Tips for Hiring a Foundation Repair Contractor
Foundation work is definitely not a do-it-yourself project, so it makes good sense to get at least three licensed contractors to give you a detailed proposal along with an assessment of your issues. The average inspection takes about two hours. Ron Davidson of Ram Jack Systems also offers the following advice and precautionary measures:
- Educate yourself on foundation repair methods and ask a lot of questions. Don’t make your final decision based on advertising and cheap prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don’t do business with a contractor that does not have their foundation repair methods evaluated by ICC-ES (International Code Council Evaluation Services). This nonprofit organization ensures that building products meet code compliance.
- In most areas of the country, a reputable contractor will have a clause for the depth of the hydraulic piling (typically 20 to 30 feet). Beyond that depth, there is usually an additional charge, ranging from $20 to $30 per foot. If a contractor has no depth clause, be cautious. It’s unlikely that the contractor would continue to operate at a loss, and would instead just stop at the depth that would guarantee a profit.
- Some foundation repair projects require removal of landscaping in the areas of the work, and the contractor typically won’t guarantee that a bush or shrub will survive after removal and replacement.
- Warranties or guarantees for foundation repair work are very important, so pay close attention to their terms. Remember that a warranty is only as good as the company that backs it. Look for a national company that can offer a warranty trust. This means that if the company goes out of business, there is a plan in place to provide follow-up service, if needed.
When you feel that you may have a foundation issue with your home, then you will need some basic information on how to make a good decision on which contractor to choose. Making the wrong choice could be a very expensive lesson. Are you feeling some anxiety yet? Well relax, as we will help you improve your education level, to help you make a good decision on which you are going to give your hard earned money to save the lost value of your home.
There are many and varied issues that could be happening to your home, so this should lead to very important questions you should ask every contractor.
1. How are you and the employees of your company trained?
Listen closely – is there a real ongoing training program going on. Are there tests given and are they certified? Have them show you their certification card.
2. How is pile/pier tested? Do they have ICC-ES (International Code Council – Evaluation Services)? Do they do pile load test for engineering firms?
If they can't meet these code requirements I would not use them.
3. How long have they been manufacturing their piles / piers?
There should be a good history (20+years).
4. How many types of foundation piles / piers do you have available to do the work?
Based on all the different foundation issues out there they have at least 20 standard types available.
5. What is their failure rate and how often do they have to re-adjust a pile /pier?
A good contractor should rarely have to repair or replace his materials. (Less than 1%)
6. Do their materials hold any patents?
There answer should be yes and be able to prove with patent numbers.
7. How do they warranty their work and products?
There should be a limited lifetime warranty that is transferable.
8. Do they have access to a national warranty trust program?
If their answer is no, then your warranty may be just to the life of their company?
9. Does their piling / piering system have a protective coating?
If the answer is no, then ask yourself how long will raw steel last in the ground?
10. Does your company have workers comp and general liability?
Have them prove it.
Your request for a foundation inspection will require an on site visit that may last from 2+ hours on the average home. A certified and trained specialist should do these services. These certified people have an understanding of what the various movements of your structure mean and they have the knowledge, expertise and experience to ensure that you will receive a professional result.
THE INSPECTION SHOULD INCLUDE THE ENTIRE STRUCTURE AND INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
A visual inspection of your home or business with your input to help you and the foundation consultant understand what parts of the structure are involved.
The consultant should measure and transfer to graph paper the actual dimensions of your home or business to assist in the evaluation.
The consultant should take exterior foundation elevations. The consultants should take interior floor elevations using an instrument that measures any changes in your floor surfaces.
Indications of cracks and areas of foundation failure should be indicated on their service plan profile.
You should receive a complete service plan that includes an explanation of any problems discovered during the inspection and a thorough explanation of the course of action recommended to correct the problems.
Recommendations should include a plan of repair that outlines the type and placements of pilings so that the structural loads have a high safety factor.
Provide you with an estimated cost for their services. Be willing to explain to you what to expect and what not to expect.
Even after foundation repairs are done – foundations still must be maintained to help prevent problems with other parts of the home. See Maintaining Foundations and Post Foundation Repair Tips.
Local Resources, Los Angeles Foundation Repair, click here