Free Inspections by Foundation Repair contractors - NOT really for Free
Foundation repair companies market "free" inspections to potentially offer you a foundation repair that you may not need. Most foundation repair companies do not have licensed structural engineers that provide expertise on why you may have cracks or foundation movement. Foundation movement does not always imply structural failure.
A structural engineer will provide an unbiased, independent, expert opinion on your structure and also consider all conditions present when making their assessment. There are a variety of conditions that can make buildings crack or move. Structural engineers that understand, practice and have the experience in designing and investigating structures are better qualified to provide an opinion on whether a building will benefit from foundation repair. Property owners are often overwhelmed with information and discussions about buildings and foundation movement which may lead to some frustration and misunderstanding. We have compiled a list of some basic questions to help property owners understand their building and get a little closer to understanding if foundation repair will benefit the building and what the effects will be.
We suggest that you ask these questions to the foundation repair company and engineer that visits the property. Questions that don't get answered by the foundation repair company should be referred to a structural engineer that practices the design and investigation of buildings:
How many buildings have you (foundation repair specialists or engineer) designed from the top down (roof to foundation)?
Based on your field elevation readings, who type of foundation movement is likely to be occurring? Foundation tilt or foundation bending?
Please discuss the probable causes for the foundation tilt or bending?
If foundation repair is being recommended, what objectives are we trying to reach? Levelness, stability or structural soundness.
Understanding that bad conditions (poor drainage, heavy vegetation) may exist, how does your warranty protect me knowing that bad exterior conditions exist?
What type of roof framing system does my building have?
How will foundation repair improve, benefit or impact the performance of my roof framing system or my exterior and interior finish?
Under what conditions will foundation repair fail? Tell me the limitations of each foundation repair system?
Explain the design process for the design of foundations? What codes are used in the design of foundations?
Can you please refer me to one of your previous customers that has had warranty work done after you did the initial installation of the foundation repair? How many projects have you had to honor the warranty for?
What is the most common reason that gets the warranty voided for foundation repair?
Do you pull permits for foundation repair?
How can I verify if the permit has been closed? Will you provide me a document from the city?
Will you provide me with a final elevation survey of the building before and after the foundation repair?
Will you be hiring an engineer to visit the project during the foundation repair process?
The above questions are not an exhaustive list of questions; however, understanding the answers, types of answers and those questions left unanswered should give you insight on who is involved, and if they are qualified to provide the recommendation for repair. Understanding the process and objective for doing foundation repair is key.
Articles on our website are to educate and provide insight to our consumers regarding structures, please contact us if you have any questions. Our structural engineering company is licensed to practice Structural Engineering, A-1 Engineering does not receive any commissions from any Foundation Repair Companies (Please Read, Free Foundation repair Inspections by Engineers).
If you have read the other articles in our website, including Foundation Repair Deception, you will have a good idea on how much money we have potentially saved you without even showing up at your property. This is the kind of valuable advice you need. For just a few hundred dollars in fees to a Structural Engineer, you could be saving tens of thousands of dollars. Even when you are selling a house, a foundation repair is many times not necessary.