ECP National Foundation Repair and Basement Waterproofing Workshop

clock September 23, 2013 06:39 by author
Contractors from ECP's National Network attend a full day workshop that covers every aspect of the foundation repair business.

 

Contractors from ECP's National Network of foundation specialist relax after a full day of Workshop presentations at the Royals game in Kansas City.

 

ECP is proud to announce that the 2013 ECP Contractors Workshop was a huge success. Contractors from across the country attended the educational workshop that covered subjects that ranged from Structural Repair of Walls to Understanding Cashflow in business.
"The 2013 Workshop was a success" according to Jeff Tully, GM of ECP. "The response from the contractors was very positive and the networking opportunity was fantastic", Tully went on to say.



World of Concrete Show

clock January 23, 2011 17:29 by author blogadmin
The World of Concrete is a convention for contractors that specialize in concrete and foundation repairs.

 

The World of Concrete (WOC) is a convention and expo for concrete and foundation contractors to visit and learn from exhibitors. The 2011 World of Concrete, while less attended due to economic reasons, fulfilled its goals for many specialty contractors from around the country. Weston Opat, National Sales Manager for Earth Contact Products, said "while attendance was down, the quality of visiting contractors was significant".

Earth Contact Products has displayed their foundation repair products and services at the WOC for 11 years. Recent years has seen declining numbers of visiting contractors yet many continue to come and seek out new products, knowledge and procedures. Many exhibitors, like Earth Contact Products fulfill these needs and provide ways for many contractors to diversify and expand their businesses during tough economic times. Weston Opat spoke of contractors that he visited with from Washington, California, Nebraska, Connecticut, Maine and Canada who all are seeking a quality manufacturer of helical anchors, steel push piers and wall anchors. While many of these contractors were able to visit with several manufacturers, "ECP appears to fit our needs in many ways", says Bill Ford (WCM Contractors).



Foundation Repair Your Underpinning Options

clock September 28, 2010 18:11 by author blogadmin
Avoid foundation repair contractors that take short cuts to make foundation repairs. Choose one that provides quality jobs and master the foundation methods.

 

 

Understanding all foundation repair or underpinning methods will help with your decision when deciding upon a foundation repair contractor. Some unscrupulous foundation repair contractors advertise that they can put in every type of piering system. Professional contractors concentrate on just one or two piering methods and master them. The contractors that claim to be a “jack of all trades” usually are the master of none. They generally take short cuts and due to the fact that they are not thoroughly trained in each specific method. Professional foundation repair contractors that pick a system or two and stick with it generally can master the methods and provide a better quality job. They may not have the answer for every situation but they will generally provide better quality work on the jobs that they accept. They are also more likely to be recommended by professional engineers. If an engineer is putting his reputation on the line they generally will recommend professional underpinning contractors to perform the work they specify.

Knowing the positives and negatives of each foundation repair system is one more step in getting a job well done. All commonly accepted methods have their place or application where they shine. Some methods, like steel push piers and helical anchors, are more adaptable to unique situations, yet even they have their limitations. Using the correct method for your particular application is the difference between a job well done and job that is less than satisfactory.

Steel push piers have an advantage over most systems in the fact that they are individually tested as they are installed. Professional underpinning contractors will monitor and record pressure readings and then compare them withstructural weights to determine capacities. They will also use a manifold lifting system to perform any lifting required to make sure that the lift does not put any undue pressure on the structure. Professioanl engineers prefer manifold lifting systems espeecially high pressure (10,000psi) systems that can be controlled from a single place.

Helical pier systems are another very popular system recommended by many professioanl engineers. Helical pier are "screwed" in the soil using a helical gear motor or torque motor. Once again pressures and torque reading are montiored and recorded to establish capacities. Without carefully monitoring these reading a verifiable capacity cannot be assumed. Professioanl engineers generally want to review these readings to verify that the helical piers have reached soil layers that can support the structure. Manifold lifting systems are once again the preffered method of lifting.

Simply, homeowners need to ask questions of engineers and underpinning contractors before choosing a contractor. Stay away from the jack of all trades and also be wary of the contractor who does not use a manifod lifting system. Many of these contractors use simple bottle jacks in their attempt to lift structures. These are all simple clues that you need to keep looking for a professional contractor to work on your most valuable asset, your home. As always hiring a independent professional engineer is the best course of action before any foundation repairs are started.

 

 



Ignoring Foundation Repair

clock June 27, 2009 20:19 by author blogadmin
By ignoring foundation repairs, your home may start to settle or move laterally. Hire a foundation repair expert to stabilize your foundation before it is too late.

 

Foundation repair is not something most of us like to think about. We tend to ignore it and hope that fixes itself. Foundation problems can be a stressful, potentially costly endeavor, filled with uncertainty, particularly if not done under the direction of a professional contractor or foundation engineer. 

Foundation Repair is needed when your foundation begins to settle or move laterally. This can be caused by building on expansive clay, compressible or improperly compacted fill soils, or improper maintenance around foundations.  

Foundation repairs aren't easily performed, so you cannot sit back and hope for the best. You must do your homework to find the best foundation repair contractor for the job. As usual, the lowest price is not always the best way to go. If you choose to make your final decision based on price, be prepared to be disappointed. Quality repairs take specialized equipment and specially trained people to perform the work. 

Needed foundation repair work can not be ignored. The traditional answer to foundation repair has been to erect piers to jack up the foundation and raise it off the expansive clay soil. The piers must be installed through the expansive or weak soils to stabilize the structure. Foundation repair can be the most expensive repair that you will make to a property. There are four major categories for this type of piering – steel push piers, helical piers, micro piles and concrete piles. Each of these have their benefits and logical applications. 

Steel push piers are hydraulically driven piers that use the weight of the structure to drive steel pier material through the soil until they reach a load bearing stratum for support. Once the pier material is driven, individual hydraulic cylinders are attached to each pier and the structure is either stabilized or lifted using a hydraulic manifold system. Steel push piers are best suited for basements, crawl spaces or other heavy structures. 

Helical piers are similar to push piers except they are screwed through the soil and use a steel plate, flight, to support the pile within layers of good soil. These piles must be monitored very closely upon installation to achieve their intended depths. Once an adequate depth is achieved, once again, a hydraulic manifold lifting system is installed to lift or stabilize the structure. These helical piers are ideally suited to light weight structures that only need a small lift or stabilization. 

Micro piles are hydraulically driven hollow steel piers that are filled with grout during installation or immediately upon completion. The hollow bar serves not only as structural steel but also as a means inject the grout. These high capacity piers use the same type of manifold lifting system as steel push piers and helical piers. While these piles have very large capacities and can be installed in soils that other piles cannot be installed in, they also require much more equipment for installation which make them more expensive to install. They are best suited for very heavy structures sitting upon poor soils laden with cobbles, boulders and trash. 

Concrete piers are piers that use a drilled hole filled with concrete that rely on skin friction for support. They are drilled or dug into the soil, usually beyond the active soils, and then filled with concrete. Once the concrete has hardened, a shimming system is usually employed to support the structure. These piers are not only messy but take much longer to complete. 

Foundation repair is critical to address as soon as you suspect a problem. For starters, the sooner you fix a failing foundation, the less damage it will cause. Due to the complexity of foundation repairs the best advice is to hire an engineer followed by a trained foundation repair contractor. These professionals will make sure that your home is fixed correctly and permanently. Do not ignore your foundation problems have them fixed by the pros.

 



Is your home showing signs of foundation problems?

clock May 19, 2009 11:03 by author blogadmin
Foundation engineers can repair foundation problems in your home by looking for wall cracks and signs of water damage.

                         

Is your home telling you that you have a foundation problem? Is there water in your basement or crawl space? Are your basement walls wet? Are your walls cracking?

If you can answer yes to any of the previous questions you need to contact a foundation repair expert today. These are all signs that your foundation is under stess and needs to have a foundation expert evaluate your situation before thigs get much worse. When things get worse they get more expensive so walk through your basement or go into your crawl space and take a look and see what your foundation is telling you. To find a foundation repair expert and learn more about foundation repair signs and causes visit www.myfoundationrepairs.com

Foundation engineers can be the best insurance that you can get when it comes to your homes foundation. An engineer will have your best interest in mind when he evaluates your homes foundation and he will give you tips and suggestions on what needs to be done and what you can do to help solve your current problem. The engineer then can oversee any repairs that need to be done and make sure that the work is performed correctly. To find a foundation engineer in your area visit www.foundationengineersnetwork.com today.

Your home is your largest investment, taking care of your home is money in your pocket.



Foundation Repair - Too Good to be True?

clock April 29, 2009 06:09 by author blogadmin
Foundation contractors are using steel push piers instead of concrete piles because they accurately measure pressure, depth and force on the structure.

 

Segmented concrete piles also known as pressed concrete piles, have been used for many years around the country, especially in Texas. They were originally designed for foundation repair in Texas due to the expansive nature of the clay soils located in many parts of the state. People were looking for an alternative to poured in place concrete pilings, hence the precast concrete segments. This solution became very popular and migrated throughout Texas and other southern state regions due to fantastic marketing and cheap pricing. Just now has the other shoe fallen.

 

With unprecedented lawsuits and educated engineers, the trend is flowing away from these stacked concrete pilings for foundation repairs. Instead of the soils being blamed for continued movement of homes, people are now blaming foundation repair contractors that use this process for their never ending foundation problems. The engineering community has become aware of these issues, many engineers are now demanding that any foundation repair system to be installed shall be driven below the upper active regions of the soils down to a load bearing stratum that is not affected by fluctuating moisture levels. This issue can be easily seen in areas with expansive clay soils. As the hot summer sun dries the clay soils, the concrete press piles cannot penetrate past the active soil layers like steel push piers can.

 

With the realization of these factors steel pier systems have become the favorite for homeowners and engineers alike. Steel piers that incorporate a synchronized lifting system eliminate the problems that segmented concrete piers have had while also providing an accurate way to measure pressure, depth and force on the structure. These variables allow a trained installing contractor to precisely drive pier sections to a load bearing layer of soil then lift the structure in a uniformed and controlled manner under the supervision of an engineer.

 

The segmented concrete piles have always had some problems but many these issues have been ignored or circumvented with shortcuts. The general impression was it is not perfect but it is cheap! For homeowners that had to live through these shortcomings, answers like these have not been satisfactory. The number one issue with these cabled or stacked concrete piles is the method and the depth that they are driven.

 

First, a red flag should be raised anytime a car jack (bottle jack) is used to lift a structure. Car jacks are fine for cars or trailers but should never be used in foundation repairs. Their capacities are very limited along with the fact that there is no way of determining the pressure that they are exerting on the home. In the installation of pressed concrete piles, car jacks are used to drive the concrete cylinders into the soil. Car jacks have a very small saddle that contacts the footing hence placing a much localized force on the concrete foundation. Many times footings will crack or crumble due to this method of foundation repair.

 

Next, the flat bottom 6” diameter concrete cylinders are pushed against the soil causing shallow drive depths. Picture in your mind the amount of force required to press a concrete cylinder into your front yard. Now picture, in your mind, that you are using a 1” diameter metal shaft to accomplish this task. The 1” shaft is using your footing to press the cylinder through the soil, obviously not a good situation. Not only are the 6” cylinders not going to drive very deep but the duress that is being placed on the footing is unacceptable.

 

Every foundation repair contractor worth his weight in salt calculates the weight of the structure before prescribing a method of repair. This information is necessary for driving pier sections along with lifting structures when there is a means of controlling hydraulic flow and pressure. Without being able to control flow or pressure, as with car jacks, foundation repair becomes a guessing game. Proper depth and soil conditions cannot be met when the structures weight and strength are not calculated.

 

To overcome the problem of not reaching proper depth many of the pressed concrete piling contractors have devised methods to help the pile drive through the soil. One such method is placing a cone shaped piece on the bottom of the leading concrete cylinder. This is supposed to overcome the resistance of pressing a flat surface against the soil. Now you will have a pointed end on the first section decreasing the friction, you will also have a finished pile resting on a pointed end. Obviously when you place the full weight of the structure on this pile it can push the pile even deeper due to the shape of the cone. If the pile drives easier due to its shape it will also settle easier due to its shape.

 

Another method used to overcome shallow depths is to use high pressure water jetting to lubricate (soften) the soil below the concrete cylinder. A high pressure line is forced down the center of the concrete piles blasting water into the soil making the piles install easier. Common sense tells us that if your home was built on expanding clay soils and you are having foundation issues, the introduction of more water into these soils is not a good solution. Good for the contractor yes, good for your home – No!

 

One of the latest innovations in the segmented concrete pile industry is a spiraled concrete cylinder. The theory is that the spiral shape makes it easier for the pile to drive through the soil and “reach up to 20% deeper”. Deeper than what? Twenty percent deeper than five feet is on one additional foot. This is not going to make any difference if the active layer continues 10-15’ below the surface.

 

Once again picture in your mind a spiral shaped concrete cylinder, as the cylinder is driven in the ground it turns about 90 degrees per foot of depth. Imagine, if you will, that the spiral on the cylinder causes the soil to move away from the center of the pile creating a void around the concrete cylinder. This sweeping action forces the soils outward in an irregular shape. As more cylinders follow each other a soil void is formed around the pile creating a friction pile that does not have the benefit of soil around itself. Once again this is a fine marketing tool to make your concrete cylinder different from others, but is it causing more potential harm than good?

 

The lift, now things really get interesting. Once the piles are driven down a couple of feet into the soil, the soil has been pushed away from the pile, the pile is setting on a muddy mess with a pointed end. Now for their lift of your home,  a block of concrete is placed on top of the last concrete cylinder driven and then the now famous car jack is placed on top of the block and they start pumping the handle. After your home is over raised, yes over raised, two small cylinders are placed along side of the car jack and steel shims of various thickness are slid between the new cylinders and the footing. These thin steel shims are now what your home is resting upon. The car jack is then lowered and your home drops down onto a stack of thin steel shims.

 

Segmented concrete piles were once “King” in Texas, but now due to their shortcomings, homeowners throughout the country are demanding more from foundation repair professionals. As with most home improvement projects information is the key to quality work. Like many foundation engineers throughout the country you to have been educated on foundation repair methods. Remember, do not make your decision based on advertising and cheap prices, if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.

 



Steel Push Pier Installation

clock March 2, 2009 11:55 by author blogadmin
Settled foundations composed of stone, concrete block or poured concrete can easily be restored by using steel push piers. The piers are 100% load tested.

 

   
 

Maybe the most popular form of foundation repair is steel push or

resistance piers. Understanding them is the first step to solving your 

foundation repair needs. 

 

Quiet vibration free hydraulic equipment is used to install the steel resistance piers. All of the installation equipment is highly portable and can be easily transported on the jobsite. After all of the piers are installed and load tested, the structure can be immediately restored or lifted by transferring the load of the home to the piers. There's no time wasted, waiting for concrete to cure, and no soil to remove from the site. A measured factor of safety is verified, as the piers are 100% load tested to a force greater than the actual working load.

Whether your foundation is composed of stone, concrete block or poured concrete, steel push piers should be your first choice as an underpinning solution. Foundation repair or underpinning projects are usually completed in just days, not weeks. Should conditions change, the piers can be easily inspected, tested and/or adjusted. The following steps provide an example of the typical installation procedure. Figure 1 shows a structure with a spread footing.  

   

 1.  Site survey: Pier placements are located around the structure and the location of underground utilities verified.

2.  Excavation: Small excavations or the entire perimeter is dug for access at each placement location. The space required at the foundation is usually about 3 feet square. (fig 1)

3.  Prep of the foundation: This includes notching the footing  to place the pier bracket under the stem wall, preparing the bearing area under the footing to a smooth and level condition, and adjusting the face of the stem wall to vertical at the point of bracket attachment. (fig 1)

 
   

 

4.  Bracket Attachment: The steel bracket is secured to the footing using anchor bolts. Attachment of the drive stand and the hydraulic cylinder that is used to force the pier pipe into the soil is mounted on the drive stand. (fig 2)

5.  Pier Pipe Installation: The pier pipe is advanced into the soil using the structure as the reaction force with a 10,000 psi hydraulic pump and cylinder combination. The piers may be installed from outside or inside the structure. Pier installation continues until rock or suitable bearing-strata is encountered below the unstable soil near the surface. (fig 2)

 

6.  Load Test: Every pier is load tested by increasing the force on the pier to insure the rock or bearing-strata will support a load greater than needed to guarantee a factor of safety. Typically an engineer will determine the load of the structure and the desired factor of safety before the load tests are performed. (fig 3)

7.  Preps for Restoration: Once all piers have been installed, load tested, and the installation data at each placement recorded; lifting head assemblies and hydraulic lifting rams are placed on the piers. The lifting cylinders are connected with one or more manifolds and operated using a hydraulic pump. (fig 3)

   
   

 

8.  Restoration: Under careful supervision, the load is transferred from the existing failing strata under the foundation, to the load tested piers. The structure can be transferred gently and evenly lifted to as close to the original elevation or to the recommendation of the engineer. The nuts at the pier caps are secured at each placement and the lifting equipment is removed. . (fig 4)

9.  Clean Up: The soil that was excavated at each pier placement is now replaced and compacted. The site is left clean and neat.

 



Home Sweet Home Foundation Repairs

clock March 2, 2009 08:26 by author blogadmin
We will help you find a competent and reliable foundation repair contractor to repair your settling and sinking foundation.

Whether you’re having your foundation repaired or simply having some cracks fixed, finding a competent and reliable foundation repair contractor is the first step to a successful and satisfying home improvement project.Your home may be your most valuable financial asset. That’s why it’s important to be cautious when you hire someone to work on it. Home improvement and repair and maintenance contractors often advertise in newspapers, the Yellow Pages, and on the radio and TV. However, don’t consider an ad an indication of the quality of a contractor’s work. Your best bet is a reality check from those in the know: friends, neighbors, or co-workers who have had improvement work done. Another valuable source is from foundation engineers. An engineer will come to your home and analyze your situation and give you a written plan to solve your foundation problems. With his recommendation get a written estimate from the foundation repair contractor. Have your question ready and make sure that he answers them to your satisfaction.To learn more of what you need to know before meeting with your contractor visit www.MyFoundationRepairs.com 

Home Improvement Professionals

Depending on the size and complexity of your project, you may choose to work with a number of different professionals:

  • Specialty Contractors use particular products, such as tuck pointing and landscaping.
  • Foundation Engineers oversee major renovations and make sure repair are done correctly. If your project includes structural changes, you may want to hire an engineer who specializes in foundation repairs.
  • Sheetrock Contractors have expertise in drywall repair and make sure that your home looks like new after the repairs are done.
  • Many Foundation Repair Contractors provide one-stop service. They see your project through from start to finish.

 Don’t Get Nailed

Not all contractors operate within the law. Here are some tip-offs to potential rip-offs. A less than reputable contractor:

  • solicits door-to-door;
  • just happens to have materials left over from a previous job;
  • only accepts cash payments;
  • tells you your job will be a "demonstration;"
  • pressures you for an immediate decision;
  • offers exceptionally long guarantees;
  • asks you to pay for the entire job up-front;

 Hiring a Home Repair Contractor

Interview each contractor you’re considering. Here are some questions to ask.

  • How long have you been in business? Look for a well-established company and check it out with consumer protection officials. They can tell you if there are unresolved consumer complaints on file. One caveat: No record of complaints against a particular contractor doesn’t necessarily mean no previous consumer problems. The may be a contractor is doing business under several different names.
  • Are you licensed and registered with the state? While most states license electrical and plumbing contractors, only 36 states have some type of licensing and registration statutes affecting contractors, remodelers, and/or specialty contractors. The licensing can range from simple registration to a detailed qualification process. Also, the licensing requirements in one locality may be different from the requirements in the rest of the state. Check with your local building department or consumer protection agency to find out about licensing requirements in your area. If your state has licensing laws, ask to see the contractor’s license. Make sure it’s current.
  • Are you certified by a manufacturer or other organization? Many reputable manufacturers have extensive training programs that provide certification for the contractor. Many national associations also have training and continuing education programs offered to their members.
  • How many projects like mine have you completed in the last year? Ask for a list. This will help you determine how familiar the contractor is with your type of project.
  • May I have a list of references? The contractor should be able to give you the names, addresses, and phone numbers of at least three clients who have projects similar to yours. Ask each how long ago the project was completed and if you can see it. Also, tell the contractor that you’d like to visit jobs in progress.
  • Will you be using subcontractors on this project? If yes, ask to meet them, and make sure they have current insurance coverage and licenses, if required. Also ask them if they were paid on time by this contractor. A "mechanic’s lien" could be placed on your home if your contractor fails to pay the subcontractors and suppliers on your project. That means the subcontractors and suppliers could go to court to force you to sell your home to satisfy their unpaid bills from your project. Protect yourself by asking the contractor, and every subcontractor and supplier, for a lien release or lien waiver.
  • What types of insurance do you carry? Contractors should have personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage. Ask for copies of insurance certificates, and make sure they’re current. Avoid doing business with contractors who don’t carry the appropriate insurance. Otherwise, you’ll be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur during the project.

 Checking References

Talk with some of the remodeler’s former customers. They can help you decide if a particular contractor is right for you. You may want to ask:

  • Can I visit your home to see the completed job?
  • Were you satisfied with the project? Was it completed on time?
  • Did the contractor keep you informed about the status of the project, and any problems along the way?
  • Were there unexpected costs? If so, what were they?
  • Did workers show up on time? Did they clean up after finishing the job?
  • Would you recommend the contractor?
  • Would you use the contractor again?

 Understanding Your Payment Options

You have several payment options for most home improvement and maintenance and repair projects. For example, you can get your own loan or ask the contractor to arrange financing for larger projects. For smaller projects, you may want to pay by check or credit card. Avoid paying cash. Whatever option you choose, be sure you have a reasonable payment schedule and a fair interest rate. Here are some additional tips:

  • Try to limit your down payment. Some state laws limit the amount of money a contractor can request as a down payment. Contact your state or local consumer agency to find out what the law is in your area.
  • Try to make payments during the project contingent upon completion of a defined amount of work. This way, if the work is not proceeding according to schedule, the payments also are delayed.
  • Don’t make the final payment or sign an affidavit of final release until you are satisfied with the work and know that the subcontractors and suppliers have been paid. Lien laws in your state may allow subcontractors and/or suppliers to file a mechanic’s lien against your home to satisfy their unpaid bills. Contact your local consumer agency for an explanation of lien laws where you live.
  • Some state or local laws limit the amount by which the final bill can exceed the estimate, unless you have approved the increase. Check with your local consumer agency.
  • If you have a problem with merchandise or services that you charged to a credit card and you have made a good faith effort to work out the problem with the seller, you have the right to withhold from the card issuer payment for the merchandise or services. You can withhold payment up to the amount of credit outstanding for the purchase, plus any finance or related charges.

 The "Home Improvement" Loan Scam

A contractor calls or knocks on your door and offers to install a new roof or remodel your kitchen at a price that sounds reasonable. You tell him you’re interested, but can’t afford it. He tells you it’s no problem — he can arrange financing through a lender he knows. You agree to the project, and the contractor begins work. At some point after the contractor begins, you are asked to sign a lot of papers. The papers may be blank or the lender may rush you to sign before you have time to read what you’ve been given to sign. You sign the papers. Later, you realize that the papers you signed are a home equity loan. The interest rate, points and fees seem very high. To make matters worse, the work on your home isn’t done right or hasn’t been completed, and the contractor, who may have been paid by the lender, has little interest in completing the work to your satisfaction.You can protect yourself from inappropriate lending practices. Here’s how.

Don’t:

  • Sign any document you haven’t read or any document that has blank spaces to be filled in after you sign.
  • Let anyone pressure you into signing any document.
  • Deed your property to anyone. First consult an attorney, a knowledgeable family member, or someone else you trust.

 Getting a Written Contract

Contract requirements vary by state. Even if your state does not require a written agreement, ask for one. A contract spells out the who, what, where, when and cost of your project. The agreement should be clear, concise and complete. Before you sign a contract, make sure it contains:

  • The contractor’s name, address, phone, and license number, if required.
  • The payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers.
  • An estimated start and completion date.
  • The contractor’s obligation to obtain all necessary permits.
  • How change orders will be handled. A change order — common on most remodeling jobs — is a written authorization to the contractor to make a change or addition to the work described in the original contract. It could affect the project’s cost and schedule. Remodelers often require payment for change orders before work begins.
  • A detailed list of all materials including color, model, size, brand name, and product.
  • Warranties covering materials and workmanship. The names and addresses of the parties honoring the warranties — contractor, distributor or manufacturer — must be identified. The length of the warranty period and any limitations also should be spelled out.
  • What the contractor will and will not do. For example, is site clean-up and trash hauling included in the price? Ask for a "broom clause." It makes the contractor responsible for all clean-up work, including spills and stains.
  • Oral promises also should be added to the written contract.

 Keeping Records

Keep all paperwork related to your project in one place. This includes copies of the contract, change orders and correspondence with your home improvement professionals. Keep a log or journal of all phone calls, conversations and activities. These records are especially important if you have problems with your project — during or after construction. 

Completing the Job: A Checklist

Before you sign off and make the final payment, use this checklist to make sure the job is complete. Check that:

  • All work meets the standards spelled out in the contract.
  • You have written warranties for materials and workmanship.
  • You have proof that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid.
  • The job site has been cleaned up and cleared of excess materials, tools and equipment.
  • You have inspected and approved the completed work.

 Where to Complain

If you have a problem with your home improvement project, first try to resolve it with the contractor. Many disputes can be resolved at this level. Follow any phone conversations with a letter you send by certified mail. Request a return receipt. That’s your proof that the company received your letter. Keep a copy for your files.If you can’t get satisfaction, consider contacting the following organizations for further information and help:

  • The manufacturer of installed products
  • State and local consumer protection offices.
  • Your state or local Builders Association and/or Remodelers Council.
  • Your local Better Business Bureau.
  • Local dispute resolution programs.

 For More Information Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.govTo order a free copy of How to Find a Professional Remodeler, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

NAHB Remodelers Council
Dept. FT
1201 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators: www.nacaanet.org

1010 Vermont Avenue, NW
Suite 514
Washington, DC 20005
E-mail: nacaa@erols.com
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement



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