For nearly 30 years, Alpha Structural, Inc. has developed a powerful reputation as the number one foundation engineering and repair, landslide repair, earthquake, and structural rehabilitation contractor in the Los Angeles area. The company has over 400 years of combined technical experience and all of it is hard-core and down-in-the-trenches, not managed from behind a computer.

Alpha Structural, Inc. also shares photos from its engineers' day-to-day work, including all the funniest, most bizarre, and downright dangerous things they discover. We've already covered their finds here, here, and here, but recently they've unearthed more surprising treasures, so we put together a new piece on them.

More info: AlphaStructural.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

#1

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Life always finds a way...

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Wow! I wish that could happen in my room !

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#2

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Here we have a brick retaining wall experiencing surcharge from the neighboring hill. Structures that are settling can cause this surcharge in the soil. This creates a high-pressure situation which then pushes out the remaining soil and results in this type of damage to retaining walls.

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varwenea
Community Member
1 month ago

Here she blows!

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Since the company has already inspected tens of thousands of properties, it's hard to really surprise the engineers. But it still happens. "I would say we're more likely to be surprised by what's under the home than the structure itself! Although, while we are not alarmist in any way, every once in a while we will come across a structure that we are surprised is still standing."

"We've definitely inspected properties that should have been demolished too, though they never take our advice on that particular issue."

#3

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Being that my company in LA does this sort of repair/prevention work, this was some scary news to see this morning. Torrential rain and debris caused a large chunk of Highway 1 on the West Coast of California to wash away.
You're going to need yourself a Yoshi if you're wanting to cross here. Back in 2017, a massive landslide covered up over a half mile of the road. It took months to clean up and there was no access around it. If it continues to rain, I wouldn't be surprised if more of this happened in and around Southern California.

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Yettichild
Community Member
1 month ago

A Yoshi and a blue shell.

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#4

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

If you're ever concerned about your slab foundation being cracked, look out for this

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

My first thought? "Wow, looks like the San Andreas... Wait, that's a floor"

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The most nightmarish inspection we’ve done last year was the property in Portuguese Bend down on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. First off, because of soil conditions and high landslide risks, not much structural work can be performed there in the first place.

"The home had a very interesting foundation system made up of screw jacks, steel beams, and cribbing (commonly used for temporarily lifting a structure while work is being done underneath)," Derek Marier from Alpha Structural, Inc. told Bored Panda.

"The front portion of the deck and home was sinking and unfortunately, the homeowner can’t really do much about it. It could have toppled over at any given moment and that’s why the 'nightmarish' description fits well."

#5

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

I guess the original builder of this property chose the ancient Roman vibe for this foundation.

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Interesting...

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#6

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

We think this takes the cake. This is not rebar. These are old Helical Piers from the 70s. It has never been a method that we have used as a company and this is why. They are very practical in many situations, but for steep hillside and seismic zones, they are not. We've seen this all too many times in LA.

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Natrual erosion ?

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#7

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Please watch your step!

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Oh geez thats scary

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Marier said that safety is a huge deal for employees at Alpha Structural, Inc. "Crawl suits, masks, gloves, steel-toed boots, and many other forms of safety precautions are taken. The chance that a building is actually going to fall over when we do our work is slim to none. Any actual danger is sniffed out pretty quickly and avoided. If our guys think it’s unsafe to inspect or work on a location, they’ll make a call based on their best judgment and sometimes they choose to not do it. That’s just our safety policy!"

#8

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

This concrete patio is sitting on a retaining wall that has been pushed outward due to what is known as a surcharge, or hydrostatic pressure build-up. Hollow areas formed under the patio, causing the cracking and further sinking of the patio from the roof load above

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Nah mate im fine here

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#9

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

The side of this property is sinking, causing this column to lean backward, bringing the connecting beam forward in the other direction. It could slip in the future if it goes unhandled.

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Samantha Comerford
Community Member
1 month ago

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This has to be the most boring article I e read today ... I’m out !!

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#10

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Notice the compression of the posts into the girder. They go into the girder about an inch. This property has some crazy settlement and moisture problems

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

OK, I'll ask: Does anyone run a grader and over property, or do they just build on loose fill? WTH?

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#11

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

It looks right and wrong at the same time

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Darn right... im confused....

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#12

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

This doesn't happen with just a gust of wind... though that might be all it would take to bring it down

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Marcellus the Third
Community Member
1 month ago

Nothing a good fire wouldn't cure

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#13

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

This deck system uses an angled beam that attaches to the concrete patio below for support. The very edge of the deck is beginning to dip down, causing a lot of tension where the beam meets the patio. If you look closely, you can see the concrete lifting with the beam. No partying on this deck for a while!

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Sum Guy
Community Member
1 month ago

Wow.... that's really scary

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#14

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Our firm was brought into this project to lower the basement down two feet and to add additional supports for framing and brand new concrete foundation walls. The structure had some bad rot as well. The project began with a demo of all the drywall and lath to expose rotting elements of the basement area. It didn't take long to open everything up. We exposed tons of rotting wood and plenty of termite damage, which is always a pleasant surprise. The rim joists were in very bad shape, as were the studs connecting to them. It turned out to be quite the rot repair and we had plenty of replacing to do along with the concrete foundation. After ripping open the walls and exposing everything, engineered shoring was installed to support the stories above. You may be asking, "why does the shoring go down into the ground?" Good questions. Since we are lowering the slab 2 feet, we needed to make sure the structure was supported down to that level where the new slab will be poured, at least until the concrete foundation walls were in! Demolition of the existing walls and slab came next. Additional shoring was added toward the higher elevated area to minimize any risk of buckling in the floors above. It looked wicked from an exterior viewpoint. I'll add that these guys did such a fantastic job of staying on track and getting everything done in an efficient and safe manner. After the concrete was demolished, everything was cleaned up and concrete forming and steel reinforcement was installed in preparation of the walls to be poured. Rebar dowels were set at the bottom of the wall to make the process of connecting the slab grid much easier. Anchor bolts were suspended into the concrete forming so they would set nicely into the new foundation. These will connect the framing of the building to the new foundation walls. Once the foundation walls were cured, the shoring remained in until the additional framing was installed. The forms were stripped and everything came out perfect. No honey comb or pockets. They did such a good job. Internal footings were used to help support the newly replaced framing and beam in the center of the room. Then they added a vapor barrier and sand, and finally put in the steel grid for the concrete slab. The pour came and went and the finishers did what th Thus, the project (at least for our end of the work) was complete.ey had to do in less than two hours. It came out perfect (as it should) and the client was very happy.

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Noice

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#15

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

I'm not sure what his bottom jaw is doing near his rear end, but always a "fun" find.

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Kinda sad.... i had rats when i was little

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#16

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

This isn't what you want to see greeting you as you enter the crawlspace.

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

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Is dat a boday?

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#17

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Step on this deck at your own peril...

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Who designed this?!

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#18

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

We’re earthquake retrofitting this building and discovered a few columns that were completely corroded at the bottom. Scary...

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

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Corroded? Is eroded the British one then?

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#19

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

A flight of stairs that goes directly to the hospital!

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Mark and Elmo
Community Member
1 month ago

It's gonna be a real problem if your drunk.

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#20

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

When your friends help support you but they slowly leave you over time.

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Geoff C.
Community Member
1 month ago

That moment you realise your house is being held up by a game of Jenga...

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#21

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Part of your retaining wall/house seems to be missing, sir

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zims
Community Member
1 month ago

Why would you park under that

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#22

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

"Frankenstein's basement" - Aptly put by one of our assessors.

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Sarah McManus
Community Member
1 month ago

Are there no building laws in it USA?! In the UK this sort of thing wouldn't be signed off by a building inspector!

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#23

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Anyone want to take a dip the sewage pool under this house?

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Horse lover
Community Member
1 month ago

Mmmm yess sounds like that good hurt

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#24

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

A car hit the side of this house and caused some pretty significant structural damage.
Not much can be seen from the inside surprisingly, except water damage and some cracking.

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Hmm... superman house!

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See Also on Bored Panda
#25

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Out with the old, in with the... new?
This is a very early 1900s home with a brick foundation that we inspected.
In addition to the foundation needing a replacement/sister foundation, much of the framing needs to be replaced as well.
It's hard to consider this as a foundation since the concrete is as stable as the dirt underneath it.

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kjorn
Community Member
1 month ago

even my patio i made myself has better foundation... and i really suck at that.

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#26

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

This masonry wall supported the back half of the home, as well as a deck in the back. Tons of moisture and hillside erosion caused the wall to lose its grip on the hillside and rest of the structure. This type of failure tends to happen in the rainy season in Los Angeles.

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Oh deary me...

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#27

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Nature wins this episode of man vs. wild!

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Oli Parkinson
Community Member
1 month ago

This cool . I like it .

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#28

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

This is why you always remove stucco before you engineer a solution!

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

Stucco is EVIL.

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#29

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

A nice pile of dust supporting a home.
This is a very bad spalling concrete foundation. I assume most of you know what that is by now, but if you don't feel free to ask.
Here's some more spall damage on a different property!

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Noemie Houtekie-N'Da
Community Member
1 month ago

Crap.

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#30

Horrible-Structural-Inspections

Who wants to guess what happened to this poor girder? Luckily it was sistered a while back, but it's a shocking scene with that old one still there

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John P.
Community Member
1 month ago

Termites?

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Note: this post originally had 151 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.