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Are you getting a sham investigation?

You have concerns about your foundation….If you call an inspector to come out, how do you know if you are going to receive something of real practical value…. or not?

I have heard many home owners tell me that an individual has shown up to their home. He looked around for a few minutes gave them some verbal advice and/or sold them some minor repairs and left without giving then anything in writing. Some homeowners when they hire a structural or geotechnical engineer, receive a 1 or 2 page letter. The letter has broad generalizations without a specific repair plan or any objective characterization of severity, but at least it is something.

Is getting some verbal advice really that helpful? Is this scientific? Does it follow any of the guidelines set by any recognized authorities such as the American Society of Civil Engineers or the Foundation Performance Association? Here is the key Question:

Does the inspection include a floor elevation survey?

If it does not it…. Then it is of limited value. For the following reasons:

  1. Without a floor elevation survey you cannot accurately see where specifically on the house, the problem starts and stops.
  2. A tilt and deflection analysis cannot be done without a complete (not partial) floor elevation survey.
  3. Severity of the problem cannot be objectively assessed without tilt and deflection analysis. How bad is it? This is the key question that people want to know.
  4. An accurate diagnoses to tell the difference between settlement and heave is almost impossible without looking at contour lines of a floor elevation survey.

If all you are receiving is some verbal advice, then the inspection is not objective, accurate, or helpful…. Especially if it is by a self-proclaimed expert without proper credentials such as a professional engineering license or certification from a foundation repair association.