New Study Says L.A.’s Courthouses Aren’t Even Seismically Safe

It’s time to get serious about earthquake preparedness.

new study revealed that many of Los Angeles’ courthouses are not seismically safe, and face major damage or collapse during a large earthquake.

Researches also estimate that collapse of these buildings could result in a “substantial loss of life.”

“We can’t be in a position after a major earthquake having the public say what did you do and why didn’t you sound the alarm,” Court of Appeal Justice Brad H. Hill, head of a state committee on courthouses, said during a conference in San Francisco. “We are sounding the alarm.”

Of all the judicial buildings in the greater Los Angeles area, the study found that the Superior Court in Glendale – which was built in 1956 – is the most vulnerable to collapse during an earthquake.

Pasadena’s municipal courthouse, the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles and courthouses in Burbank and Beverly Hills also topped the list.

Leaders of California’s judicial system are rallying together to get money from Sacramento to retrofit these buildings. It’s estimated that retrofitting each structure will range from $140 million to $200 million.

“We are in fairly dire straits, but we need to move forward,” Hill said, via the L.A. Times. “We are asking the governor and the Legislature to return that money.”

Though it sounds like L.A. doesn’t have the financial means at the moment to retrofit these buildings, measures will be taken to reduce risks of injury or even death during a big earthquake.

“We owe it to the people who use the courthouses … to try to do our best to reduce the risk of death and serious injury to the people,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger.

However, Stephen Nash – court executive order of the Superior Court in Costa County – wants immediate attention, especially since he works at a courthouse that was rated high-risk.

“We are sitting on a time bomb,” Nash lamented. “We are watching the clock tick, and our ability to do anything has been taken away.”

Slowly, but surely, Los Angeles has started to remedy these issues and has built 30 new courthouses in California over the last 10 years to replace some of the buildings at risk of collapse.

“We tell architects we are not here to win design awards and not here to have marble and exotic woods,” Hill explained. “We are here to have courthouses that will last 80 years. We can’t afford the courthouses of the past.”

There are other state buildings in seismic danger, too – many state universities have structures that have been tagged as high-risk for damage or collapse in the event of an earthquake.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles earthquake retrofitting, foundation inspection, foundation repair and foundation replacement. As the founder of Julian Construction, Julian and his company have inspected over 15,000 structures.

Julian Construction routinely works with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more seismic retrofit work in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

California Could Get An Early Earthquake Warning System By Next Year

It’s about time!

During a meeting for the Japan Geo-science and American Geo-physical Union, Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson said that California could get its early earthquake warning system by next year.

Already, earthquake sensing stations are being installed throughout California, staffing for the system has begun and the software has seen major improvements.

Earlier this month, congress approved a $10.2 million budget for the system, up $2 million from last year.

The earthquake warning system could give as much as a minute’s notice before the shaking of a major quake makes its way to densely populated cities and public areas.

The system would allow places like classrooms, offices, malls, amusement parks, hospitals, police stations and fire stations to have access to these alerts, saving many more lives with extra seconds to drop and cover.

For now, seismologists are hoping for a limited release – installing earthquake alarm systems in public areas first – but, eventually notifying people by phone and computer.

“I think what is the most likely to happen is that the rollout will be in stages, where the end goal is a West Coast-wide – from Mexico-U.S. border to the Canadian U.S. border – systems,” Diego Melgar, research geophysicist at Berkeley, told the L.A. Times.

Japan’s already seen success with a similar system, one that allows their trains to slow or stop if an earthquake is detected; and San Francisco has begun programming their trains to slow down when notified about an incoming earthquake as well.

The sample system notified researchers 8 seconds before the 6.0 earthquake that hit Napa back in 2014 and 30 seconds before the 4.4 earthquake that shook downtown L.A. last year.

Even a few extra seconds of time before an earthquake could save countless lives.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles earthquake retrofitting, foundation inspection, foundation repair and foundation replacement. As the founder of Julian Construction, Julian and his company have inspected over 15,000 structures.

Julian Construction routinely works with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more seismic retrofit work in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Own A Home? Here’s Why You Should Consider Earthquake Insurance

If you live in Southern California, you know that earthquakes pose a very real threat.

Like other forms of insurance, it’s important to make sure your home’s protected when the next major earthquake strikes California.

Earthquake insurance companies, like Earthquake Authority, can work with homeowners to make sure you’re covered within your budget.

You might be thinking you have homeowner’s insurance, you’re fine, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, most homeowner insurance policies do not cover earthquakes which is why you need a separate earthquake policy to protect your home in the event of damage from seismic activity.

While getting earthquake insurance coverage is important when it comes to protecting your home and your belongings, it’s also just as vital to make sure your property is up to current building and safety codes in order to protect your property, your belongings and your loved during an earthquake.

Earthquake Authority, for example, will give you 20% off your California Earthquake Authority insurance policy premium if you have seismically retrofitted your property. Retrofitting your home will make your property more likely to withstand the side-to-side shaking of a quake and less likely to incur damage or danger your loved ones.

You may want to consider getting your home inspected for seismic safety if your property was built before 1979 (before safer building codes were implemented), has been built using wood-frame construction, if your structure has a raised foundation with post and piers located below, if the wood-frame of your home is connected to concrete foundation or if the cripple walls (the wall-like structures located under your home) are less than a full story in height.

With three major fault lines running through Southern California, it’s important to be proactive about earthquake safety.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles seismic retrofit, foundation inspection, foundation repair and foundation replacement. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more retrofit work and foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

 

Julian Construction Offers Underpinning

LOS ANGELES, CA: Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com), a foundation repair and construction company, is offering underpinning in the Los Angeles area.

Underpinning is the method used to strengthen and stabilize the foundation of a structure, provide increased depth or to repair a faulty foundation. Underpinning is installed beneath your foundation to provide additional support to your home. Homeowners may choose this method if they are planning to add stories onto their existing structure or if their foundation has been damaged. When cracks are visible and wider than ¼ inch, underpinning is usually needed.

According to Julian Construction, there are various reasons for foundation underpinning, including to support the additional loads of a second-story addition. In some cases, the existing foundation has settled or rotated at certain points, and in other cases the interior configuration is modified, resulting in the removal or change of load-bearing walls.

“They arrived on time and completed the job just as they described. They handled everything from start to finish including permit and final inspection with the city. I did my homework before selecting a company to do this project and when they came out for the estimate, I knew I had found the right company for the job,” Eileen, a past client of Julian Construction, stated.

Julian Construction has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years. Julian owns its own company and is built on a “no middleman” model – no salesman, no subcontractors. When you work with Julian Construction you get the principals of the company and workers of Julian Construction under your home. The result is the highest quality work at affordable prices. They can be contacted by phone at 323-733-3377, by fax at 323-733-4477 or via their website, www.julianconstruction.com. You can see tips and advice about home foundations on their blog at http://julianconstruction.com/blog/ or http://foundationrepairforlosangeles.com/blog/.

 

Three Ways to Protect Your Foundation as Seasons Change

LOS ANGELES, CA: Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com), a foundation repair and construction company, is advising the public on how to protect their foundation during each season.

As the seasons change from Winter to Summer, it’s important to check your home foundation for any signs of damage. Julian Construction says when the foundation is left unchecked and uncorrected, breaks or cracks in the foundation can lead to additional cost and can pose a risk to your structure. There are specific steps you can take to protect your foundation, including:

Check for proper drainage: To make sure rain is kept away from your foundation, check for proper and working gutters. You may find that there is debris or part of the gutter has fallen. Make sure to fix these if found. Additionally, it’s important for the drains to be pointed away from the home.

Water your soil: When it starts to become dry during the Summer, make sure to keep your soil watered. Dry soil can lead to cracking and cause foundation settlement. However, avoid excessive watering as overly wet soil can cause unwanted damage to your foundation.

Check the grading of soil: Look to see where the soil is directing your water. If it’s directing water toward your foundation, using a shovel to modify it can be an easy solution.

While taking steps to protect your foundation can help prevent future damage, sometimes a foundation will need to be repaired or replaced. “There are many good reasons for foundation replacement. Some homes were built without a steel and concrete foundation, while others were made of un-reinforced masonry, that of brick or stone. In some cases, the original concrete was made of poor quality materials or has been badly deteriorated over the years. At Julian Construction, we’re able to repair and install new foundations,” says founder, Julian De La Torre.

Julian Construction has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years. Julian owns its own company and is built on a “no middleman” model – no salesman, no subcontractors. When you work with Julian Construction you get the principals of the company and workers of Julian Construction under your home. The result is the highest quality work at affordable prices. They can be contacted by phone at 323-733-3377, by fax at 323-733-4477 or via their website, www.julianconstruction.com. You can see tips and advice about home foundations on their blog at http://julianconstruction.com/blog/ or http://foundationreplacementlosangeles.com/

Choosing a Foundation Repair Contractor

By Julian De La Torre

Moisture, poor soil conditions and extreme weather can damage a foundation. Indicators of foundation problems include sticky doors and windows, wall cracks and sloping floors.

There are many ways to fix a foundation. Filling foundation cracks is always a good first step, but other types of repair may also be needed, including additional support like bolts, piles and piers.

A foundation repair contractor is the best person to resolve foundation issues. Not only will a foundation expert have the knowledge and skills to properly repair the foundation, he’ll also have the right equipment.

Choosing a good foundation specialist is important. Here are some tips on how to hire the best person for the job:

1. Make sure the contractor is licensed. Licensing requirements include both experience and know-how.
2. A professional foundation repair contractor should also be licensed and bonded.
3. Check how long the contractor has been working in your area or region. A local contractor will know the building codes for your location, and what could be causing the problem you are having with your foundation (weather, soil conditions, etc.).
4. Ask how long the contractor has specifically been doing foundation repair work.
5. The contractor you hire should also have experience in all areas of foundation repair.
6. An experienced foundation contractor will also be able to find the source of the problem and discuss all of your repair options.

When hiring a foundation repair contractor, ask for a proposal detailing all of the work that will need to done, along with pricing. When reviewing the proposal, look for any hidden fees or charges. If you get more than one proposal and there are significant differences between bids, keep asking questions until you understand why.

And remember to ask for references. When you contact former customers, ask them about the quality of the work that was done and if they were happy with the results.
Following these simple steps when hiring a contractor will ensure your foundation is repaired properly.

Julian De La Torre, expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation repair and foundation contractors (Los Angeles) and founder of Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com) in Los Angeles, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms & local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair (Los Angeles) than any other company in the area over the last five years (http://julianconstruction.com/services/foundation-repair/). Julian Construction owns its own company and is a “no middlemen” model–no salesmen or subcontractors–you get the principals of the company & its workers under your home. Learn more about Julian Construction and Los Angeles foundation repair at http://losangelesfoundationrepair.us/. See their video on the importance of foundation repair https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzSlYxjZ6Q0&t=2s

Congress Gets Serious About Earthquake Early Warning System, Approves $10.2 Million Budget

Like Los Angeles, Congress is getting very serious about earthquake safety.

This week, congress appointed $10.2 million to a new earthquake warning system – which is still being tested and in development — that would alert Californians and those residing on the West Coast before a major earthquake is about to occur.

The earthquake warning system could give as much as a minute’s notice before the shaking of a major quake makes its way to densely populated cities and public areas.

The system would allow places like classrooms, offices, malls, amusement parks, hospitals, police stations and fire stations to have access to these alerts, saving many more lives with extra seconds to drop and cover.

Not to mention, the alerts would allow doctors to halt surgeries and give trains the opportunity to slow down or stop before an earthquake.

Japan has already successfully implemented a similar warning service, which allows their trains to slow or stop if the system detects signs of an earthquake.

The prototype system has already seen success – notifying researchers 8 seconds before the 6.0 earthquake that hit Napa back in 2014 and 30 seconds before the 4.4 earthquake that shook downtown L.A. last year.

In 2016, congress appointed $8.2 million for the earthquake warning systems.

The U.S. Geological Survey is working with Caltech, UC Berkley, the University of Washington and the University of Oregon to build the system and it’s estimated to cost a total of $38.2 million.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles earthquake retrofitting, foundation inspection, foundation repair and foundation replacement. As the founder of Julian Construction, Julian and his company have inspected over 15,000 structures.

Julian Construction routinely works with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more seismic retrofit work in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Does Your Home Need Earthquake Retrofitting? Here’s How to Tell …

Unlike the mandatory retrofit of soft-story structures in Los Angeles, as a homeowner you can proactively retrofit your home.

Typically, for the average single family residence, the cost is somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 dollars, assuming there are no special conditions. Relative to the value of Los Angeles’ real estate, retrofitting offers low-cost peace of mind.

If your house was built before 1960, your home’s foundation may not be up to current safety codes. In California, homes built before 1949 were not required to be bolted to their foundations.

Bolting your home to its foundation or bracing the structure’s cripple walls is a small price to pay for the safety of your family and the protection of your greatest investment, your home.

If you live in an older home, here are three things to look for:

  1. Water damage: When water enters the home’s crawl space – the area located below the house – the wooden posts that hold the structure up can become weak after sitting in wetness for an extended period. Over time, these posts will shift, rot and lose strength. If you notice any water damage in your home, contact a foundation specialist for an inspection.
  2. Sinking floors, damaged drywall or tight doors/ windows: If there are areas of your home that aren’t functioning like they used to, these could be signs of foundation damage. Unevenness in your floors, cracks in your drywall or interior doors and windows that stick, may mean that the piers and posts located below your home have shifted, making your home more vulnerable to damage and/or collapse in the event of a large earthquake.
  3. Termite damage: If you’ve suffered a pest problem recently, there’s a chance that your home’s foundation may need replacement or repair. Termite’s feed on a home’s structure, so make sure to contact a foundation specialist for an inspection.

If you suspect your home may need earthquake retrofitting, contact Julian Construction for a free inspection.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles earthquake retrofitting, foundation inspection, foundation repair and foundation replacement. As the founder of Julian Construction, Julian and his company have inspected over 15,000 structures.

Julian Construction routinely works with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more seismic retrofit work in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Julian Construction Joins Los Angeles For Seismic Retrofit Convention

Julian Construction attended the Seismic Retrofit event at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Monday.

Joined by fellow Los Angeles-based contractors and engineering firms, Julian Construction provided information and raised awareness about LA’s retrofit program.

Los Angeles recently passed a mandatory retrofit program where, under Ordinance 183893 and Ordinance 184081, soft-story buildings deemed vulnerable to earthquake damage and/or collapse must be retrofitted to lessen these structural weaknesses.

Most of the structures identified are multi-story buildings with a weak first floor (typically structures with tuck-under-parking and open fronts).

If you own an apartment building that consists of two or more stories with wood-frame construction, a structure that was built before January 1, 1978 (prior to the implementation of safer building codes) or a building that contains ground floor parking or comparable open spaces, contact Julian Construction to get a free inspection.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation repair and foundation replacement. As the founder of Julian Construction, Julian and his company have inspected over 15,000 structures. Julian Construction routinely works with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more seismic retrofit work in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Julian Construction owns its own company and is built on a “no middlemen” model–no salesmen or subcontractors–you get the principals of the company and its workers under your home.

House Leveling Tips

By Julian De La Torre

When a home starts to sink in one or more places, it can cause a myriad of problems, including wall cracks, slopping floor and doors or windows that won’t shut properly. Depending on the severity of the issue, your house may even appear unlevel when you view it from the outside.

Foundation settlement occurs for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, it is the result of changes in the soil beneath and around the structure. This can include a home that is built on soil that can’t support the building’s weight (weak bearing soil) or fill soil that wasn’t compressed sufficiently before the foundation was put in place.

Changes in the amount of moisture within the soil can also lead to settlement. As the moisture content increases, the soil will expand. When the moisture content decreases, the soil will start to dry and contract. The shrinkage creates spaces for foundation settlement.

Trees and other foliage growing near a structure can cause similar contraction problems when expanding root systems begin pulling water from the soil.

Foundation settlement can be fixed through a process known as house leveling, which restores the structure to its original level position.

There are several ways to level a home, including installing concrete pilings, pressed piling, helical piers, drilled bell piers and steel push piers.

Homes needing concrete foundation repair can also be repaired with mudjacking, a technique that involves lifting a sunken slab by pumping a mixture of “mud” underneath the foundation and pushing it up.

The entire weight of your home sits on its foundation, which is why keeping your foundation in good shape is so important. If you notice any signs of settlement, get help from an experienced foundation contractor. A professional will know how to correct the situation and address the root of the problem.

Julian De La Torre, expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair (Los Angeles) and founder of Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com) in Los Angeles, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms & local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair (Los Angeles) than any other company in the area over the last five years (http://julianconstruction.com/services/house-leveling/). Julian Construction owns its own company and is a “no middlemen” model–no salesmen or subcontractors–you get the principals of the company & its workers under your home. Learn more about Julian Construction and Los Angeles foundation repair at http://www.anchorla.com/. See their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI6-SXw6Z1c