What to Expect When Raising a House

Lifting a house requires careful preparation and attention to detail - take a look to get a thorough examination of what needs to be done to get your house ready. Have you considered lifting your house? It is a valuable way to protect your investment in your home, and is an increasing option for owners trying to save a historic building or raise their house above the flood zone.

House lifting involves raising a home above its current foundation and building a new foundation underneath. House lifting projects are most common along the coast of the eastern United States, especially in the wake of a natural disaster like a hurricane. This would involve lifting the house to the required Flood Protection Elevation (FPE).

House lifting can also be done to add a new first story or expand a basement or crawlspace (in conjunction with an excavation service). By lifting your home you can save your home, add value and usable space to your home, and avoid future damage.

There’s a lot that goes into lifting a house. If you are unsure of all the steps you need to consider when lifting or moving a house, we’ve created an outline of the basic steps that are crucial to any house moving project.

Here are the things you need to consider when preparing your house to be moved.

1. Hire a General Contractor

We specialize in lifting and moving houses. We do not serve as the general contractor for your entire project, so we recommend that you hire a general contractor to care for all of the other aspects of the project, including (but not limited to): engineering, surveying, obtaining permits, disconnecting and reconnecting utilities, excavation, laying the new foundation, carpentry, landscaping, etc.

You or your general contractor will be responsible for all permits. If you need documents from us to complete your permit, please contact our office, and we will provide them to you once we have a signed contract. Some towns may require additional drawings that show how we intend to place our equipment. The State of New Jersey requires a shop drawing showing the layout of our equipment for each project. We will provide this shop drawing to you for no charge. For the towns that require that drawing to be stamped by an engineer, you can either have your own engineer take care of it, or we can have it stamped for an extra fee.

2. Confirm Plans for New Foundation

There are three primary things from your plans for the new foundation that we will need to confirm:

The lift height: ​This is the exact difference between the existing first-floor elevation and the new proposed first-floor elevation (usually noted on plans as “existing FF” and “proposed FF”).

New footers? ​Will you be laying up on top of the existing foundation, or will you be removing the existing footers and foundation to install new ones? We will need to know the details of your plan for the footers.

New foundation: ​Some new foundation designs may require us to rig our lifting steel in a different way. Seeing your new foundation plans helps us to avoid a costly change order to re-rig the lifting steel.

Once you receive your new foundation plans from your architect or engineer, please email a copy to us.

Inside the House

You can leave the inside of your house as it is. Don’t worry about extra weight, or about anything sliding around in the house. When we lift your house, it will be a very slow, smooth process. If you have any valuable items that might be a bit unsteady, it doesn’t hurt to pack it up or lay it down on the floor, but it would be highly unusual for anything to fall over or be damaged.

Outside the House

Steps. Wood steps from porches, decks, or doors should be removed ahead of time. They will not work anyway once your house is lifted.

Decks. Any wood decks or porches that are not to be lifted must be removed and demolished ahead of time. If you want to keep the deck at its existing elevation, please check with your salesman about whether it may incur a charge for our crews having to work around it.

Accessories. Any outdoor showers, lean-tos, and utility platforms will need to be removed ahead of time.

Shrubbery. All shrubbery, plants, and bushes that are right around the house need to be removed ahead of time. If there are any plants that you would like to keep, transplant them to a back corner of the property or to a friend’s property ahead of time. Any larger bushes that are valuable to you should be clearly marked out with tall stakes and caution tape. Our crew will do their best to work around them. Keep in mind that if it absolutely has to come out for us to finish our work, we reserve the right to remove it. We can usually work around trees, but we reserve the right to remove them if necessary.

Landscaping. Landscaping such as pavers, sidewalks, flower beds, and rocks may need to be moved. We will use a skid loader to carry the lifting steel and equipment to where it is needed around the house. If your pavers or landscaping are left in place, you run the risk of having them run over or bumped into. If they are important to you, please remove them ahead of time.

Fences. Fences around the house may need to be removed. If the fences come up against the house, we would like them to be removed for clear access. Please check with your salesman about your property line fences if they are anywhere close to the house.

Use of Neighboring Property. If you have plenty of room around your house, you have nothing to worry about here. If your property meets your neighbor’s property fairly close to your house, check with your salesman to see if access to their property is necessary. Keep in mind that we bid to lift your house using your neighboring property if necessary. If your neighbor will not allow it, or you would rather not even ask, we can still lift your house. It might cost a little more if we have to alter our lifting methods. If we do have permission to use your neighbor’s property for installing the lifting steel, there will be a range of what we will do depending on the situation. It could be as little as swinging the end of a beam over their property line. It could also mean that our skid loaders will have to be on their property. If this is the case, you can expect some scuffing and possible ruts in the yard. In these cases, we expect you to repair the neighboring yard when you are re-landscaping your own yard after your lift.

Marking-out Utilities. We will do the required “before you dig” phone call. This will only mark out underground public utilities. You are responsible for marking out your own private utilities, i.e., your well, septic tank, leach field, underground gas or electric lines, etc. These items need to be marked with paint and flags, and you should make our foreman aware of your markings as soon as he arrives on-site.

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