Structural Inspections &
Although the Residential Building Code does not require a Professional Engineer be involved with design or construction of a home, a Structural Inspection could be the single most important step you take when purchasing a home, building a home, or maintaining a home you already own. Foundation repairs can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Over the years, construction practices and building codes have changed dramatically. A great deal of the changes are a result of learning what works and what does not work through trial and error. Many older homes in our area were constructed with less than ideal building practices when compared to today's standards. A common example is building a home with unreinforced basement retaining walls. Additionally, the mountainous terrain that we have been blessed with here in Charleston, WV presents many challenges for residential building contractors. One construction challenge is building on steep sloping lots which leave the foundation of the home vulnerable to settlement or slippage. Sloping lots can also direct water towards the foundation of the home, which can lead to an excess accumulation of water and hydrostatic pressure and result in bowing, leaning, and cracked foundation walls.
Structural or Engineering Inspections can performed in one, two, or three phases. These phases include:
Initial Structural or Engineering Inspection
Development of Structural Repair Plans (if needed)
Repair Oversight & Final Sign Off
An Initial Structural or Engineering Inspection is a visual evaluation of the accessible components of the home or building’s structural systems. All Structural Inspections are performed by Brett Hodgdon, a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of West Virginia. The Structural Inspection can be a comprehensive review of the entire structure or limited to a specific area at the client’s request. Both a Foundation Inspection and Framing Inspection are included in a comprehensive Structural Inspection. A narrative report with pictures and general diagrams will be generated and provided to the client. The goal of a Structural Inspection is to determine the current condition of the structural components of the property and whether any repairs are needed to stabilize the foundation or reinforce the framing systems.
Structural Repair Plans can be produced to allow foundation repair contractors to prepare estimates based on the same scope of work if the initial Structural Inspection determines repairs are necessary to any of the structural components of the property. This repair plan is similar to a blueprint and ensures all areas of concern are addressed during the repair process. The Structural Repair Plan includes multiple diagrams that are specific to the property. The diagrams will include a plan view of the property specifying where the repairs are to be performed. Other diagrams detailing how the repair is to be performed will also be included. The number of diagrams will vary based on the scope of work. There are many different techniques and proprietary systems that can be utilized to repair foundations that vary in cost. While developing a Structural Repair Plan, the client's budget is always kept in mind.
Repair Oversight and Final Sign Off is the final step in the process. While the structural repairs are being performed by a foundation repair contractor, site visits are made to review the progress of the repairs to ensure they are completed in compliance with the repair plan. In some cases, changes to the initial plans must be made due to unforeseen conditions that are uncovered during excavation or when wall coverings are removed. At the completion of the project, a letter acknowledging proper completion of the repairs will be provided with an As-Built diagram if changes were made to the initial scope of work.