Some Useful Information About House Moving

Q: What are the reasons you move buildings or houses?

A: Buildings of all kinds are moved because they sit on land that is more valuable without the structure or because they are in the path of highways, railroads, reservoirs, or urban renewal. In some cases, the intent is to actually rescue the structure by relocating it to an area where its value is increased.

Q: What should I consider when deciding whether or not a move is feasible?

A: Is it physically possible to move the house to the area you are considering? Are there narrow or busy roads, bridges, utility lines, large trees, traffic lights or any other obstructions that would physically prohibit the move? Although it is possible to have some of these things temporarily removed, it may not be financially feasible. Some of our customers have had some utility companies offer to raise lines for free while others have given bids of $50,000 or more. Remember too, that the house will be higher once it is on the beams and ready for relocation. You should also check with your local authorities and find out what permits may be required.

Q: How far can a building be moved?

A: This depends on the type of building and where the building is located in the state. In almost all cases, after a permit is obtained the building can be moved with proper supervision and stand-by equipment. When moving a building over one-and-a-half stories high, utility wires may have to be raised which, depending on the number of wires involved, increases the price of the move. In some states, it is possible to move a house for miles. In certain highly populated areas, due to narrow roads, bridges, utility lines, trees and traffic control issues, most buildings are normally only moved a few blocks away, across the road, on the same lot or across a field.

Q: How long does it take to move a house?

A: Generally the entire process of moving or raising the home and building the new foundation is completed in one or two weeks. Weather conditions, our schedule and the masonry contractor's schedule must be taken into consideration however.

Q: How do you charge for a house move?

A: Moves are charged by the size of the house and degree of difficulty. Please use our simple Estimate form to have us provide you free bid. In general, we look at the following when determining the project's complexity and cost.
  • Is the house presently built on a full foundation, piers or a crawl space?
  • If it's built on a crawl space, then how high is it?
  • What type of material was used for the original foundation? Does the house have additions, porches or fireplaces?
  • How much exterior working space is available?
  • If the house is being moved, what is the terrain between the place it now rests and its intended resting place?

Q: What damage can be expected during the move?

A: Minor sheetrock cracking and shifting is to be expected. We have moved stone, block, brick and wood frame homes even up and down hills and can honestly say that nearly all of our homes end up virtually crack free after the process. On occasion, a hair line crack may develop over a door or window. It is possible that some cracks may appear after the house is set on its new foundation however. This is because the old foundation may not have been as level as the new one and has nothing to do with the house moving process at all. At times it is possible to foresee this as a potential problem ahead of time though and take steps to prevent it from happening. Please note that although we are fully insured, we have not ever had an insurance claim filed. Although minor cracking is not covered, any major developments would be covered however. Our track record is clean and we can supply you with references if you would like.

Q: What is the customer expected to do prior to the home being moved or raised? Do I need to disconnects the utilities?

A: Generally speaking, you must have all services disconnected and the basement or crawlspace totally cleaned and stripped down. If fireplaces, chimneys or porches are being removed, this must also be completed. Some excavation may also be required beforehand. Local building code requirements should be looked into and permits should be obtained before work commences. You should also make certain that you have permission from neighbors or owners of any surrounding property that may become at all involved in the process. Your local Utility provider should remove the meter and disconnect the service. We will remove wires and pipes necessary to install our steel beams.

Q: What permits are required to move a house?

A: All of the following
  • Board of Adjustment:  The city of San Antonio requires an application for a hearing to move into the city.  A notice is sent to land owners within 200 feet of your site.  A hearing is held to determine if the house will be allowed to move into the city.
  • Plan Checking:  Two copies of the site plan, foundation detail showing the pier placement, pier size and floor joist size and spacing.
  • Foundation Permit:  When plan checking approves the plans a foundation permit is secured.  The pier holes must be inspected prior to the placement of concrete into the holes.
  • Moving Permit:  The traffic division reviews the proposed route and approves.  This approval and a relocation bond guaranteeing the house will be repaired to the city code within 90 days must be submitted to secure the permit.
  • Plumbing Permit:  A licensed plumber must secure the permit and install the plumbing to meet city code.
  • Electrical Permit:  A licensed electrician must secure a permit and install the electrical to meet city code.
  • Repair Permit:  This permit is to be purchased by the homeowner and covers repairs.  The homeowner can do the repairs themselves.

Q: What type of foundations are available?

A: All of the following
  • Pre-cast concrete block and pads:  16"x16"x4" concrete pads are placed on top of the ground with 8"x8"x16" concrete tile dry stacked and shimmed to level.
  • Cedar post:  An 18" diameter hole is drilled approximately 30" then an 8" pad of concrete is poured and leveled.  A cedar post is then cut to grade and set on the concrete and backfilled with dirt.
  • Concrete piers:  An 18" diameter hole is drilled approximately 30" then an 8" pad of concrete is poured and leveled with 2 1/2" rebar extending to attach the pier.  An 8" diameter cardboard tube is cut to grade, installed in the hole and poured with concrete to grade. The pre-cast foundation is good for a rocky non-expansive soil or a sandy soil.  The object of the cedar post and concrete piers is to set the base of the pier in an area where the moisture level is constant.  This stops the soil from expanding and contracting.

Q: Can fireplaces, porches and additions be saved?

A: It should be considered whether or not fireplaces, porches and additions are worth the extra cost that will be incurred however, since they will add to the price of the move. If it is determined that they should be removed prior to the move.