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More Examples of Misdiagnosis

This past week I was presented with two more perfect examples of how the diagnosis of a foundation problem is easily missed. One example came by way of an engineer that I met with at the convention last week. The other was presented to us from a homeowner who had a foundation contractor visit him.

I have repeatedly made the claim that foundation analysis is regularly misinterpreted by contractors for a number of reasons. See my previous post 10 things homeowners need to know in hiring a foundation repair contractor to see the reasons why this is happening on a regular basis. Suffice it to say that these two examples demonstrate how often it is occurring.

The first example that I would like to share is where a homeowner had a sub slab pipe leak and called out a contractor to give them a repair option. Insurance company independently called an engineer to give an independent evaluation. In this case it was really good for the homeowner that there was some engineering review. The foundation repair contractor did do a floor level survey. However the interpretation of this survey was completely backwards. It was done by a sales person being paid on a commission basis for the amount of work that he could sell. In this particular case the underpinning was only proposed in the high areas of the elevation survey. Also there was no damage of any consequence on perimeter walls. So if the underpinning was to be installed only in the high areas of the floor slab, what exactly was the plan supposed to do? In my opinion nothing. It was $44,000 worth of work that would do the homeowner no good at all.

In the second example I have the floor elevation survey listed below. The foundation contractor called out to the job did not conduct a floor level survey. They did however examine the signs of stress which in this case were mostly in the high areas of the house. Like the previous example, the recommended repair was to install underpinning in those areas.

As you can see from the example above the area represented in green shading is the area where the underpinning was proposed. You can see that this is indeed counterproductive. Installing piles in this location would do no good whatsoever and could in fact exacerbate the problem.

Both of these examples illustrate the points that I make about a number and severity of misdiagnosis in the foundation repair world. They also support the need for standards to be utilized and oversight that is needed in diagnosing and recommending repairs in residential settings.

Feel free to make comments or suggestions at any time, or simply engage in dialogue that you might feel helpful.