ANDOVER — Over the last 15 years Jeff Tracy has noticed cracks in his foundation, but he thought the corrosion was normal.
He didn’t realize it was part of a larger problem until reports surfaced over the last year that concrete foundations were failing throughout the area.
Tracy moved into his home on Lake Road just after Tiger Lee Construction of Andover and Stafford cement supplier J.J. Mottes Co. finished construction in 1989.
Tracy recently paid an engineer to evaluate his foundation, along with engineers his insurance company provided, to collect core samples and photographs of the defective areas, he said. It takes eight to 12 weeks to determine the results, engineers told Tracy, who said they told they’ve seen similar deterioration in a number of homes in the area.
“My house is essentially worthless,” said Tracy, a manager at Eversource Energy. “I have a house I can’t sell, and I plan on retiring in six years so I’m hoping this is straightened out.” Engineers informed Tracy replacing existing foundation can cost between $145,000 and $250,000.
Tracy said his home’s damage isn’t nearly the worst he’s heard about. “I consider myself fortunate to have no imminent collapse,” he said. “I don’t have any of the problems other people are having.” After registering a complaint with the state, Tracy attended a public conversation at Ellington High School on Saturday where local politicians and residents from Enfield, South Windsor, Stafford, and Willington spoke out about the crisis. The General Assembly has approved legislation aimed at addressing some of the concerns raised by homeowners whose concrete foundations are crumbling. The bill awaits action by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
People are in a state of denial, Tracy said, as officials on Saturday said only 211 people have registered complaints with the state. “The state won’t do anything until they discover scope of the problem,” he said. “Right now, I think the big thing is to get the word out.” Tracy said he believes state agencies have been aware of this problem for around 25 years and wonders why more foundations were poured while no actions were taken.
“If they’re still pouring this concrete in the 2000s, someone dropped the ball big time,” he said. “When problems started showing up in the early 2000s, you need to get to the bottom of it.”
Tracy said the same developers constructed most of the homes on Lake Road in the 1980s, but it’s unclear how many have been affected as he’s heard various stories from neighbors. One attempted to dig out their foundation and patch it on their own before realizing that wouldn’t sustain, while others say they have no damage, he said.
Another homeowner, David Adam of East Street, requested a revaluation of his home in the wake of a “crumbling concrete foundation,” according to the board of appeals minutes from March 21.
Rep. Gayle Mulligan, R-Hebron, noted the legislation would keep complaints about the issue to the Department of Consumer Protection private for seven years, protecting homeowners who fear they would lose their insurance.
“I think by addressing this problem, we will have more homeowners emerge,” Mulligan said.