Work underway to fix foundation problem on condos - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Work underway to fix foundation problem on condos

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Condos in Vernon are being lifted so they can have new foundations (WFSB) Condos in Vernon are being lifted so they can have new foundations (WFSB)

Crumbling foundations and faulty concrete in the state is a story that has been talked about for years.

On Thursday, Eyewitness News got an up-close look as one condo association in Vernon is going to great lengths and heights to fix its problem.

Eight units all in a row at Lakeview Condos are now about seven feet off the ground, thanks to more than 30 hydraulic pumps.

The units are being lifted, then they'll come in to clear out the old foundations that caused the problem in the first place, and pour a new one.

“This is not what I bought into. I came in specially when you do the inspection, I looked at the basement, classic concrete gray, not a single crack anywhere,” said Phil Barbara, of Lakeview Condominium Association.

He’s lived in the condo for 10 years and said that situation quickly changed. His unit is one of the eight that’s now 7 feet off the ground.

Homeowners in 36 towns across eastern Connecticut are dealing with this problem. Close to 600 have filed complaints, and state officials estimate 30,000 or more homes could be affected.

The Department of Consumer Protection said Willington Quarry had high levels of certain minerals when it supplied concrete companies.

While that company has since gone out of business, that mineral slowly caused the concrete to crack and crumble.

"Then we remove all the concrete, all the footings, everything is gone, back down to the original basement hole and then we start from scratch, pouring new footings, pouring new walls,” said Don Childree, the general contractor, who said because of that crumbling foundation epidemic, this is pretty much all he does now, is raise houses and re-pour foundations.

"From an engineering point of view, I’m absolutely fascinated at seeing something like this and the technology being used here and watching how efficient,” said Ed Oswecki, of Lakeview Condominium Association.

This isn’t cheap either-- roughly $900,000, and insurance doesn’t cover any of it.

The 46 owners can either pay it all up front or finance a 15-year loan adding $158 to their monthly $300 homeowners fee.

“Whether you're affected or not, everyone has to come up with roughly $20,000. Talking to Don, you have a 1200 sq. foot raised ranch, you have a $200,000 problem just for you, so there are advantages to living in a condo, but it doesn't make it nice,” Barbara said.

Down the road, it will be nice for the homeowners to not have to worry.

"Being one of those unit owners, it’s a sense of relief, we're being fixed. It’s not just me that's getting fixed, the stigma of crumbling foundations is all over Lakeview, so it affects all the unit owners,” Oswecki said.

The impacted owners hope to be back home sometime in November.  

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