Deteriorating Concrete Foundations
BACKGROUND ON THE STATE’S INVESTIGATION
In August of 2015, Governor Malloy called on the Department of Consumer Protection (“DCP”) and the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) to conduct an investigation into deteriorating foundations. The scope of the investigation was to determine whether or not there was a claim under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”). In July of 2016, the Office of the Attorney General issued this letter
to Governor Malloy and DCP stating the low likelihood that a CUTPA claim would be possible.
DCP’s investigation included, but was not limited to:
A scientific study where concrete expert from the University of Connecticut was retained to study core samples from affected homes;
Approximately 70 site visits to potentially affected homes;
Roughly 90 interviews with builders identified by consumer complaint forms;
85 interviews with experts involved in residential construction and foundation installation;
Issuing 31 subpoenas to insurance companies under CUTPA;
Processing over 450 complaints from potentially affected homeowners.
Some highlights of the investigation’s findings are:
The mineral pyrrhotite must be present to result in the foundation to deteriorate in the way observed.
The minimum amount of pyrrhotite needed to trigger deterioration is not yet known.
Becker’s Quarry, the main source of concrete aggregate for JJ Mottes, includes more than trace amounts of pyrrhotite, and is located on a vein of rock that contains significant amounts of pyrrhotite.
As DCP and OAG worked on the CUTPA investigation, Lieutenant Governor Wyman led a group of elected officials, and government officials from the Insurance Department, Department of Banking, Housing Department, and Department of Administrative Services who discussed potential remedies for homeowners. This group will continue to work to find public and private sector remedies based on the results of the investigation.
Homeowners may verify the licenses or registrations of home improvement professionals such as home improvement contractors and professional engineers at www.elicense.ct.gov
Throughout the investigation, DCP has released brochures meant to be helpful to homeowners going through the process of identifying a problem with their foundation, and beginning repair:
If you are selling your home, be sure to fill out the Residential Property Disclosure Form
completely to the best of your knowledge. Homebuyers should also make sure to review this form during their purchase process.
DCP has issued multiple advisories to Home Inspectors to allow them to be as informed as possible in their work. You may find copies of the advisories here:
The Department of Housing has appointed a Homeowner Advocate to support homeowners looking for available financial resources. Lena Holleran can be reached at email@example.com, or at (860) 270-8090.
As of October 1st 2016, if you have an engineer’s report that says you have a deteriorating foundation, you can request that your town re-assess your home value and towns have 90 days to do so.
Public Act 16-45 assures that information of complainants will be protected for 7 years from the date of passage if they have already filed a complaint, or for 7 years from the date of their complaint if they have yet to file. This additional protection does not negate the obligation of a homeowner to disclose any condition they know about to any potential buyer of their home.
Public Act 16-45 makes it mandatory to record a concrete supplier and installer in the application process for new building permits.
A series of bills have been presented during the 2017 legislative session and are in the process of being considered by the legislature. Testimony from former Commissioner Jonathan Harris can be found here
The above notice informs insurance companies that they cannot cancel or non-renew a homeowner's policy due to a deteriorating foundation. If you believe this has happened to you, you should file a complaint with the Insurance Department.
The Insurance Department is also advising homeowners to read their policies, particularly the section titles "Duties After Loss." That section explains the process that a policy holder needs to follow when notifying his or her insurance company of any damage or a loss. The homeowner's policy also provides information on the timeframe a policyholder has to file a lawsuit against the company should he or she choose to do so.
Residents are encouraged to email individual insurance related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
, or call the Insurance Department at 800-203-3447.
TO FILE A COMPLAINT
If you have reason to believe your home's foundation is deteriorating due to potentially faulty concrete, you may wish to file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection by completing this form
and returning this complaint form through mail or email.
When you fill out your complaint form, it's important to have as much information as possible about your home. You may also wish to include pictures, or other evidence from your foundation to show the issues you may have.
If you don't have answers to all questions on the form, fill out the form as completely as you can, and submit it. It's okay if you need to leave something blank.
*Appendices to DCP’s investigative report on deteriorating foundations can be found below.