I have spoken with hundreds of geotechnical and structural engineers about proper practices for a foundation investigation. I have asked the question if they would be comfortable rendering an opinion and a recommendation for foundation repair on the spot at a one-time visit. Almost without exception none would be comfortable doing it. Yet contractors all across the country, are "shooting from the hip" daily. Over the years, I have gotten to hear many stories of very interesting on the spot repair analysis. One was to simply put a golf ball on the floor and see where it rolls. Another was to take off your shoes and determine from your feet what the problems are. Folks, these are NOT proper foundation problem investigations. So what should be done in a proper investigation?
If we follow the level B investigation as defined by the FPA or the Texas ASCE then a complete topographical analysis overlaid with a damage map followed by a deflection analysis is required. I’m not saying that that could not be done on the spot. However, I think it would be extremely difficult and time-consuming to do so on-site.
Even seasoned professional foundation contractors can misdiagnose the cause of cracks in drywall, without proper analysis. I have gone to a home and diagnosed the foundation problem in my mind before analyzing the data carefully. Many times after analyzing the data carefully I have discovered my initial opinion was 100% wrong and backwards. I can easily see how misdiagnosis can happen.
Structural damage in a home's foundation is far too important to the health of the home and its inhabitants to allow conclusions to be drawn without proper foundation inspection / investigation. So, what does a proper inspection look like, anyway? According the the Post Tension Institute, a little something like this.
At Arizona Foundation Solutions, initial foundation inspections are always free for the Homeowner. If the initial inspection indicates the potential for structural damage, a Forensic Analysis Report (foundation engineer inspection) would be recommended. The cost for the Forensic Analysis Report varies based on a number of factors, including the size of the home & distance from our offices. Once complete, the Forensic Analysis Report will include everything referenced here.
In most cases, no. Please consult with your Homeowners Insurance provider with additional questions.
PT Slabs are not impervious to failure. The tension cables within your slab can corrode & possibly snap. We are PT Level 1 certified & can help put your home back on a solid foundation!
Sadly, no. Some Foundation Repair Contractors do not have the education or experience required to diagnose structural problems. We believe that is best left to trained professionals, like Engineers. Some foundation repair contractors will tell you they also use engineers... what they don't tell you is that the engineer did little more than make sure the pier spacing was right for the permit, if a permit was even pulled in the first place. That's not an Engineered Foundation Solution.
The type of foundation plays a significant role in helping determine heave vs. settlement. There are three common types of foundations:
More detail on these foundations types may be found in my book (pages 5-7). Get your free copy here!
Why put your Home in the hands of the lowest bidding & least qualified contractor? You have a choice & we offer a warranty... in writing. Seriously.
Rules of Thumb IX: https://www.foundationaz.com/blog/rules-of-thumb-part-ix-signs-of-stress