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

Santa Monica Passes Nation’s Largest Earthquake Retrofitting Effort

Santa Monica is committed to ensuring seismic safety for their residents and visitors.

On Tuesday, the Santa Monica City Council passed legislation requiring 2,000 buildings – including those constructed with concrete and steel-frame foundations – to be retrofitted if found susceptible to earthquake damage.

The measure was first proposed back in February, and was “unanimously approved” during Tuesday’s vote.

Property owners of these 2,000 buildings deemed “vulnerable” will be notified beginning in May to get their units’ inspected for seismic safety.

If found inclined to earthquake damage, these buildings will have to be retrofitted and strengthened. The buildings listed include commercial properties and multifamily apartment structures.

Retrofitting these buildings will be rather costly, especially since many of these steel-frame structures include skyscrapers and high-rises in the area.

City officials estimate it will cost somewhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per unit to retrofit a standard wood-frame apartment building and $50 to $100 each square foot to retrofit a concrete and/or steel building.

Nevertheless, safety is of the utmost importance to Santa Monica’s Mayor Ted Winterer.

“We want to do as much as we can to limit the loss of life and infrastructure, so in the event of a disaster, we bounce back strong,” Mayor Ted Winterer explained in a statement about the ordinance.

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

Julian Construction Offers House Leveling

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

House leveling is the process of bringing a home back to as close to its original level state as possible. Leveling a home is normally done by performing foundation repair. Over time, a home’s foundation can begin to fail. This is due to various factors such as excess moisture, poor foundation design and more. A home that is sinking at one end or has sagging floors needs to be corrected and can be fixed with house leveling.

According to Julian Construction, many homeowners live with sloping floors, doors that will not open and cracking walls. Most floors can be leveled and returned to their original position, and the work can be completed in a structurally sound manner. Julian Construction specializes in house leveling to give homeowners a safer place to live.

“This is how you run a business. I paid a fair price and got what was promised. A small army of workers showed up on time, were incredibly efficient, and cleaned up so you’d never know they were there. The foreman was patient with a nervous and exacting homeowner,” says Carol, a past client of Julian Construction.

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 middlemen” model – no salesmen, 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/.

Buying A Beachfront Home? Here’s What You Need to Know About Liquefaction…

There are a lot if issues to look out for when you’re buying a new home.

And if you’ve found a “bargain” property close to the water or near a marina, it’s important to ask the seller about liquefaction early in the transaction.

Liquefaction is a major property hazard, especially when it comes to ensuring that your home is seismically safe.

Soil liquefaction happens when the soil has become wet or mostly wet and loses significant durability and strength when it’s subjected stress. This stress typically occurs during an earthquake, which can make the building’s sediments function as a liquid rather than a solid material.

Water pressure and moisture can transform a structure’s granular state from a solid formation to a liquid material, making the property more vulnerable to damage and/or collapse in the event of large side-to-side or up-and-down shaking.

There are several ways to identify if a building has experienced liquefaction – if cracks are present in the property’s driveways, sidewalks or stucco, there’s a good chance the structure will need immediate repair due to liquefaction or poor maintenance.

While the seller might tell you these issues “come with the territory” of waterfront living, it’s important as a buyer to do your own research and look deeper into these matters.

During escrow, ask the buyer for all association-related documents. Under Civil Code sections 4523-4530, these should be provided free of charge – make sure to ask for the complete copies.

These policies are crucial for assessing the property’s liquefaction risk, and when it comes to obtaining the proper earthquake insurance coverage.

You can check out the California Geological Survey’s “Guidelines for Evaluating and Mitigating Seismic Hazards in California” here.  And for more information, take a look at California’s liquefaction maps here.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. 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 foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

5 Factors that Can Deteriorate Roofs Faster

LOS ANGELES, CA: Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com), a roofing and foundation repair and foundation construction company, is informing the public on five factors that can deteriorate roofs faster, causing problems and roof leaks.

As stated by Julian Construction, roofs are built using various types of materials such as slate, rubber slate, wood shake, asphalt and metal. Eventually, these materials of the roof will wear out over time and need repair or replacement. While a good roof can last for a long time, there are certain factors that can accelerate the deterioration process.

See those listed below:

1. Design Issues: When a roof isn’t designed correctly in the first place, it can lead to sagging and splitting, as well as water and sediment accumulation. All of which are serious issues.

2. Improper installation: An improperly installed roof lowers the life expectancy of that roof. The issues you will encounter are similar to those found in a faulty design, such as poor drainage.

3. Poor maintenance: Maintenance is still required on even the best designed and properly installed roofs. Maintenance is needed to prevent debris from clogging drains. When this is ignored, more severe problems can occur.

4. Weathering: Certain weather conditions such as rain, wind, snow and hail, can increase the rate of deterioration. Some materials deteriorate faster than others. For example, natural roof materials will deteriorate faster than synthetic roofing in these weather conditions.

5. Flashing problems: Flashing protects and seals the places where the roof intersects with pipes, chimneys, skylights and similar objects. When flashing goes awry, more problems can occur.

“Having your roof regularly inspected by a professional contractor is an important part of the maintenance process. When roof problems are detected early, not only will the repairs usually be less costly, it can help prevent other types of damage to your home,” 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 middlemen” model – no salesmen, 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/.

Earthquake Retrofitting: What’s House Bolting?

If you live in California, you know earthquakes pose imminent danger.

That’s why, as a homeowner, it’s imperative to make sure your property’s foundation is seismically sound.

The goal of earthquake retrofitting is to reinforce your home’s foundation, to ensure the property is safe from damage or collapse in the event of an earthquake. Thanks to engineering advances, house bolting, foundation bolting and cripple wall bracing, are different techniques that can be used to strengthen your home.

What is house bolting?

If you own a home, especially one that was built more than 50 years ago, well before current building codes were implemented, then you should consider having your property’s foundation inspected to make sure it’s been built up to safety standards. Foundation bolting is when steel bolts and metal plates are added to the concrete footing and the framing in the substructure that make up the home’s foundation, which firmly attach it to its concrete foundation.

An inspector will first asses the condition of the concrete and what type of connection is needed for the home and its foundation. This is dependent on the existing bolts (if there are any already in place), the condition of the bolts or the distance between each bolt. From there, the inspector will determine what’s the right type of structural attachment required to reinforce the connection to the foundation.

There are several methods that might be used in house bolting.

Expansion foundation bolts, also called expansion anchor bolts, are the most common type of bolts used for earthquake retrofitting. These bolts are usually used on newer homes, if the structure has acceptable concrete.

Another type of bolt the contractor may suggest are epoxy bolts. These bolts are typically used on foundations found in older homes with less ideal concrete. These bolts are cut to size, which ensures your foundation will stay attached to the concrete in the event of up and down shaking.

Plate washers may also be installed to secure the bolts. The plate washer adds extra protection by allowing the sill plate to be more securely clamped to the foundation.

And if there isn’t adequate clearance under a home, foundation side plates may be used with foundation bolts. Foundation plates are installed in a similar fashion to that of foundation bolts, but need little vertical space under the home.

Finally, if your home has a wood frame area on the perimeter of the structure – that sits on top of the concrete foundation in the crawl space – the inspector may suggest cripple wall bracing.

Homes that have been constructed with wood-frame walls in the crawl space, which attach the concrete to the top of the first floor of the home, are the most vulnerable source of structural failure in the event of a large earthquake.

When this happens, the first floor of the home will collapse to the ground. Therefore cripple wall bracing is extremely important when it comes to protecting your home during an earthquake. Bracing the cripple wall is done by attaching structural grade plywood to the wall framing. The plywood will run along the walls of the house in the crawl space area, thus providing extra support to the home’s wood framed foundation during the side-to-side shaking of an earthquake.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. 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 foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

 

New Study Predicts Large L.A. Earthquake Could Sink Local Beaches

Los Angeles’ beach cities might be in danger.

A new study, published by the Nature Research Journal, found that So. Cal’s Inglewood-Newport fault line could be far more destructive than previously believed.

So much so, that if a major earthquake occurred along the fault line, we could see local beaches from the Westside to Orange County drop a couple of feet in less than a minute’s time.

A similar occurrence happened centuries back, when a major quake struck the area and caused Seal Beach to collapse 1-3 feet in just seconds.

The study also found that the Inglewood-Newport fault is capable of creating such seismic activity, though it was previously believed to be far less dangerous.

“It’s not just a gradual sinking. This is boom — it would drop. It’s very rapid sinking,” said head author Robert Leeper, a geology graduate student at UC Riverside who worked on the report.

Leeper and a few scientists from California State University Fullerton originally began the study examining the Seal Beach wetlands for remains of an “ancient tsunami.”

Instead of finding any signs of a massive tidal wave, the team saw “prehistoric remains of marsh surfaces,” reports the L.A. Times.

The Inglewood-Newport fault line was originally believed to be far less active than the San Andreas fault, which runs through L.A.’s valleys. But, with this new research, the Inglewood-Newport fault is now considered to be much more of a threat.

“If you’re on the Westside of L.A., it’s probably the fastest-moving big earthquake that you’re going to have locally,” seismologist Lucy Jones told the Times. “A 7 on the Newport-Inglewood is going to do a lot more damage than an 8 on the San Andreas, especially for Los Angeles.”

Leeper and his team took several samples of sediment from the area, as they started looking at the Seal Beach wetlands for earthquake activity. Repeatedly, they saw the same pattern in the wetlands where marsh had shown signs of dropping – sometimes up to 3 feet – underwater.

“We identified three of these buried layers [composed of] vegetation or sediment that used to be at the surface,” Leeper said. “These buried, organic-rich layers are evidence of three earthquakes on the Newport-Inglewood in the past 2,000 years.”

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. 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 foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Scientists Say 7.4 Earthquake Could Hit Los Angeles to San Diego At The Same Time

A recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research says the discovery of a new earthquake fault line could rattle areas like Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego at the same time.

Scientists found that a 7.4 quake could hit southern California and would be far more powerful than the 6.4 earthquake that shook Long Beach in 1933, leaving 120 people dead.

For a quake of that magnitude to happen, it would have to hit the Newport/Inglewood fault lines and impact the nearby Rose Canyon fault.

“These two fault zones are actually one continuous fault zone,” said author Valerie Sahakian, who’s working on her doctorate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

While scientists originally believed there were wide spaces between the fault lines – as much as 3 miles – new data suggests the gap is much smaller, measuring less than 1 ¼ miles apart between the faults.

“That kind of characterizes it as one continuous fault zone, as opposed to two different, distinct fault systems,” Sahakian explained.

Scripps researchers spent 100+ days at sea gathering data back in 2013, finding that the entire area is one interconnected fault system.

The new data highlights the notion that a major earthquake could hit southern California coastal areas, and with a fault running along Los Angeles’ coastline, means there could be even more damage to our beach cities if a major quake happened.

“So you would see a lot of liquefaction in the coastal areas, which means there will be a lot of damage to all kinds of coastal structures or piers,” Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson told the L.A. Times.

While this information does raise some concerns, Hauksson says the chance of a major earthquake on the Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon fault is far less than the chance of one occurring along the San Andreas fault.

“These faults are moving pretty slowly compared to the San Andreas, so the likelihood is pretty small — but it’s still there,” Hauksson said. “It’s almost like a lottery ticket. If you buy a ticket, you have some chance of winning, but it’s exceedingly small.”

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. 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 foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.