Q: I live in the foothills where my 21-year-old two story home is built on a hillside. One end of the house sits on solid granite and the other end sits on landfill. The house has been sinking on the landfill end for the entire 21 years I have lived here, which has created wall cracks, slab cracks, a cracked beam in the attic, door frames that periodically require shaving of the door and/or latch in order for it to close properly, and other problems. I would like to know what type of contractor or engineer I should contact in order to have this problem assessed for repairs and costs.
A: It sounds like the foundation over the fill could be shored up using a device called a helical coil or other foundation pier system. You will need the services of a structural engineer to assess the situation, recommend a scope of work and submit
his calculations to apply for a permit to repair the foundation. Then you will need an experienced general contractor to implement the engineer’s plan to fix the foundation as well as make all the other necessary repairs to your home.
Although it is up to you to decide whether to hire the engineer or general contractor first, in my experience it is usually easier to hire the contractor first because he will be doing most of the work for you and probably already knows an engineer with whom he can work well.
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