In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were areas of significant disagreement in the Texas engineering community about the design and construction of lightly loaded foundations on expansive soils. Expansive soils that are abundant in Texas were causing foundation distress resulting in damage to the superstructure and precipitating lawsuits. Disagreements in the engineering community stemmed in part from the fact that there were no generally accepted uniform design procedures for both geotechnical and structural foundation designs. In addition, there were significant differences of opinion within the forensic engineering community regarding the proper approach to evaluating performance of foundations and structures. Further, opinions among engineers on proper repair techniques for lightly loaded foundations on expansive soils varied significantly.
Discussions ensued between FPA founders
David A. Eastwood, P.E., D.GE, DFE, C.A.P.M., F.ASCE,
Jack Deal, P.E. Dick Peverley, P.E., Don Lenert, P.E., Lowell Brumley, P.E., and others who, at the time, had differences of opinions in evaluation of the performance of lightly loaded foundations. Other industry professionals later joined including Michael Skoller, P.E., Joe Edwards, and Dan Jaggers, forming the Foundation Performance Committee who represented the geotechnical design, structural design, construction, inspection, forensic investigation and repair of lightly loaded foundations on expansive soils in Texas.
Seminars pertaining to Soil-Structure Interaction were conducted by the Foundation Performance Committee in 1993, 1994 and 1996, a seminar on Building Better Foundations for the Residential Home Industry was conducted in 1998, a Seminar on Design of Foundations on Expansive Soils was conducted in 1999, and a Seminar - Foundations on Expansive Soils was conducted in 2005.
In 1997 The Foundation Performance Committee (FPC) established its first foundation performance guidelines with its publication titled, "Criteria for the Inspection of and the Assessment of Residential Slab-on-Ground Foundations", Document No. FPC-201-97.
In 1998 the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) used the FPC’s publication as a starting point to issue its Policy Advisory 09- 98-A, “Guidelines Regarding Design, Evaluation and Repair of Residential Foundations” with the assistance of FPC members.
In 1999 the FPC, now renamed the Foundation Performance Association (FPA), established its first standing technical committee called the Structural Committee chaired by Ron Kelm, P.E. and established a peer review process for the documents it and other standing committees published. Since then, multiple other similar standing committees have been formed by the FPA.
In 2000 the Structural Committee began publishing peer-reviewed documents.
In 2007 the Structural Committee published its original version of a peer-reviewed replacement for the FPC-201-97 document, titled "Guidelines for the Evaluation of Foundation Movement for Residential and Other Low-Rise Buildings”, Document No. FPA-SC- 13-0, thus completing the founders' original goal to establish foundation performance guidelines.
In 2010 the FPA Board updated the Mission to include structures.
The purpose of the Foundation Performance Association, as stated in its by- laws, includes the following:
To serve the public by advancing the skill and the art of engineering analysis, investigation, and consultation in the design, construction, and repair of light structural foundations primarily for residential buildings;
To engage in research through the conduct of seminars and the publication of technical papers, books, and articles on the science of residential design, construction and repair of light foundations;
To maintain a library of information on the science of design, construction, and repair of light foundations;
To establish criteria for the preparation of specifications, geotechnical testing, design analysis, construction techniques, quality control, performance criteria, investigation and failure analysis, and repair techniques for light foundations; for the benefit of the public;
To elevate the standards and ethical concepts of those engaged in the light foundation industry, and;
To cooperate and share with other related professions engaged in related services information on the science of residential design, construction, and repair of light foundations.
The Foundation Performance Association presently works to achieve those goals through monthly general meetings with invited speakers with expertise in the interests of the FPA and the formation of multiple standing committees and ad hoc subcommittee meetings. Whereas the group that began more than two decades ago as an informal collaboration between several locally practicing professionals, as of 2017 the Foundation Performance Association has grown to more than 200 members from all over Texas and many other states.