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Thread: looking for foundation drain code

  1. #1

    Default looking for foundation drain code

    I?m looking for construction code related to two short foundation drains that were recently installed to stop water intrusion into specific areas of the foundation wall and crawlspace in a condo building (built 1980). The foundation drains were installed higher than the crawlspace floor. Specifically, the foundation drains are about midway up the crawlspace wall. The contact stated the foundation drains would be 12?-18? deep [under the ground?s surface], which is exactly where they are. However, water is continuing to intrude into the foundation wall and crawlspace. The cost for one foundation drain was $1100; the cost for the second was $1400.

    Given that the placement of the foundation drains meets the contract specifications, I don?t think we have a claim against the contractor for placing them at this level unless this placement is against code. So I?m looking for the relevant code, whether it says the code applies or doesn?t apply. It?s my understanding that NC building code, and likely international code, requires foundation drains for new construction to be lower than the crawlspace floor. But does this code apply to existing buildings?

    A neighbor has contacted our local government (Wake County; City of Raleigh) construction permit offices and reports he got mixed messages on whether this code applies to existing buildings, although it?s looking as if doesn?t. He also was not able to get a citation for the relevant code from them.

    I realize code may vary by state, and even by county or city, but I thought some of you likely know about standard code or even code in my location. I?d also like to hear about code in your location so I can get a sense of foundation drain code for existing buildings.

    I?m also hoping someone can provide a citation for the relevant code, maybe standard or NC code. Or, does code only list what it applies to and leave people to figure out that it doesn?t apply to anything not listed?

    We can ask a lawyer, but at this time I really would like to find the code and get any information that users of this forum can provide. Thanks.

    Location: Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina

  2. #2


    Usually, code applies to new construction and not a retrofit or repair (at least for this depth aspect). One technical design issue would be where do these drains go? Do they drain to daylight or to a sump pit? If day lighted, could they have gone deeper and still drained to daylight?

    It could be they wanted to avoid a sump pump as which tenant should pay for its power (unless there is a common "house" electrical panel conveniently close). Sump pumps can also fail.

    But common sense says water issues are best dealt with by putting a drain at or below the floor level.. But if the water issue was from surface water, a drain that is 18" down would have worked. Sounds like this is subsurface, or the soil is very porous until it hits the floor level.
    Kent, WA

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