Recently, Guardian Group’s Property & Casualty experts were called to investigate a residential claim that included cracks throughout the house and a reported unlevel foundation. The carrier also asked our construction and engineering expert to ensure that a prior plumbing leak hadn’t compromised the slab.
Upon dispatching to the scene, the homeowner explained recent events and historical observations. Concerned that the family’s washing machine was no longer draining as it once was, a plumbing service had been contacted and a leak was discovered. Since then, the policyholder had noticed minor cracks in interior and exterior walls, as well as at exposed foundation areas. He claimed that he had first started noticing these upon move-in (he is the home’s original owner), but his concern was that the cracks had appeared to increase in severity over time. He also mentioned that he noticed surface water standing at the sides and back of the perimeter of the property. Again, he stated that he observed this issue after rain events ever since taking occupancy, but that the standing water had increased in both volume and severity over time.
Guardian’s Property & Casualty experts always avoid determination of coverage issues. However, based upon a rapid yet thorough investigation and non-destructive testing including soils and leveling, Guardian’s Property & Casualty forensic claim experts drafted a report that clearly spelled out:
- The reported pipe leak had resulted from a broken under-slab pipe fitting that serves the drain line for the laundry room.
- Interior drywall cracks and separations had resulted from repetitive, minor structural movements over time. These are attributable to the expansion and contraction of clay-rich soil under the foundation, and in response to climatic conditions.
- The recent plumbing leak contributed to wet soil conditions. This exacerbated the potential for foundation movement and led to the formation of a new crack in the master bedroom.
- The engineering of the residence and surrounding topography was not properly designed to divert rainwater away from the sides and back of the residence.
- Absent (costly, time-intensive) destructive testing, Guardian’s Property & Casualty experts could not determine with factual certainty whether the reported unlevel floors were attributable to foundation damage or to a lack of proper engineering in response to the expansive soils. However, an observed exterior foundation crack on the east side of the residence suggested that the rear storage room addition was built on a separate slab, which may have settled at a different rate than the main residence slab.
When your property claims, cases and issues transcend the skill set of your everyday adjuster, you can rely on the complex claim’s specialists at Guardian Group, Inc. Our track record of nearly 30 years’ construction and engineering claims handling excellence means you can expedite claims resolution and mitigate your risks. The answers you need. With greater reliability. Call Guardian Group, Inc. today.