Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Concerns about quality of work by non-Louisiana contractors

ranz posted this concern in DailyKos:

I have major concerns about the quality of workmanship Louisiana residents will receive. Non US companies have no roots in the communities they serve and therefore do not have to live with the consequences of bad workmanship. They can "cut and run".

To which luckydog responded:
In some communities, there are alotta houses being raised. There are alotta folks who are - perhaps rather suddenly - contractors specializing in raising houses. Awhile back, it was roofers - suddenly, there were alotta roofing contractors. You can imagine.

It seems that local governments have not added additional building inspectors. It seems that the amount of construction far exceeds the capacity of proper inspection.

Many of the houses being raised right now are frame houses that were originally built raised a foot-or-two off the ground. Raising such a house is fairly straight-forward - you put steel I-beams under it and jack it up about 12-14 feet off the ground, inserting heavy wooden blocks as you go. Yes, improperly jacking the house can put undue stress on the structure and weaken it, still I haven't noted any houses that outright fell off the jacks 'cause the contractors got it so wrong.

The tricky durability part is what you put under the house to support it when you take away the jacks.

Under the house, most folks put in a slab over a foot-or-so of heavy red clay. Some folks are not putting in slabs, just a layer of clay. Maybe they plan to lay a slab after the rest of the work is done - tho' even that seems to say that the weight of the posts rests under the slab. Slab or not, some folks then put in metal posts, some use cinder block posts, some use coffered concrete posts. Some folks use alotta posts, some use not so many posts.

I dunno what codes are per this - but it's clear that there is a range of practice, and logically these different practices show different ranges of durability.

Some home-owners looking to raise their houses, for different reasons, may make choices based on what costs are involved, rather than what is most durable. Some home-owners are making compromises based on getting the work done - or at least started - quickly. It seems likely that there are some home-owners who are looking for minimal posts so as to have "new, open, living area or garage space".

And some workers - from all over the place - have come here and done fine work for a decent, fair price. Some have not.

When I look around, I see a range of durability in the product. I'm guessing that you know what that really means.

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