During the BHA regional meeting in Atlantic City, Ms. Susan Bryan was in attendance and decided to join the Association. Being from Houston it seemed very timely to invite Ms. Bryan to tell us a little more about herself, her company and to provide a first-hand update on what is taking place in Houston since Hurricane Harvey. Ms. Bryan responded to a series of questions.
How long has your company been in business?
Olshan Foundation Repair started in Houston, Texas in 1933
What prompted you to pursue a business in waterproofing/structural repair/radon or mold remediation, etc.?
As we expanded into new markets, outside of Texas in the early 2000’s, we came across homes that had basements. Naturally in the course of our business we started getting request from customers to help them with their basement waterproofing problems or basement wall problems.
What is your market like currently?
Olshan Foundation Solutions has offices that service customers in different markets across the country. As a result, market conditions can vary widely from Kansas City to Houston or from Nashville to Jackson, MS. For example, currently in Houston we are working with many customers who are interested in learning about the options for Home Elevation to help avoid future flooding post Hurricane Harvey.
Does Houston need more contractors to help complete this type of work?
There are lots of foundation repair contractors in the Houston area. At one point we counted as many as 132 foundation repair contractors in Houston. With over 95% of the homes being slab on grade there are very few below grade waterproofing problems. It’s been a very wet year in 2017 on top of the prior two wet years so there has been very little differential settlement in Houston area homes from expansive clays, however, post Hurricane Harvey there is an emerging interest from homeowners for Home Elevation Projects.
Does the greater Houston community need anything specific at the moment? Over the next 5 years?
Post Hurricane Harvey many customers are contemplating elevating their homes above Base Flood Elevation prior to performing the repairs to their home. This is something Olshan of New Orleans did post Hurricane Katrina and we believe is a good option for people who have experienced repetitive loss or have intentions of staying in their home long term and will realize the ROI and savings from Home Elevation.
Post Hurricane Harvey many customers are contemplating elevating their homes above Base Flood Elevation prior to performing the repairs to their home. This is something Olshan of New Orleans did post Hurricane Katrina and we believe is a good option for people who have experienced repetitive loss or have intentions of staying in their home long term and will realize the ROI and savings from Home Elevation. Using specialized equipment Olshan can elevate a home up to 20’ above the existing grade safely and efficiently. However, most municipalities are asking property owners to lift 1’ – to 2’ above the Base Flood Elevation to help avoid future floods. Most projects take 60-90 days on a turnkey basis but the actual elevation takes place in a day. It’s really quite amazing.
Before Home Elevation
After Home Elevation
Could you identify the one project that provided the most significant challenge in your career? What was it about that project that almost caused you to leave the industry?
That’s a tough one. Our family has been in the business since 1983 and three generations are involved in the business today. One project that Hi Lift Before sticks out was an underpinning project at a VA Memorial. Olshan Golden Triangle was hired to underpin a fighter plane that was on exhibit. The entire platform was sinking. It was a unique project to begin with because it was not your normal home or commercial building, but in the driving phase of the project the pilings were going more than 85 feet deep. The project was completed successfully but took much longer than we ever dreamed it would.
What would be your advice to someone considering starting a business in your line of work?
Start with good people. We are very proud that we have team members we have worked with since the day we got into the business. As a service business, you can have the best products in the world but without the right people installing them and the right people working with your customers you won’t be successful. The people make the difference.
What have you enjoyed the most in doing what you do?
Helping people is the greatest satisfaction, personally or professionally. Whether it’s seeing a customer’s face when they see their problem fixed and their home put back together or an employee who worked hard, got a promotion and sees a future for him and his family. It’s really all about the people.
To learn more about Ms. Bryan and Olshan Foundation Repair, visit their website here.