Crumbling Foundations: DCP Sends Advisory to Home Inspectors, Realtors

The Department of Consumer Protection is advising home inspectors, realtors, homeowners and contractors to be aware of the specific kind of cracking associated with at least hundreds of failing foundations in the eastern part of the state.

In an advisory released Wednesday, the DCP warns home inspectors to disclose any signs of cracking and deterioration to their clients and urges them to follow the International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Residential Properties and visual inspection standards when inspecting residential foundations.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters first brought to light the issue plaguing some homeowners east of the Connecticut River for nearly two decades on July 21.

In the message to home inspectors, the DCP describes the unique characteristics of the failed foundations as "map" or "spider" cracking which "may possess rust colored staining with associated effervescence."

Commissioner Jonathan Harris said the agency, as well the governor and federal lawmakers, know the failing foundations are a "serious problem" and are still trying to get their hands around the full scope of the issue.

"It’s important for us to get the information out," said Harris. "To make sure people know there’s an issue but not to over blow it an create a panic."

Before the advisory was sent, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said he is aware of the issue and is searching for any potential solutions to help homeowners.

"Reports of foundation failures throughout Connecticut, particularly in eastern Connecticut, are a real nightmare for homeowners," Murphy told the Troubleshooters from Washington, D.C. "I don’t know if there are federal interventions here, but we’re going to be at the ready to assist people."

Also exploring all options to help affected homeowners is Congressman Joe Courtney, who is from Vernon. Courtney's hometown and district comprise much of the affected area. Courtney said his office is "very focused" on the issue.

"We’ve had lots of communication with the homeowners' representative and helped try to facilitate communications with other state agencies, who I think clearly have to ramp up and deal with the challenges that have come up in recent weeks," said Courtney. "This really goes right to the core of people’s economic security so it’s an important issue."

Harris said he also sent the advisory to the State Board of Realtors so it can make its members aware of the problem.

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