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Concrete Cracking Problem Spreads to MA

Thursday, October 4, 2018

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Many Massachusetts homeowners could be facing the same issues with crumbling foundations that plague residences in Connecticut, according to recent reports, causing some to seek help from the state.

Affected homes share one common feature: the use of concrete from now-defunct J.J. Mottes, a company located in Stratford, Connecticut. The building material in question contains pyrrhotite; an iron sulfide in the mineral that reacts with oxygen and water, causing concrete to crack and swell. These cracks sometimes don’t appear for 20 years.

Previous Findings

Findings revealed in August indicated that a company by the name of Becker Quarry, of Willington, Connecticut, sold the pyrrhotite-contaminated stone to concrete company J.J. Mottes from 1983-2017. While primarily Connecticut is affected, tens of thousands of homes in the region are expected to have the pyrrohotite-contaminated concrete in foundations and footers.

The only fix for the home is to lift the entire thing and replace the foundations, a fix that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and is hard to finance since a crumbling foundation reduces the value of the home to nearly nothing. Insurance won’t pay for collapsing foundations (unless they’ve already collapsed), and banks are now requiring inspectors to look for pyrrhotite damage before a mortgage. The issue will also cause property values to plummet, an issue concerning taxpayers.

In response, state legislators passed an amendment to set aside $50,000 to reimburse homeowners for 100 percent of the cost (up to $400) for a visual inspection and 75 percent of the testing of two core samples up to $5,000. The government will also create a commission composed of the governor’s office, the attorney general, consumer protection, banking, insurance and other entities.

Massachusetts Mishap

Massachusetts Residents Against Crumbling Concrete held its first public meeting in mid-September at which Town Administrator Evan Brassard of Monson, Massachusetts, noted that there was evidence to support that J.J. Mottes supplied concrete to Monson and other nearby towns. Local resident Michelle Loglisci is leading the charge to provide information and find a solution for those in Massachusetts whose homes are impacted. (Loglisci built her home with her husband in 1996 for $102,000, and knows that the foundation contains Mottes concrete. Repairing the foundation will cost $232,000.)

Both Loglisci and Brassard estimate that 350 Monson homes may be affected. But like Connecticut, determining the scope of the issue is going to be a problem, as it takes convincing homeowners to come forward about the issue.

Loglisci hopes that two states being affected will prompt federal intervention. Connecticut most recently agreed to spend $5 million on testing, bond $100 million over five years and execute a $12 surcharge on homeowners insurance policies, which is slated to raise $9 million annually.

The quarry in Willington, Connecticut, that is the root of the issue has entered into three annual agreements with the state to not provide concrete aggregate for residential foundations, but these deals do not extend to Massachusetts. Quarry operators did note that they are no longer in the concrete business.


Tagged categories: concrete; Government; Laws and litigation; Maintenance + Renovation; Maintenance programs; North America

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