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Posted: 6/18/2003 8:08:06 PM EDT
I was wondering if anyone can tell me how much a structural engineer would charge to draw up a plan for repairing part of a basement wall (which will involve excavation outdoors and pouring cement). The guy I "hired" now wants $1500 more to complete the job. And he's really slow and unreliable. I am wondering if I should cut my losses and seek another engineer. GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 5:21:51 AM EDT
Anyone? Hard to believe we have no structural engineers or excavation experts on ar15.com! GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 5:41:02 AM EDT
Ouch. $1500 sounds steep. I'm an architect, and I'd say go find another engineer. I can't give you an accurate payscale, but what you need doesn't sound that complicated.
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 5:46:23 AM EDT
they have basement repair guys who do this stuff all the time, it is not hard to do, kinda works like the crappy drawing that I will attach in a second.
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 5:46:24 AM EDT
Doc: I'm a Civil Engineer that specializes in structures. My company does not do any residential work, though. We stick to heavy industrial work. However, I can offer some insight into your problem. If we were to tackle such a project, our proposed fee would be in the neighborhood of $1800-$2500, depending on the complexity of the repair. We charge $90/hour for engineer time and $60/hour for technician time, which is below the national and local average. However, we're a small company with low overhead. So, what I'm saying is that we'd put about 16 engineer hours and maybe 12 technician hours into such a repair. The reason we don't do residential work is because of the high liablity vs. revenue ratio. Our Professional Liability Insurance carrier would effectively double our rates (which just went up another 15% after a 25% hike last year) if 25% of our revenue came from residential work. There are other engineers that do a lot of residential work, and some that do only residental work, and in my opinion, they can have it. Leaves more industrial work for me. If you fire your current engineer and hire another, it'll still cost you about $1500. However, if the guy you have now isn't performing, then it may not end at $1500 with him. If you're dissatisfied with the current engineer, by all means don't let him get any further into your wallet. Was this helpful? If you have any other concers, let me know.
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 5:57:46 AM EDT
crappy but you get the idea [img]http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-6/141064/XKYOV-cs.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 6:22:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DzlBenz: Was this helpful? If you have any other concers, let me know.
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Yes! That was very helpful and I appreciate the coments you all passed on here. The engineer is charging about $120 per hour and he has $500 already for the first visit to the house. We wants $1500 more (half up front) to produce drawings, but it sounds like it is reasonable. I am sympathetic to why this guy has been so slow (he visited the hosue late last November!) since construction has been booming here, and with the wet winter and spring there have been lots of demand for structural work and waterproofing. I'm going to send the guy the check and hope he completes the job in a timely manner. Can I ask one more question: the excavation job is going to require digging down to the footer on about a 6-8 foot section of wall at a corner, fixing the footer, shoving the wall back into place and pouring a re-inforcing wall behind it. Any idea what the construction cost will be for this? The Engineer seems to think it will take 3 guys and a backhoe about 3 days to do the job. Thanks!! GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 6:28:51 AM EDT
I don't mind saying, [b]cyanide[/b], but you were right: that is a crappy picture. However, it does illustrate the basic principle of a tie-back stabilization method. To expand on this a bit, the method involves a long rod that is drilled into the soil beyond the basement wall. Once the anchor is firmly bedded in the soil, a plate and nut are installed inside the basement, and the wall is stabilized from further deflection into the house. The science comes in knowing how many anchors are required, and wheter or not the existing basement wall has sufficient strength to withstand the repair. Furthermore, depending on the extent of the damage and subsequent repair, additional reinforcing of the wall may be required. This reinforcement may be in the form of strongbacks, walers or other structural elements. Of course, this presumes that the the problem you are having is basement walls caving in. This is the most common problem with basement walls in regions with expansive (usually clay) soils. The basement wall as originally constructed was not provided with adequate reinforcing to resist the lateral hydraulic pressure of the soil. The tieback method illustrated in [b]cyanide[/b]'s sketch only treats the symptom, in this case cracks in the basement wall. To prevent further damage to the wall, the soil in contact with the wall must be completely excavated to allow for installation of proper foundation drainage. Once the drainage is installed, the tiebacks can be placed and the excavation can be backfilled. It is essential to follow the engineer-specified backfill procedures for a complete repair. Finally, there will be continual maintenance in the form of landscaping and drainage to ensure that moisture does not build up along the basement wall. Unless your local authority requires an engineer's seal on the drawings, you could just hire a qualified foundation repair contractor to design and install the repair.
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 6:47:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/19/2003 6:55:32 AM EDT by DzlBenz]
[b]GunLvrPHD[/b]: Sorry, I was banging out a follow-up to [b]cyanide[/b]'s post when you posted your reply. If I were in a similar situation, I would not send the engineer another nickel until a had a written proposal indicating the scope of work and a schedule for completion of the engineering. This way, if the guy does not perform, there is a contract that can be used to withhold the future payments. I'm very familiar with this situation, and it is important that the client have some protection in the matter. It sounds from your description of the repair that what you might have is a case where the existing footing was either undermined or overloaded. The installation of a counterfort wall indicates that there has been some lateral displacement of the existing basement wall, or at least the possibility for such a condition. Interesting. As far as the cost goes, you could estimate $200 per cubic yard for the reinforced concrete, in place. The excavation and backfill could be about $200 per cubic yard, but remember that the volume of the excavation will be quite large to allow access to the repair area. Add in costs for the contractor to mobilize and de-mobilize as well as other general conditions. It's hard to say what the extent of your repair truly is. If you're going to competitively bid the work, make sure that you have very thorough and clear specifications from the engineer for all materials as well as a recommended construction sequence. Since you mention that there is a lot of activity in your area due to the wet spring, it may not be the right time to get the best price on the repair work. If you can afford to wait until the fall to do the work, you might be in a better position to negotiate the price with the contractor. If, however, you're trying to sell the house or have some other need to complete the work right away, you're going to be a victim of the current market forces. Good luck. EDITED to correct various spelling atrocities.
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 7:02:14 AM EDT
Thanks! I am definitely going to wait until later in the summer to start getting bids for this work. I'd be happy to get it done over the winter but I'd like to have the work done early enough in the fall that I can get grass growing over the excavated area. The wall is being pushed in and cracked at one area and the footer has been "melted" by a poor waterproofing job. I have not been in the house long but the previous owners covered up the problem with panelling (they had studs behind the panelling of different sizes to make it look like the wall was straight). Of course my home inspector didn't spot it. Thanks, GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 7:10:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD: ... the previous owners covered up the problem with panelling (they had studs behind the panelling of different sizes to make it look like the wall was straight). Of course my home inspector didn't spot it.
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Ah, paneling: the miracle cure.
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