doh: Crumbling Foundations

CRUMBLING FOUNDATIONS
                    

  {Crumbling Foundation example 1}

  {Crumbling Foundation example 2}

      (Courtesy: NBC Connecticut)                                                                   (Courtesy: NBC Connecticut)
           

CONTACT INFORMATION: 

Lena Holleran

Homeowner Advocate/Crumbling Foundations

Department of Housing

505 Hudson Street, Hartford, CT 06106

Phone: 860-270-8090

Email: lena.holleran@ct.gov


BACKGROUND:

 
Upwards of 35,000 plus homes in the north, east, and central parts of Connecticut are facing a potentially devastating issue due to the presence of a naturally occurring iron sulfide originating from a quarry in Willington.  The mineral—pyrrhotite—causes the slow deterioration of concrete foundations when exposed to oxygen and water.  While the presence of pyrrhotite indicates the potential for concrete deterioration, its existence alone does not necessarily cause it.  Homes and structures in approximately 41 towns may be affected by what appears to be a slow moving natural disaster.  As a structure continues to deteriorate, it often becomes unsound.  Cracking, flaking, bowing, and separation of the concrete has already appeared on some homes built between 1983 and 2015.
 
The cracking starts small and can take more than a decade to appear. Cracks that go horizontal or splinter out like a web are the most concerning. A rust color or white powder may appear. The dry wall of a finished basement may need to be removed to examine the concrete, although the damage is often visible on the outside of the home.
 
The damage is irreversible. The most effective repair is to replace the existing foundation with a new one that does not contain pyrrhotite. The cost to replace a foundation can differ based on multiple factors, but current estimates range between $150,000 and $250,000 per home.
 

Town's Identified by CRCOG as having been impacted by Crumbling Foundations

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TESTING FOR PYRRHOTITE:

Homeowners in Connecticut who believe their home’s foundation may be at risk for crumbling or is showing signs of cracking should consider testing the foundation by hiring an engineer to conduct a VISUAL or CORE test of their foundation.  At this time, the only test that determines the definite presence of pyrrhotite is CORE testing.

The following link provides a list of Structural Engineering Services for inspection resources: Crumbling Concrete Foundations Qualified Vendor List | CRCOG.  CRCOG can also be contacted at 860-724-4277 or emailed at foundationtesting@crcog.org

The Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) is assisting the state with providing testing reimbursements:

  • VISUAL inspection reimbursement is 100% of the cost, up to $400. Costs for testing can range from $400 - $1000, depending on the Engineering firm conducting the test.
  • CORE testing reimbursement for a maximum of 2 samples is 50% of the cost, up to $2000. Costs for testing can range from $1400 - $4000 depending on how many samples are taken and to which lab they are sent.

Once the foundation has been inspected, an application for testing reimbursement can be completed at: www.foundationtesting.org.  Homeowners in Coventry, Columbia, Tolland, Ashford, Bolton, Union, and Willington who wish to have their foundations tested, should contact their municipal official. Funding through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) has been provided to these municipalities for testing.


FUNDING ASSISTANCE FOR FOUNDATION REPLACEMENT:

The Crumbling Foundation Assistance Fund, has been incorporated as the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company, LLC (CFSIC) and is expected to be fully operational in the FALL of 2018.
 
Michael Maglaras & Company, based in Ashford, Connecticut has been chosen to take on the assignment of Superintendent. The Superintendent will work with the Board of Directors, and will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the CFSIC.
 
An application for funding from the CFSIC can be initiated once the homeowner has proof of the presence of pyrrhotite. (The CFSIC website is currently under development).
 
This fund is being established through:
  • $100 million in state bonding ($20 million/year for the next 5 years)
  • Approximately $9 million annually for 10 years through State legislation which imposes a $12 annual surcharge on homeowner’s insurance policies.
Funding for foundation replacement will be provided to those who qualify. The CFSIC will be establishing an online website to submit funding applications.
 
Providers of Remediation Services for replacement of a foundation can be found at: Crumbling Concrete Foundations Qualified Vendor List | CRCOG

SOURCES FOR INFORMATION:

Department of Consumer Protection:  Deteriorating Concrete Foundations
 
Capitol Region Council of Governments: Crumbling Foundations | CRCOG
 
 
Crumbling Foundations Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ's
 
 

LEGISLATION:

PA 18-179

Summary of PA 18-179:

This bill codifies the residential disclosure report home sellers must provide to purchasers and expands what must be included in it. The new information the bill requires includes:

  • disclosures on the building's structure and any improvements made to it, including questions on, among other things, the roof, exterior, driveway, and the types of testing, inspection, or repairs done to the foundation; and
  • a new statement on concrete foundations that suggests prospective buyers have the concrete foundation inspected by a licensed profession who is a structural engineer for deterioration due to the presence of pyrrhotite.

The bill allows a member of the CFSIC’s board of directors, who owns a residential property with a crumbling foundation, or his or her spouse or dependent child, to apply for and receive assistance from CFSIC.  It does so by deeming that such a circumstance does not constitute a conflict of interest, provided that the board member abstains from deliberating, voting, or taking any other action on his or her specific application.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2018 for the residential disclosure report provisions, June 2018 for the CFSIC provisions.

PA 18-160

Summary of PA 18-160:

This bill imposes a $12 surcharge on certain homeowners insurance policies issued, renewed, amended, or endorsed between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2029 to be deposited into the Healthy Homes Fund which the bill establishes.

The bill establishes the Healthy Homes Fund, a separate non lapsing General Fund account to collect insurance surcharge funds to in part help homeowners with concrete foundations damaged from pyrrhotite. Under the bill, within 30 days of receiving the deposit of surcharge funds, 85% of the deposits must be transferred to the Crumbling Foundations Assistance Fund, which is used by the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company, LLC to assist homeowners with crumbling concrete foundations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2019, for the insurance surcharge provisions, and June 2018 for the provisions on the Healthy Homes Fund.

PA 17-2

Summary of PA 17-2 Sec 334 – 348:

  • Provides a framework to assist owners of residential buildings (i.e., a one- to four-family dwelling, including condominium and planned development units) with concrete foundations damaged by the presence of pyrrhotite (“crumbling concrete foundations”)
  • Creates a not-for-profit captive insurance company (“captive”) to help homeowners repair or replace crumbling concrete foundations with the lowest possible amount of borrowed funds
* Requires five “incorporators,” four of whom must be General Assembly members appointed by the legislative leaders and one appointed by the governor, to incorporate the captive with an organizing committee (the organizing committee members are appointed by the incorporators, but must include four General Assembly members appointed by legislative leaders as ex-officio, non-voting members)

* Captive contains any money deposited or donated to the Crumbling Foundations Assistance Fund (a separate non lapsing General Fund account the bill creates) and is prohibited from returning any donations or using the money for any other purpose

* Requires the captive, among other things, to: (1) establish a volunteer board of directors and allows the legislative leaders to appoint nonvoting, ex-officio members; (2) develop financial assistance eligibility requirements and underwriting guidelines; (3) develop a single, unified financial assistance application for homeowners; (4) provide financial assistance to affected homeowners and help them obtain additional financing if necessary; (6) approve and disburse funds to eligible contractors for repairing or replacing foundations; (7) apply for and receive federal funds; (8) enter into agreements with CHFA and participating lenders to develop additional loan programs for homeowners; and (9) make recommendations to legislative committees to improve the program

* Prohibits the captive from spending more than 10% of money allocated to it in any calendar year on administrative or operational costs

* Subjects the captive to existing laws regulating captive insurance companies but exempts it from having to pay a license fee in its first year or a renewal fee thereafter

* Deems that captive employees and agents are not state employees, but (1) subjects its employees, directors, agents, consultants, and contractors to certain state ethics provisions and (2) allows the Office of State Ethics to enforce these provisions

*Requires the captive to file, in addition to any report required of nonprofit entities, quarterly reports to specified legislative committees on its operations, including town by town information on claims, claim amounts, applications, and application approvals.

* Creates an application and review process and an appeal process for homeowners whose applications are denied

* Sunsets the captive on June 30, 2022, or earlier if its existence is terminated by law, and vests all rights and properties to the state at that time

* Allows DOH to apply for federal funds, and requires it to deposit the money into the Crumbling Foundations Assistance Fund

* Requires the Insurance; Finance, Revenue and Bonding; Planning and Development; Public Safety; and Housing committees to, at least annually, hold a joint public hearing on the captive's operation and financial condition

* Creates the Collapsing Foundations Credit Enhancements Program, administered by CHFA, to help homeowners obtain additional funding necessary to replace or repair crumbling concrete foundations and requires CHFA to publish a plain language summary of the program on its website

* Prohibits the use of recycled material containing pyrrhotite to make structural concrete unless (1) the State Building Inspector adopts a standard and (2) the person selling or offering the concrete provides the purchaser with written notice that the concrete meets the standard

* Makes a violation punishable under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA)

* Requires municipalities to waive application fees (regardless of any conflicting municipal charters, home rule ordinances, or special acts) and the State Building Inspector to waive education fees for building permit applications to repair or replace crumbling concrete foundations

* Requires the DCP commissioner to include in the residential property condition disclosure report a (1) recommendation that the prospective purchaser have any concrete foundation inspected by a state licensed structural engineer for deterioration caused by the presence of pyrrhotite, (2) question as to whether the seller has knowledge of any testing or inspection by a licensed professional related to the property's foundation, and (3) question as to whether the seller has any knowledge of any repairs related to the property's foundation.

* Requires personal risk insurance policies (e.g., homeowners) and certain condominium master and property insurance policies to allow suit against insurers for up to one year after the date the insured receives a written denial for all or any part of a claim under a property coverage provision for a crumbling concrete foundation

* Allows taxpayers to reduce their Connecticut adjusted gross income by the amount of any financial assistance received from the Crumbling Foundations Assistance Fund or paid to, or on behalf of, an owner of a residential building pursuant to the bill

* Allows municipalities to jointly borrow, or individually bond, to fund projects to abate certain deleterious conditions caused by crumbling concrete

* Establishes an eight-member working group to develop a model quality control plan for quarries and to study the workforce of contractors repairing and replacing crumbling concrete foundations; it must report its findings to the General Law Committee by December 31, 2018, at which point it terminates

* Establishes a special homeowner advocate within DOH responsible for, among other things, coordinating state efforts to assist homeowners with crumbling concrete foundations, helping resolve complaints concerning the captive, working with the federal government, and reporting to General Assembly

* Establishes a training program for contractors repairing or replacing these foundations

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, with the provision allowing suit against certain insurers for up to one year after a claim denial is applicable to policies issued, renewed, or in effect on or after the bill's effective date; and the tax deduction provisions applicable to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2017

PA 16-45   

Summary of PA 16-45:

This act makes various changes related to residential and commercial concrete foundations. It requires:

1. Additional documentation to obtain a certificate of occupancy for a new structure for which a concrete

2. Municipalities, at an owner's request, to reassess residential properties with foundation problems;

3. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) to investigate the cause or causes of concrete foundation failure; and

4. Executive branch agencies to maintain records related to failing residential concrete foundations as confidential for at least seven years.

EFFECTIVE DATE: May 2016, and applicable to assessment dates beginning on or after that date, except the provision requiring a report to the legislature is effective July 1, 2016 and the provision about certificates of occupancy is effective October 1, 2016.

PRESS RELEASES:

May 2, 2018

 

March 8, 2018

DOH Expands Eligibility for Crumbling Foundation Testing Reimbursement


November 28, 2017

Gov. Malloy Announces State Begins Providing Reimbursements to Northeastern Connecticut Homeowners for Testing of Crumbling Foundations

 

February 17, 2017

 




Content Last Modified on 8/23/2018 10:39:18 AM