You can get away with a sloppy handshake but with a carelessly built house? Not so much. Eventually, its qualities will deteriorate to the point when the only thing holding it together is pure luck. And you better call in the construction engineers before that runs out, too.

Alpha Structural, Inc. presents itself as the only company in Los Angeles County licensed to engineer and build any type of foundation or hillside repair. For its 25th birthday, the organization has decided to share some of the craziest structural construction fails they've found over the years, making many internet users question the sanity of some contractors. "Besides having a stellar reputation, we're called out to inspect and propose solutions to many structural issues," a spokesperson of Alpha Structural, In. told Bored Panda. "Specializing in advanced hillside foundation repair methods we mainly are called to inspect when there are issues such as sloping floors, failed retaining walls, etc."

"A very common engineering fail we see is mid-century hillside homes that are sinking. They were often built with shallow footings that are prone to sink over time. Additionally, there is a lot of expansive soil in Los Angeles which, due to its high clay content, expands and contracts. This leads to corners or sides of a home that sink."

Since the company has already inspected tens of thousands of properties, it's hard to catch its engineers off guard. "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."

According to Alpha Structural, Inc., everyone living in the area can take measures to make their building a safe place. "We always recommend earthquake retrofitting your home," they added. "It's no surprise seismic activity is prevalent in Los Angeles, so taking the time to retrofit your home is key. Also, most foundation problems are caused because of no drainage, or poor drainage around the home. The most cost-effective solution to preserve your foundation is to make sure your yard slopes away from the structure and that your gutters and downspouts are cleaned and route the water away.

However, it's easy to get carried away. "People tend to overreact when it comes to their home. Things such as hairline cracks and minor sticking of doors can cause quite a panic in most homeowners. Plenty of information about our services can be found on our website!"

Continue scrolling to check out what epic fails these guys find daily and upvote your favorite entries!

More info: alphastructural.com | Facebook

#1

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Everything is code when there is no code. (Not in LA)

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Aaron Kara 11 months ago

I bet the building inspector gets 'tired' of this kind of shit...

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#2

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

They missed...

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Aaron Kara 11 months ago

They didn't just miss, they missed with consistency

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#3

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Luis Milian 11 months ago

wow. the scary part (if is true) is that it traveled in someone's luggage all the way from Peru and TSA did nothing about it.

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#4

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Phoebes 11 months ago

"If duct tape doesn't fix it, you just aren't using enough". ~Dwayne Johnson

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#5

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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C 11 months ago

Samara lives there

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#6

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

And they were wondering why their floors were sagging.

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Aaron Kara 11 months ago

Do I need to check under my house for this kind of shoddiness?

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#7

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

During an inspection, one of our assessors found this beauty. A wall created entirely out of concrete filled washing machines.

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Phoebes 11 months ago

They were going green!

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#8

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

And there goes the other half of your house

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Rich Auntie Skeleton 11 months ago (edited)

I remember seeing an episode of Hoarders where a guy had a house like this. He had so much junk in his attic and the weight of it was all being held up by one sagging beam. One book falling over would have bought his whole house crashing down on him. God it was sad.

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#9

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A car jack perhaps?

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Last Hurrah 11 months ago

Is this on the level?

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#10

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

"I have sagging floors" And this is why.

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Cat on a bike 11 months ago

the floor was lava and then there was none...

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#11

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Aaron Kara 11 months ago

No thank you, or 'nope' for short

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#12

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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!

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LOttawa 11 months ago

Maybe the contractor was also an artist... it's the only way I can explain the rhino

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#13

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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!

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otaku fox 11 months ago

Just saying, that's actually kind of cool.

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#14

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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TheDivineMs.M 11 months ago

Oh man talk about vertigo

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#15

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Nothing is worse than coming across a massive gas pipe while excavation. It wasn't on the initial plans.

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Jay Tesst 11 months ago

Digging here must be a blast!

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#16

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Though these jacks are pretty common...they should never be used as a permanent pier. Unless secured with duct tape of course.

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A Rose Among Thorns 11 months ago

duct tape fixes everything!

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#17

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Phoebes 11 months ago

Lol--gives new meaning to the term "mobile home"!!

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#18

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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!

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Phoebes 11 months ago

Where is this?!?

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#19

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Yeah...that's not legal.

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Aaron Kara 11 months ago

My brain feels funny looking at this

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#20

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Michelle Carlson 11 months ago

It looks like you could hit it with a hammer and the whole thing would come down.

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#21

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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otaku fox 11 months ago

MY BRAIN

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#22

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

May not look like much, but a single toddler jumps and that set of stairs and deck come down.

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Tim Graves 11 months ago

Thats a perfect place to take that picture then!

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#23

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a first

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Ginge 11 months ago

What is it? Bags of concrete?

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#24

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Not in terrible condition but I really want to kick it in.

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Donald Pelton 11 months ago

It reminds me of one of those traps created by Wiley Coyote in the Road Runner cartoons.

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#25

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

It's simple, the floor is actually a balloon. Prepare to fly.

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otaku fox 11 months ago

Up part two.

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#26

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

The fact that almost all of the post & piers were like this is concerning!

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Pan Narrans 11 months ago

That only confirms my suspision that we are dealing with magic carpet dealers!

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#27

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is what happens when wood touches dirt over a long period of time. It soaks up water and rots.

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RaroaRaroa 11 months ago

A fact anyone knows, surely. How do these places get built in the first place?

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#28

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Pan39 11 months ago

That building is on too much crack

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#29

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Stay hydrated my friends...

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Ginge 11 months ago

otherwise your head might fall off...?

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#30

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Let's just say it's a little over-engineered.

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Phoebes 11 months ago

I don't know...I bet you don't see in cracks in any of THOSE floors!

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#31

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This patio above the garage had a little water intrusion...

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Biana Weatherford 11 months ago

Why was this inspected? For insurance purposes? So they could get a demolition permit?

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#32

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

They might want to add a "Do not park next to this obviously failing retaining wall because it might fall on your car in the night and we're not paying for it" sign.

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Donald Pelton 11 months ago

There was a parking lot on West Colorado Avenue in Colorado Springs where a wall had been built at the bottom of a hill like this. It gave way, and buried a car.

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#33

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a disaster waiting to happen. A large area of the back patio is basically floating on this hillside. Also, you can clearly see my finger in the frame.

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Hendra Lim 11 months ago

it's still there because of the tree roots is holding it, PRAISE MOTHER NATURE!

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#34

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

The issue is....all of it

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Slune 11 months ago

I never promised you a rose garden?.....

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#35

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

The columns on the side are fine, but the middle one...it's game over

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Pumbaa 11 months ago

Maybe thats why there are two others/new ones?

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#36

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

During an inspection in Los Angeles, we came across this brittle, failing foundation made of brick. The mortar simply fell right off of the brick in a dust waterfall. An earthquake would more than likely demolish this home.

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Ginge 11 months ago

Ballsy move playing jenga underneath a house, don't think i'd fancy being under there..

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#37

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Post that's barely resting upon a concrete pier. This one is undermined and probably one good shake away from collapsing.

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Pretty Pangolin 11 months ago

Don't wipe away those cobwebs…they're holding it up.

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#38

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

It's a bucket filled with sand, not concrete, used as a concrete pier. Code? Nope. Aesthetic? Nope. Funny? Yep.

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Meghan Turnis 11 months ago

Are these all in California? How do they not all just slide into the ocean?

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#39

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This speaks for itself. If you're wondering about the filter, I lost the original. All I have is our Instagram photo.

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Jilltdcatlady 11 months ago

Fill it with Great Stuff for wide gaps, paint it, and call it a feature.

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#40

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Nature will find it's way. (Ficus Tree Root)

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Pretty Pangolin 11 months ago

That's actually really impressive.

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#41

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Let's play a game of Jenga in the back yard.

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Pan Narrans 11 months ago

Is this build to keep an inpending landslide out?

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#42

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A big concrete block, random wood members and plywood. That should do.

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A B C 9 months ago

it's way better built up tan some other foundations shown here...

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#43

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Did a structural assessment for this home and the lady was wondering why her home was sloping 7 inches. Some classic LA settlement.

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Ginge 11 months ago

I think the house is about to take off! How many balloons do they have on the roof?

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#44

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

The roots basically said F**K YOU and broke the wall with ease.

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Slune 11 months ago

Angkor wat!

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#45

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Jon Payne 11 months ago

The driveway keeps getting longer though.

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#46

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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RaroaRaroa 11 months ago

Do they have building codes in LA?

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#47

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A few more inches down and that would have made a nice half-pipe for skateboarding. Image below shows the cause of this dip!

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M O'Connell 11 months ago

It's not weird that they built a brick patio on top of a wooden deck?

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#48

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This was found under a house. Somebody undermined the entire footing then stopped the excavation and left.

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M O'Connell 11 months ago

Sounds like something a dog would do.

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#49

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is a sump pump. It should be isolated in a plastic or concrete basin to collect water. This was installed into dirt. Fail.

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Jilltdcatlady 11 months ago

Knowing sump pumps don't like mud, how often do they have to replace it?

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#50

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Water was constantly getting into the wall. This is the ugly result!

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M O'Connell 11 months ago

It's called "oxide jacking"

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#51

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

They did it right in the 1920's. Not.

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Sue Knerl 11 months ago

That concrete or whatever it is looks like a monkey head.

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#52

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

"who goes under a house to steal a wooden block off a pier?"

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CrunChewy McSandybutt 11 months ago

Tweakers. Guaranteed.

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#53

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Seems that they mixed every piece of rubble after a demolition and made a wall with it.

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Olle Dufeutrelle 11 months ago

Recycling!

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#54

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

"I tried fixing it myself but I thought I'd give the experts a call"

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Brivid 11 months ago

A lot of people really don't have the money for experts. Many people inherit their parents home and the problems that come with it but no money to fix it.

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#55

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A pier with the footing sinking 7 inches down on the right. There were 6 others just like it under this property.

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Jace 11 months ago

Why are these made with so little contact? Shouldn’t they be wider where they meet?

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#56

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Poor drainage, erosion and lack of care

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Carol Emory 11 months ago

Shifting house?

#57

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Just don't stick your hand in there...the house could bite.

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May Day 11 months ago

The whole house is resting on that pipe in there!

#58

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This may look like a cool, industrial ceiling pattern in a DTLA villa, but it's actually water intrusion coming through the cracks above.

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#59

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Scott Lloyd (Sidewinderscott) 11 months ago

Well built wall it stayed in mostly one peace. just badly designed for that location.

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#60

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Cathleen Morris 11 months ago

Yikes!

#61

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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#62

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Pan39 11 months ago

Where IS this

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#63

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Jace 11 months ago

What’s the solution? Knock the building down?

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#64

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

It's like crawling through broken glass

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Ginge 11 months ago

Annie Lennox sang about it didn't she?

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#65

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Look at that bend!

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Cathleen Morris 11 months ago

I’d cut my losses and move ... FAST!

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#66

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A pier made with brick & mortar...No Bueno!

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Maualo Velflo 11 months ago

Why it has to be wood?

#67

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Jaguarundi 11 months ago

Well, she IS a single Mom since she's already eaten their father...

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#68

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

I mean, if it works...

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mhubert10 11 months ago

if they had placed the bottom CMU block with the holes in a vertical position then ok. In the horizontal position, the CMU has little strength

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#69

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A missing pier will inevitably cause sagging of the sub-floor.

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#70

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Well, it does the job but it's not strapped and it could cause future damage.

AlphaStructural Report

M O'Connell 11 months ago

Is that literally a 4x4 with leftover drywall on both sides?

#71

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This is more of an art piece that was built into the foundation. There's rock, a cinder block, 2x4's and a metal plate, all tied into the foundation. Beautiful, elegant, illegal.

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Naomi Armitage 11 months ago (edited)

Oh, I LOVE this piece, it speaks to me! It's saying, "Disaster imminent."

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#72

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Karen Dyer 11 months ago

Grass that will never have to be mowed

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#73

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

At this point it's not worth repairing. Just replace the foundation.

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Jace 11 months ago

How do you do that to an already-standing house?

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#74

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

The result of bad water proofing: Spalling Concrete.

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MJ 11 months ago

Shoudn't the rebar be in the middle of the concrete, instead of on the side...

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#75

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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.

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Cathleen Morris 11 months ago

I can foresee imminent danger in a lot of America’s infrastructure!

#76

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

This was a massive 30' retaining wall in the back of a few properties. There's nothing really "wrong" with it, other than it's clearly uneven at most points and it seems to have been un-permitted. A pool at the bottom right clearly indicates the real reason the wall is there; cliff diving practice.

AlphaStructural Report

ispeak catanese 11 months ago

Great idea to buy a home next to a wall retaining a high hill.

#77

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

A post that's barely resting upon a concrete pier. This one really makes me chuckle because it looks like the feds are using a spotlight to catch a felon (Dasani bottle) on the ledge of a skyscraper.

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