Design

seismic upgrade

An employee of Stantec Engineering hired me to evaluate and do a seismic retrofit on their basement walls, posts and beams. As typically found in our basements here in the Victoria, the cripple walls on which the house rests have very little resistance to the lateral forces of an earthquake. The result can be catastrophic if the first floor of the house slides off and lands a couple of feet off the side of the foundation. Shockingly, the beams under this house were not connected at all to the posts, and the posts were too short and shimmed with blocks of wood. I replaced these posts and reinforced all the others. The entire perimeter was bolted down, shear panelled and connected to the floor structure above. Some rot was discovered in the sill plates and they were replaced along the way, and of course the entire wall was insulated and a vapour barrier was installed.

flooring inspection

One of the services I offer are home inspection reports. In this case, I was asked to inspect a hardwood floor. This horrible flooring installation serves to illustrate two hard-learned lessons: 1. make sure your flooring installer is intelligent and qualified to do the work; 2. make sure the material is acclimatised to site conditions. The Jatoba floor in this house quickly starting gapping within months of the owners taking possession of their new house. I came to the conclusion, from physical evidence I gathered on site, a few calculations and by interviewing witnesses that the floor had been stored in an unheated garage in winter (very humid here in the Pacific Northwest) and was installed directly from the garage. Thus, the floor dried and shrank in place, leaving gaps of up to 4 mm. Besides that, numerous other mistakes were observed that confirmed to me that this installer was not qualified and unaware of industry standards for the laying of hardwood floors. Incredibly, this individual is still in business here in Victoria installing wood flooring. I have inspected two of his installations and they were both disasters. He ran away with the money from both jobs and left one of the homeowners literally in tears over the fact that she had paid $12,000 for a botched floor.