The much anticipated, but considerably less dramatic act of lowering the house back down onto the new foundation took place yesterday. Our lift company, Payne, was able to swing into town for two days to complete the job. When lowering the house they have to make certain that the house will sit atop the foundation, flush and square.
Ideally they would be able to just lower the house straight down, but sometimes they have to adjust (“shim” in construction speak) all the little places where the house does not meet the foundation wall. For unlike a traditional house build, where you would build the house from the ground up, a lift has to merge two separate projects: house + new foundation.
Payne, as well as my construction team, were notably surprised by the extent our house did not square up with the foundation. Any place where the two failed to meet up had to be shored up with wood. This unevenness is most likely attributed to an old house settling and less than stellar construction when the back addition was added by a previous owner.
In the photo above you can see where space has been intensionally left to allow for the removal of the steel beams that had been supporting the house during the construction of the foundation. Recently I witnessed a house undergoing this same flood prevention measure with a less experienced construction crew. They did not leave any room in the foundation wall to remove the steel beams and so had to carve out space as an afterthought. Not exactly an ideal formula.
Now for the big finish … The photo above shows the house lowered back down, safe and sound, to meet with the newly built foundation walls. All in all, this was a fairly typical lift, according to Sean Payne, the owner of the lifting company we used.
THINGS COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE
Lately I’ve been bemoaning the fact that the lowering of our house was delayed. By comparison, Sean mentioned a house he was currently working on where the construction team completing that house elevation (recall that the lift team and construction team are not the same) were new to this type of project. The result in that scenario is extensive delays as they struggle to figure out what to do next. That house has been elevated with steel beam supports for 5 months and counting.
By comparison, our house was able to be lowered back down in only six weeks, and that includes one week where the site sat untouched.
Until the construction crew returns tomorrow to continue its magic, our house is held to the foundation primarily by gravity. Hope we don’t get a big wind storm any time soon.