BAM Key Details:

  • Two vacant homes in Draper, Utah, slid off a cliff after shiting grounds caused breaks in the foundation.
  • Two additional homes were evacuated after the collapse as city officials work to investigate the safety of the area. 

Last weekend, two vacant homes in Draper, Utah, collapsed down a hill. Officials say shifting ground and breaks in the foundations caused the sliding. 

Fortunately, the homes had previously been evacuated, and no one was injured. But it makes everyone wonder: How does a newly constructed home break apart and slide off a cliff?

After the collapse of the homes last weekend, developer Edge Homes issued a written statement to address ongoing investigations into what went wrong:

With the failure of the retaining wall and hillside slope, we want to address the question on everyone’s mind: how did this happen? The engineering and construction firms that designed and constructed the retaining walls are long-standing companies with proven track records and years of combined experience. The design of the retaining walls underwent a thorough review process with Draper City, with frequent inspections and quality checks throughout construction. Yet, despite all the engineering and quality control efforts, the wall and hillside experienced a complete failure… More analysis and data are necessary, but we are committed to finding the underlying cause of the problems to ensure they do not happen again.

Edge Homes

Shifting Grounds and Sliding Homes

In October 2022, after months of investigations and proposed fixes from Edge Homes, it became clear to city officials that the homes were unsafe due to shifts in the ground. The shifting ground resulted in sliding and breaks in the homes’ foundations. 

The city issued an evacuation order and began conducting engineering studies of the stability of the area. At the time, Edge Homes disagreed with the city’s decision to force the owners to move out “because the data at the time indicated that the recently-installed piers had stopped movement of the homes.” 

But by December, Edge Homes stated it became evident that “the homes were continuing to move and that evacuation of the homeowners was the correct decision.”

And last weekend, both of the empty structures collapsed. At one, as seen in the video above, metal fell from the porch ceiling moments before the second story fell backward. The other home sank and slid down the hill. 

Draper homes collapse

Credit: Jason Middaugh

When engineers, city officials and public safety staff arrived on the scene, they evacuated the two neighboring homes and closed nearby trails. With melting snowpack and other conditions, there remain safety concerns for the entire area, which will continue to be monitored. 

Moving Forward

As investigations continue, Edge Homes is working with the homeowners of the collapsed homes in Draper, stating, “​​At this point, our top priority is to take care of the homeowners who are directly affected by the slide. In January, we bought back one of these homes and paid the owners for various additional expenses relating to their relocation. We expect to achieve a similar, mutually-acceptable resolution with the owners of the other home in the near future.” 

Edge Homes is also paying for relocation, storage, and temporary housing expenses for the additional two homeowners who evacuated from their homes last weekend. 

Utah, like the majority of the U.S., is grappling with low inventory. While the demand for affordable homes continues to rise, it’s important to remember that building new homes comes with its own set of challenges. It’s not as simple as building new homes wherever there is open space. 

Safety must be a top priority for all new construction projects. By ensuring homes are constructed in areas that are stable and free from hazards, homeowners can rest assured that their homes are safe and secure.