Choosing A Foundation Contractor

Image that I personally found helpful during my "what is a joist" google query -Em O

Image that I personally found helpful during my "what is a joist" google query -Em O

You might have noticed that we went MIA for the past couple of weeks and the reason for that yet again involves our foundation.

We thought after we received our scope of work from the aforementioned structural engineer, that the bids process would be a walk in the park. As per usual, we were incorrect.  

We were instructed to get 3 bids on every major piece of work we are doing on the house. At least 2 should match and then you choose one of those two. So we gathered our 3 contacts and scheduled the inspections! In our case, no bids matched and no one just showed up and said, “we’ll do exactly what is on your SOW and we’ll charge you $X!” as we had asked the foundation gods to manifest for us.

We ruled out bid number one as it came from an unlicensed crew offering to do unpermitted work (possibly under the cover of night). We are all for a bargain, but decided that was just too risky for our first big job. It would take significantly longer, and, to be honest, the bid actually wasn’t much lower!

We were left with two bids, one outlining every possible contingency making us feel like the upcharge potential was through the roof (our albeit unstable roof which probably isn’t too difficult to puncture). The second bid was bare bones- leaving us wondering where the hidden charges are. And would someone for god sakes tell us if we need to be taking the efficiency apartment floor up or not?! (Although we are getting pretty buff from the 14lb crow bar we’ve been using.)

After spending some time with the bids, we were able to determine that the main differences between the two came down to

Contractor A

  • -158 ft of 4x6 beam
  • -100 ft of 2x6 joists
  • -excavation of the lower parts of the house @ $35 a foot
  • -foundation skirting price significantly higher than contractor B

Contractor B

  • -216 ft of 4x6 beam
  • -excavation of the lower parts of the house @ no charge
  • -foundation skirting price significantly lower than contractor A

Contractor B came in total around 2k below. Multiple phone calls and many google queries later we think we sorted out the discrepancy surrounding the joists. (A) put the joists in the bid under the assumption that since that part of the house is so low to the ground, the joists will most likely need to be replaced. We spoke to (B) and he explained that since we are getting an entirely new foundation from him, he will take care of any joist issues that arise. On top of that, he won’t charge us any extra for excavation, which could be quite extensive. His similar skirting offering is also cheaper. This sealed the deal for us, and we decided to go with B.

This may not seem that exciting in general, but it’s the first major decision we’ve made on our house and we are feeling pretty proud of ourselves for getting this far.

OH and as for those efficiency floors...since our foundation contractor doesn’t charge more for excavation, we decided to take up half the floors where the house is the lowest (to hopefully save some time on the overall job)  and leave the rest for them to take care of.

Alright, time for us to celebrate.

-Em & Em