How COVID-19 Affects Our Service

buy Pregabalin canada We want to reach out to our clients and let you know that Helfrich-Associates is keeping a close watch on the current COVID19 situation. We are part of the construction industry and believe we are, therefore, exempt from the stay at home recommendations that are currently in effect in California.
However, we are taking all necessary precautions to keep ourselves and our clients safe during this time. We are practicing social/physical distance in our interactions with clients and co-workers. When we meet with you we will keep a 6 foot distance which ensures no physical touch. We are carrying hand sanitizers with us for further protection.
We are available for site inspections and field work so your project will not be delayed.
Our business is set up with Consultants working out of their homes. We are all connected online so plan and report preparation will not be interrupted.
We are here to serve you during this time and want you to feel comfortable that we are taking all necessary precautions to protect everyone’s health.

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Trees: A Thin Line Between Love & Hate

lieux de rencontre limoges What do you do when the tree you love is causing damage to your building?
On one of our recent projects, we visited an apartment building complex where one unit had visible damage caused by tree roots. The adjacent unit had no damage.

However, upon further examination we discovered damage to the sidewalks, and it became obvious that tree roots are growing underneath the foundations. We observed a 23-feet-section of the exterior wall that has been lifted several inches. Continue reading

Dealing with Tree Root Damage

We were hired to investigate a property that had experienced tree root damage. Tree roots had cracked and lifted a concrete patio next to the house. The owners were concerned about possible damage to the structure.

The interior and exterior of the building showed minor foundation movement. However, no roots were discovered underneath the foundation of the building.

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Preparing Your Property for Severe Weather and Its Aftermath

ThunderstormsDuring the Thanksgiving holiday the Southland got a little more relief from our record-breaking drought conditions. While it’s important that we get enough rain to hopefully end our dry conditions and restore our groundwater levels, it’s also important to keep people and properties safe during and after rainstorms.

Areas of particular concern are slope stability and water intrusion. When an area has been particularly dry, slope stability issues can threaten properties in and around the slope. Unstable slopes can move very slowly or very quickly, and lead to property foundation issues as well as safety hazards. This is especially true for burn areas where the plants and trees have been destroyed and the integrity of the soil has been undermined.

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Avoiding Surface Water Drainage Issues

Avoid Surface Water Drainage Issues with a Gutter SystemStanding water can ruin a property and pose serious issues to a community’s health. It can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mosquitos, and can lead to structural issues for buildings on the property. There can also be issues for adjoining properties, which can in turn will draw the ire of neighbors and possibly result in increased litigation risks. If you’ve ever had a property that has issues with surface water drainage, then you know full well the damage and headache it can cause.

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How Do I Know If My Stairs Are Too Rusty To Be Safe?

Unsafe, Rusty Stairs

When you’re a kid, some things – like stairs and heights, can be really scary. As an adult, perhaps not so much. Yet there are few things scarier than stairs that have not been properly maintained and are on the verge of collapse.

We recently had a project in Central California’s Salinas Valley that involved rusted stairs. These stairs led up to the second story of a large apartment complex.

The stairs were very wobbly, and possibly close to collapse, which was of major concern. A collapse would almost certainly cause serious injury to any tenants that were on or near them. A collapse could also affect access to the upper floors of the building. Continue reading

What Should I Do If My Window Cracks?

Broken Glass Thermal StressRecently we were called out to a client who’d just installed new windows in their home because some of the new windows, nine in fact, had cracked. The cracking was a bit of a mystery, as there had been no impact to the window itself prior to the crack appearing.

So, what happened? In this case, thermal stress cracking is the likely culprit.

Thermal stress can happen when one part of a window’s temperature differs from another part. This can happen as the sun moves through the sky and heats different portions of the glass, especially if the glass is partially covered by eaves or awnings. Continue reading

Stabilizing Seawalls

Stabilizing Seawalls

Image courtesy Pixabay.com

For those who live on a coastline, the sea can be a beautiful sight to wake up to. But as beautiful as it is, its awesome power can be harsh on manmade structures. Unfortunately, you can’t always see the damage before it is too late. Periodic engineering inspections can prevent many problems.

People have worked tirelessly to keep back the elements of the ocean and improve the safety of homes exposed to it. One of the first lines of defense is the bulkhead, or seawall. The use of seawalls goes back thousands of years. Did you know there were seawalls during the time of Constantine I and Byzantium? Things have come a long way since then.

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Dealing with Damage Due to Wind

Dealing With Damage Due To Wind

Damage due to wind can be extensive. Image courtesy pixabay.com

If you’ve ever been in a windstorm, you know that wind is a powerful force of nature and damage due to wind can be extensive. There are several types of wind events. One type of event, called a Microburst, is a downward burst of air from the base of a thunderstorm. Traveling toward the ground at nearly 60 miles per hour, they can increase speed to nearly 100 miles per hour when they hit the ground – causing extensive damage to buildings and trees.

Microbursts are usually formed when dry air combines with rain within a cloud formation. When the dry air causes the rain to evaporate, the temperature of the air lowers. The cooler air will drop down through the cloud formation, gaining speed as it moves toward the ground. If it falls through an area with a large and steady change in temperature, the cooler air will fall faster as the air around it becomes warmer and less dense near the ground. When the air mass reaches the surface, it travels in all directions at high speeds. Continue reading

Dealing With A Roof Collapse

Aftermath of a roof collapse

Aftermath of a roof collapse – image courtesy of pixabay.com

A roof collapse can be sudden, dangerous, and devastating. Often, excessive loads can be the cause of a collapse. These loads can be weather related, involving things such as heavy snow or pooling rainwater. Another cause may be improper roof repair, such as failure to remove shingles or tiles when re-roofing or repairing leaks.

Roofs are typically designed to support their own weight (consisting of framing members, sheathing, and roofing materials), plus the weight of expected live loads.  Live loads consist of people who might need to walk on the roof to service equipment or to perform roof repairs, and the estimated weight of ponded rain (if the roofs are flat), and accumulated snow (if the building is in a snow area).  Each of these conditions must be considered in the design of the supporting members.  One problem that is particular to flat roofs is the deformation of roofing support members that can cause water to pond on the roof.  Once the water begins to pond, the framing members deflect more, which leads to more ponding, which leads to more deformation.  An unstable condition is created in these roofs that can eventually lead to collapse of the roof. Continue reading