etc, whatever they need to do. A simple repair would be to replace the wood cripple with an adjustable threaded item sold at hardware stores. It goes between the pier and girder and the thread can be turned to adjust it to make up for the pier that has sunk lower. But if the pier has dropped a lot and the framing has taken a "set" it may be neccesary to pull the flooring off and relevel the framing once everything is dry. This is the kind of problem that engineers can easily identify. A big clue is when the insured reports huge water bills and all the dirt is wet even a week or two after the leak was stopped. Sometimes there will be major structural problems- not always, but sometimes.

Also California and Texas have expansive (clay) soils. This kind of leak can sometimes cause cracked foundations.

If the pipe is laying on the dirt in the crawl space it doesn't sound to me like a pipe "below the foundation". To paraphrase our past president, maybe it depends on the definition of "below".
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ChuckDeaton
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08/10/2012 3:03 PM
Leland is speaking from a California point of view. In the South, to include much of Texas, Red Oak hardwood flooring is traditionally installed over rosin paper laid on yellow pine laid diagonally as a sub floor. While Oak flooring swells from moisture Yellow Pine sub flooring does not. Additionally, the Yellow Pine sub floor is tongue and groove laid tight so as to preclude the migration of moisture.

I would agree that virtually any homeowners policy would provide cover for water damage to the structure (all risk except as excluded) and may provide cover for plumbing repair depending on the cause of loss (can be named peril or named peril with an all risk endorsement).

Advice would be to make a detailed inspection, especially if the risk is newer construction, as some newer construction utilizes trusses and a single layer of t&g OSB. Once the trusses are soaked they may loose their built in camber.
"Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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ChuckDeaton
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08/12/2012 1:37 PM
Textbook of Wood Technology: Structure, Identification, Properties, and Uses of the Commercial Woods of the United States and Canada (McGraw-Hill series in forest resources) (v. 1) [Hardcover]

Leland, this textbook will assist your quest to understand the myriad properties of wood. The University of Arkansas uses it to teach their wood tech course.

Amazon is a source. 

"Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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Dadx9
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08/15/2012 6:13 PM

As a resident of Austin, Texas and working with the HO-A policy everyday, I reviewed a copy of the policy I keep on my desktop. As I expected the HO-A policy is a very basic named peril policy. It has 8 named perils:

  •  Fire and Lightning.
  • Sudden and Accidental Discharge from Smoke
  • Windstorm, Hurricane and Hail.
  • Explosion.
  • Aircraft and Vehicles.
  • Vandalism and malicious Mischief.
  • Riot and Civil Commotion.
  • Theft

As you can see water and / or escape of water (sudden and accidental discharge of a plumbing system is no where to be found). No need to distinguish between underground or where the foundation begins or ends.

There are tens of thousands of these policies in force. As expected they are available to people who require very inexpensive coverage. The public would be better served with the HO-B (carriers hate this one) and / or the HO 3 policy.

 Hope this helps.

 Don

 

 

 

 

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Dadx9
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08/15/2012 6:15 PM
Good job Wagenmaster. Forgot about the endorsement.
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Leland
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09/20/2012 8:17 AM
Thank you for Dadx9 for posting the HO A named perils- now I know the Texas equivalent of the DP1 I handle in California. It looks just like a DP1- same named perils. Do they even use the DP1 form much in Texas?

I do more named peril policies than HO3 by far. It is important to remember that damage from plumbing leaks can be covered, even without the endorsement, it's just not a named peril so won't be covered unless a named peril strikes first. Damage from plumbing leaks is covered, if one of the 8 named perils are the proximate cause, even if there is no plumbing leak endorsement.

Examples

A car (vehicle peril) hits a wall of the house and breaks a pipe inside the wall
a truck hits an above ground water main, flooding a house
a tenant purposely damages the water lines (vandalism)
a fire heats up the galvanized pipes and they start leaking
thieves steal copper pipes without turning off the water first

I have worked on claims like each example above and they have all been paid.

Unlike an HO3 that allows for damages caused by the leak but doesn't pay for the actual repair of the leaking pipe, in any of the above scenarios the repair of the leak is also covered.

Also if your HO A policy is like the DP3 there is no anti concurrent causation language. So if a truck driving on a road above your house causes a collapse of the soil, which in turn causes a water main to break, which then causes damage to your home, the loss could be covered under vehicle peril even though earth movement was an intervening cause.

I would study the HO A to see exactly how similar to a DP1 it is but I can't find one on the internet.


Other hypothetical scenarios where one of the 8 named perils could cause a water leak:

1) A stray bullet (peril of explosion) penetrates a water line (there is case law that gunfire = explosion)
2) a windstorm somehow causes a water line to break

I found this link from the Texas Fair Plan Association which shows a comparison between the Texas HO A form and the Texas DP1 (TDP-1):

http://www.texasfairplan.org/forms/...1-2003.pdf

The coverages are very similar between the HO A and DP1 except theft is excluded on the HO A.

I wonder why they even have the two different policies when they are so similar. The theft coverage on the DP1 that I handle is already very limited, it is only for building damage caused by theft/burglary, there is NO coverage for theft of personal property.

The Texas Fair Plan website explains that the TDP1 never pays replacement cost on personal property, but the HO A can be upgraded to have RCV on personal property.

" The Texas FAIR Plan (FAIR Plan) was created by an act of the Texas Legislature (Chapter 2211, Tex. Ins. Code) for the purpose of providing basic residential property insurance to applicants who cannot secure coverage in the voluntary market.

As a market of last resort, coverage available through the FAIR Plan is not as comprehensive as coverage available through the voluntary market. The FAIR Plan does not compete with the private market and applicants must have two declinations from other insurers in order to obtain coverage with the FAIR Plan. Applicants are not eligible for coverage with the FAIR Plan if they have a current homeowners or other residential property policy, renewal offer, or a binding quote from an authorized insurance company."


The Texas Fair Plan is basically the same idea as the Louisiana Fair Plan and every other state that has one. For some reason Texas also offers the HO A in addition to the DP1 that Fair Plan carriers always offer.



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CatAdjusterX
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09/20/2012 9:20 PM

Hi Leland,

Your response answer here is what these social media adjuster sites are all about. Concise, thoughtful and I believe our rookie brethren are the better for it.

It has long been my wish that for my new folks to understand there is so much more to the claims adjusting industry than XM8, IA firms and fee schedules. 

Your efforts are indeed appreciated!

 

"A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
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rickhans
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03/17/2013 3:51 AM

I am a little late with jumping into this discussion, but have not had much time since Sandy to look at the forums. There have many good and true answers here and agree that without reading the policy for that particular house, I would not attempt to say whether there is coverage or not. It is hard to remember all that I have been involved with, but I don't recall every seeing a denial where the pipe was on the ground under a p&b house that broke and damaged the wood structure.  But that would be due to the wording of the policy.

My comments mostly address the issue of what is foundation and on any of the other isues make the assumption that the policy does not exclude such water damage as has been pointed out on the basic HO policy. 

This questions is not just for HO policies. This can come up in dwelling and commercial policies related to both houses, apartment buildings, and commercial buildings.  I am basing my comments on many years of dealing with this exact kind of damage from several different angles, having adjusted many such claims; as a contractor bidding the work; and as an engineering and building consultant working with foundation and structural engineers investigating the source of the water leaks to determine the cause and extent of structure and/or foundation damage.

I would imagine that there are some exceptions to what I am stating, but I am going on my experience and knowledge, also knowing that a different opinion or interpretation can usually be found to any such issue that is not clearly defined in the policy or when there are extenuating circumstances that need investigation.  However, most policies I have seen are fairly precise in their definitions, but often there are other contributing variables that can raise other coverage questions. Often, if not most of the time that there is such a question,  a structural engineer becomes involved and occasionally an attorney to determine coverage.

Leland, you raised some interesting arguments, but probably the reason you can't find the definition in the dictionary is because the definitions are more suited for building code books along with engineering and architectural material. I believe that it has been legally established and defined for many years by the engineering and architect community and local building officials, and are implanted in the local and state building rules and regulations. Determining where "below the foundation is" can be done by researching these sources at the  building inspectors office or call and talk to a building inspector. I can't recall ever seeing or hearing of any wood structure being called the "foundation". Wood and steel Beams and floor joists are always part of the structure from my experience.

The foundation is virtually always concrete with steel imbedded.  Even steel H beams set on concrete piers are part of the structure when anchored to the concrete piers. When the steel members holding up part of a house were destroyed in a hurricane, they were covered as part of the structure, not as foundation.  The codes all reference concrete with steel re-bar as the foundation and virtually everything else as structure.  Some codes require certain pipes to run  "below the foundation" which has always meant beneath the footer that a concrete beam sits on, although they usually allow it to pass through the foundation (or at least did as recent as 6 years ago) but required a larger diameter pipe to be inserted in the form to prevent movement from breaking the pipe. This was normally done below grade - meaning below the ground level on the outside of the foundation- then enters the crawl space at ground level under the house. This could be considered as "within" the foundation. 

 I'll watch this thread because someone is sure to find an exception to the rule and give me the opportunity to learn something new.  I haven't replied for a while and this format looks a little different.  I don't see where to set the option to email me notification of a response so hopefully it will default to that option.

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