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Newly built Draper homes ‘unfit for human habitation’ due to sliding soil

ABC4
ABC4
 2022-12-07

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DRAPER, Utah ( ABC4 ) – What would you do if you had to leave your forever home less than a year after moving in? That’s what two Draper families had to do.

On Nov. 3, both families were forced to move out after moving in Dec. 2021 because the soil was shifting beneath the house, resulting in “sliding and breaks in the homes’ foundation.”

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Draper City said in a statement: “… Both homes [are] unfit for human habitation and occupancy due to dangerous conditions. The conditions are related to soil shifting resulting in sliding and breaks in the homes’ foundations.”

Just a day after both families fled, the city fenced off the properties to prevent anyone from going inside.

The city met with the families, EDGEHomes , the developer, and the developer’s geologic and geotechnical engineers that designed and oversaw the site work. It was the hope of all involved to see what measures could be taken to restore the conditions of the homes to meet code requirements, but those measures were unsuccessful, and the homes are uninhabitable.

EDGEHomes said in a statement that they have “diligently worked with the homeowners and Draper City to identify the cause of problems and determine the best solution, including geo-tech engineers, structural engineers, and civil engineers.”

There are many potential reasons why soil settlement/shifting occurs with new homes. Causes sometimes include water saturation and drainage issues, natural earth movement, building on unsuitable soils, and improper compaction of fill materials, to name a few. Based on the data we’ve obtained so far, we believe the likely cause of the problems with these homes is inadequate compaction of the soil/fill material in a narrow area between the two homes. But due to the nature of these issues and the subsurface shifting that can occur, especially on hillside and mountain developments, there can be multiple causes and consensus amongst the experts may not be reached. One of our leading engineer consultants explained that the issues are a result of fill placement, tying it into the native slope, compaction, and ultimately moisture control.

EDGEHomes
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EDGEHomes was “disappointed and respectfully disagreed” with the city’s decision to force the families to leave their homes.

The city did receive reports from the developer to help make the homes habitable again, and the information is under review.

“Our sympathies are extended to the homeowners as we understand this is a heartbreaking turn of events for them. Their safety is the city’s greatest concern,” Draper City said in the statement.

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Comments / 13

Mike
12-07

I think they should stop building on Sandy slopes in Draper.Draper should not issue another permit on that mountain.

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5
for real
12-08

how did the developers get approval to build on unstable ground? as a construction worker, we couldn't get a permit to build, until the ground was confirmed to be stable enough to support the house!!

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2

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