For many homeowners, embarking on a foundation repair project seems like a scary and intimidating process. After all, the foundation is the most important structural element of the home. Its failure can disrupt the structure and everything inside it. Although every property is different, it should reassure you to know that well-designed foundation repairs can be completed with a high degree of success. The key to a successful foundation repair is to engage the right professionals for the job. When foundation repairs fail, it is often because the repair method did not adequately address all of the issues that led to the initial problem. Sometimes, contractors offer homeowners false hope with quick-fix methods that don’t take into account the big picture. Because foundation settlement can be a caused by variety of contributing factors, it is crucial that every foundation assessment and repair project begin with an evaluation by a licensed structural engineer. Here are five reasons your foundation repair project should start with a structural engineer:
Structural Engineers are technically trained.
To become a licensed structural engineer in the State of Washington a person must receive a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited University, pass an Engineer-in-Training exam, complete four years as an engineer-in-training under the supervision of a licensed engineer and pass a State-administered Professional Engineering Exam. After two more years in the field, the PE-licensed engineer is eligible to take the Structural Engineering exam to gain additional licensure for special structures and tall buildings. This is a rigorous amount of technical and hands-on experience for which there is no substitute.
No conflict of interest means you get the right repair for the job.
Most contractors that specialize in foundation repair also sell the products they will use to complete the repair. This conflict of interest may affect the type of repair they recommend for your home. An engineer’s job (and license) depend on his or her ability to provide a professional, unbiased opinion on the best repair for your individual problem. You can rest assured you are not being sold anything you don’t need. An engineer is a homeowner’s own professional consultant.
You can get an engineering report and construction documents.
An engineering report will carefully detail all of the structural damage found on the home and document recommended repairs. Often, an engineering report is required for completion of real estate transactions and loans. The engineering report gives professional guidance on the best course of action to take, so you can make an informed decision. The construction documents prepared by a structural engineer are used by the contractor to complete the repair work and are also required to obtain a building permit.
A properly designed repair will stand the test of time.
Would you hire an engineer to tile your counter or replace your shower? No. You would hire a skilled contractor with experience working with the materials and methods needed for that job. So, why would you hire a contractor to design a structural repair that relies on complex technical training? Engineers analyze buildings and design safe, permittable repairs that stand the test of time.
A proper foundation repair requires a team of professionals working together with the homeowner to achieve the best possible result. Once the repair design is completed and permitted, the engineer will deliver the plans to the homeowner and contractor and remain available for questions or changes throughout construction. If you do not have a specific contractor in mind, the engineer can assist you in evaluating bids and choosing the right contractor for the job.