Saturday, October 24, 2009

San Diego Residential High Occupancy Permit – Requirements for Parking Lot Plans

If you have 6 or more adults living on one property,  then you may have to comply with City regulations regarding the design of your parking lot and provide one parking space per tenant.

The city requires plans submittal as proof of compliance.  The parking lot area must be correctly laid out according to San Diego Permit Specifications. We recommend that you hire a field architect or architectural drafter for this task. 

You will need to submit the following plans along with your permit application:

• Vicinity Plan

• Site Plan.

• Parking lot layout - an experienced drafter can create the plans and parking lot layout.  The skill level does not call for a licensed engineer or architect.   Plans do have to be accurate and cannot be fudged.

Permit Application for Residential High Occupancy Permit

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Foundation Remodel with Steel Post? You may need a Soils Report!

Q. We are working on a residential remodel in Virginia.  Our structural engineer recommended adding a steel post in the basement under a steel beam.  We drilled down to 6 or 7' and the soil is soft.  The engineer is now recommending that we consult a geotechnical engineer before proceeding with more drilling.

A. You need to hire a Soils Engineer to take a soil sample at the location where you are drilling.  This sample will be analyzed in a lab.  The hole may need to be widened to generate more friction to support the beam.  The Structural Engineer will determine how deep and wide the hole must be based on the Soils Report.

Your local Geotechnical Firm can probably recommended a good Soils Engineer who will take residential projects.  Many larger firms don't deal with homeowners but they maintain a list of quality professionals for referrals. Some Civil Engineers can also provide this service.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

City of Alameda Soft Story Ordinance - Apartment Owners - Act Now and Save!

On Friday, August 14th, Greg McFann, Alameda City Building Official, said owners of soft-story properties have 18 months to have the Structural Engineer Reports completed.  McFann’s office will send notices to owners of the largest apartment buildings first and will begin sending notices in 30-45 days. The owners of 300 apartment buildings in Alameda will be notified.

Soft-story property owners will be given the option to appeal their designation as Soft-Story property—cost of the appeal is yet to be determined.

Alameda City defines Soft-Story as:

A multi-story building whereby one of more floors have windows, wide doors, large unobstructed commercial parking spaces, or other openings in places where a shear wall would normally be required for stability as a matter of earthquake engineering design. A typical soft story building is a several-story apartment building located over a parking garage or series of retail businesses.

While prescribed retrofits from the engineers are not currently mandated, McFann said an ordinance to mandate the retrofits is in the works. Owners who choose to retrofit properties within the first 18 months after the original notice, will have all permit fees waived.

If an earthquake were to hit, the damages could be substantially more expensive than the cost to retrofit your property.

I’m an apartment real estate agent in Alameda County whose goal is to preserve and promote the wealth of my real estate clients. The Soft-story Retrofit ordinance calls for mandatory evaluations and in some cases retrofits, acting fast can keep money in your pocket.

Please contact the author for more information.
Soft Story Update submitted by:

Jenny Doyle
Apartment Sales Agent
Marcus & Millichap
(415) 963-3000

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Are Contour Lines Needed on my Berkely Residential Plot Plan?

The City of Berkeley's Building Permit Detailed Checklist states that contours must be shown on Plot Plans.

Gross Elevation Contours of large areas are available by county and vary in quality. They are probably not granular enough for a residential project. If detailed site contours must be shown on your plan we advise you to consult a Licensed Land Surveyor.

In the case of smaller projects, contour lines may be overkill. Arrows indicating direction of drainage flow may be sufficient to satisfy this specification and can be drawn on your site plan by an architectural drafter.

Check with the local building deparment inspector to determine your project's special requirements. Municipal building checklists are generic and may not apply to your situation.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Soft Story in Alameda, CA

More on Soft Story - Workshop Opens Doors for Soft-Story Ordinance

Soft Story Retrofit - Why do I need an As-Built?

If you decide to proceed with a Soft Story Retrofit on your building, it may surprise you to learn that Structural Engineers will request to review existing architectural plans (As-Builts) before they give you a proposal. If you don't have current, up-to-date plans of your building, it's best to get a professional as-built survey of the property made. Your Structural Engineer can usually refer you to a good As-Built team.

Your engineer may also want to coordinate with the field architectural technicians to insure that the plans include all the information needed for structural design. There is no point in paying for as-builts that don't include areas that must be renovated or checked.

Your structural engineer can then confidently base his reports, designs, detailing and calcs on the accurate plans.

ClearLogicGroup provides As-Builts for Soft Story projects. Contact us if you have any questions about As-Builts for Soft Story or would like a free estimate.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Loma Form

If you want to have your property removed from an area designated as at risk for flood (Special Flood Hazard Area), a LOMA form can be submitted to FEMA. A Loma Form must always be signed by a registered Engineer or licensed Land Surveyor.

We recently had an inquiry from a homeowner whose residence was located near a small lake. His insurance company told him that the danger of flood was non-existent. Even in this case, a licensed professional still has to visit the site and field verify the insurance company's statement.

Loma Form