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
Can a tennis ball really give you home-buying insight? Normally, when people are looking for properties to purchase, they worry about the roof or the walls or the plumbing or the appliances or the heating/ac system, but not many realize that inspecting the foundation is critical to the building’s structural integrity.
… Continue Reading Property Inspections—Keep Your Eye on the Ball
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
Now is a great time to perform the semi-annual maintenance of your HVAC system to make sure that your system is ready for the upcoming summer months. I recommend that you obtain a contract with an HVAC specialist for this maintenance, which is generally done in March/April (to prepare for the summer months) and then again inAugust/September (to prepare for the winter months). Take care of your HVAC and it will take care of you when you need it most.… Continue Reading Maintenance Series: Keep Your Cool All Summer
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
Tilted retaining wall
When purchasing a home, especially a resale home, be sure to walk around the outside of the entire property or you might be surprised at what you find after your purchase. The phrase, “buyer beware,” still applies when it comes to purchasing real estate.
This situation occurs more often than you would think when it comes to older or historic properties dating back 40 years or more when building codes and construction industry standards were less stringent than today.
… Continue Reading Block Wall Alert—TILT!
Existing Narrow Driveway and Wall
What do you do when the retaining wall along the driveway entrance to your coastal home’s garage is too narrow for your cars? After experiencing constant, annoying collision sensor beeping on your newer vehicle or a scrape on your classic car, you begin to think that something has to be done.
In Southern California’s scenic beach areas, the land is very expensive and this often leads to compromises in home design that sometimes later prove to be impractical. A popular solution is to go skinny and vertical—building two- or three-story homes on narrow lots with the garage at street level. The stunning upper story or roof-top ocean views are a welcome incentive to climb the stairs.… Continue Reading Too Close for Comfort
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
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