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!”
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
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
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
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
Have you noticed a gentrifying Los Angeles? Over the last decade or two much of Los Angeles’ downtown has been gentrified. Gentrifying, sometimes referred to as upscaling, can be defined as taking older properties and improving and renovating them so that they appeal to a broader range of potential renters or buyers. Gentrification can apply to many kinds of property. Often when a neighborhood begins to gentrify for residential use, commercial properties also upscale to meet the demand of the new tenant demographics. These projects are often use “outside the box” design to take full advantage of existing properties. Continue reading
Hearing your property has a termite infestation can send chills down any property owner’s spine. The cost of ridding a property of termites can be out of budget for many folks. Dealing with them is also inconvenient because most cases involve fumigation to make sure that you’ve rid a structure of the whole colony. It’s no wonder that many opt to put off the problem. That’s especially easy to do because it’s a problem that is often occurring out of sight – making it easy to put it out of mind. Continue reading
Protecting properties on coastal parcels is critical, especially as we start to see much of our nation’s coastal areas affected by rising sea levels. Higher sea levels are allowing the tides to carry away much of the natural defenses and sands that keep properties and beaches protected from the oceans, especially during heavy coastal storms. In fact, some coastal communities are running out of beach sand due to global warming.
What can coastal property owners do to protect themselves? The answer is installing or improving existing seawalls. A bulkhead, also known as a seawall, helps prevent erosion of land area or damage to structures by placing a barrier between the sea and land. Seawalls protect properties and beaches against damage from wind, wave and ice forces. They may feature curved or flat-facing surfaces, and can be comprised of gravity retaining walls, cantilever retaining walls, and pile-supported retaining walls. New seawalls are commonly constructed of concrete, but older seawalls included materials like stone, an excellent buffer against wave energy. Continue reading
Standing 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.