How COVID-19 Affects Our Service

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.

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

Damage Due to Repairs

What happens when the fix for a problem creates another problem?
We were hired to investigate peeling drywall tape at a home in Hacienda Heights. A recent water loss occurred at this property and required a drying out process that used 6 dehumidifiers and 30 fans. The dehumidifiers and fans were running 24 hours a day for 29 days.

After the drying out process, the homeowner noticed that the drywall tape was peeling in their kitchen, living room, and two of the bedrooms.

The lesson from this project is pay close attention to what the repairs might involve; and try to anticipate possible side-effects to the repairs.

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.

Continue reading

How Far Would You Go To Feel Secure?

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.

Case Study: How the Terms Mouse Trap and Fire Training End Up in the Same Sentence

Fire Mouse TrapA mouse trap is a common, albeit annoying, word in suburban households. To most people, we picture a small slab of wood, a piece of cheese, and the impending doom for a little furry critter. A mouse trap, regarding to fire training, is a whole new ball game.

Helfrich-Associates was called out to a job site in the Inland Empire: A Fire Training Center. This state of the art training center will be utilized by fire departments and students in the surrounding area with every square inch of this training center being built meticulously. There are buildings that are being constructed specifically to be put on fire, but most interestingly, and why Helfrich-Associates is here, is the Mouse Trap. Continue reading

Understanding Shoring for Building Repairs or Renovation

An example of shoring.Shoring is a critical technique for many building renovation projects. If you have an older property that needs repairs or renovation completed, you may need to include shoring in your plans. Shoring a building consists of temporarily supporting the structure while critically important portions of the building are removed and replaced.  These include critical elements include foundations, load-bearing walls, and the roof.  Shoring can also be used to prevent collapse of building elements that are failing, and can allow the building to be safely occupied during repair construction.

Three of the most common are lateral shoring, vertical shoring, and excavation shoring. Continue reading

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

When Does a Property Need a Floor Elevation Survey?

When Does a Property Need a Floor Elevation Survey?Is it time for a floor elevation survey? Have you noticed a lot of cracking of the foundation or patios on your property? It could be related to ground or soil movement. When the ground under a property shifts, it can  lead to cracked foundations, patio slabs and/or interior finishes such as drywall and tile. This can be especially true in places like Southern California where we have very adverse geology such as clays, loose sand and unstable hillsides. Add to this years of drought followed by an El Niño year, and ground movement is inevitable. Continue reading

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