Alpha Structural Inc., an inspection company in Los Angeles County licensed to engineer and build any type of foundation or hillside repair, inspected tens of thousands of properties and collected the worst things they saw on their building inspections.
Let’s play a game of Jenga in the back yard.
Did a structural assessment for this home and the lady was wondering why her home was sloping 7 inches. Some classic LA settlement.
A big concrete block, random wood members and plywood. That should do.
The roots basically said F**K YOU and broke the wall with ease.
This was a very interesting hillside home that was sliding down the hill. They needed an engineered wall to keep the house from cracking down the slope.
This one is subtle but the property is shifting like crazy! The back wall is bowing quite a bit and in the top right, where the stilts connect to the overhang, you can see the waviness of the connections and how unstable it really is.
A few more inches down and that would have made a nice half-pipe for skateboarding. Image below shows the cause of this dip!
This is a sump pump. It should be isolated in a plastic or concrete basin to collect water. This was installed into dirt. Fail.
This was found under a house. Somebody undermined the entire footing then stopped the excavation and left.
“who goes under a house to steal a wooden block off a pier?”
Water was constantly getting into the wall. This is the ugly result!
They did it right in the 1920’s. Not.
Seems that they mixed every piece of rubble after a demolition and made a wall with it.
A pier with the footing sinking 7 inches down on the right. There were 6 others just like it under this property.
Poor drainage, erosion and lack of care
“I tried fixing it myself but I thought I’d give the experts a call”
Just don’t stick your hand in there…the house could bite.
This may look like a cool, industrial ceiling pattern in a DTLA villa, but it’s actually water intrusion coming through the cracks above.
This was a failed retaining wall that we’re fixing up. It actually wraps around the front (which you’ll see below) and the pressure underneath and farther up the hill caused it to fall over and collapse into the street and into the neighbors yard. What occurred was called a “surcharge” and it’s when the pressure from the structure puts too much tension into the surrounding soil that it slowly gets pushed outwards.
This is a deck that extended past the garage doors below it. Needless to say, it had some insane wood-rot underneath! In the photo to the right, you can see the once sturdy deck was held together by a massive framing bolt. Now it’s free floating.
This is the side of a home that had awful water damage and wood-rot. The walls were so badly damaged and damp, they began to buckle and burst open, exposing the interior framing and causing the house to sink on one end.
This is a pretty severe crack in the concrete foundation of a hillside home. Metal strapping is one solution to this, though it’s never recommended because the problems will persist and show up again in a few years. Replacing this section would be the correct action.
You don’t have to be an expert to see there’s an issue here. The foundation and framing connection (cripple wall) is buckling out toward the driveway. This is causing sloping floors, interior and exterior cracking and sticking doors.
It’s like crawling through broken glass
Look at that bend!
A pier made with brick & mortar…No Bueno!
A spider made this crack it’s home and now we can’t do the work. We don’t want to tear a spider family apart like that.
I mean, if it works…
A missing pier will inevitably cause sagging of the sub-floor.
Well, it does the job but it’s not strapped and it could cause future damage.
This is more of an art piece that was built into the foundation. There’s rock, a cinder block, 2×4’s and a metal plate, all tied into the foundation. Beautiful, elegant, illegal.
This is actually a project that we took on and it’s almost done. This is a VERY steep hillside up in Hollywood that was collapsing and continuously falling and creating more damage to the hillside. We drilled piles down about 30 feet to bedrock for stabilization and added a new retaining wall system for the upper tier.
At this point it’s not worth repairing. Just replace the foundation.
The result of bad water proofing: Spalling Concrete.
This was the “foundation” of an old school built in the early 1900’s. Completely made up of rock and rubble, this would in no way survive an earthquake. We’re redoing the entire foundation.
Everything is code when there is no code. (Not in LA)
YES, this is a real skull & YES it was called in to the police and YES it was confirmed by a detective coroner. While doing a real estate inspection in the valley, one of our assessors came across the above skull. It was said to be found in Peru by the previous owners. Apparently, they brought it back in their luggage when returning from their vacation in Peru. Why they would do this is beyond me. This was later confirmed by the sellers of the property that it was in fact brought back over to the states from Peru. The skull, which was studied by the coroner, was roughly 1,000 years old. This is by far one of the craziest things we’ve seen doing foundation inspections in Los Angeles.
This was taken during one of our structural inspections in North Hollywood. It’s gonna take a little more than duct tape to fix this one.
Now, I forgot the term for these, but basically it’s a massive hole/well that was about a meter under the concrete footing. The owner had no idea this was here. Must have been there for decades.
And they were wondering why their floors were sagging.
During an inspection, one of our assessors found this beauty. A wall created entirely out of concrete filled washing machines.
And there goes the other half of your house
A car jack perhaps?
“I have sagging floors” And this is why.
This is something you don’t see every day: A colony of bees/hornets/wasps, have created a honeycombed nest on the carcass of a dead animal and it became the perfect online content. Nasty.
This is a very interesting view from a basement window. It’s actually located in a shower and you can see the critters moving around in the dirt. Hope you like bugs!
This is a foundation made up of river rock, some sort of hardened mortar and the tears of the contractors who did it. Also, I see a rhino!
It may seem as if this is a photo was taken at an angle, but I assure you, it was perfectly straight. The floors are just sloping down a good 6 inches from the middle of the home.
Nothing is worse than coming across a massive gas pipe while excavation. It wasn’t on the initial plans.
Though these jacks are pretty common…they should never be used as a permanent pier. Unless secured with duct tape of course.
This is an abandoned home in East Los Angeles. I don’t want to get too technical on this, but not even the homeless would want to set up shop in there.
This is one of the craziest structural fails I’ve ever seen. No re-bar, not bolted, settling 2 ft and it’s on sand…Just wow!
Yeah…that’s not legal.
A soft-story can be described as multi-level structure built with a first floor that is much less rigid (soft) than the floors above, such as in an apartment with tuck under parking. This is a cause for concern, for when an earthquake hits, the existing columns do not have the strength to protect against the sideways movement that can occur.
This is actually the door leading to Narnia. It just so happens that it’s under a house in Pasadena, CA. Seriously though, they used this as a sort of “shear wall” for additional strength. Again, an obvious DIY job.
May not look like much, but a single toddler jumps and that set of stairs and deck come down.
This is a first
So from here we see there is a slope starting from the right and going 15 feet to left. After peeling back the carpet, we discovered a massive slab crack. To the right of the crack we see another crack that’s been patched. The left side of the house was completely sinking a total of 18 inches from the point of the crack. One of the worst slab conditions we’ve seen so far in LA.