Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Danger Danger Will Robinson.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.
We’ve been busy building projects and working on plans this summer, which is a good thing.

I usually write about something I find creative , artistic, innovative and interesting, along with posts about our own projects.

This morning I came across a blog post that alarmed the structural shit out of me.
The design was aesthetically charming , creative and interesting but the project was constructed so poorly that it screamed “major law litigation” and HUGE SAFETY HAZARD.

Project depicted below:
- no footing, no reinforcement, and glued together with liquid nails. (!!)

From wave garden pt. richmond



What made this blog post very alarming is that it was providing the construction specifications for building the wall and lots of people were responding that they were going to ‘try this in their own back yard’.

It is exactly this type of practice that truly hurts the profession of landscape design : A landscape designer providing construction details that are WAY beyond their skill and legal liability level.
No wonder the LATC has their panties in a knot when they see work like this.
This reflects very poorly on the profession of landscape design and should never be done.

Sure , go for the pretty pictures, show the finished project, but DO NOT provide construction directions when the project is way beyond your professional skill level and liability.

I’m not a structural engineer, but because all of our design and construction projects are run threw a structural engineers office for the planning, building and permitting departments approval , I can say with certainty that this is one wall that requires structural engineering.
Actually any wall that is taller than 48 inches from the BOTTOM of the FOOTING requires a permit and building review in California and any other progressive state with a building and planning department that observes a UBC : Unified Building Code.

This wall is over five feet tall . It has no footing and no reinforcement . It is a major safety issue and law suit waiting to happen.

Again, I love the aesthetics of this project and I think its creativeness should be shared BUT providing construction instructions is professionally irresponsible especially when these building instructions are so poorly engineered that this un-reinforced concrete wall could easily kill someone in a blink of an eye.

8 comments:

Alice Joyce said...

Michelle.
Thanks for sounding this thoughtful warning.

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Hi Alice,
I hope that the landscape designer will include a liability and safety hazard statement and a note that this was an 'experiment' and the construction directions that she provided should not be attempted without proper engineering.
A five foot concrete block wall that has no footing, no reinforcement and is glued together with liquid nails has the very real potential to hurt someone very badly.
It would be a shame if this happened and also a shame that the designer, who was only trying to be helpful , opens themselves up to a huge liability.

Phrago said...

Wow! A concrete block wall with out a footing that isn't put together with morter. That is one scary project (ugly too). I hope the cost of it puts off some DIY types. If that fell over it would definitly mame and kill. Unreal...

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

It was the glueing together with liquid nails that got me, along with no footing of course.
I just got my soils and structural engineer report and plans back for a six foot tall wall and the piers are 10 feet deep. That ought to inform those who do construction doc's the importance of having an engineer on board to safely and legally pronounce your work sound.
I would have never thought that this site that I am working on would require such a deep pier, but reading through the calculations, the math tells the story.

Michael said...

Plaintiffs attorneys all around the world can't wait for this design to catch on.

succulent garden said...

A five foot concrete block wall that has no footing, no reinforcement and is glued together with liquid nails has the very real potential to hurt someone very badly.

Rainforest Gardener said...

I remembered thinking of the instability issues when I saw it a while back, but fugured that it must have just LOOKED flimsy. I never saw those ridiculous directions before! That's awful.

Hoover Boo said...

Whew! That's bad. Thanks for pointing out the dangers. Hopefully someone will listen. The abysmal interest in science in this country is becoming more and more apparent. Basic Physics (and
Darwin) will catch up to those who ignore them.