We get calls daily from people wanting us to diagnose their foundation problems. People seem to have the idea that structural engineers are a waste of time and money. And yes, we have the knowledge and expertise needed to implement any foundation repair, but it is really in your best interest to keep the engineering side separated from the contracting side.
So, why do you need an independent assessment from a licensed structural engineer?
- Engineers are like the doctors for your home, they have the qualifications necessary to correctly design and diagnose any foundation issue. In this analogy we are more like the friendly, knowledgeable, neighborhood pharmacist. You may trust the pharmacist’s advice, but you should never skip the trip to the doctor.
- The engineer also carries no bias or incentive to design one type of system over another, or to overquote the job. You get nothing more than the right repair you need the first time and in our experience this process saves our clients money.
Having an engineer involved also protects you as the homeowner.
- Engineers carry their own warranties for their designs, allowing us to guarantee our workmanship. Their expertise and licensing also make obtaining permits or selling your home a breeze.
- Owning your designs ensures that you are comparing apples to apples when you bring them to contractors for quotes. So that you aren’t left guessing whether one solution is better than the other. Instead, you will know exactly what you need, which will better enable you to make an informed decision.
The following project is an example of why it is important to hire a structural engineer prior to hiring someone for foundation repairs. This home in Pleasant Ridge sat at the bottom of a hill and stormwater would funnel right into the front wall. This caused tremendous pressure on the wall and as a result: it had cracks, leaks, and signs of significant movement.
The homeowner had hired two different contractors in the past to try to correct the issue. And unfortunately, by the time an engineer was involved, the repairs had contributed to further damage.
The previous contractors had installed an additional 8-inch-thick foundation wall to support the first wall. Unfortunately, this wall had no footers or proper drainage, so all it did was add more pressure to the original wall.
Hughes Construction was hired to repair the repair using designs created by licensed structural engineer Chris Schwartz.
We excavated the front foundation wall, and installed what should have been installed in the first place: A good drainage system to whisk the water away from the home and reduce the pressure against it. We also installed counterforts to stabilize the foundation and prevent further movement. Then we waterproofed every inch of the wall, making sure that no water could come inside the home. Finally, we re-graded the yard to obtain the proper slope to redirect water away from the home.
This homeowner could have saved a lot of money if they hired an engineer the first time around. Not only did they pay three different contractors, but the first two caused more issues than they solved. To learn more about this double wall project, see below:
Click here for more about the benefits of getting a structural engineer involved prior to tackling foundation repairs.