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Question DetailsAsked on 6/14/2017

basement repair. does every room need repair beams

recently bought a house that needed basement repair, one wall was bad, but beams were installed in every room

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1 Answer


Sounds like you are into one of the classic issues with foundation repair - commonly the contractor/homeowner goes with the cheapest which is commonly unsightly and leaves protruding beams or anchors which reduce the functionality and attractiveness of the basement. This is especially common with walls that can be "pulled back into alignment" or "tilted back up" where the contractor recommends/offers walers and/or soldier beams, which are unsightly and cause you to lose floor space if you want to finish out the space with conventional walls and drywall (though with special effort stud walls can commonly work around them). That solution is commonly offerred because it does not require a lot of special equipment like the commonly similar price but specialty equipment installation of tieback anchors spaced ovder the wall surface.

At least it sounds like you got a meaningful structural solution, rather than one of the tape-on or "super sealant" scams.

1) If this was work done under a contingency requirement in your purchase contract, then for this major a work item the scope and repair should have been defined and agreed to in advance by the Seller and Buyer - presumably by agreeing to a scope of work in an engineer's remediation plan.

But if the inspection / contingency item indicated only the one wall was to be repaired with (presumably) a waler (which is a horizontal beam across the wall, tied back into the earth outside the wall with earth anchors or deadmen or such) or maybe soldier beams (similar but vertical members supporting he wall) and every wall was done, you would have the right (upon seeing it before closing) to reject the repair as beyond the agreed upon scope and not in the realm of the interference and ugliness you expected, so you would normally have the right to terminate the contract. Actually you might be able to terminate both because of that and because while one wall needing additional support might be considered a single point loading or construction flaw issue, the entire foundation needing it (presumptively all walls needed it if it was actually done) would be indicative of a much more serious and prevalent foundation problem that, had you known about it at that time, might have caused you to drop your offer at that time. Would get into both a scope of repair and a failure to disclose issue, potentially, if the Owner knew all walls needed it (or he had been told they did) as a result of the contingency repair design/bid process and did not pass that info on to you, especially if it occurred during your contingency period under the contract, he should have notified you of it. If that is the case, talk to your real estate attorney if you have one - or maybe initially, with your real estate agent about the status and options under your contingency item for the foundation wall.

2) If this work was done at YOUR cost, after the purchase closed, then you have a scope of work problem - which should have been resolved BEFORE the work started. If your scope called for one wall and the contractor did all without a change order or approval, then unless he can convince you they were necessary (which would likely mean you need a Structural or Geotechnical Engineer advising you and talking with the contractor about the need for them) and get you to agree to a change in scope to include all of them, the if they were out-of-scope you can require that he remove them and patch any wall penetrations with waterproof grout or equivalant, depending on the particulars of the case. If the scope was not well-defined - say it waqs described as "shjore up foundation walls" then you have a failure to achieve a "meeting of the minds", which is an essentiall to have a contract - meaning both parties have to be talking the same scope of work and compensation for a contract to be valid. If the scope was nebulous and he did more than you expected, then you have a contract dispute which will probably require expert mediation or arbitration regarding what was appropriate and necessary and what might have been overkill or milking the job - or if things get nasty, then a lawsuit.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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