FORTRESS Stabilization Systems

Designed and used for bowed foundation walls and poured concrete cracks. Due to high strength to weight ratio, carbon-fiber reinforcement is used in bowed basement walls, bridge columns, and concrete beams to restore structural integrity.

Home reno black market expected to boom

Aldergrove B.C. StarJuly 13, 2010

Construction industry insiders say the Harmonized Sales Tax is likely already driving more of the home repair and renovation business underground, fuelling an increase in under-regulated and potentially dangerous workmanship.

Business ads have already popped up on Craigslist promising ways to skirt the 12-per-cent HST.

Port Coquitlam-based renovator Jeff Bain, of JKB Construction Ltd., said he’s already had one big project put on hold because of a customer’s reluctance to pay HST.

“There’s a good portion of the population that isn’t educated on the pitfalls who are going to go in that direction,” he said of the black market. GST previously applied on construction work, but the HST gave cash-only operators another seven-per-cent advantage over legitimate contractors as of July 1.  Bain said his illicit competitors typically don’t take out city business licences or building permits, pay Work Safe BC insurance premiums or pay income tax on their cash deals– adding up to a big cost differential.

“It’s hardly a fair playing field when somebody can undercut you 40 per cent or better,”he said.

Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association president and CEO Peter Simpson warns customers run multiple risks if they hire under-the-table operators. Besides the potential to get ripped off – it’s hard to sue someone if there’s no writtencontract – a renovation done without permits or inspections leaves no protectionagainst shoddy electrical work, for example.”They’re putting themselves at tremendous risk if things go dreadfully wrong,”Simpson said.

A cheap deal can backfire years later.

Unpermitted renovations can come to light when a homeowner tries to sell or have new work done – at which point city inspectors can order walls ripped up to prove a past renovation or addition was done safely.

A less obvious danger is liability, Simpson said, noting that if there is no written agreement, the homeowner is deemed to be the contractor and legally responsible for things like worker safety.

He points to the case of an Ontario couple who hired two men to refinish their hardwood floors.

It was the dead of winter and the duo kept the windows closed up.  One of the workers stepped back to admire his work and lit a cigarette, detonating the flammable fumes that had filled the room.

“They were both blown right through the window and one of them died,” Simpson said,adding the couple is now being sued because the workers weren’t covered underworker’s compensation.

“If somebody falls off a ladder or drops something on their foot on the property, they’ll look to you to get compensated.

“The home builders’ organization is lobbying the federal and provincial governments to create a permanent tax rebate for home renovations, along the lines of the temporary home renovation tax credit that was briefly offered as a recession-fighting measure.  One of the advantages of such a mechanism, Simpson said, is that homeowners would have to have receipts to qualify.

That paper trail would disqualify the cash-only operators and help narrow the disadvantage legitimate contractors are now under as a result of the HST.

“Government has to find ways to make it easier for homeowners to resist the lure ofthe cash deal,” Simpson said.

Finance minister Colin Hansen has said the provincial government is continuing tostudy the impact of the HST on home renovations.  Home renovations are a big business in Metro Vancouver, accounting for 31,000 jobshere and $1.6 billion in wages annually.

The total value of all home renovations performed last year in Metro Vancouver was estimated at $3.7 billion.

Simpson said at least 30 per cent of that is believed to be underground.

Stabilize, Seal and Strengthen your Foundation

Pat LeCours, founder and president of Mr. Foundation feels strongly about educating homeowners and businesses. Mr. Foundation offers a number of informative radio and newspaper articles providing expert advice for all foundation-related questions.

Is your basement leaking?

Unfortunately, wet basements cannot be assessed for their severity, frequency, and inconvenience factor during a one time visit. There may or may not be clues that indicate a history of basement dampness. Visible signs may be concealed by new paint or storage piled against the area. If there has been a dry period before the time of the inspection, signs of past water penetration may not be visible. Even if visible, the clues usually do not give an indication of the severity or frequency.

Even a basement with no seepage problems during a heavy rain does not guaranty the basement will remain permanently dry. A single rain may or may not result in seepage. A heavy rain may not raise the groundwater level sufficiently to cause water to seep through the foundation walls.

Moisture problems are also intermittent. In some houses, water penetration will occur after virtually every rain. In other houses, it will occur only after periods of prolonged rain, and in still others, it will only happen with wind driven rain or during a spring thaw. In most cases however, the resultant damage gives no indication of frequency.

Since virtually all basements leak at some point, the question is probably not, “Will the basement leak?” but, “When and How often?”.

Mr. Foundation Videos

Watch our latest videos and learn about how we can help you to stabilize, seal and strengthen your home foundation!

The Ram Jack® Foundation Repair System

Mr. Foundation is an exclusive certified installer for Ram Jack® Foundation Repair Systems, a hydraulic piering system composed of hydraulically driven deep and helical piers, a cost effective technology to re-level structures and alleviate future settlement of foundations.

Mar-Flex Window Wells

Mar-Flex basement waterproofing systems and basement window wells are developed using the latest in waterproofing technology and the highest safety standards. Mr.Foundation is an Independent Contractor / Seller of Mar-flex products and will provide professional installation for you.

Waterproofing your Foundation

Mr.Foundation applying Dimpled Membrane waterproofing solution. We excavate the area of the foundation to the footing level. Once excavated, we install a new weeping tile. Dimpled Membrane is then applied on the wall. We then completely terminate the top tab with a termination strip and urethane caulking.

Structural Damage Repair

Garage slab foundation damage, typically frost-related (frost heaves against the foundation resulting in cracked/damaged slab). Majority of damage is below grade and not visible on the surface.

Analyzing Foundation Cracks

Analise your foundation before is too late! Here’s some tips:

Crack Appearance

Vertical or Diagonal Cracks in a foundation wall:

Cracks start at floor and run to ceiling. Cracks are wider at the top or the bottom.

Possible Cause

Vertical movement between the two pieces of foundation. Crack is the hinge. Poor fill, soil creep, erosion, etc. are possible causes.

Horizontal Crack in a foundation wall:

Commonly seen in concrete block walls. Crack is usually 4 to 5 feet off the floor.

Possible Cause

Poorly designed foundation wall. Wall is actually a retaining wall trying to hold back dirt from falling into basement. Can be fixed with beams or helical piers

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