When your foundation begins to fail, it’s easy to assume you absolutely need to think about retrofit solutions for the foundation of your property. To repair them, the only solution is installing a new foundation. When retrofitting foundations, the Army of Builders main purpose is to find the most effective solution without simultaneously overbuilding the repair. This requires expert judgment. Quite frankly, any company can call for a foundation replacement as doing so is more lucrative and requires less thought than detailing a precise repair solution. We have effectively repaired countless foundations during retrofitting works and we offer honest, fast, and thorough foundation repairs, incorporating our simple and effective solutions into your project.
Army of Builders’ services include and not limited to, leveling, framing work, crack repair, inner and perimeter support enhancement, as well as custom spot repairs that vary from house to house.
Soft-story retrofit services start with the performance of a detailed foundation inspections in order to determine the condition of the foundation system. This includes a rigorous inspection of not only the foundation area itself but also the exterior perimeter and interior of the building as well. By viewing a building from all three perspectives, such as exterior, interior, and, of course, underneath, our team of professionals is able to achieve a level of certainty that allows us to then write a corrective prescription that is most appropriate to that particular building.
Protecting Buildings and Their Foundations
Due to the physical access restrictions to many foundations, some preventable issues tend to go unnoticed until they become more severe and dangerous. We offer simple, effective solutions protecting buildings and their foundations and making them more resistant to the possible earthquake activities.
At the last survey, 85% of homes within the greater Los Angeles area that had been “bolted” after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, were found to have sub-standard retrofit work. In case your foundation retrofit is sub-standard, we will provide with you a prescription of correction to bring it to a more contemporary standard, meeting the Los Angeles Soft-story retrofit program codes.
Sometimes, despite any creative solutions to foundation repair, a foundation can simply be at the end of its service life. In such an instance, we will perform foundation replacement of any failed portions, including the concrete, brick, or stone foundation in its entirety if needed, in order to help protect your home from losses in the coming seismic activities.
Foundations are exactly what homes rest on, making them stable and sound. It is important to take care of your property’s foundation replacing or renovating it whenever necessary. Sadly, there are many causes for a foundation to crack or collapse. It can be due to ground motion, unstable ground, and the age of the building. Below you can find a few signs that indicate your foundation may need to be checked:
Cracks in your exterior masonry
Unusual cracks in your interior walls
Hard-to-close doors or windows
Water seeping into your basement.
In some areas, you may also have to make your foundation water-resistant to clay soil. You must take the precautionary measure of installing a French drain to prevent water from accumulating around your foundation. Otherwise, you significantly increase the risk of foundation degradation and soil erosion problems.
Although there are many methods for repairing or replacing your foundation, there is only one rule of thumb to follow. Choose a contractor who is up to the task of this important project.
Building Structural Engineer
The best person to assess the current state of your foundation and guide you on the steps to identify the best solution is a building structural engineer. With the required experience with load calculations, a building engineer will be able to identify the weaknesses of your building. They can then make recommendations to you. They can let you know whether or not it is worth adding additional support or entirely rebuild the foundation.
In the past earthquakes, many multi-story buildings with weak or/and open-front wall lines creating a “soft-story” (i.e. buildings with tuck-under-parking) performed poorly and collapsed. Without proper soft-story retrofit, these vulnerable buildings may be subjected to structural failure during and/or after an earthquake.
As we have already spoken in our other articles, we know what is a soft-story building and the importance of retrofitting them.
Soft-story buildings are multi-level structures placed over a ground level with relatively great size, in which there are traditionally wide doors, some commercial areas where shear walls can normally be required for firmness used to be directed to earthquake engineering design.
The weakest parts of the buildings are structurally reinforced to resist seismic movement during earthquakes and so often l-beans and structural steel connectors are used. They mostly are used to carry strengthen the weak sections of structures. However, retrofitting the foundation of any buildings is the most paramount consideration to minimize the damage and post-earthquake paralysis.
What Does Retrofitting Involve?
Retrofitting involves the improvement of the details and connections of a dwelling foundation and subfloor whilst keeping as much of the dwelling itself intact and untouched. Limitations in this type of construction include the tight and confined spaces often found in a dwelling subfloor, dealing with damp, moisture, and rot which may occur, and mitigating the negative effects of previous construction methods that no longer meet today’s standards. The benefits of remedial work, however, are sound and positive; reducing the possibility of evacuation, death or injury, improving the likelihood of continued building use post-earthquake, improving health and safety and reducing repair cost, especially important at a time when inflation occurs and labor and materials are in strong demand.