Top 5 Things That Go Wrong in Too-Fast Construction

Cracked Foundations
A cracked foundation can make your house impossible to live in.
A cracked foundation can make your house impossible to live in.

The Blue Oaks subdivision outside Sacramento, Calif., looks like a retiree's dream. All 250 of the freshly stuccoed ranch homes circle a private, manicured 18-hole golf course. But as the Wall Street Journal reported in 2009, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare for over half of the subdivision's residents as their homes literally began cracking into pieces [source: McQueen].

The residents filed a class action suit against the developers of the subdivision, claiming that the builders neglected to properly test the soil in which the foundations were poured. It turns out that the heavy clay soil expands in the rainy winter and contracts in the scorching summer sun, wrenching the foundation walls until they crack. Those cracks and fissures spread through walls and tile floors, making a telltale "popping" sound as the residents tried to sleep at night.

As Nancy Seats of HADD confirms, cracked foundations are another common problem associated with too-fast construction. Sometimes, as in the California case, builders don't take the time to run soil tests. In other cases, they skimp on the rebar reinforcements that hold the concrete foundation's walls together [source: Lewis]. If a builder is in a rush, he or she might not sufficiently tamp down the fill soil underneath the footers, meaning the house will continue to "settle" long after it's finished.

Let's finish our list with one of the nastiest things that can go wrong when builders are in a rush: mold.

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