Shed not built on proper foundation

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  #1  
Old 05-06-13, 12:56 PM
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Shed not built on proper foundation

The previous owner of our house built this beautiful shed/playhouse combination with his own hands, and for some reason decided it would be a good idea not to put it on a good foundation. The entire back and side are just sitting on dirt, and there's a few concrete blocks and 4X4s holding up the rest. Not only that, he apparently dug in and built it lower than the ground level there and didn't make a retaining wall behind it so the dirt behind the rear fence is eroding down and the concreted posts for the fence are slowly falling out of place. Is there some way to redo the foundation for this myself or is this definitely a professional job? How much is it going to hurt my wallet?! Name:  WP_20130422_011.jpg
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Old 05-06-13, 01:51 PM
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It is certainly a shame such a large, nice building was not built on a proper foundation. From what I can see, the dek blocks are not a proper foundation, and 4x4's are not appropriate. In addition, your upper end needs elevating to get it out of the mud. As large as it is, it may not fall into a DIY situation, as it all needs to be lifted, proper footings poured around the perimeter, piers laid in and the building set back on a firmer foundation, out of the mud.

Now, the question at hand is......was it built with proper permits? If so, you may need to pull new ones to have the foundation work done, and have it inspected. If no permit was pulled, then anyone working on it will be in violation of local codes. I'd check into that first. It's not a good situation to be in.
 
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Old 05-06-13, 02:15 PM
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It is a shame. I think it likely it wasn't built with proper permits. I'm guessing my choices are leave it and just try to shore up the eroding hill behind and/or tear it down at some point? I mean, I guess I could see some scenario where I could manage to dig and put a few cinderblocks under it and then dig/shore up the back and side to keep the dirt from the wood.
 
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Old 05-06-13, 02:54 PM
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Don't give up. There are more very qualified pros on the forum, and as soon as they feed their faces, they will be cranking up. More information is on the way, so bear with us. Good luck with the modification.
 
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Old 05-07-13, 03:25 AM
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Some locales will allow existing buildings that wouldn't have been permitted to be 'grandfathered' in if they have been in place a set amount of time..... so that could come into play.

I'm willing to tackle most any project diy but that's one that I'd be a little leery of - that's a lot of structure to lift, being close to the ground complicates it Excavating the dirt away from the structure is an option I'd consider.
 
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Old 05-07-13, 04:44 AM
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I vote for making those deck blocks illegal. I see them used wrong all the time.
They also never should have built it so close to that tree.
The roots will effect any foundation you do try and build under it, and all that shade will cause mold and moss to form on the roof and the siding.

Yes it can be lifted without having to dig out from under it, but highly unlikly you going to have the proper equipment to do it.
It takes a lot of cribbing, some hydrolic jacks and a whole lot of 2X's.

Several rows of siding come off, a 2 X 10 gets lag bolted to the outside of the studs on both sides of the building.
Places need to be dug out and leveled where you can set up the cribbing to set the jacks.
Trippled up 2X 10 lifting beams are passed through the building to do the lifting.
Once lifted you install soild cribbing to hold it in place while new footings and piers are installed.

I've seen a 2 story 30 X 24, 100 year old store done this way. All the old 4 X 6 rim joist beams were eatten up by termites and needed to be replaced.
We used 20 ton jacks with 1/2" steel plates with a piece of steel pipe about 1" long sitting on top or the jacks piston to keep it on the piston and to keep the jack from crushing the wood as it was lifted.
 
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Old 05-07-13, 06:22 AM
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joecaption1 went into more detail then I was thinking, but had the same idea.

Dealing with that tree could be an issue. Otherwise, I could see this as a doable project. We've done similar with the old camp back in the day. It wasn't as tall however.


Edit:
I wonder if a slab on grade would be suitable with local building codes.

It would require jacking up the building, removing some dirt (replaced with drainage stone) then frame and pour.
 
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Old 05-07-13, 12:49 PM
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I think that we are all over estimating the size of this "playhouse". There are multiple companies that produce storage buildings, gazebos, etc. that are larger than this. They put them on skids, load them onto the back of a truck and drop dump them on somebodies lawn. No foundation at all (until you become large enough to pull a permit). There also are some mobile homes out there with just some blocks shoved underneath them.

If he wants a more solid foundation, it will require some digging, temp bracing and pouring cement piers for the ugly blocks to either sit on or be cemented into. Think of it as a deck. You can cantilever a deck up to 3 foot. I would move 3' over from the existing deck block. Dig a hole 2' by 2' by 2'. Pour a couple of bags of cement into. Install a temp. support at that point. Once shored up, I would remove the deck block, dig a proper hole 2' by 2' by appropriate depth for the freeze zone. Pour in concrete, double pour, once for pad and once more on top for a 12" tube form and the wood (6x6) which has been notched and bolted to the deck framing. Perform this at all support points throughout the structure. If height allows, save some time and install a girder under the current framing to kill multiple posts with one support.
 
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Old 05-09-13, 02:40 PM
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Wow thanks for all the great replies. Busy working in the yard the last few days so just got on to check. Just to mention, part of our future landscape plans likely include getting rid of that tree and another about 12 feet to its right. One of the issues is going to be getting behind it enough to fix the eroding hill. It's an extremely small space. Maybe 2 feet. I need to replace the fence at some point soon so that would probably be a good time. Again - thanks so much for all the information, it gives me something to go on to come up with a plan to tackle this.
 
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Old 05-09-13, 07:04 PM
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Just put 1 and 1 together and noticed your parallel thread on another topic on your property.

Only thing I can suggest on your "playhouse" is to see if you can get a decent picture of the underbelly of the structure. Looks from the outside that it is a built up deck, but not sure. We can better direct on the foundation direction if we can see more of what is underneath.

On your other thread, I would not be concerned with the wood in the foundation. It has held strong for 20 years, I think it is good to go. Unless you tell us there is additional issues showing on the inside of the house that is....
 
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