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TOPIC: Foundation Inspection Equipment

Foundation Inspection Equipment 3 years 4 months ago #66713

Does anyone have any advice regarding effective equipment or tools for inspecting foundations? I read a review on an altimeter (ZIPLEVEL PRO-2000B High Precision Altimeter (Basic) Model — Model# ZLP-075, $699) and was wondering if it would be worth the investment. I've had a few clients who expect me to have special tools to check the foundation. I get the feeling that in their minds your not really inspecting the foundation unless your using some kind of special tools or equipment. I don't mind spending the money if it's going to help. Here's the thing though. What happens when you have multiple type flooring? Carpet to tile etc. Also, what if the thin set was poorly installed. Now I'm blaming the foundation for bad flooring work?? Thoughts? Also, is there some kind of standard elevation differential threshold/guideline for categorizing the foundation as defective or in need of further review by a licensed foundation engineer? Thoughts?
-Art Jimenez, Texas Inspector with Alamo Inspections

ZIPLEVEL PRO-2000B High Precision Altimeter (Basic) Model — Model# ZLP-075

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Foundation Inspection Equipment 3 years 4 months ago #66715

I use a smart leveler (digital water level) very similar in function to zip-level, when I am doing foundation evaluations of residential or commercial structures for structural engineering firm (data gathering). I also use it a lot in commercial inspections. I don't use it that much in my HI inspections unless it is a new construction & I am establishing a baseline elevation for comparison at a later date (think 11 month warranty inspection) or if the structure is in an area known for settlement issues. 4" and 6" spirit levels at finished floors to check level & flat, plumb of walls and so on. A plumb bob with a neon green or orange string line lets me photo sags in beams, joists and is a quick check for out of plumb columns, walls, doors and the like. Tolerances for "flatness" or level in floors may vary from region to region and there are other factors that have to be considered. Overall foundation deflection, localized foundation deflection and overall foundation tilt. Be careful using a precision altimeter and calling out a foundation as problematic. You need to call in a structural engineer or work with the engineer and let them make that call. Bottom line is that it's another tool you can use to point toward possible issues. Before you start using this you need to get some training or work with an experienced foundation contractor or an engineer so that you understand all the factors that go in...

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Alton Darty    AR Lic. #HI-1496
ATN Inspection Services, LLC
Home & Commercial Inspections throughout the NE Arkansas and SE Missouri regions.
Osceola, Arkansas 72370
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