The owners of a beautiful contemporary 7,000-square foot dream home with a forever view in Murrieta near the Temecula wine country of Southern California awoke to a disturbing pool disaster a few years ago. Shortly after construction, their new pool, surrounded by a resort-like patio deck suddenly started to slip tragically down the slope below.
The movement of the patio/pool structure with large, visible cracks left no doubt about the unstable nature of the lot and hillside below. With the region’s often weak, compressible soils, and a proclivity for earthquakes, hillside homes in Southern California are often unstable and subject to more than a little shaking. Continue reading
Most of the projects that we are involved in require permits from the local Building Departments. Although many cities have their own building departments, some cities rely on the County to review and process permits. Other cities contract out the plan review process to specialty engineering and construction consulting firms. Having a professional engineering submit your plans for approval is often helpful.
No matter who is in charge, having a professional engineering firm present your permit request and when necessary answering questions about your building plans can be extremely helpful. More often than not, the person who will review and approve your building plan is also a professional engineer. Based on our experience, we know what questions to expect and how to answer them for first-time right success in securing your building permit. We won’t let you attempt to build something that we know will be problematic from the start and delay your project. Continue reading
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
The past year has been a remarkably interesting one for sure. In March 2020, when we were informed of the COVID quarantine, our initial question was, “How is the construction industry supposed to deal with this situation?” We soon found out, to our great relief, that construction was considered an essential service, and that the operation of our business would not be affected. Unless, of course, our clients decided to stop their projects.
The Top Ten Annual Must-Do Items
If your home, your wallet and peace-of-mind are important priorities, then the beginning of each year comes with a new opportunity that’s too good to pass up. You can save yourself all kinds of unpleasant surprises, unexpected bills and headaches by committing to the annual scheduling of the top twelve most important home inspections and maintenance tasks.
Are there problems when you do construction work before you get a permit? The answer is always, “Yes!” Sooner or later it will catch up with you. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
In December 2017, we were asked to help a property owner get a grading permit from the County of San Bernardino for a partially graded hillside property. This scenic property had a great mountain view. Because the property was located within an earthquake fault zone, we performed a fault study and determined that the site could not be developed with a residential structure. Continue reading
How far would you go to feel secure in your home? In one of our latest projects, we’re working for a client who is going to build his dream home on a gorgeous view lot. The lot overlooks homes that have settlement problems. In fact, he owns one of the homes that is suffering from settlement.
Knowing the history of the soil around his view lot, he is concerned that he could run into the same settlement problems with this lot. The question now is, how far will he go to feel secure? He wants the foundation for his new home to be strong enough so that it will never settle.
For example, the concrete contractor’s bid is for a 5 inch foundation. The contractor said that in his experience, 5 inch foundations are strong enough to address this situation. The client asked if a 6 inch foundation would be better. The contractor said 5 inches was enough. The client said let’s make it 6 inches to be safe.
If you are in this situation what would you do? Do you have limitless amounts of money? Have you researched your contractors and trust their qualifications?
Feeling secure about your property is paramount. So, do your research and find contractors you trust. They are the experts and will be able to help you find the best solution.