A-OK Foundation Repair Reviews (1)
A-OK Foundation Repair was referred to me by [redacted] Engineering. I checked each company I got bids from with the Angies List and the Revdex.com. A-OK Foundation Repair (a Revdex.com Accredited Business) was the lowest price of the better rated foundation companies which I got bids from. I looked at their website (after the owner, [redacted], asked me to when I first called him) and assumed that it was mostly truthful since one of the Revdex.com accreditation standards is “Advertise Honestly”. Their website stated that: “We pride ourselves in our superior customer service and we surpass our customer's expectations. Our field techs are extensively trained and fully knowledgeable to handle your foundation repair in all types of residential homes … Our primary goal is to personally insure the full satisfaction of every client, with our on the job performance, customer service and the confidence knowing that we back all our work with a Lifetime Warranty! … With [redacted] expertise he assembled his dream team of professionals to carry out his company motto "We Can Help!" … Always Honest and Up Front! … Our experienced industry professionals have a proven track record in the foundation repair industry and excel beyond industry standards, quality service, and customer satisfaction … We strive to maintain the utmost structural integrity while repairing… Here at A-OK Foundation Repair, we have the right combination of talent and skilled craftsmanship”.
With the advertising from the website, Revdex.com Accreditation and engineers referral I thought A-OK Foundation Repair was just the right company to repair my residential foundation at [redacted]. I entered a contract with them, gave [redacted] the $5,000 down payment, gave him the keys and left on vacation.
The foundation was mostly done by the time I got back from vacation. The very next day, Thursday, August 1 was the big day- the day the house was going to be lifted. They started lifting the front left side of the house first (this side had only dropped 1-2’’, per the engineer’s diagram, as opposed the 5-6’’ that the front right side had dropped). There were several men, and one boy, working on the foundation. They had several men jacking the house simultaneously, quickly, and forcefully to the count of the supervisor, [redacted]. When I asked the [redacted] if he could lift the house slowly, a little bit at a time, making a few passes around the house (one foundation contractor that I got a bid from said that is the way they do it), so as to put less stress on the structure, he dismissed my request and continued in his rough manner. Soon the water main broke and leaked in the front left corner where they were lifting. One of the men rushed and tried to turn off the water at the shut off valve in the vault but it didn’t shut off completely. He asked me if I had a water key to turn off the water at the water meter; luckily I happen to have one and gave it to him to turn off the water. Around that time I noticed that the gas line into the house had not been disconnected yet (the two times that I had major foundation work done, they had disconnected both gas and water lines before they did any lifting) and brought it up to [redacted]. He said he would disconnect it when he go to that corner. By this time I realized that [redacted] and these men were not the experienced professionals as professed on their website advertising, and I started to get worried.
Next they started jacking up the front right side if the house in a similar manner as the first side. I noticed that the top part of the brick veneer wall on the left side of the house was being pushed out and damaged as they were jacking up the right side off the house and brought it to [redacted]’s attention. [redacted] did not know what was causing the wall to be pushed out so I asked [redacted] to stop jacking up the house and call the engineer. The engineer said that if it wasn’t a structural issue continue. [redacted] didn’t think it was a structural, thus he continued. I asked [redacted] if he could lower the foundation so that I could try to push the brick veneer wall back into position, but he continued full steam ahead. It was as if his goal was to get the job done as fast a possible regardless of how much damage is caused. A few days later, I did a little research and found in the [redacted] Foundation Repair Guidelines that: “Excessive tilt can lead to masonry collapse. Masonry veneer or infill is normally non load-bearing, and in some cases the veneer or
infill may not be held in place except by its own weight. Tilt large enough to cause the
weight vector (or center of gravity) to fall outside the middle third of bearing area is
sufficient to cause tension in masonry walls or veneer”. I measured the tilt of the wall and center of gravity of the top portion was outside of the middle third, thus being in danger of collapse. My partner, the real estate agent who helps me find and sell houses, was there at the time the brick wall was pushed out and was concerned about the safety of the man working below the brick. He asked the supervisor, [redacted] if he had a hard hat or could cover the worker with a board, but [redacted] was not concerned about the safety of his own men and continued quickly. A young worker (looked like in his late teens) had cut himself on a metal shim used in leveling the foundation. The real estate agent asked the supervisor, if he had a band aid, but he didn’t. Lucky for him I did. The same young man picked a metal shim lying out in the summer sun and dropped it- exclaiming “it’s hot”. It was apparent that he was not an “experienced industry professionals” with “a proven track record” as proclaimed in A-OK’s advertising.
A few days later, the real estate agent talked to another foundation professional and showed him the engineer’s diagram and found out that the side that had dropped the most, the left side, should have been lifted first. Lifting the wrong side first caused the top of the opposite wall to be pushed out. It became apparent that the supervisor was not “extensively trained and fully knowledgeable to handle your foundation repair in all types of residential homes” as advertised.
I wanted to do some work around the house and found out that most of my tools that I left at the house were stolen. Among the things I noticed missing were sledge hammer, [redacted] reciprocating saw, Skill circular saw, 50’ extension cord, yellow work light, Porter Cable impact drill, angle grinder, [redacted] cordless drill/driver with charger and case and my drill box with bits, screws, tool belt and other accessories- replacement value of over $500. The tools were there when I left on vacation, but gone when I came back. During that period, A-OK’s men were in and out of the house. [redacted] also had lots of tools he had left in the house overnight. I asked him if any of his tools were missing, NONE of them were gone. Who ever stole my tools knew the difference between [redacted]’s tools and mine, PROBABLY one of A OK’s workers. The house has been vacant since November 2012. Nothing has been stolen before or after A-OK’s presence, and on one occasion, I accidently left the front door wide open throughout a 3 day weekend. The next door neighbor asked one of the men for an estimate for some work, and she noticed him eyeing her property. The police officer who I reported the incident to also suspect the workers but said that the department does not have the time and money to investigate.
[redacted] showed up at the house a little after the wall incident. He told me that the initial static pressure drain line test (the one done before the foundation repair) failed and that there was a leak under the slab before the any foundation work was done. I looked around the house and found 2 locations where the leak would probably be accessible: 1) a tunnel from the master bedroom slab to under the master bathroom floor where much of the drain lines were accessible and some were visible and 2) an outside hole which had water in it (when I scooped out some water it would slowly refill). I asked [redacted] to not backfill these openings so I could locate and fix the leak. I remember a professional plumber stating don’t back fill until you fix and test for leaks. [redacted] and his men did not listen and back filled and cemented the holes against my request. Other foundation contractors said that they would leave holes open and work with the plumber to repair leaks in the drainage system. A few days after the foundation repair, I asked [redacted] Plumbing, the plumbing company that did the static drain line test before and after the foundation repair, for the test reports. I found out that [redacted] had lied to me about the initial test. The initial test passed. There were no drain line leaks before [redacted] started working on the foundation. Moreover, after foundation repair, the test showed such a large leak that the pipe “NEVER FILLED”. [redacted] or his men probably lied to the engineer also. The engineer’s report dated August 1, 2013, stated “It is our understanding there is an existing plumbing leak”. The initial plumbing test show no leaks, the after test showed a leak but the test was done on August 2, 2013. The engineer did not rely on the plumber’s tests to determine if there was a leak, and he didn’t perform a plumbing test himself. [redacted] or his men probably told the engineer there was a leak, just as he told me there was a leak. [redacted] is not “Always Honest and Up Front” as he claims to be on his website. When I asked [redacted] why he didn’t leave the holes/tunnels open, he said that the drainage system repair has nothing to do with the foundation repair. This is simply not true since there was there was no leak before the foundation repair and a large leak after the foundation repair and since the foundation repair exposed and made drain lines more readily accessible. [redacted] also stated, as a reason for covering up the holes/tunnels that he did not know where the leaks were and that he didn’t know if he would get the job for repairing the drainage line (A-OK website states “we offer full service plumbing repair”).
I called around to find a plumbing company to find and repair the leak (at this point in time I did not trust A-OK to do the work). As I explained my situation with a professional plumber, whose name I got on the Revdex.com website, he told me that he had to “mop up” after [redacted]. That he would not recommend him, and that he knew other foundation companies who were honest and caused few problems that he would recommend. In further investing [redacted], one foundation professional stated that [redacted] has “unethical business practices”. It became apparent that this was A-OK’s modus operandi and that he has caused other people excessive collateral damage while doing foundation work for them.
The leak was located in the toilet drain, under the slab, under the main stack, between the two bathrooms. If [redacted]’s men had not backfilled the tunnel, I would have had easy access to the leak, just dig about 1 foot farther. To avoid damaging the tile floor in the bathroom, the plumber said that he would charge $200 per foot (or about $800 to $1000) to tunnel under the slab to get to the drain leak. Since this alternative was more expense than retiling the bath room floor, I chose to break thru the tile and slab to get access to the leaky drain line. Retiling the floor costs only about $500. This is an additional $500 that I did not need to spend if A-OK did not backfill the hole/tunnel as I had asked.
There were several other problems/additional damaged caused by A-OK. As mentioned above, [redacted]’s men turned off the water at the shut off valve when the main going into the house busted while lifting the front left side of the house. The shut off valve did not leak before the foundation repair, but was leaking when I looked in the vault right after the foundation repair. I repaired it myself for about $30 in materials. It took me half a day. Such a repair would cost about $150 if I had hired a plumber. This could have been avoided if his men were more careful, disconnected the water, or had a water key.
As mentioned before, they did not disconnect the gas line before they lifted the house as commonly practiced. As one part of the house moves 6 inches, another part also moves, but not the ground that the water and gas lines are anchored to. Since the gas service is not on yet on I do not currently know if there is a gas leak.
At the beginning when I met [redacted], I asked him and he agreed to: 1) make only 1 hole and tunnel to place the pilings under and near the master bathroom, 2) make only 1 hole in living room and tunnel for the 3 pilings in the living room, and 3) be careful with the tiles since I had a limited number of old tiles that matched the existing tile. The reason for the tunneling was to preserve the existing tile/wood floor and to preserve the structural integrity of the concrete slab foundation. He did item 1), but not items 2) and 3). His men punched 3 holes, one for each piling in the living room. At the front walkway, I saw one of his men crack a solid concrete cylinders on top of the soft clay tile with a large hammer. I immediately told him not to, but it was too late, the tile had already cracked. The supervisor did not look or say anything, he was busy rushing is men to complete the job. The real estate agent took some pictures of the men while they were working. One picture showed heavy steel jacks on ceramic tile. The tile was not covered either. On the patio slab, an area that was not lifted, I found numerous cracks, dings and holes that were not present when I left for vacation (I have pictures of the jacks and damage). The number of damaged tiles far exceeded the spare tiles and I had and I went to several stores and could not find matching tiles, thus, I chose to replace/cover all the patio tiles with new tiles. This will cost me at least a few hundred dollars more than if I only had to replace some damage tiles with the tiles I had. The front walkway and patio tiles would not have been so damaged if his men took due care, and were not so reckless, negligent and abusive.
The contract states that the contractor is not responsible for damage to many items, but this in not a license to cause excessive damage and walk away without any liability. The contract also states that “Contractor will perform the work in a professional manner”. A-OK’s websites states that “Our experienced industry professionals have a proven track record in the foundation repair industry and excel beyond industry standards, quality service, and customer satisfaction”. The Foundation Repair Association (industry standard) requires the contractor to 1) be “committed to our obligation in providing the best possible service to all our customers”, 2) “be fair and honest”, and 3) “avoid any false or misleading representation of our products or services”. [redacted] has been dishonest with me and has misleading advertising on his website. The reckless, negligent and abusive manner in which A-OK’s men did the foundation work was NOT professional and does NOT meet industry standards. The law does not excuse people for intentional or negligent damage done to others. The cracks in the stone work, bricks, sheetrock, and inside tiles caused by the lifting are understandable and is normal consequence of leveling a house. However, the number and extent of them could have been reduced if A-OK had lifted the house slowly, carefully, and competently. Most of the damage that I sustained, as noted above, was not due to the lifting, and could have been avoided. Most of the damage due to negligence and poor, unprofessional business practices.
When A-OK finished leveling the house, even before the engineer’s final report, or the inspection by the city, [redacted] demanded the remaining $5,000. I did not pay him since he caused substantial damage, I needed proof of completion from the city, and I needed time to investigate. The city inspector, who checked the grading (part of the work A-OK did) said it was a poor job, most other grading work is better, but it is barely passible.
After the engineer’s letter and city pass, [redacted] demanded payment again. I refused to pay the entire amount, but did offer to pay most of it pending the completion of my investigation. He refused to accept it and several days later I got demand for payment from his lawyer, certified mail, return receipt requested. The lawyer’s letter requested that I talk to him, and not [redacted]. I talked to the lawyer and his assistant a few times, but they were busy and unwilling to listen to the type if important details like stated above. All they were willing offer was to reduce the payment to $4,000, but would not include the lifetime transferable warranty as stated on the contract and website. I found it unacceptable since the warranty was one of the main selling points and I required that of all the contractors I got bids from. I did not accept their offer. Since the lawyer was unwilling to listen to the details, I called [redacted], and he too refused to listen.
On or around October 17, 2013, I received another letter from the lawyer, certified mail. It had a copy of a recorded Affidavit Claiming Mechanic’s and Materialman’s Lien for $5,650.00 in it. The letter stated that “Once our office receives payment in full in the amount of $5,650.00 a release of lien will be filed...”. Paragraph 9 of the Affidavit states that “Claimant’s notice of mechanic’s lien was sent to Owner by United States certified mail, return receipt requested, on the following date: September 17, 2013”. I never received this notice or the notice from the post office of its delivery. [redacted] probably lied again, this time on the Affidavit. Soon after this letter, I decided to file this complaint letter at the Revdex.com, but I have been busy, and as you noticed, it is a little long; thus it has taken me some time. Sorry.
Please note that I have the names, phone numbers, websites, pictures, plumbing tests, letters and other documents to substantiate the information that I have given to you above.