The Craigslist House
  Description of the Property
  Tree Removal Services
  Pests and Pest Removal Services
  Mold and Moisture Problems
  French Drains
  Sealing the Stucco
  Legalizing Second Unit
  Engineers, Architects and the Like
  Parking/Retaining Wall Project
  Foundation Types
  Foundation Contractors
  Helical Screw Contractors
  Dirt, Debris and Demo
  Rain, Rain, Rain
  Fire Sprinkler Vendors
  Framing Contractors

Replacing the Decks

  Foundation Contractors  

Perhaps two years ago someone suggested to me that the old square's foundation upgrade would cost $148,000. Ow! Another contractor also had said something like $143,000. So at least I was anchored in reality. 

In Spring 2007, as the parking space project moved along, I worked to get the foundation project started. The quotes slowly came in: I contacted Chris Baumstagger, since his name was synonymous with helicals - at least here in Marin. He quoted $93,000 for screws and concrete. Apparently there were other components I would need, and I learned what these were as I spoke with more and more professionals.

Marv B. Olson (707-763-9707), a general- and concrete-contractor out of Petaluma, agreed to visit. Don Dejong, their estimator, said it would cost about $50- $60,000 for the foundation, plus a charge for demo, plus a charge for helicals, plus a charge for replacement work. Olsen's quote came in at $52,450, and excludes included permits, fees, inspections, surveying, drawings, subgrade compactions, backfilling, compacting, waterproofing, drainage, sub-slab drains, off hauling of dirt spoils, helical tiebacks, lifting and supporting of existing house during foundation installation, demolition of any portion of structure or existing foundation, disconnection or replacement of any framing, heating, plumbing, electrical components. I liked the company, but this many excludes made its quote meaningless.

Terry Ciafrei at Plumb Builders (415)785-1187 took my call, and agreed to visit. Terry and Mike came out to the house and indicated that the cost would be $80,000-$100,000 to come in, take everything out, place cribbing and shoring, and pour the foundation. He didn't see how the steel beam would get placed underneath the uppermost wall without taking the floor out of the pantry. 

I contacted Terry for a follow-up but didn't hear back from him. In hindsight, I think Plumb Builders decided I wasn't serious, since I did not have architecturals, or details on any of the finishes that I expected on the inside of the house. The job probably seemed like more of a headache than it was worth. 

As we were wrapping up the parking area project, David Hoffmire said he was interested in bidding for the foundation. I gave him plans and waited. Weeks passed, but no quote came back.

Half a year later, I once again had the time to work on the remodel. I contacted Dave Hoffmire again and asked, "Hey, ready to do a foundation?" He said that he was interested. Dave did something that was extra work for him, but very valuable to me: he quoted all four foundation options provided by the soils engineer. The numbers indicated that the helicals, while not the cheapest solution, were probably worthwhile. 

Meanwhile my foundation permit had expired. That was annoying, since to renew it would cost the same fee I initially paid: $820. I had thought quite a bit about the foundation upgrade, and had a few changes that I might make to reduce the building costs, but California's January 1, 2008 reg-change would drive my behavior. I could either resubmit the exact same plans and perhaps get re-approved in a week, or make changes to them, pay the engineer to redraw those portions, submit them, and fall to the back of the county's very-packed permit/planning queue - perhaps incurring a delay of several few months. So I resubmitted the plan from almost two years ago - with no changes.

At the Marin County Civic Center, I paid the money, was told that it might take two weeks, but was re-approved in only half-a-week. A toast to my friends in room 308! 

So, coupled with Dave's attractive bid, I was committed to helicals.

Dave Hoffmire's quote broke down into eight services:

cement work: 24,800;
digging: 5,600;
hauling: $2,000;
creating the slab: $4,800;
demo'ing the old foundation, underpinning, and offhaul: $6,700;
drainage, waterproof four foot retaining wall, backfill: $4,500
demo'ing the back pantry area and offhauling: $1,900 ;
lifting the house and shoring it: $14,000. 


This was a total of $64,300. Excludes included anything to do with wood (sil plates, etc), the helicals, and of course all the expenses with putting the house back together - insulation, electrical, plumbing. But his quote did include off-hauling the dirt and some other important components. Approaching the Christmas week Dave Hoffmire said that he was ready to begin. He had some crews coming available and it depended on when the helical screws would be coming available. I placed the helical screw order with Tony Yudice and was told that screws would be available perhaps January 18th. Dave said a project of this size would take six weeks, perhaps eight weeks if we were slowed down by wet weather. At that time I did not realize that his time-quote did not include the rebuilding of the house but simply the concrete work, his part of the job.

Hmmm. I still need a general contractor. Dave's quote was for the concrete work, but I probed him, asking if he was willing to take responsibility for the whole job. He said no. That seemed unusual but he explained that on a remodel like this the after-the-event phone calls never end. A window leaks, the dishwasher doesn't work, etc, and he didn't have time for that kind of work. So, by default, I'm the general contractor. Hmmm. Talking about unqualified... So - the job as it stands today will require:

Dave Hoffmire, on demo, off-haul, cribbing, and concrete.
Tony Yudice with Grip Systems, the helical guy.
With exterior walls gone, I need someone to connect what's left to the new foundation, and replace the torn out walls. Apparently this is called rough work: the sills, framing, windows and exterior
With the walls open, it's a good time to get an electrician to help spread the load, replace 2-prong outlets with 3-prong, etc.
It's also a good time to plan for any future kitchen or bathroom remodels or moves, so I'm pleased to have found two plumbers that I like.
My neighbor's recommended a sheetrocker.
Then there's all the finish work: wood trim, details, etc.

  And I'm sure that there's stuff I'm forgetting...  

The way it looked when we lived there.

Almost packed-up.

Demo begins.

I understood that the living room's floor would be removed, but was quite surprised when the side walls disappeared.

Wood forms were built, and trenches dug for the slab's grade beams.

The slab.
© 2008-14 by Bill Fridl ( billfridl@gmail.com ). All rights reserved.
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Last Updated Feb 2014.