Here at Hughes Construction Company we want our clients to make informed decisions regarding their home’s foundation. Especially any services they are purchasing when having foundation/structural related problems. Its wise to understand the cause of the foundation cracks in order to understand how to best address them. And it is extremely important to be comfortable with the decisions you make going forward, including the contractor you hire.
Things to consider…
When looking to remedy cracks in your foundation the first step should always be to contact a licensed structural engineer. These licensed individuals will assess the property to determine what exactly is going on and why. Keep in mind there are many variables that come into play when determining how to proceed on any foundation/structural issues. Leave it to the engineers to consider all factors impacting the given situation and deciding what the best course of action is.
But doesn’t a structural engineer charge a fee? And isn’t that just an added cost on top of just fixing the problem?
Yes and no. Structural engineers do have a fee/cost associated with the time that they invest in coming out to assess your property and provide you with their expert opinion. However, that fee is well worth the peace of mind to ensure you are fixing your home correctly. On multiple occasions we have seen when a homeowner has just hired a contractor to fix a problem without consulting an engineer, only to find that the installed fix wasn’t the right fix at all. This leads the homeowner out the cost of that first application, and needing to hire someone to install the appropriate fix. Yet on other occasions we have seen times when extensive designs have been quoted by contractors for exorbitant costs only for that homeowner to need a few epoxy injections to solve their problem.
All in all, while there is a cost associated with hiring a licensed structural engineer. We have found over the years that this simple step has saved our customers money in the long run.
So when does the engineer get involved?
As mentioned above this should be the first step before proceeding with any work. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to hire a licensed structural engineer prior to hiring a contractor. As we have mentioned previously not all cracks or foundation failures are created equal, so there is not just a one size fits all approach to addressing them. Each home, each foundation, each yard’s soil conditions are all unique to that home. And the most expensive fix isn’t always the best fix, nor is the cheapest or quickest fix. This is why you should contact the engineer so that they determine the best path forward from an independent unbiased perspective. Engineers simply want the work done correctly the first time.
Do your homework! Make sure you are educated on what is going on with your foundation and the work that is required to correct any issues at hand. Additionally, make sure you know the contractor you are hiring. Ask questions, understand what the proposal entails, understand what the warranty is and whether that warranty is transferable to future home owners. And as previously stated, be comfortable with the decisions you are making. Making decisions about your home’s foundation/structural integrity can be overwhelming. Hiring a structural engineer allows for you the home owner to know what exactly you need for repairs from unbiased professional. This alleviates having to weed through the sales pitches trying to determine which approach best suites your needs and will fix your problem.