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Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

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  • Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

    I just inherited a volunteer building manager position and went for a tour. This is an old school house that was added to and converted into the community center. Here are some pics of what scares the hell out of me. What would you do?
    First set of pics shows an interior wall that has been dug about 3' below the old grade, one pic show where the slab was broken up.
    Don't you need to pour a wall to shore this up or is this ok for an internal wall?

    This set shows the support for the main beam, the 2X4 on the left between the beam and concrete is loose.

    This pic shows the other side of the above beam into the crawl space where they knocked out the main support for two joists to access or perhaps install the heat duct in the crawl space (guessing)

    This last one is minor but not likely to code for a wheelchair ramp.

    Any suggestions? Guess my first step would be to get ahold of the building inspector?

  • #2
    Re: Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

    Something tells me that wouldnt pass inspection. Pretty weird stuff.


    • #3
      Re: Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

      Carefull, that 2x6 in the 5th picture down is holding it holding the building up

      My first thing to do would be to get an inspector or a building engineer down there to have an inspection, just remember, that may open up a can of worms

      They added space by breaking out the slab and digging it out to make a basement, that is classic!!!! amazing, amazing, amazing, and whats also amazing is the building is still up right.....
      Last edited by westcoastplumber; 10-17-2007, 10:48 PM.



      • #4
        Re: Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

        Remember... When building a structure...
        Step 1... Dig basement and pour foundation/slab/walls...
        Step 2... build over basement

        Do NOT reverse steps as this will result in unsafe structure...

        Classic pics


        • #5
          Re: Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

          Call Mike Holmes from Holmes on Homes
          Cheers! - Jim
          All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. - Schopenhauer


          • #6
            Re: Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

            I have seen worse, the footings should be at least 5 ft. down. To hard to really tell, how bad that stone wall is. Some stone walls, seems to last forever, as others can start crumbling apart after a 100 yrs. The building is grandfathered in , so you should be able to do repairs, such as added supports (wait a minute, your in Canada, might be a little different there, law wise). Any how, if your going to do repairs (like I said, I have seen worse) get with a building Inspector, this way you will really know what your up against.
            Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....


            A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!


            • #7
              Re: Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

              I'M a g c with 45 yrs experience. Don't know the area ,is this a seismic concern also?
              Bring a struct. Eng. Many B. insp. Don't have much expereance.
              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .


              • #8
                Re: Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

                Not that uncommon for around here, many buildings with the crawl space dug out, but most were a little smarter in that they not dig up next to the existing wall, usually about 2' back, and would pour up a new wall to work as a retainer to keep the original in place, and then there would be usually a "shelf" that was cemented in to tie the two or seal up the area.

                If really concerned, one can shore through the wall with a beam and place it on a temporary pier inside and one on the outside, and then remove sections of the wall and them rebuild build, usually cement block wall on a new foundation and footer under the building doing usually a section at a time, usually the reason for short sections (8 to 16 feet) is that one can move and then reuse the materials and that are used for the piers, and beams for wall supports. Also if some type of failure would occur the damage and the section of cave in would not bring down the building on top of some one.
                or if you do not live where the wind bows 40 to 60 mph, one can do the entire building and do it all at once as some of the pictures below show, (links to pictures)
                some type of retainer wall or wall replacement needs to occur other wise the dirt will wear away under the current wall and in time the foundation/basement wall will fail, and if the grading of the water is not correct the problem may occur during some rain or water problem, as if you soak that dirt area under the wall it will fail faster. or piers placed and new foundation under the existing wall, see link below.


                not the best example of a new inside wall, but better than nothing,

                a better example of a retaining wall repair,





                here are a few pictures of a complete rebuild of a basement wall,


                another picture of piers of an beams supporting the building of rebuilding of a basement wall,
                Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                attributed to Samuel Johnson
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                • #9
                  Re: Is this building safe? - Not likely - lots of pics

                  Thanks for all the info, I think the best course of action is to hire a structural engineer to tell us what needs to be done. This is not an earthquake zone but it is a hall with a 140 capacity and dancing. I will keep you posted