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Crumbling Concrete Catch Up: Tolland School Foundation Failing And A Plethora of Proposed Bills

Tolland needs to replace the crumbling foundation at the Birch Grove Elementary School sooner rather than later and hope to start construction in 2020.   The section built in 1999 is showing much more deterioration than the section built in 2003 so they hope to complete the repair in two phases, using temporary or portable classrooms during construction.  On Facebook it was reported that school was closed Monday due to high winds and there was concern about that the concrete would not support the canopy out front of the school.  The early estimate to replace is $46 million, the state covering 52% and the town and maybe the federal government picking up the rest. See the complete report from NBC CT.

Perfect timing for Congressman Joe Courtney’s recent successes in pushing forward legislation to aid all those impacted by crumbling concrete.  His most recent success is the Rebuild America’s Schools Act— which provides relief for schools facing structural damage from crumbling concrete—was recently passed by the House Education and Labor Committee and will proceed to the House of Representatives for further consideration.  The amendment will permit foundation repairs as an allowed use of funds to eradicate “severe health and safety threats” and includes a grant program to repair or replace affected foundations and structures deteriorating due to pyrrhotite.

‘Earlier in February of this year  Congressmen Joe Courtney  and John Larson teamed up to add two amendments to the Consolidated Appropriation Act which funds the government through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2019. 

  • The first amendment allocates $100,000 for the U.S. Geological Survey to develop a map showing pyrrhotite occurrences across the United States, an important step towards understanding the reach of the problem.
  • The second amendment, which was drafted in coordination with Senator Chris Murphy,  would require the Comptroller General of the United States and relevant regulators, under the Department of the Treasury, to direct a study examining the financial impact of the mineral pyrrhotite in concrete home foundations. The study would be required to provide recommendations on the regulatory and legislative actions needed to help mitigate the impact on banks, mortgage lenders, homeowners, and on tax revenue.

Finally, there is a public hearing at 1 p.m. on March 8 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.  

The following list is the statement of purpose for each bill: 

  • H.B. No. 7259 (RAISED) To require that each homeowners insurance policy provide coverage for the peril of collapse and mitigation undertaken to prevent all or part of the dwelling covered by such policy from falling down or caving in.
  • H.B. No. 7179 (RAISED) To (1) require the Commissioner of Housing to establish a grant program to support the development of methods and technologies that reduce the average cost of repairing and replacing concrete foundations in this state that have deteriorated due to the presence of pyrrhotite, (2) establish an innovation board to review applications for grants filed as part of such program, (3) appropriate the sum of eight million dollars to fund grants awarded as part of such program, (4) modify the Healthy Homes Fund surcharge, and (5) redefine the term"residential building" as such term applies to various statutes concerning crumbling concrete foundations. 
  • S.B. No. 907 To require a seller to disclose to a purchaser in the "Residential Condition Report" any facts that are within the seller's actual knowledge concerning (1) the presence of pyrrhotite in the concrete foundations located on the seller's property, (2) any testing or inspection done by a licensed professional to determine whether such foundations contain pyrrhotite, (3) any foundation deterioration, problems or settling caused by the presence of pyrrhotite in such foundations, and (4) any repairs to remedy such deterioration, problems or settling.
  • Proposed H.B. No. 5702 To improve quarry standards and testing to mitigate pyrrhotite induced concrete deterioration.
  • Proposed H.B. No. 6040 To require inspections and disclosures prior to transfers of certain residential buildings situated in municipalities impacted by crumbling concrete foundations.
  • Proposed H.B. 6659 To require persons selling residential property in this state to disclose the presence of pyrrhotite.
  • Proposed H.B. No. 6750 To revise the definition of "residential building" to include any condominium unit or dwelling in a planned unit development.
  • Proposed H.B. No. 6349 To require certificates of occupancy issued for new construction to contain certain information regarding insurance policies carried by companies involved in the production and pouring of concrete.
  • S.B. No. 995 (RAISED) To (1) expand the definition of "residential building" to include all condominium units and dwellings in planned unit developments for the purposes of eligibility for certain programs, and (2) require the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to conduct a study of standards and methods used to test for the presence of phyrrhotite at quarries.

If you are unable to attend the hearing you can submit testimony by email to the following departments:

Submit Planning and Development Testimony to: pdtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Submit Insurance and Real Estate Testimony to: instestimony@cga.ct.gov