Spring is typically short in Southern California. The first 80-degree day has come and gone and the first 90-degree day is already predicted next week. That means it is officially outdoor living weather–so get the grill going and check out the sales on pool toys, trunks or suits and towels.
Spring is also when the home selling and buying season starts in earnest with the end of the school year in sight. For some buyers, the outside amenities are as important as the indoor priorities: kitchen, dining and living areas; bedrooms to bathrooms ratio; storage closets, etc.
What’s does your dream outdoor living space vision look like: view lot, pool, patio, barbecue, dining area, bar with big screen TV, lawn, flower or vegetable or herb garden, lily or fish pond, kids playhouse and swing set, dog run? How about a changing room or a pool cabana house?… Continue Reading Dream Outdoor Living Spaces
Everyone who is in a service industry knows that their business lives or dies depending on how well you treat clients. Our business is no different than others who heavily rely on referrals from satisfied clients. For example, over 90 percent of our new business over the past few years has resulte… Continue Reading We’re In This Together: Nurturing Relationships for Best Outcomes
Most of the projects that we are involved in require permits from the local Building Departments. Although many cities have their own building departments, some cities rely on the County to review and process permits. Other cities contract out the plan review process to specialty engineering and construction consulting firms. Having a professional engineering submit your plans for approval is often helpful.
No matter who is in charge, having a professional engineering firm present your permit request and when necessary answering questions about your building plans can be extremely helpful. More often than not, the person who will review and approve your building plan is also a professional engineer. Based on our experience, we know what questions to expect and how to answer them for first-time right success in securing your building permit. We won’t let you attempt to build something that we know will be problematic from the start and delay your project.… Continue Reading Building Permits and Professional Relationships
The ocean and canyon view
We were asked several years ago to consult on a “view” property in Malibu, California, that had been red-tagged (deemed unsafe for occupancy) due to earth movement and undermining of the house by a landslide that had occurred during the winter rains of 2004/2005. The client contacted us in May, 2015, after he purchased the property.… Continue Reading Red Tag Alert: View for Days Comes With a Price
One of our clients recently asked us to help them, decide how to build a basement below their house. Normally, a basement is built before the house is built so that the basement foundations can be used to support the house. In this case, the house was built in the 1920’s, and the owner wanted to add a basement and first floor addition to the property.
… Continue Reading How To Build a Basement Below Your Older Home
We were asked to perform a geotechnical investigation at a property in Temecula, CA, to assess damage and prepare repair recommendations for a pool, retaining wall and patio system. Damage was caused by settlement of improperly compacted fill dirt and the movement of slope soils. Cracks and separations in the retaining walls up to about 1.5-inches wide were visible.… Continue Reading The Slippery Slope: What Can Happen When Contractors Fail To Practice Due Diligence
What happens when the fix for a problem creates another problem?
We were hired to investigate peeling drywall tape at a home in Hacienda Heights. A recent water loss occurred at this property and required a drying out process that used 6 dehumidifiers and 30 fans. The dehumidifiers and fans were running 24 hours a day for 29 days.
After the drying out process, the homeowner noticed that the drywall tape was peeling in their kitchen, living room, and two of the bedrooms.
The lesson from this project is pay close attention to what the repairs might involve; and try to anticipate possible side-effects to the repairs.
A mouse trap is a common, albeit annoying, word in suburban households. To most people, we picture a small slab of wood, a piece of cheese, and the impending doom for a little furry critter. A mouse trap, regarding to fire training, is a whole new ball game.
Helfrich-Associates was called out to a job site in the Inland Empire: A Fire Training Center. This state of the art training center will be utilized by fire departments and students in the surrounding area with every square inch of this training center being built meticulously. There are buildings that are being constructed specifically to be put on fire, but most interestingly, and why Helfrich-Associates is here, is the Mouse Trap.… Continue Reading Case Study: How the Terms Mouse Trap and Fire Training End Up in the Same Sentence
Shoring is a critical technique for many building renovation projects. If you have an older property that needs repairs or renovation completed, you may need to include shoring in your plans. Shoring a building consists of temporarily supporting the structure while critically important portions of the building are removed and replaced. These include critical elements include foundations, load-bearing walls, and the roof. Shoring can also be used to prevent collapse of building elements that are failing, and can allow the building to be safely occupied during repair construction.
Three of the most common are lateral shoring, vertical shoring, and excavation shoring.… Continue Reading Understanding Shoring for Building Repairs or Renovation
Do you know the common signs of home damage and deterioration? It’s important to be aware of changes around your home or property that could be signs of deterioration. These signs could be sagging beams, discoloration on ceilings/walls, cracks in floors & foundations, rust on steel stairs, tipping of retaining walls or slope movement.
Let’s face it, home or property repairs are never fun. They’re costly and time consuming. Most of us want to get them done as quickly and economically as possible. Yet there’s one thing you should never exclude from your project — a consultation with an experienced construction engineer about the signs of home damage.… Continue Reading Common Signs of Home Damage and Deterioration