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
Wooden apartment balconies will require periodic inspections in California by 2025.
If you’re an owner or investor in an apartment building or an officer in a home owners association, which at the time of sale met all the building code requirements with all the paperwork in order, you might think that’s the end of the story.
Think again because, unfortunately, building and civil codes in California and elsewhere have a way of evolving and changing over time, which frequently requires new inspections and property maintenance.
A case in point: We were recently asked to evaluate an HOA community’s buildings and see if they were affected by California SB 721 and/or Civil Code Section 5551.
KEY PROVISIONS OF SENATE BILL 721
The bill (approved by the Governor on September 17, 2018) requires an inspection of “exterior elevated elements and associated waterproofing elements… including decks and balconies for buildings with three or more multi-family dwellings…” These inspections are to be performed, by a licensed engineer or architect, by a qualified building contractor, or by a qualified building inspector, before January 1, 2025.
The bill applies to apartment buildings, but not to hotels/motels and “common interest developments” such as HOA’s. The bill, however, authorizes a local governing entity to enact stricter requirements, and some will do so before the SB721 deadline.
Exterior elevated elements that are subject to this requirement include those building elements that are supported (in whole or substantial part) by wood members, are more than 6-feet above the ground surface, are outside the building envelope, and are designed for human occupancy or use. Continue reading
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
Getting ready to start an improvement project and wondering if you can start building without a permit? If you’ve ever been in the market for a new property, for instance a new home, you may have come across some that were remodeled without a permit. Buyers may encounter properties that have been updated since their original construction with additions that range from electrical work to an expansion of the building. So what should you do when you find that perfect property that’s had work done but the previous owner may not have obtained a permit to do the work? Continue reading