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A Call for discussion on foundation investigation standards

One of the groups that I have participated with in the past is the Foundation Performance Association. This is an independent engineering group based in Houston Texas. This is an extremely active group with membership that spans the globe, meets regularly and hosts many papers. They share their information freely in an open source format including many technical papers and consensus docs.

One of the open source style papers that the FPA makes freely available on their website is the “Guidelines for the Evaluation of Foundation Movement for Residential and Other Low Rise Buildings”.http://www.foundationperformance.org/projects/FPA-SC-13-1.pdf. This document provides some consensus in this area of forensics. The only one of its kind that I know of.

In my previous blogs I have pointed out some problems inherent in the current foundation repair industry. To summarize they are:

Because there have been in the past, almost no viable solutions for heave, foundation contractors have not demonstrated the skills nor the will to effectively and consistently tell the difference between heave and settlement, resulting in misdiagnoses in a large majority of the cases.

The foundation repair industry across the United States and Canada is more than a $50Billion Industry. If 50% of those repairs are spent on solutions that are of no value, that is a huge economic waste.

The standards proposed by the FPA make at least a framework that if adopted could reduce the wastes and bring order to the process.

Could we here in Arizona piggy back off all of the hard work that the FPA in Texas has done? Could we adopt some of their consensus standards bringing more legitimacy to them benefiting ourselves and help spread the consensus nationwide?

I have discussed this with many of the active engineering leaders in Arizona including the President of the local Geo Institute, Peter Kandaris, who has asked me to present these thoughts at the June meeting.

I am inviting discussion here as input prior to that meeting. Please share your thoughts, concerns questions or any other input.