In spring 2020, this company did not follow their quote specifications or processes, and in so many ways the job that they did left us dumb-founded at what we just experienced. We are so glad we were home to monitor the construction, or they would have walked away with their hands clean and us never knowing what happened 8ft below.
To justify the cost of the quote they told us it would take about 4 days work, and in fact they did the work in 8 hours. They told us they don't use sub-contractors - and then a truck with a different logo showed up to the site. Their spec's were clear - dig existing exterior, remove existing gravel, apply range of approx 12-18" of new and clean gravel and a new weeping tile, lay geothermal membrane, waterproof walls, then backfill with compression. They didnt show up with the correct amount of gravel. They came with about 1/2 a pick up truck beds worth - we calculated out the volume of clean gravel that would be required (length of our house x approx volume of 1sqft gravel) and it should have been almost two beds full. They worked fast with an oversized team to dig down to the house's (1984 build) original weeping tile at the foot of the foundation. They did not remove the old gravel, but they did replace the weeping tile (unfortunately rather than one long piece they had 6 or 8' sections with connectors which means the risk of disconnection and blockages at those points is higher). We saw the waterproofing plastic laid out, and they applied the caulking before applying the tar and "clingwrap" to the walls.
This was nearing the end of their first day of work - we figured they still had 3 days on their clock so were super shocked to see them all of a sudden start filling it in, like their job was completed. They quickly compressed the soil just from the top (rather than in stages of the backfill). They quickly (10 mins, one staff) dug a 3' stich drain and laid the same weeping tile in it, then literally sprinkled some gravel over it. This "french drain" was quoted to us at over 2k, and was laughable. Completely off spec and immediately the feeling of "what the heck is happening" turned into dread.
They packed up their equipment and my dad and I, a highway construction supervisor for 15 years. were in shock. We knew that the houses drainage was probably in worse condition now than prior to the work. (Our problem was cracks in the wall - the caulking and tar fixed those up). We both knew that the geothermal membrane layer, important to barrier the "new gravel" and weeping tile bottom trough from the 7' of dirt above it was not laid. We immediately called the Sales Rep, who was responsive and able to hear and relay our concerns back to management, that we were unhappy with the job. After a few days we decided that we wanted either the company to do a test dig to show us that the geothermal membrane layer was there, or we would hire a private backhoe and engineer to do the test.
The company sales rep told us repeatedly over many days that the Crew Lead (i.e. the boss of the sub-contractors) promised the geothermal layer was there, that they trusted that crew and had been doing work for him for 20 years (terrifying!). We still demanded a test dig, and a reduced price on the 'french drain' which they gave us after we rationalized that the specs for the french drain (appr 8" deep trench with gravel below, around and above the weeping tile, then dirt on top) were not at all met.
The day that the company came to do the test dig for the geothermal layer, I was informed that the crew was going to dig up the whole job and re-do, with the proper amount of new gravel and the geothermal layer. So after we were told by the company that we were wrong, and that the geothermal layer was for sure there, and that the Crew Lead accused me of just trying to save money - all of a sudden we were correct. We had a reduced bill overall, and we are happy with that, but the gravel in our trough is now mixed and dirty, and is not as good as what was originally down there. I think the caulking and tarring of the walls is where the waterproofing made the difference. This was a large investment at 16k and we just hope they will honor the 25 year warranty if needed. Overall Im glad that I was home to watch the work, and that I have experience working in geoengineering to know that the specs they promises are very important to be properly completed, in order to get proper waterproofing.