‘A complete failure’ of retaining wall and slope, builder says of collapsed Draper homes

Edge Homes, the homebuilder, stated on Monday that despite all the engineering and quality control efforts, the retaining wall and hillside slope suffered a total failure.

Edge further stated that the structural issues had started several months ago, but the challenges were exacerbated by the winter conditions, making it difficult for us to stabilize the houses.

The company stated, “today we cannot simply answer these questions. Or was it a combination of both, neither? Was this a construction failure caused by retaining walls and excavators? Or was it a design failure by the engineers?”

Properties that were evacuated in October have jeopardized the safety of the residents and the homes have been declared “unfit for human habitation” by the city. Some signs warning about extensive damage, including broken and cracking doors, were included. When the owners of these homes reached out to the city last year, David Dobbins, the city manager of Draper, stated that they were concerned about the structural integrity of their properties.

Homeowners had scheduled a meeting with company representatives at the office of Edge Homes on Monday evening. Representatives of Edge Homes stated that they intend to cover the costs of “relocation, storage, and temporary housing” for the homeowners residing on both sides of the affected area. The city has recently declared two more houses in the vicinity as unfit for habitation.

Dobbins stated, “We haven’t determined the precise reason yet.” “However, whenever you introduce such a significant quantity of water into soil conditions that are optimal, you may encounter such settlement problems.”

UGS geologist Greg McDonald informed The Tribune last week, “Currently, we are in the midst of carrying out that task. We have not had the opportunity to thoroughly examine all of these occurrences. The process has already commenced.” Scientists from the Utah Geological Survey are observing soil displacement in the Wasatch foothills. The occurrence of landslides and erosion may pose a concern throughout Utah during the upcoming spring season.

Based on the UGS landslides current events log, in Emigration Canyon, approximately 10 to 15 landslides have taken place over the course of the month, resulting in the destruction of at least two residences. A mudslide, equivalent to half the size of a football field, cascaded down near the intersection of 5500 North and Mountain Green Drive in Morgan County.

According to UGS’s senior geologist, Ben Erickson, the level of risk can vary based on the financial resources available for building and developing the area. However, there are strategies that builders can employ to reduce this risk, although specific topographies may be more prone to landslides.

The region will be under surveillance. Draper city authorities are encouraging individuals to avoid the landslide vicinity — which affected well-liked hiking paths.

“Safety is the biggest concern we have,” Erickson said. “With the recent landslides that we’re seeing, some of them are pretty fast.”.

Erickson stated that when water emerges from a hillside, it serves as an indication for individuals to be vigilant and mindful of their environment, as swift landslides can pose a threat.

For additional safety advice, readers can visit the websites of the Utah Geological Survey or Be Ready Utah.