Books, Articles & Blogs

Foundation Behavior & Repair, Third Edition, Robert Wade Brown 


Guidelines for the Evaluation and Repair of Residential Foundations, version 2, The TBPE has indicated to Texas Professional Engineers that they may consult this document to determine if an engineer making foundation performance evaluations has done so competently. It is a guideline, not a standard-of-care and I treat it as such.

Repair of Residential and Light Commercial Foundations, Robert Brown PE. One of the very few books written by a Texas Professional Engineer who also founded and ran a foundation repair business.

Foundations in Expansive Soils, (especially chapter 9 Remedial Procedures) US Army Corps of Engineers Anyone considering underpinning their slab foundation should read this first. They make a strong case that most homes that show distress / damage should not be underpinned because the distress / damage is not severe enough to warrant underpinning.

Foundation Design: Principles and Practices 1994 by Donald P. Coduto. This book contains (in Chapter 2) an excellent description of how engineers assess the performance of foundations.

Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI) Design & Construction of Post-Tensioned Slabs-on-Ground. The official design manual for post-tensioned slab-on-ground foundations. For engineers only.

PTI Performance Evaluation of Slab-on-Ground Foundations. Completely debunks the use of a single elevation survey to make definitive statements about foundation distortion. Unfortunately the suggested alternative approach has many of the same problems as the methodology the author criticizes.

Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) Policy Advisory 09 98A, This policy advisory was the first written guidance to Texas Professional Engineers concerning what the TBPE look for in foundation performance evaluations. It has since been superseded by the Texas Section ASCE document, but it still is an interesting window into how the TBPE views foundation performance evaluations.

So Your House Is Built On Expansive Soils, Shallow Foundations Committee of the Geotechnical Engineering Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Excellent non-technical material.

Has Your House Got Cracks?, A Guide To Subsidence and Heave of Buildings on Clay, second edition, T J Freeman, R M C Driscoll, and G S Littlejohn. A British publication for homeowners, home inspectors, and real estate agents.

Criteria for Selection and Design of Residential Slabs-on-Ground, report no. 33 to the Federal Housing Administration. The first attempt to develop a rational method to design slab-on-ground foundations on expansive soils. Initially it found very little acceptance among home builders and engineers working for home builders. The engineering community revolted against this report arguing that it was too conservative. Today, some of its recommendations are more widely accepted.

Expectations of Underpinning, Foundation Repair Association. A fundamentally defective discussion of what you can expect after foundation underpinning. The problem is that they recommend foundation repair first and taking care of drainage issues, lack of watering, and tree issues after the foundation work is done. In my opinion, these things should be taken care of before the foundation is underpinned. In many cases, taking care of these issues would make underpinning unnecessary.

Diagnosing and Repairing House Structure Problems, Edgar O. Seaquist, 1980 McGraw-Hill, Inc. An excellent book that addresses how to diagnose irregularities, distress, and damage in houses.

Handbook of Construction Tolerances, David Kent Ballast, 1994 McGraw-Hill, Inc. This is the standard handbook for construction tolerances.

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension: Maintenance of Existing Foundations on Expansive Clay Soils Very good free document on how to maintain your foundation to get better performance.

Structural Aspects of Building Conservation, Poul Beckmann, McGraw-Hill, 1995, For Professional Engineers only. A gold mine of ideas and techniques used in appraising building structures including foundations.

The International Masonry Institute: Masonry Movement Joint Failures. Masonry construction, such as brick veneer, should include movement joints that allow the masonry to move with the foundation without cracking the brick masonry. Unfortunately, the typical Houston house shows little or no understanding of how many joints are needed or where they should be located.

You can find an informative inside look at the foundation repair business at Richard Rash’s site. Mr. Rash is a retired foundation repair contractor. In his blog site he explains how the foundation repair business really works.

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