New foundation, old house

Discussion in 'Framing and Foundation' started by Begreen, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. Mar 4, 2006 #1

    Begreen

    Begreen

    Begreen

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    We have an 80 yr. old, 2 story farmhouse on a pier and post foundation and have been trying to get it on a fully sealed perimeter wall system. We've contacted local (rural) contractors and there seems to be two approaches. One is to lift the house many feet in the air so that they can work. Then drop the house on the new foundation. The other approach is to support the floor joists close to the perimeter and then dig, form and pour the foundation in place without lifting the house.

    Which approach makes the most sense? We don't want to change the height of the house permanently. One contractor proposed building a permanent inner support system about 2 ft inside of the perimeter (complete with poured footings) and then, one section at a time, building foundation forms and pouring. That means 5 pours. This seems like overkill, but I am not a foundation specialist. The bid was the same as lifting the house, so I fail to see the advantage of this approach. I would have thought that installing a temporary system of (cribbing? jacks?) to support the house while the foundation forms are built would be more appropriate. Good common sense would sure be appreciated about now. Please share your thoughts.

    Thanks, Will
     
  2. Mar 4, 2006 #2

    Begreen

    Begreen

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    I should add that the house is remarkably level and true, so all we're trying to do is get it on a good base. The reason being that right now the crawl space is horrible, no one wants to work under there so we can't get the floor insulated, plumbing done, etc.. Also we have a problem with rodent intrusion that we want to put a halt to.
     
  3. Mar 4, 2006 #3

    Square Eye

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    The house being level now, I don't see any reason to lift any part of the house.Why don't these guys just knock out a section at a time on opposite walls and pour concrete to the existing floor system? They could leave enough to adequately support the house while forming and pouring. Are these guys wanting to lay block?
     
  4. Mar 4, 2006 #4

    Begreen

    Begreen

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    Nobody's proposed laying block yet. This is pour and pump that they are proposing. The last to bid contractor has not done a job this big. He requested that an engineer specify how to do the job. It's the engineer that came up with the idea of total house support next to the foundation wall. I don't mind being safe, but I don't understand why the engineer is proposing a permanent inner support structure. Once the house is on the new foundation, this inner structure appears to be totally redundant. Temporary support makes more sense to me, but I'm not a builder.
     
  5. Mar 4, 2006 #5

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    Hello Begreen,
    Sounds like quite the project. In actuality it's not so bad.
    First what type soil do you have and how far away can they support temporary posts from the new foundation?
    The reason is if its sandy or really clay soil you need two different approaches.
    The sandy soil is best done in sections of the house and no lifting as square eye said. This is because you can have collapse during the construction of the foundation if to much area is excavated at once.
    The problem with the clay is that if you do it in sections, it may have a tendency to leak or crack if you don't do a single pour of the foundation. This means lifting the house. The house can be set true again without any problems so it's not a big concern.They will cut the electrical and plumbing to lift the home however, hope your not going to stay.
    This sounds like a big undertaking but many have come through this unscathed, The professional you hire makes all the difference.

    You get lemons if you pay for lemons!:D

    InspectorD
     
  6. Mar 4, 2006 #6

    Square Eye

    Square Eye

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    It sounds to me like the engineer is doing a "cover my tail". If the house shifted or the temporary support failed, well, he can already smell the lawsuit. A full perimeter permanent structure inside a new foundation wall is redundant to the structure of the home.

    InspectorD and myself may have to come do this one ourselves. Ha-Ha-ha-ha,,just kidding, someone will surely give you an acceptable proposal if you keep looking.
     
  7. Mar 4, 2006 #7

    Begreen

    Begreen

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    duplicate post, can't delete
     
  8. Mar 4, 2006 #8

    Begreen

    Begreen

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    The soil is glacial till, somewhat sandy down to about 8 feel then below that clay. This does 'seem' like a butt covering exercise at my expense. :confused: The engineer did have a house collapse many years ago (weekend foundation fixing party with whole house on cribbing). There was a fatality connected. That may explain the suggested process.

    It's the permanent installation of a complete interior perimeter support system that seems so unconventional to me and so expensive. This house is on a gentle slope of about 2' over the 35' width of the house. There have been no soil stability issues in this area, no drainage issues, etc. So the approach of one side at a time with good - temporary - supporting, seems to make sense to me. How much risk is there with a good temporary support system when three other sides of the house remain supported? What is the best temporary support system? The house is approx 30 x 35. What is in very rough ballpark terms is the average cost for this kind of work? (Please say what region too).

    If there is any good information on this on the web, it would sure be appreciated.
     
  9. Mar 4, 2006 #9

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    I actually have the answer for you, hope it helps.

    www.iasm.org

    :) Inspectord
     
  10. Mar 5, 2006 #10

    Begreen

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    We're on the same wavelength. I spoke with the contractor today and we are going to contact local house lifters to get estimates for lifting. One of the names that came up is on the iasm list for WA. Thanks for the tip.
     
  11. Mar 5, 2006 #11

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    Please tell us how you make out. Post some pictures and time lines or just info would be great.It's getting so folks here (not yourself yet)get the answers and dont follow through with the outcome.It helps if we all know how are advice works out. Like are we close or way off what you end up with in the end.

    Your welcome for the advice,
    I use this forum to keep my mind sharp, Always learning
    InspectorD:D
     
  12. Mar 10, 2006 #12

    Begreen

    Begreen

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    I meet with Tom of Robbins and Co. next Wed. to get their costs and approach. In the meantime, the contractor is examining a more conventional approach of temporary supports with cribbing. I'm hoping to reach a conclusion by next week this time.
     
  13. May 19, 2006 #13

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    Well????:D
    Would love to here what the results are.............
     
  14. May 19, 2006 #14

    woodworkingmenace

    woodworkingmenace

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    Well, its been long enough...

    I have overstayed my time...

    Nice to see and get to know you all...

    Have a Great Life!

    And, stay Faithful to the LORD...

    chow

    Jesse
     
  15. May 20, 2006 #15

    Square Eye

    Square Eye

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    ???

    Where are you going Jesse?

    You're up to $2.34, 2 cents at a time.

    Why quit now?

    I never saw a flame or anything too aggressive against you.

    ???
     
  16. May 20, 2006 #16

    Begreen

    Begreen

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    No results yet, but soon I hope. It's taken time for getting a permit, lining up excavator and foundation contractors and deciding on house lifter. We thought we were all set there until today.

    The house lifter we had selected has been out twice. The first time he was out he gave us a verbal estimate of $13000 if we wanted the fireplace structure lifted with the house. If we got rid of the fireplace, it dropped $1500 to maybe 11.5. We took a couple weeks to shop around and get a few more quotes. One never got back to us and the other came in at 16,000. I can vouch for this guy, his firm did a friends house, very professional. We also decided to remove the entire fireplace assembly (82 yrs old, very crumbly mortar).

    We called the lifter and said we were ready to sign up. He came out again, because he had lost our paperwork over the past 4 weeks it took to get the permit moving and had forgotten about us. Today we finally got the written proposal - $17000 - after we've already pulled the chimney. We're bummed. They have us penciled in for a June 1st lift, but we feel like we're getting fleeced all of a sudden. May fall back to the second bidder if he is still available. What would you do? Is it normal to be off 33% on an estimate of this size?

    pile-o-bricks_web.jpg
     
  17. May 22, 2006 #17

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    Don't wait to long....the prices keep going up!! I'm sure you have done your research. Do you like one over the other? Does one seem more professional? Lost paperwork is not a good start. Verbal agreement's on price are not a sign of a good contractor in my opinion. A written estimate to follow is usually what I would tell a customer that hounded me for a ballpark price on the spot. To do otherwise is to create an anxiety and a potential lack of confidence from the start.They seem to be in the same price range, and the second contractor has worked with your neighbor with good results.Did the second contractor give you a verbal price also?

    My opinion? Go with what you think is the professional. On-time to the meeting,cleanliness of equipment,job and person,communication abilities are big items....who has more experience is the biggest question. You don't want to loose your home to collapse. What kind of differences in their insurance are there?
    Don't let the price matter to much because you do get what you pay for. (If you pay close attention to details)Then answer these questions and see what pans out.

    Do it quick....do you have that sinking feeling yet?:D
     
  18. May 22, 2006 #18

    Begreen

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    Both are considered the best in the area, experience is about equal. The one whose estimator came out and has the 33% markup is a big firm that has done lots of jobs. It's Robbins & Co., they are an IASM member and do lots of commercial work too. The other concern Kunkel, is 4th generation local lifters and movers, smaller, not IASM, and more focussed on residential lifts and moves, but from what I've heard, very conscientious, professional and hardworking. I am leaning towards the second if he can fit me in. This is no longer about price, it is about ethics.

    My guess on this is that the field rep for the first company is either a lousy estimator or a jerk. It's hard to say how well he represents the company or just his commision. What I suspect happened is that he submitted his proposal to the shop foreman, aka the guy actually setting up the work, and the shop foreman tacked on an extra day. In this business the cost are roughly $4K/day, so that would explain the 33% increase. I can understand this and would go with it if we had an upfront contract specifying that the deal is for $13K if 3 days and if it goes to 4 days then $17K, but so far this hasn't been presented by the first party. With the second company, you deal with one person, the owner. He is a straight shooter and thus becoming my choice.
     
  19. May 22, 2006 #19

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    The one man operation sounds like a good alternative.
    Bigger companies sometimes don't give you the personal commitment you may want.
    Get some references and don't pay in full till your satisfied.;)
    Did you ever find out what the underlying problem was?
     
  20. May 22, 2006 #20

    Begreen

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    Spoke with the large company rep first thing today. He thinks it may be as I suggested, an extra day got tacked on by the crew foreman who hasn't been to the site. He says as soon as crews are dispatched, he will check with the foreman. Should be back to me within the hour. I proposed that we negotiate a new contract, (I haven't signed yet), based on 3 crew days with a rider for the 4th day in case it takes that long. Should hear back from them soon.

    If they're not reasonable, we'll go with the smaller firm. But that will likely mean a reschedule of everybody involved. At this point, this not that trivial. We're supposed to start lifting in one week.

    Is this what you meant by the underlying problem?

    ---> later editted update:

    Yep, that was the case. They tacked on an extra day for cleanup. After talking it over we've agreed that 3 days should suffice. The contract is now back at original estimate with a condition that if a 4th day is required I pay the $3.7k for that day.

    Just met with the excavator. He's worked with this firm and says they do their job well. So we're signed up and on track for lift on 5/30. The house will be in the air for 3 weeks. Should have pics and more news in a little over a week.
     

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