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)

AlphaStructural Report

Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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.

AlphaStructural Report

Luis Milian
Community Member
2 years 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.

AlphaStructural Report

Phoebes
Community Member
2 years ago

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

Giacinta Shidler
Community Member
2 years ago

It's the handyman's secret weapon! - Red Green

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Last Hurrah
Community Member
2 years ago

The house was divided during divorce proceedings.

Aunt Messy
Community Member
2 years ago

That's a tear down.

FatBaby
Community Member
2 years ago

Remember all those times your mom says your bedroom looks like a tornado went through it....this is one of those times

Red Ruffensor
Community Member
2 years ago

Is this the tire house?

Karen Dyer
Community Member
2 years ago

Fault line run through the kitchen

Ginge
Community Member
2 years ago

Might need to get the Ghostbusters in!

Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years ago

Blu-tack mate, sort it right out

Valerie Lessard
Community Member
2 years ago

is it still a million dollars?

Ellis
Community Member
2 years ago

Duct tape? You’re gonna need a sledge hammer for this one

Randy Dhuyvetter
Community Member
2 years ago

Duct tape will fix anything if you use enough of it.

TC
Community Member
2 years ago

If they had used tires...

Jus
Community Member
2 years ago

This place looks so awful it would be better to destroy it and build another one...

Scott Lloyd (Sidewinderscott)
Community Member
2 years ago

it now can be sold as a split level.

Red
Community Member
2 years ago

never underestimate the power of duct tape

Steven Rundle
Community Member
2 years ago

The house has settled slightly

Id row
Community Member
2 years ago

It's shacktacular.

ShadowHunter7623
Community Member
2 years ago

Use flex seal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZLAHGfznlY

Turd Ferguson
Community Member
2 years ago

A house divided.

Lomion
Community Member
2 years ago

The metal wire will do!

Lotus Evora Buttom
Community Member
1 year ago

You need duct tape and glue stick

Coleen
Community Member
1 year ago

So...super glue then?

Raquel Almendarez
Community Member
2 years ago

Duck tape and fix do not belong in the same sentence in any situation.

sharron lynn parsons
Community Member
2 years ago

I doubt this would be up for sale, rather to demolish !!!

Tammy Chapman
Community Member
2 years ago

One off the scariest questions in the world is to hear a man ask..."Do you have any duct tape?".

okpkpkp
Community Member
2 years ago

Home sweet home...

Andrea Delden
Community Member
2 years ago

Fix or bulldoze?

c Fuller
Community Member
2 years ago

My brother had a crazy California woman living across the canal from him in Clear Lake Texas. The back of her house had rotting piers and carry beams, and the kitchen was built on a former porch. The whole back of her house was this broken and low during low tide. During high tide, it was underwater. she never did anything about it. One time, in the middle of the night it caught fire and burned down the entire house. She was homeless. He gave her shelter for a few weeks while she tried to get insurance payout, but when it seems she was setting up house in his place rent free, he had to move her. He got in touch with the fire department for her papers, set up meetings with her insurance and got the guy across from him to buy out her now worthless lot. There is nothing but a small sandbar there now that the alligators sun themselves on when they come down from Armand Bayou. Armand Bayou in the spring floods.

Aitchilm
Community Member
2 years ago

Buyer beware. San Andreas fault line runs through here.

Albrecht Von Heyden-Linden
Community Member
2 years ago

looks like a tear down and new build

Paul Longenecker
Community Member
2 years ago

That might ruin your day !

Barbara Baxendale
Community Member
2 years ago

Has there been an earthquake !!!!!!

Roberto Durante
Community Member
2 years ago

if you buy this house, you can wait the next earthquake

Ryo Bakura
Community Member
2 years ago

Not according to the MythBusters.

OOF
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

Get some Flex Tape

B Hernandez
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

Yeah, might need to use a few tubes of caulk with duct tape, the handyman's secret weapon!

Jason Apolinario
Community Member
2 years ago

Better call Ty Pennington.

diane a
Community Member
2 years ago

Gorilla tape?

Donna Reynolds
Community Member
2 years ago

The rolling the ball across the floor is going to work on this one.

Candice Ravel
Community Member
2 years ago

Gorilla tape

Matt Richardson
Community Member
2 years ago

I bet it's San Andrea's fault.

FatBaby
Community Member
2 years ago

No sir

ArchangelLoki
Community Member
2 years ago

You just need some Flex Tape

Pan39
Community Member
2 years ago

Rip

Molly Block
Community Member
2 years ago

Looks like it has been abandoned for a very long time anyways.

Your Tank
Community Member
2 years ago

Flex tape maybe?

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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.

AlphaStructural Report

Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years ago

Ah yes, this is where I keep my evil spirits

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#6

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

And they were wondering why their floors were sagging.

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Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years ago

They were going green!

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#8

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

And there goes the other half of your house

AlphaStructural Report

Rich Auntie Skeleton
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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.

AlphaStructural Report

Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years ago

Where is this?!?

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#19

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

Yeah...that's not legal.

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Aaron Kara
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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.

AlphaStructural Report

otaku fox
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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.

AlphaStructural Report

Pan39
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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.

AlphaStructural Report

Ginge
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
1 year 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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.

AlphaStructural Report

RaroaRaroa
Community Member
2 years 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!

AlphaStructural Report

M O'Connell
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years 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
Community Member
2 years ago

Shifting house?

#57

Weird-Things-Structural-Inspections

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

AlphaStructural Report

May Day
Community Member
2 years 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.

AlphaStructural Report

#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)
Community Member
2 years 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