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Re: Foundation Pinning

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GSKWY(--nospam--at) wrote:

But I am curious, in locations where this is commonly done (Houston comes to mind), what is the accepted procedure for determining the pile placement and particularly the number of piles. Does the design have to be done by a registered engineer?

My experience is exactly what you described.

There is no requirement here in Texas for an engineered design for underpinning. In those locations with building code enforcement--the City of Houston and other municipalities--the contractor is required to submit a sketch for building permitting, but as long as it has an engineer's seal it is accepted. And there are plenty of engineers, sadly, who'll seal whatever the contractor gives him in exchange for $150.

There are a few examples of such foundation work that has been done according to Hoyle: A complete geotechnical investigation is done, a careful measurement of the actual foundation movement is performed, and the underpinning plan is developed using that data. But it costs a bundle, and with foundation repair being a "commodity" in this market (regular radio and TV advertisements, etc.--like you're talking about Pest Control or some such service), it is almost never done.

You were right to back out of this project.

Bill Polhemus, P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company

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