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Footers - A Horror Story

There's what I like to call the "right" way...   And what I like to call the "wrong" way...


First, what I call the "wrong" way.

Would you pour brand new walls on these footers and then put a house on the walls?

Short Version (There's more to it than this but it doesn't paint these guys in any better light) -

The first concrete company, who I won't name and shame, did not come out to the site to look at this complicated project before coming to pour.

Yes, I asked him to come. Yes, the excavator, Arney Brothers, asked him. Instead, he told the excavator and Construxx, the plumbers, how to set up the site over the phone.

When I stopped in that day and was told the plan was to pour the footers on grade - level with the ground - I went, "Wait a minute. That won't work. Footers have to be 36" below grade. (Common sense and township regulations.)"

Bob,the excavator had already filled to 36" below grade so we had no choice but to stop the excavating to wait for the concrete guy to show up. After performing considerable hand-wringing and repeatedly uttering "this can't work", he came up with the plan to dig down to the original footers and pour the walls on top (without tying them in - drilling into the footer to put a piece of rebar in it so that the two walls are effectively bound together).

This meant the fill and compacting that just got done would have to be dug up. And the sewer and water lines that had been placed according to his instruction would have to be moved. And of course the price went up $5600.

Several folks were pushing me hard that I better not let him raise the price. But it was going to take more materials so I agreed to it. At least my walls were going to be poured and the project was moving forward.

I felt better. Slept well. My relief was short lived. The next morning I got a call from the foreman. "This isn't going to work."

I cancel my class and fly over there. The new, new plan would require yet another change in the excavating (read another $600). Then I found out they didn't bring the necessary equipment to do the break tests I asked for - three times. Then it got ugly.

I left to collect myself because I didn't want to make a rash decision but the owner called my cell and hounded me.

He started with excuses. I warned him he didn't want to play the blame game with me. "Oh no, me either, it's just..."

I warned him again he didn't want to play the blame game. He wanted to help me solve this.

He blamed me for not raising the house high enough - even though I raised it 8" higher than he said he needed during the planning stage. He blamed the excavator for not having the tool that he - the concrete guy - needed to do the measurements accurately. He blamed baby Jesus for not creating a world where what he wanted just came true. (All right that's an exaggeration.) Still...

I fired him.


Glad I did. I found out later they were laying the forms outside the line of the house. Basically the walls wouldn't be straight on the footers and they wouldn't have lined up with the house. That's bad. You can sort of see it from the chalk line. It's worse at the back corner.


Fired and breaking it down. Do they look pissed?
I took this to protect myself - legally - not to gloat.



Now this is what I call the "right" way.

The excavator re-filled and compacted the site. Nyce Concrete came out two days after submitting the bid and poured a 20"w X 12"h footer.

After all that, I was only a week off schedule.


It was like the Flintstones. Quitting Time whistle blew and they just dropped everything where it sat.