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Community and Q&A

Missing Corner Bars

New_home | Posted in General Questions on
I deleted my question because of the people who blame me for my desire to understand the issue (i.e. do we really have the issue with our foundation  or not). 
I am grateful for the useful information that other members shared with me.

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  1. Patrick_OSullivan | | #1

    > We already have a foundation form prepared and inspected. Among several issues, our inspector mentioned “Corner bars were missing at the beam corners. Corner bars should be added.”

    Did you fail inspection? If not, why not?

    > Our builder told that it is not a defect. This is how it was recommended in the structural engineer’s design.

    I cannot definitively parse this series of statements. Is the builder claiming it's not a defect because it's how it was designed? Or is the builder claiming it's not a defect, but the design stipulates it should be there?

    > We do not have an access to the structural design.

    Are you effectively purchasing a finished house upon completion (though you are involved in the build process), or have you contracted a builder to build you a house? These are very different things. If the latter, you should absolutely have access to the plans. If the former, well, you're buying a finished product and all the builder needs to do is fulfill the contractual obligations and comply with local laws and regulations.

    1. Deleted | | #4


  2. Expert Member


    There are standards for the length that rebar must overlap at corners and splices. That overlap seems to be missing in the photo. It looks like a defect to me whether or not it was shown that way on the structural drawings.

    1. New_home | | #3

      Thank you so much for your response. If our builder doesn't fix this defect, what potential problems we will have in the future?

      1. Expert Member
        MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #5

        New Home,

        Probably nothing, but the areas without laps will be the weak spot on the walls. If they were g0ing to fail, that's where it would most likely occur.

        1. New_home | | #6

          Thank you so much for your time and for the information!

  3. walta100 | | #7

    When you say inspector is this person from the local government there with the power to stop all work.

    I am guessing not and this is a private inspector.

    You need to tread carefully because at this moment you do not own any part of this building. You own a piece of paper on which they promise to deliver you a house at some time in the future. My guess is that if you read the contract you are not allow on the building site without permission and an escort. Also often they can cancel your contract without any reason if it pleases them and given how much the price of home have increased they could cancel your contract and resell for more money.

    If you want the problem fixed send that photo to the government inspector but you risk being band from the site or canceled.


    1. Deleted | | #9


  4. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #8

    Your builder said the structural engineer specified it to be done this way. Get a copy of the plans from the structural engineer and check that things were installed according to that drawing. If the structural engineer's seal is on the design, the inspector should be OK with it.

    All that said, that corner looks strange to me. I'm used to seeing the rerod bent/formed in the corners, then wired together to make a solid connection. Your installation appears to have cut ends and just a tie where they cross, which is a much weaker connection.


    1. New_home | | #10

      Thank you so much for your response and for the information!

  5. walta100 | | #11

    What I am saying is the builder you selected is likely a large scale production builder. They have built this model of house hundreds of times this lets them find every short cut and cost saving allowing them to sell the home at a very reasonable price point. It seems your inspector found one of the shortcuts. The chances of the corner of the foundation cracking are likely very slim and likely to be associated another event perhaps seismic or flooding that would disturb the soil under the concrete.

    In general I am not a fan of the home inspection industry. They tend to feel the need to find something wrong in order to justify there expense.

    No one guarantees concrete against cracking.

    This may be a case where you do not want to watch the processes of the sausage being made and simply enjoy the finished product trusting you selected the right people to do the job for you.


    1. New_home | | #12

      Thank you for your opinion.

  6. user-5946022 | | #13

    What people are saying is that you contracted with a production builder to build a home for you at a set price, under the terms of that builders standard contract. Is this correct?

    The challenge is the market in which we find ourselves - the cost of building materials is rising daily, the supply of subcontractors is limited, and supply of skilled subs even more limited, and there is a shortage of houses for sale. There is probably language in your contract that allows the builder to terminate the contract.

    So even with only market forces, your builder may find they could sell "your" house today for significantly more than your contract to purchase. Reputable builders will try to honor the agreement for as long as it is tolerable for them. Cancelling contracts can result in bad publicity. But losing money, or leaving $100k's on the table won't let them stay in business long. That is the same situation with every house they are currently building under contract.
    But it you are an outlier /squeaky wheel, that costs them even more money, time, effort, management, that will incentivize them to get rid of you.

    Basically, in this market, most builders don't "need" the buyer - they can usually turn around and sell for more. The buyer "needs" the builder because there is a shortage of supply. Ten years ago, that was turned around, and you would have been in the drivers seat. Today, the builder is in the drivers seat.

    Read the article Walta linked to. You are in the foundation stage. There will be MANY more things a production builder gets wrong, shortcuts they take, quality that could be better, etc.
    You are probably getting a code minimum house with lipstick on it, the same as all your neighbors. Think about how you want to address such issues going forward. May even be worth it to discuss with the builder.

    For the foundation, if it meets code and passed inspection from the city/county, doing more will cost the builder more. The only way to possibly get this addresses is to offer to pay for additional corner bars. But expect to pay 4x or more what the material and labor are worth...

    You may wish to come to an understanding with both yourself and your builder about what types of things you may flag in the future. Or resign yourself that your builder may cancel your contract if there is a list of things after every inspection that this builder normally gets by with. You may want to feel out the builder to see what types of information from your inspections they will welcome - generally the answer is none. Most builders sell you the house with a worthless insurance policy they pay very little for, disguised as a warranty, that is provided by a third party, so once there is a closing the builders responsibility ends. They are not even incentivized to fix something during construction to avoid later callbacks...

    1. New_home | | #14

      My question was about missing corner bars and which problems (technical) this can cause.
      I am really surprised that people blame me for my desire to understand are those missing corners a major issue or not. I am not interested in other things, please leave your advice for your friends.

      1. Expert Member
        MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #15

        New Home,

        I'm a bit surprised by the direction of the comments too. This is a code or technical question. Whether you are buying a production or custom home has very little to do with it.

        1. New_home | | #16

          Thank you so much! And I am really grateful for all your answers!

        2. New_home | | #17

          Thank you so much!

      2. Patrick_OSullivan | | #18

        In the future, please don't delete/edit posts to remove the original question. The discussion is healthy, and now the comments don't have anything to refer back to. Everyone on this site is learning together, and it's helpful to have as many details as possible for posterity.

        I don't think anyone is blaming you for wanting to understand the situation, but I think the question mostly seemed as "Builder doing X. Inspector says to do Y." That is one of the trickiest situations to deal with, and it's an incredibly hard thing to litigate from afar.

        In building, some things are glaringly wrong. But in this case, particularly when you commented that the builder said "this is how it was recommended in the structural engineer’s design", it's a lot harder to judge what's right or wrong, so the discussion will tend to move towards helping someone understand if such a statement is plausible.

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