Tree Maintenance: A SoCal Thanksgiving Tradition

Basket of vegetables with radishes, tomatoes, and carrots.At this time of year, many of us are anticipating the celebration of Thanksgiving.  It’s a rich American holiday where family and friends gather in gratitude for the harvest at a bountiful feast honoring all that is good in life.  It’s a time when many are grateful for simple things, such as our homes and gardens with trees, flowers and even a few late season vegetables and herbs such as parley or sage that always contribute to this savory holiday meal.

It’s also the time of year when our beautiful gardens are now ready for a well-deserved rest in Southern California, including those stately sycamore trees with their falling gold and orange leaves that provided us with welcome shady green relief during our hot summer days.  As you’re raking up those leafy old friends and trimming back your perennial shrubs, it’s also time to look up at the tree branches and consider pruning trees that might have grown a little too large or are too close to our homes for comfort.… Continue Reading Tree Maintenance: A SoCal Thanksgiving Tradition

Smoke Alarm ITM: Why You Need One

It’s mid-October and it’s time to think about Smoke Alarm ITM.  “What’s that,” you ask?

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reminds us every year that smoke alarm inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) are the responsibility of every homeowner, as well as those owning or managing rental units and commercial properties.  Fire fighters will tell you nothing is more tragic than the loss of life in the fall or winter due to a candle lit fire and nonworking smoke alarms.… Continue Reading Smoke Alarm ITM: Why You Need One

Say Goodbye To Summer and Prepare Now for Winter

Pool toys and one looks like a pink flamingoYes, it is August and it is too hot to go outside or do much of anything else except visit your pool, or your neighbor’s pool or the HOA pool or the lake or the beach.  While you’re chilling out, even if it’s only inside the house with the HVAC cranked down, spend some quality time thinking about getting ready for the winter ahead by scheduling a maintenance appointment for your furnace.

In Southern California with our mild winters, many of us barely give our natural gas furnaces or heaters a thought. We typically only run them from late October until mid-February There’s only one problem, your poor neglected heater is sitting all alone in the attic, utility closet or garage while the air conditioner unit is having all the fun as  temperatures hit the mid to high 90s or even the low 100s in Southern California.

We can assure you the temperature is going to fall:  So please don’t take your natural gas furnace or heating system for granted by failing to give it some love. The temperatures start to drop by late October to mid-November in Southern California.  A 30-minute visit to inspect your heater by a qualified HVAC  technician in late September or early October will make sure you’re cozy in late fall through winter.… Continue Reading Say Goodbye To Summer and Prepare Now for Winter

Property Inspections—Keep Your Eye on the Ball

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

Making all the Right Moves in Southern California

When the iconic 1960’s surf band the Beach Boys sang their hit song “Good Vibrations,” they definitely had romance on their minds and not earthquakes, slope movement, or landslides, etc.  Falling in love and that unsteady feeling you get during an earthquake are different to be sure, but, they both can rock your world and leave you as Elvis would say, “All Shook Up!”

… Continue Reading Making all the Right Moves in Southern California

Red Tag Alert: View for Days Comes With a Price

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

Inspecting This Old House To See If It Stands The Test of Time

If you’re a fan of classic architecture and the great homes of the past centuries, then you’ve probably also watched the PBS television classic, This Old House.  Many of the homes featured on the long-running TV Series are located on the East Coast and typically have required construction repairs and updating with modern plumbing, electrical, HVAC.

On the West Coast, we have our share of classic homes too, dating back to the late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries.  In Southern California, our classic Victorians, Craftsman, Adobes, Spanish Revival and Ranch homes are local architectural treasures and are of historic significance.  For our clients, preserving them is often both a practical matter as their principal residence and a labor of love to ensure their survival continues for generations to come.… Continue Reading Inspecting This Old House To See If It Stands The Test of Time

Trees: A Thin Line Between Love & Hate

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 Trees: A Thin Line Between Love & Hate

Common Signs of Home Damage and Deterioration

A deteriorating homeDo 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

The Dangers of Building Without A Permit

The Dangers of Building Without A PermitGetting 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 The Dangers of Building Without A Permit