House Leveling

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My son's two-story home has a cracked foundation with attendant settling.
He noticed a crew working on a house a few doors down and had a chat with the crew chief. The crew chief (named Guadeloupe) came and did a quick survey of my son's home. The chief said the problem could be fixed with 18 piers (each going down, in this soil, about twenty feet) and that his experienced crew (Juan, Jesus, Allesandro, and Moishe) could do the work over a two-day period.
For $3,000.
This is in dramatic contrast to the presumed cost of $15,000+ from the kinds of firms one normally thinks of when contemplating house leveling.
My son's rhetorical thought - and with which I agree - is "what could go wrong?" Even if the leveling didn't "take" and a more professional firm had to come and make "adjustments," the heavy-lifting (pardon the bad metaphor) would have already been done.
I tend to think that house-leveling is similar to replacing a breaker-box - not rocket surgery, but intimidating simply because it is so unusual, and that common sense plus the right tools, in experienced hands, are mostly what are essential.
Couple of other bits of knowledge: Guadeloupe is the brother of my son's neighbor and Guadeloupe knows my son has a gun.
Any random thoughts on the subject would be appreciated.
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HeyBub wrote:

And this 3k includes actual permits and insurance and so forth? Yeah, it may work, having a seat-of-the-pants repair job, done off the books. But the downside is that if they eff up, and the house collapses, insurance company may just look at your son and giggle. And they will also call the local inspection folks, and let them in on the joke. If this is out in the boonies in a 'no inspection' area, I might be tempted myself. In town with lots of eyes peering out of nearby houses, no way.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

Your points are well taken and should be considered by most folks.
As for busy-body neighbors, screw 'em. In our town there are no permits or inspections required.
We live WAY inside the city limits of the fourth-largest city in the nation (about 4 million in the metropolitan area, between Chicago and Philadelphia). Our town doesn't have any zoning laws either.
Works for us; very few houses fall down or blow up in any given year. And there's the convenience factor of living next door to a bodega on one side and a strip-club on the other. (It's a JOKE son, doesn't happen in real life.)
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I leveled my house but did it maybe 1/8" at a time over days to move it. I took a month to move it maybe 2" so walls glass did not crack. Do doors, windows close now. Cheap is good, but he needs to learn whats up so all goes well, even the 15000 guys may screw up.
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ransley wrote:

Excellent advice. Thanks.
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Done right?
Done Wrong?
You are in a better position than us to determine, and evaluate consequences.
Howsumever, you might wanna consider getting detailed estimates from the $15k folks. If you can size the job, determine that only very standard procedures (that the $3k guys can do competently) are necessary, all you'd have to worry about is the insurance, etc.
If the application looks at all tricky/complex, I'd see what kinda discounts the $15k guys might render.
P
"Take Yo' Hand Out My Pocket (I Ain't Got Nothing What Belongs To You)!" - Rice Miller, who probably never even _heard_ of GW Bush, Paulson, etc
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Puddin' Man wrote:

Good advice. If the "professional" comes out and bids $15,000, the next question for the pro is "I have a firm bid for $3,000. What do I get from you for the extra twelve?"
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*I would think that some engineering would be involved to determine the actual soil conditions that caused the problem to begin with. Was the house built on backfill or sandy soil? Maybe there is an underground stream which caused some erosion. I would talk to several contractors on the problem and their methods for correcting it. I don't think that this is a process that you want to go through more than once.
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John Grabowski wrote:

Right. The house is in a sub-division with, evidently, problematic soil conditions as evidenced by the neighbors also having to take remedial steps.
You may have heard the story of the ancient philosopher who said "The earth is suspended on the shoulders of the great Atlas. Atlas himself is standing on the back of a great turtle. And before you ask, it's turtles all the way down."
Here, it's clay all the way down.
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The quoted price seems WAY low.........less than $200 per pier installed and the house leveled? The numbers I heard thrown about (SoCal) is something like $1000 per pier.
Maybe G get's his piers for free.
To build on your service panel analogy (house leveling though more or less routine is not exactly in the same category) .....
if a service panel replacement runs something like $1500.....does it seem possible to do for $300?
cheers Bob
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BobK207 wrote:

I did mine -200 Amp - for (total out of pocket) $330.00. My son's (also 200-amp) was a tad less since we had parts left over from mine.
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You're not comparing apples to apples......your son's house leveling is not being approached as a DIY job (ie, "free labor")
it is being approached as a bootleg / discount job........
could you HIRE a guy to do your panel for $330 and how many hours did you & your son spend on the panel work?
be fair in your comparisons
cheers Bob
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BobK207 wrote:

Ah, good point.
'Course we paid retail for the parts and took our time - even backtracked in a couple of places - about ten man-hours for each job.
Still, if we had some door-to-door types doing the job, it could have cost, easily, $600.00.
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.........Still, if we had some door-to-door types doing the job, it could have cost, easily, $600.00. ........
Ok....that sounds like a fair "discounted / bootlegged" price.
So a door-to-door type for a house leveling with 18 piers installed should be more like maybe $6000, if we use the SWAG model of the service panel.
That $3000 price just seems way too low.
cheers Bob
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HeyBub wrote:

Get the builder to level it. They shouldn't have made it get crooked.
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As a side question...
It's crossed my mind a few times, if a house has a crawlspace and let's say thay had to resupport towards the inner part (let's pick center beam), how do they dig for a 10 ft or whatever pier when there's only a couple of feet under there?
I'm thinking start diggin down at the outer wall creating a "walkway". Or is there a magic drill/digger they use like for digging wells/oil etc that can get added on to as they get deeper.
Or is it more radical like cut a damn hole in the floor of your house (eeek!)
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Flip this house supplies answer.
Cut hole in floor:( and dig by hand for pier.........
Now thats a JOB I would NOT WANT!
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Red Green wrote:

The "piers" are only about 18-24" long. They keep pushing them down and stacking more until they won't go any more. They may only need two or three sections for a depth of six feet. In our case, twenty feet is the norm.
Here's a pic: http://www.olshanfoundation.com/content/cable-lock-plus-system-installation-process
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I have very little wisdom to add, but this question is easy. Your whole house could collapse, your uninsured crew could skip town and you could possibly be held liable for the cost of hauling away the rubble. "What are the chances of that happening?" is a harder question.
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wrote:

The ground around my house has been moving, and it continues to move. I had my driveway slabs jacked up and leveled last year ($1500). It was perfect after the job, but after a year there is more movement. Hopefully I can go another 5-10 years before its needs another job. The company can not really guarantee the ground will stop heaving or moving.
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