It is not possible for homeowners to become professionals on every aspect of foundation performance. But, the foundation repair industry is full of inconsistencies and errors that conflict with the wellbeing of the homeowners. Foundation repair in the U.S. is a $51 billion per year industry. However, a lot of repairs are ineffective and misdiagnosed.
To cut through the maze of misinformation and hire a good foundation repair specialist, ask these questions:
- Is the individual doing the inspection paid a commission?
Several companies pay the technician who analyzes, inspects the data and makes suggestions based on what she or he sells to the homeowner. This makes a significant conflict of interest right from the beginning. A lot of salespeople have good talent. However, they lack the attention to detail needed for accurate analysis and observations, compared to foundation engineers.
- Has the company undergone training from several sources?
The people doing the analysis must have training certifications from industry sources, like independent foundation organizations or associations. The repair suggestions would consist of the products that supplier provides if a foundation inspection company receives training from one supplier that supplies an answer for one certain issue. There are a lot of foundation issues exist from one blanket solution to repair them all.
- Is the analysis reviewed by an engineer?
Would a licensed engineer have any reviews on the suggestions, analysis, and observations before you obtain them? How confident could a homeowner be that the foundation examination and repair plan obtained a full and objective analysis if there are no engineering reviews?
- Do they recommend foundation repairs they do not offer?
Inspection companies frequently sell a solution to a homeowner. But, they must also provide solutions to issues that need technologies they do not have.
For example, what do you think the interpretation of the issue would be if the company provides solutions for either heave or settlement – but not both. Most probably, it would slope towards the product of that company.
- Do the inspection methods follow the standards of the industry?
How could you know they are effective or useful at all if the inspection process does not follow any standards of the industry? Showing up and observing around does not mean they are doing the correct process. Even taking several elevations is not enough. Inspection methods must follow the industry standards.
- How would the company measure the severity of the issue?
Is it the opinion of the salesperson who is being paid on a commission to sell anything that day? You could see the conflict. Are they utilizing any standards accepted by the industry to judge the severity of the problem? The suggestions are only opinions that carry no credibility if the answer is no.
- How familiar is the inspector with the conditions?
This is more significant that you may think. Building practices and soils greatly vary from one state to another. The probability of errors is high if the company doesn’t have a good track record with local conditions.