What to expect: a complete Forensic Engineering Report
Until recently, there simply wasn't an adopted consensus of what a complete and comprehensive foundation inspection even includes. Fortunately, The Foundation Performance Association (FPA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (Texas Chapter) have both published a consensus document that identifies a level “B” investigation!
Below are items that should be accounted for in your home’s level B foundation inspection:
- Determine from as many sources as possible what the soil layer compositions and properties are.
- Gather and understand long term precipitation and its effect on soils at that location.
- Use of Aerial photography to understand drainage, landscaping (trees vs grass), sunshine, and how they affect the various areas around the house.
- Understand the original topography and modifications to the soil before house was built (and after).
- A complete understanding of the structural systems and path loads of a home including truss systems vs non-truss systems, interior load bearing walls, and post tension vs conventional vs pier and beam systems and how they interact with various soil conditions.
- Age of the structure and its effect on moisture migration under the foundation.
- Scaled complete floor plan.
- Complete floor level survey with topological mapping and an understanding of topological patterns and their interpretations.
- A complete damage map overlaid with the topological map to understand how the damage relates to the observed elevations. Extensive experience understanding nuanced damages and their varied interpretation with even similar symptoms.
- A complete tilt and deflection analysis with engineering consensus allowables.
- Written observations and recommendations supported by the data gathered.
- Complete repair plan with specifications and placement of various recommended elements.
- Included are guttering and drainage improvement plans, and specifications and placement of those elements.
- Pictures with a photo numbering plan that corresponds to a floor plan numbering.
- A review of all the factors to see how their convergence creates a holistic interpretation.
- Peer review to check assumptions and that conclusions are supported by the data.
This entire report & foundation repair plan should be reviewed, approved and stamped by a licensed, professional engineer.
If you are not getting all of the items above included with your foundation inspection, then you will likely not have repairs that are designed to remediate the specific issues (soil problems, drainage, weather history, etc.) affecting the performance of your home's foundation.