Foundation Repair: Concrete Press Piles do NOT meet the Building CODE
There are several foundation repair methods provided to the public. If you’ve read our article, Foundation Repair misconception, then you know about the concrete press pile foundation repair system. In this article we’re going to be a little more technical; but we are writing it primarily so that people who are not engineers can understand. We won’t get into engineering calculations and analysis, but we’ll go through some parts of the building code, which is the International Building Code (IBC), the code Engineers and Architects use to design buildings and houses. The International Residential Code (IRC) is used for houses, however, anything that falls outside the range covered within the IRC is deferred to the IBC. Also, anything that involves engineering can also be done using the IBC instead of the IRC.
After reading the entire article, we hope you’ll gain a better understanding of why the Concrete Press Piles is a foundation repair system that does not meet the building code and more importantly, is a foundation repair system that you do not want to use for your house.
The building code to Engineers is the Law. It’s the engineer’s “Bible”. When we say “the Law”, we really mean, it’s the law. Each city has its own building code. Many cities share identical or similar building codes, or even different updated versions of the same building code. For Example, Austin uses the International Building Code (IBC) and San Antonio also uses the International Building Code. In fact, San Marcos, Houston, and Dallas also use the International Building Code. Most cities in Texas will also use the IBC. The difference among all these cities is in the year version that they use. The IBC (and the International Residential Code, IRC) are updated every 3 years. So, one city might have adopted the 2003 version of the IBC while another city might have adopted the 2012 version. Fortunately for Engineers, there are usually very small changes between one version of the code to another. There are a few instances where veering from the building code is acceptable (but hard to prove) if it’s standard engineering practice to do something one way that might be different than what the building code says, as long as safety or injury is not an issue. But again, it is very difficult to prove that something is standard engineering practice, and most engineers would typically meet the IBC regardless because in the case of a lawsuit, the IBC reigns supreme.
If your property is located outside city limits, then it doesn’t mean there are no codes and the Engineer is free to do as he pleases. The engineer still needs to follow some type of code to design whatever he is designing.
When an Engineer designs anything at all, he needs to design according to the code. Not designing according to the code is in effect breaking the law. There are dire consequences if it is found that an engineer purposely didn’t design according to the code or away from engineering principles. An Engineer may even go to Prison if it is found that him not following the code caused injury or death of a person.
Therefore, all engineered designs, including Foundation Repairs, should be engineered according to the building code or sound engineering principles. Two of the many problems that homeowners face is that first, most foundation repairs do not involve an engineer (or are not engineered), and second, that those foundation repair project that do have engineers, most of those engineers do not design according to the building code or sound engineering principles (and the local building permit authorities don’t even know it…).
Concrete Press Piles Foundation Repair: Building Code non-compliance Part 1
Concrete Press Piles Foundation Repair: Building Code non-compliance Part 2
Concrete Press Piles Foundation Repair: Building Code non-compliance Part3
Concrete Press Piles Foundation Repair: Building Code non-compliance Part 4