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FHA question

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Doug in NC

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I don't do a lot of FHA appraisals (most companies don't want to pay my fee). I seem to recall in a class that there needs to be a 18" clearance from the ground to the exterior siding. Is this correct, or have I gotten this confused with the 18" crawl space height requirement?

I checked through 2 old FHA manuals and couldn't find the requirement.

If this is the case, how do you correct when there is a drainage problem so that water is not being diverted away from the foundation. The current ground to siding distance is probably less than 12 inches in some cases. If the 18" rule is applied, removing soil at the foundation would cause the area below the siding to be below grade. Some serious grading would then be required to level off the surrounding yard. What is a solution to the drainage and the 18" clearance rule (if it exists)?

Doug
 

Wally Jones

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Doug,

The 18" clearance is for access to the crawl space in case a repair person needed to get under there. Our local FHA engineer told me the requirement of 18" was set up for a "normal" size person to access the space but that HUD wasn't usually that strict about it as long as there was access (subject to change according to the whims of your local engineer and/or REAC office!).

The foundation area needs to drain away from the improvement and if it doesn't, needs to be a condition of the report. It's probably a good idea to call you client if something needs to be done about the drainage, especially if it looks like it might be a major effort. My experience has been they get excited about that requirement and can envision bulldozers and dynamite to make the necessary repairs. :D (It sounds like you don't have this problem, though, since you don't need anyone to dig around the foundation to create any space between the ground and the siding. The only concern would be if the siding is wood and then a termite inspection would be needed.)

Hope this helps.
 

rtubbs

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
If you want it straight from the horse's mouth, go to HUD's homebuyer protection plan frequently asked questions: question no. 38 under valuation conditions.
 

Verne Hebert

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Montana
Briefly. You must have positive drainage-sloping away from the building and 6" clearance from grade to wood siding.

If you do not have this and it is an "economic hardship" HUD will normally allow rain gutters and leaders well away from the building to discharge.

The 18" in the crawl has changed; I believe to 12" (as of ? the recent test date ?jan 99).

HUD wants to loan money and the requirements have continued to become more lax.

Most of this stuff originally came out of UBC.

I hope this helps.
 

Blue1

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
The 18" clearance is, like all things HUD, clear as MUD! I believe the other posters are correct in that there must be adequate clearance to service any utilites under the home and provide for proper ventilation, etc. Apparently HUD has determined that 18" should be enough "head" room to accomodate even the fattest termite guy! :lol: Haven't heard of the change to 12" though........Here's an idea, grab the nearest termite company guy and measure his diameter, that outta give you some idea! :lol: (Hey, some of those guys are real "string beans")
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
A friend of mine just had a seller remove the skirting because 18" was not sufficient for him to crawl into the crawl space to check for tie downs and concrete piers. I refuse to crawl under a house with only 18 inches of clearance.

Tip of the Week. Does your digital camera have a timer on it? I purchased a monopod so I can attach my camera, set the timer, poke it down in the hole and Poof!! instant picture. My photo software also allows me to rotate the pictures 180 degrees so it is right side up for the report.
 
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