Replacing Foundations

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I know that you are asking yourself:
Where do I start!
Let us help you with this Question!

Please remember that the things we are telling you are from our own personal experiences, they can and will vary to your area, but for the most, generally these are how things play out! “DO” your Homework, Here are suggestions, Q&A’s and some of the steps involved in replacing your foundation.  If there are any questions you need to ask please feel free to contact us and we will help you as much as we can to make your project successful.

Moving Company to Lift Your Building:

1.  First you need to look in the phone book in your area to see who is qualified to lift up houses.
2.  Call them for an Estimate, and when they physically come out to your home,
      they will tell you if your house is structurally sound enough to be lifted!
2.  Make sure the mover is properly insured, you should ask for proof of Insurance.

Surveyors Certificate

3.  Having a Surveyors Certificate will assist you to know the proper measurements of your yard. As well as it will help you properly locate your home and buildings on the property!
4.  When you bought your home you should have received a Surveyors Certificate! If you cannot find yours ask your Bank or Lawyer and they may have a copy of it in their files! If you have had your home for a long time, it might be worth having a new Surveyors Certificate done. Being prepared and having all your ducks in a row can make things so much easier down the road and will be more cost and time effective at the end of the day! From personal experience it is sometimes less expensive in the long run to spend that extra money in the beginning.
5.  You can find Surveyors in the yellow pages.

Blue Prints & Engineer:

6.  Before going to apply for permits you need an Engineered Stamped Foundation Drawing, and a site plan. A site plan is when your Engineer or Architect/draftsperson comes and measures your property and building for proper location of all of your structures! When this is not done you need your Surveyor’s Certificate.
7.  You can find Structural Engineers in the yellow pages under Engineers Guide.


8.  For any type of construction you must apply for permits, remember sometimes the city or RM have new guidelines that may affect your build.
9.  If you don’t have an Engineered Stamped Foundation Drawing, a site plan/Surveyor’s Certificate, the Permit office will not look at your project until you do.
10.  Here’s an example of not asking the question, at the permit office.
11.  This really happened to one of our clients, they wanted to extend their foundation under their old porch with a roof line that was very much part of the house.  Permission was granted for the extended foundation by the permit office.  But when they were ready to rebuild/fill in the space between the roof and the now new foundation, the owner discovered that he now needed to have building permit to close in that space which called for the owner to take out a Zoning variance. This delayed the project by weeks.

How long does it take to get permits once I have all my paper work done?

It all Depends on the type of project you have and how busy the permit office is. Some RM’s you can get a permit in days! Some RM take weeks! The City of Winnipeg can be up to 3 – 6 weeks!

Remember also, that what is acceptable in one area may not be allowed in another area.

Another Tip!!  Know your Building Codes! Do not assume and go by what your buddy who has been building for 20 years says! Building Codes may change frequently and the building inspector’s job is to enforce the latest revisions. Follow the guidelines from your building inspector and your project will go over smoothly. By doing this you will also build a good reputation with him as someone who abides by the building codes.

Engineer & Building Inspector

Your two Best friends while building, is your engineer and your building inspector! However how much you may disagree with them, work together and your life and project will be much easier.

Again we emphasize that what was code twenty years ago may not be Code today! You, the home owner/General Contractor need to know that you are legally responsible to follow the Building Codes in your area!

Workers Compensation!

Make sure your Contractors are in good standing with the Workers Compensation Board, you can find this out by contacting the WCB. If they are not in good standing then you are liable if anything happens while they are working on your property!

REMEMBER: Mark & Protect your lines!
The utility people will mark your lines, and it is the home owner’s responsibility to keep them visible.  For example, your water shut off valve may not be seen by the workers and might be accidently driven over. Now you have another extra cost on your hands, it need’s to be clearly marked. Just telling the workers may not be sufficient, they are too busy driving all kinds of heavy equipment and may not see where the valve is. So it is your responsibility to mark and secure that spot. We recommend painting a very large wooden peg in the color red and write “Water Valve” on it! Make sure they are at least two to three feet out of the ground in a visible way! Also note that your water valve may just be in the way of construction and can not be worked around and will get damaged no matter what you say or think!


You must contact the city to have the water turned off at the main valve before the house is lifted. Ask what the cost will be to disconnect then to reconnect the line at a later date.
What type of lines do you have?  How old are they! What is Code today! Who pays for what! Ask questions and take notes, then date them! REMEMBER Mark & Protect your lines! Your water street valve may be in the way or not be seen by the workers and be driven over and damages by accident.


Hydro in most cases for the City of Winnipeg, may not have to be disconnected while the house is being lifted. However if the Hydro is left on, it MUST BE GROUNDED, consult your electrician on the proper grounding procedure. Other cities or municipals may require that you have to have it disconnected! ASK? However if you don’t have to have your hydro disconnected remember before your house is placed back on its foundation your electrician may find that the hydro may have to be temporarily disconnected to relocate the panel.
Do your home work and ask too many questions and make notes! You need to know who said what and date your notes for future reference. When asking questions on the phone, always ask who the person is that you are getting information from.
Ask what the cost will be!


Ask what the cost will be to disconnect them and to reconnect them at a later date.  Some old lines may have to be replaced due to aging. Find out who pays for it if the lines have to be replaced! Do not assume that your Gas Company will be paying for everything! Remember you decided to disrupt the system not them!


Contact a Sewer & Water Contractor to find out how deep your existing sewer line is.
Are you planning on up grading your Sewer Line?
If not then your sewer line will dictate the depth of your new footing.
If you are planning on replacing your sewer line now you have an option to how deep your Footing/Foundation elevation can be!
Note: Sewage runs downhill!
Depending on your decision, contact a private Sewer & Water contractor for a cost estimate. 

General information on lifting a house

What are some of the reasons people choose to raise their home?
Many people choose to raise their home because the existing foundation has simply lost its integrity and are no longer suitable for the structure. Instead of costly under pinning and patching methods more people are opting for a permanent solution while adding significant value to their homes. Most basement replacement clients choose to pour their new foundation with nine or ten foot high walls to maximize their new living space. Other reasons include homes that are on a crawl space or slab.

What sort of damage can we expect from raising our home?
Minor stress cracks may occur upon elevation but the degree of cracking depends upon the amount of settlement that has occurred in your old foundation. If major damage were to occur it should be covered by insurance. Ask the Building Mover & your Insurance broker what is covered by whom!

What is the process of raising a home?

First the structure may need to be excavated around the Grade Beam/Foundation. Ask your Mover if he covers this cost, or is it part of the excavation. Does your excavator know that he needs to do this and find out what the cost is?   If there is enough room in your current foundation to allow for holes to be made, then the steel beams are placed in these openings. Once the beams are placed the home is elevated hydraulically or manually. Typically the home is then excavated out underneath to allow for your new basement pour. Once the new foundation has cured for approximately seven days the home is then lowered back down and the beams are removed.

Does my project need to be shored?
YES! If the excavation is greater then five feet deep. If you are greater than five feet you either have to shore or taper the top of your excavation, in most cases you do not have the room between you and the neighbor’s house to tapper so if you don’t want the expense of shoring Do not excavated deeper than five feet.  If you insist on digging deeper than five feet and cannot tapper your banks then you have to shore your Banks!! The banks must be shored according to Manitoba Workplace Safety & Health Division Regulations.

Who pays for the Shoring?

The Customer: Pays for all of the Cost for installation and removal of the Shoring, in some cases the shoring does not have to be removed!
What kind of cost can I be looking at for Shorting?
?    It all depends, do your home work. Prepare for the cost being rather minimal to being very expensive; allow $2,000.00 to $20,000.00 or more!  Make sure you talk to your bank.

Why such a big difference and how do I know what my Shorting may Cost?
?    The closer your house is to your neighbors the more expensive it can get maybe!. We have had a job that was only One Foot from the next house, that wall had to be shored and built piece by piece, 10’ max at a time. Old foundation needed to be shored and old foundation was hand dug out plus the earth needed to be removed by hand as well. What should have been a simple job, turned out to become extremely labour intensive? It is very possible that your contractor can not give you a price for conditions unknown, make sure your Bank Manager knows of these pending extra costs! Ask yourself if the future of your house is worth the expense or should you just tear down and start over? Many conditions can affect the cost.

Can I do the Shoring on my own to Cut Costs?

Yes you can do it yourself, as long as you meet the time allowed for the house being lifted up! Talk to your foundation people for time allotment, you do not want your house raised for more then three weeks max. And THE SHORING MUST meets Manitoba Workplace Safety & Health Division Regulations.

What contractors will need to be involved?
Plumber, HVAC, foundation contractor, some cases electrician, some cases carpenter.

If I am moving a house to a new location can the footing and foundation or basement be poured before moving?

Yes it can! But you must make sure that all of your measurements are correct.  

Can you raise the house with the chimney & fireplace?
Yes! But there is no guarantee that the fireplace will not crack. 

Can you live in the house when it is up on blocks?

Yes, but remember that you have limited utilities.

How long can I expect to be out of my House?
There are many factors to how long one can expect for being out of their house!  The weather, how much work are you doing other than replacing your foundation!  The time of year! Are your contractors lined up for working on your project within a reasonable time line! If one is late how does it impact the next trade needing to come in! What happens if your trade’s people quit before they start. Do you have a backup plan? Expect to be out of your house at least 6 months give or take a few months and could be as long as a year or more if you are doing major renovations, such as an additions.

The Weather, The size of house or conditions beyond ones control can delay things.

Please Note:
Times given below are only guide lines for budgeting your time.  Under perfect conditions, all of these time line can be less.  Under Poor Conditions time lines can take longer!
Allow 1 Week, for house to be lifted and old foundation dug out!
Allow 2.5 Weeks, for Piles/Footing and Foundation to being completed, Piles can take several days, doing a footing can take a day.  Plus doing sump pit, weeping tile lines, installing drainage stone Waterproofing the foundation, and cleaning up the jobsite.
Allow 1Week for House and back filling to take place.

From this point on it is really up to your sub contactors!

Plumber/Heating/Utilities/Electrician/Carpenter for stairs to basement
Sewage People/Water line/Gas Company/Electrical Company Inspectors having to inspect each trade that comes in
Please note:
If you’re Trades you have hired do not do their jobs according to the building code the Building Inspectors can and will shut down the job site until compliance has been meet!

Pouring of your basement floor cannot be completed until the plumber has completed his work, & inspected; this can be weeks to months after your walls have been poured.
Don’t forget your sewage line needs to be connected.
As you can see after the Walls go up till having your homes nervous system up and running can be months! Knowing who needs to come in first to get things done can be a challenge, and will test your Time Management Skills

How high can you block up a building?
There are no physical restrictions to height, but there will most likely be economic and aesthetic restrictions. The higher you go the more costly it becomes.

Does weather play a factor in raising a house?
Yes! If the foundation is being replaced weather is a major factor, your footing is to go on undisturbed soil, if it rains too much you may have to pump out the water and remove it. Or prepare the footing under the direction of the engineers’ requests adding unforeseen costs to your project. It is wise to plan your installation of your new foundation around the weather if at all possible.

Can the additions be raised as well?

Yes!  In most cases.

What about porches?

Who is responsible for removing the fireplace/stairs etc?
The customer is, or their General Contractor/Project Manager

Does the landscaping get damaged?
You can expect a fair amount of disruption to your yard!

Is there much damage to the house when it is raised ie: cracking etc. Will our insurance cover this?

The amount of cracking in the house is directly proportionate to the degree of settling that has already occurred to the existing foundation. Many houses are done so without any cracking. However if your house was sitting on a poor foundation and was repaired prior to being lifted when the house is placed down on its new level foundation you may experience cracking, do not repair right away allow time for your house to adjust to its new foundation. Always ask your Insurance Broker what is covered or not covered where your house is concerned.

What kind of insurance does a Company who lifts Buildings have?
You need to ask each Company that you get estimates from to what kind of Insurance they carry! Your financial institution may require a copy of their Coverage before lending you any money. As well as your Insurance company will want a copy.

What if our house falls down?
A good question, ask each Company what form of insurance they carry.

What if someone is hurt on the site when the building is up on blocks?
Another question, which you need to ask each Company that you’re getting, quotes from. You need to ask your own person Insurance Broker to be on the safe side. You are required to have a temporary fence in place!  Your City or RM’s may have additional requirements as well, ASK what they may be!  All trades need to be cover by Compensation and or the home owner; General Contract/Project Manager could be liable.

Are there any restrictions with the size of house to be raised?
We maintain that the only restrictions to raising any building are economic. If men can build it, we can move it

How does a Moving Company get their equipment out once the foundation is completed?
Holes called Beam Pockets are made during construction, when the structure is being lowered the Beam Pockets are used, These Beam Pockets are lower than the Beams are tall allowing room for the Beams to be removed without any damage to  your new foundation! The Beam Pockets are then framed in and concrete is poured to fill them up usually when the basement floor is being poured.

How long does it usually take to raise a house?
Depends on the size, on the average about one or two days!

Do you need a copy of our house plans prior to rising?
Having a set of plans is helpful in determining a price for raising any building. Whoever is lifting up your structure needs to know if you’re planning to demolish portions of the building and or add more on! These things can and will affect your price! If you change your mind after a price has been agree upon you cannot assume that adding on a small space will not change the price of lifting up you structure! Make sure you ask what ifs. What if I add a 100 sq ft on how much will the price change!

How much does it cost to raise a house?
You need to phone the people who specialize in lifting up houses and ask them.

Are there any added costs that are usually associated with raising a house that we wouldn't think of?
If you are not sure about the condition of your foundation contact your local building inspector and or a structural engineer to view the foundation prior to setting your budget. Research your local building and zoning by-laws to make sure there are no surprises. Excavation is a rather grey area one never knows until you start digging what you are going to find! Find out about your utilities! In Winnipeg we have a lot of old sewage lines that are not broken, but if you are replacing your foundation it may require some fixing. Same goes with gas lines and water lines! Ask all of these what “Ifs” Questions!
Removing your old wood or steal beams, and purchasing &installing the new ones. Do not forget about your teleposts. A Point to remember is that a larger steal beam can be used to increase the span between the Teleposts deducing the amount to Telepost that you might need! Ask your designer / architect, Engineered for details.
Do not forget to tell your foundation people where your utilities need to come into the house so that you do not have to pay to have holes drilled in the concrete later.
PLEASE NOTE!!  Secure your home! Do not assume that while it is in the air that it cannot be broken into! Board up your stairwell and any other openings that would be accessible and inviting to thieves. 
The procedure to raise and block a structure in the Province of Manitoba must have a Stamped Engineered drawing, it is now mandatory and an enforced code by Work Place Health and Safety that every house & building in Manitoba, that is being raised or blocked must have this procedure of how the structure is to be raised.

We hope that by putting together this written presentation that it will help make replacing your foundation easier. If there are any other questions, feel free to give us a call and we will try to answer them to the best of our ability.

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