We live just outside of Chicago. In the backyard behind our master bedroom was formerly a 20'x20' concrete patio with a brick wall surrounding it. The thing was at least 20-30 years old and showing its age so I tore it out last summer. When I did I discovered a stem wall that spans the perimeter of the old patio. I assume it was installed to support the weight of the brick wall above it. Now I'm hoping this stem wall is a gift. My wife and I have been considering an addition to our MBR for years. The dimensions of this stem wall fit exactly where we have planned the addition.
Here is the problem. The stem wall isn't to code. It is wide enough (12") but it is only 36" deep. I believe code in this part of Illinois requires 42" below grade.
We plan on having one of our village's inspectors stop by our home next week to look at it. My main question is: if the inspector balks, are there things I can suggest to overcome the stem wall's shortcomings? I have read about frost-protected shallow foundations. Even if I had to dig out around the exterior and apply XPS it would still be a lot easier than tearing this thing out and starting from scratch.