Foundation repair licensing is neither a requirement nor an option in Texas. It isn’t required because a foundation repair license doesn’t exist in Texas for foundation repair.
So why do some companies advertise that they are licensed?
Foundation Repair Licensing in an advertisement sounds good, but that does not change the reality that there is no foundation repair licensing agency in Texas. Perhaps the contractor is licensed as a plumber or sprinkler installer. But, he won’t be licensed as a foundation repair contractor, because foundation repair licensing does not exist in Texas.
The National Foundation Repair Association made a push about 5 years ago to license the trade, but other priorities in the State of Texas House and Senate arose and the bill never made it out of sub-committee.
In most major DFW suburban cities, including Flower Mound, Frisco, Garland, Plano and Allen there are three contractor requirements to repair a concrete slab foundation:
- Register as a general contractor
- Purchase a building permit
- Submit an engineering approved repair plan for the foundation
Registration as a general contractor is an annual requirement. Registration for a permit is as simple as answering 10-20 questions and paying a fee. The fee is in the range of $75 to $250. There are no foundation specific questions. There is no requirement that the contractor be trained in the art of foundation repair or any other type of residential repair.
An engineering approved foundation repair plan is a pre-requisite to purchasing a property-specific building permit. Cities typically require that the repair plan show the location and type of foundation underpinning. City review may take as little as 5 minutes and sometimes requires up to 2 weeks. City engineers do not typically reject submitted foundation repair plans unless missing pier options and locations or an engineer’s seal.
Fees for the permit range may be as little as a $50 minimum and can be as much as the city minimum plus 1% of the cost of the foundation repair. The building permit must always be posted at the foundation repair job site. Fines for failure to obtain a permit are typically in the range of $300 to $500.
To facilitate the foundation inspection process, most cities spot check job sites to verify that a permit is posted. The cities rely on a registered professional engineer to submit a final letter that states and I paraphrase: I certify that the property has been repaired in accordance with the repair plan.
Cities are not skirting the issue of inspection. It is a practical reality that foundation repair often requires pushing steel or concrete into the ground as underpinning to lift a foundation. There is no practical way for a city inspector to validate the work unless he spends several hours at the job site.
The next time that you see an advertisement which states licensed foundation repair, you know that there is no such license.
For a no-cost foundation evaluation to the owner, call Granite Foundation Repair at 972-412-2171 or 817-870-1381.
Below is our documented progression of obtaining licensing of foundation repair contractors
Licensing of foundation repair contractors is needed for Texas homeowners, especially in the Dallas area. Texas HB 613 legislation has been proposed by Rob Orr, R-Buleson, TX for the 2013 legislative session.
HB613, House Bill 613 would create the Texas Foundation Repair Contractors Act. Plumbers, auctioneers, dog breeders and others are licensed in Texas, but not foundation repair.
Updated April 19 2013: House Bill 613 has come out of committee, to the floor for consideration, and is now being reviewed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Texas Senate Bill 802, known as SB 802, is in committee. SB 802 mirrors HB 613 to establish a process to license foundation repair contractors.
Granite Foundation Repair strongly endorses legislation in Texas to require licensing for foundation repair. As a contractor, we hear too many stories of homeowners being bilked by disreputable foundation repair contractors. As Rob Orr stated ” anybody can get into the (foundation repair) business by hanging a shingle”.
You as a homeowner can do your part by contacting Rob Orr’s Austin office at 512-463-0538 and reporting any problems that you have encountered with foundation repair contractors.
The Texas Foundation Repair Contractors Act for Licensing would entail:
- Licensing requirements for foundation repair Contracting Companies, Master repairmen, and journeymen.
- Require that the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation establish minimum liability insurance requirements for contractors.
- Apply to contracts entered into beginning September 1, 2014
House Bill 613 (HB613) is needed to protect the consumer
- Seek references for foundation repair contractors
- Check with the BBB, FRA or Angie’s List