Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds
We, ” Levco” just encountered another situation where the handy man would not be a good fit. Did you ever get the feeling that the (fill in the blank) just didn’t feel strong enough to hold a few folks in the same place. Weird feeling, trust your gut.
I recall seeing a video of a post accident reconstruction. A newly constructed balcony had fallen off the second story of a home and killed a few people.
I have seen several poorly supported structures in my day but nothing quite like this one. To be truthful a guy could argue that things are under supported all day long. It isn’t until a real failure happens that someone gets to say…”I told you so”
Here in Boise we use building codes like most of the country. I would say we are keeping up with the Jones so to speak. According to Carl Madsen, a residential plan checker of the Boise City building department, building codes went into effect in the 1930’s. I suppose that there will always be those that ignore the rules. There are homes that have either been built poorly, or remodeled poorly, everywhere here in Boise’s North End. The truth is that building science and building materials have advanced incredibly since then too.
What we found was a concrete slab that was undermined to create a basement addition. (At least that is what we think happened.) With no obvious visible means of support, we were looking at the underside of a slab that was poured on dirt. Never mind the fact that the structure has withstood years of being the way it was, my gut instinct was to not go under there. I immediately knew this one required the assistance of my team.
Others that have seen the project wanted to demolish the structure and start over, still others wanted to do midnight repairs. I on the other hand was looking for a cost effective cleaver solution to a complex problem. The other caveat is that it would have to meet the requirements of safe and above board…In other words it had to have the building departments seal of approval, by that I mean (A Permit).
The owner was concerned that the home might be condemned. The real life situation is that they had no idea anything was wrong until a snoopy home inspector found the problem and made a small mention of it in their report.
Although my Architect, Tom Trutna has a degree in engineering, he is a practicing Architect not an Engineer, in other words he knows his stuff. To be technically correct the City wasn’t going to take the word of an Architect that the structure was fixable. This is when we brought in the big guns.
Scott Soule of Core Engineering. Scott met me at the site and we looked the entire project over. He reassured me that we were on the right track and gave his blessings to the plans. He also provided the six page report with calculations-o-plenty to back up what he and Tom had concluded earlier was the proper way to remedy the problem. (Ala- Alice’s Restaurant)
The good news is that it only took six pages of calculations, some glossy photos, and a few trips to the city to get approval but by golly that is what makes this job interesting. With the addition of several structural beams, lots of supporting columns, and some concrete anchors, we had the problem licked in a few days. Content clients, and a safe structure, who could ask for more. Is this the makings of legendary service? Perhaps. The point is we did the right thing for the right reasons.
If you, or someone you love is concerned about a structure or need reassurance that everything is going to be OK, please let us come evaluate your particular situation. There is nothing more satisfying to me than making recommendations based upon sound advice from my team of remodeling professionals.
Can we fix everything? No. Can we fix most things? Ya-sure, you-bet-ya. It all goes back to our mission statement
[…] Engineering 101 September 22,2011 […]