Retaining Walls and Los Angeles Hillside Construction...

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Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices 01238708
https://activerain.com/droplet/5f5V

Retaining Walls are one of the most important structures in Los Angeles Hillside Construction, outside of Caissons (a blog post for the future)!

 Having sold vacant land in Los Angeles for over two decades, I have seen many different retaining walls. Keep in mind, the Los Angeles Building Department is quite strict on making sure that the hillside properties do not slide down the hill. Not sure if you remember that in 1995, 1998 as well as the 2005 in Laguna Beach there were these huge Land Slides and many homes were lost. Had they had stricter building codes for 'Retaining Walls' these homes that ended up sliding down the hill could might have been saved and a disaster or two could have been avoided.

In spite of these events the building codes only focus on New Construction Homes in Los Angeles or if you are trying to do some upgrading, then they will get involved. In other words, if you want to add a Pool or a larger Deck to your home then they will get involved. Another way is if you decide to do an addition. These are all going to trigger a more protective requirement from the Los Angeles Building and Safety Department.

Older homes that do not have any additions will not be sending a ‘red flags' to the Building Department, hence there are many different quality retaining walls you might find in your travels.

 #1www.endrebarath.com

In my opinion, the most important consideration should be to focus on the proper design and installation of the retaining walls. After all gravity is a powerful source and the purpose of the retaining wall is to prevent material aka construction or dirt to move down slope.

#2

www.endrebarath.com

Just to give you an idea, I noticed these various retaining walls near my latest land listing, hence I was inspired to share with you. Now just for fun, you tell me which one of these retaining walls would you prefer if you had a house above it.

#3

www.endrebarath.com

I will simply post these pictures in my post and will number them, so you can make comments and just address the one you would like to have for your own home.

#4

www.endrebarath.com

Now if you are looking for a vacant Land in the greater Los Angeles area, you should make sure you find a Vacant Land Specialist who can help you navigate you through the challenges that you might be encountering with a land purchase in Los Angeles. If you are reading this post you are in luck, I have been selling vacant land in the Greater Los Angeles area for over two decades and would gladly share my expertise.

Now, if you are looking for a knowledgeable, focused and goal-oriented Realtor in the Beverly Hills area who will help you achieve your Real Estate goals, please reach out to me directly!

If you are looking for a pet friendly Beverly Hills Realtor who can handle and sell the most difficult properties that no one else could, please reach out to me directly!! If you are considering buying or selling a home, a luxury home, luxury investment real estate, luxury vacation homes, or luxury beach properties in Southern California, Los Angeles, Century City, Westwood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Marina Del Rey, Venice or Malibu, feel free to contact me at 310.486.1002 (m) or homes@endrebarath.com or visit one of my websites at https://www.endrebarath.com  I contribute a portion of my commission to local animal rescue organizations.

 

 

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Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Sally K. & David L. Hanson  great points and just to be clear the Hillside Ordinance would not allow Lumber anymore to retain the hillside for the reason you mentioned, Endre

Sep 01, 2018 10:26 PM #16
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

James Dray  all good choices and indeed #4 is what would be approved, Endre

Sep 01, 2018 10:27 PM #17
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

William Feela  in 22+ years I have not sold a vacant lot that did not need a retaining wall:))Endre

Sep 01, 2018 10:28 PM #18
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kat Palmiotti  the current code requires that retaining walls need to be not more than 8 feet height and then they need to be stepped in and only have one more  8 foot retaining wall aka European Style construction. So all these are "old code" not to current standards. The closest one is #4:) Endre

Sep 01, 2018 10:32 PM #19
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Amanda S. Davidson  number four is the closest to current code and you are right on all points, Endre

Sep 01, 2018 10:33 PM #20
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Wayne Martin  my photo of #4 is not the best, but that is the best construction with concrete and done by the city:)Endre 

Sep 01, 2018 10:35 PM #21
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Ron and Alexandra Seigel  I remember Alexandra that you wrote about your dad being a Civil Engineer, they are always in demand here in Los Angeles, can not build anything without their input ironically now you can only have 8 ft high retaining walls and only two... Endre

Sep 01, 2018 10:38 PM #22
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886  here in Los Angeles, in 22+ years have not sold a vacant lot that did not need Retaining Walls and Caissons:)Endre

Sep 01, 2018 10:39 PM #23
Rainmaker
1,367,444
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Endre,
Very interesting post on a very important subject.  Those retaining walls better hold when the rains come, right?  I like the look of #2 but anything with wood will deterior over time.  I suspect for the long term, #4 would be the best choice if I understand correctly that it is concrete.  Most new retaining walls here are cinder blocks and can be very beautiful.  But they are very labor intensive to build.  Thanks again for the post.

Sep 02, 2018 05:50 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,514,135
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

It's challenging to build in steep terrain, but the views are usually what makes it worthwhile.  Great pictures to illustrate your point.

Sep 02, 2018 04:56 PM #25
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

George Souto  my photo does not do justice to #4, that one is with cement and the city put it in so the hillside does not slide down onto the sidewalk, Endre

Sep 02, 2018 08:34 PM #26
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Hannah Williams  the properties when they were built met the code and as the years went by the code became more stringent and as new construction was being built it met the standard... what triggers compliance is new additions or a tragedy.... so with that said there are various types of retaining walls, Endre

Sep 02, 2018 08:37 PM #27
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®  glad I inspired a new post for you, FYI the last one probably has Caissons not just the Cement Retaining wall and is the safest of them all, Endre

Sep 02, 2018 08:39 PM #28
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kasey & John Boles  yes hillside construction is not for the faint at heart, I spend more time talking people out of buying then actually buying, hence the ones that buy become loyal clients and repeat clients... the ones that do not they never go to the next level because they think I am a jerk... just trying to help them, Endre

Sep 02, 2018 08:44 PM #29
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD  you took the words out of my mouth, buyers need a Geology & Soils Report, a Topography Survey and a Structural Engineer if they really want to buy.... then what they need is a lot of money for the construction, Endre

Sep 02, 2018 08:46 PM #30
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Michael Jacobs  I had a call today on one of my listings, buyer is from Rolland Heights and wanted to see a super challenging lot TODAY... after we talked he instead of saying not in his budget  "I will get back to you" HA HA not holding my breath... if I had a dollar for every one of these "buyers" I would not need to work anymore:))Endre

Sep 02, 2018 08:49 PM #31
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Debe Maxwell, CRS  I loved your comment, in our part of the world you need a Geology Report and once you have that the Caissons need to go to Bedrock and that is where the expense comes in and then you can only have two Retaining Walls eight feet high and then stepped into the hillside European Style construction, Endre

Sep 02, 2018 08:54 PM #32
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Carol Williams  you are absolutely right what you do not see is the Caissons behind the Retaining wall that goes to bedrock on picture #4 and it is indeed cement and expensive, Endre

Sep 02, 2018 08:56 PM #33
Rainmaker
3,236,921
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089  you are so right most developers take the challenge on for the views and the buyers will pay for the view:)Endre

Sep 02, 2018 08:56 PM #34
Rainmaker
196,739
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Unless any of these are not poured in place concrete with deep footers or reinforced concrete block, they are simply eye wash and may just keep rubble from bouncing down onto someone else.

Yes, as soon as you want to make a change in your home the building department assesses the likelihood of a landslide from steep and unstable soil and you are in deep debt.  

But according to your other post these properties are worth countless millions and the landowners shouldn't mind obliging!  ha

Oct 02, 2018 04:26 AM #35
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