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historic bldgs and dirt

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Around here, most historic bldg districts are very strict, even on porch and deck additions, shutters, shingles, windows and doors, etc. Now if you have a sick building from rot, termites, wind  and seismic damage, etc, to me it would seem easier to get it demo'd. Especially with you providing a report saying what is wrong and what needs to be fixed. But they will definitely want to bless that mess. Also, if your client is going to rebuild, they will have to go through the board to get everything passed. I have seen/heard this is the case for residential and commercial in historic districts.
MHO about historic buildings, in FL at least: most of them were built by non-skilled labor, thrown together without a thought to wind, and in some cases, gravity. The popular quote of "They built them right back then, like a rock!", just doesn't hold water to me. Maybe up in the NE where there were some very skilled craftsman and real carpenters, but pardon my French, down here it is a bunch of crap. They are not worth saving. Let them be bulldozed and rebuilt with an engineered design using historically accurate architecture. Reuse some of the bricks if that makes you happy....
I would say everyone on this list knows enough about soil to make themselves dangerous. My personal feelings of geotechnical engineering aside, I would reccomend get them involved and let them take liability on the soil stuff. Let them decide what type of borings they need and they will calc all that stuff for you. Also, I thought 12" lifts were the standard? Like I said, enough to make me dangerous. But maybe you are asking because this is a residential basement and they don't want to pay for geotech. >From some personal experiences with family up north, basements can go horribly wrong if they are in an area with bad soil. I have an aunt and uncle in WI in an area of clayey soil, and almost everyone in their neighborhood has dumped $10k+ into their basement walls that are cracking, bowing, settling, etc.... (I know you said it isn't clay, that was just an example.)
Happy Holidays to all, I just scored a trip to Maui for the Holidays! Sorry to rub it in, yes I know I am fortunate. But I have to get some relief from this insane cold, it got into the 30s this week. Can you believe that? Besides the basics like surfing and mountain biking, any little side visits or off the beaten path things to do??  I have a buddy I am visiting who has lived there for a year in the past, so he knows most of the regular stuff I am sure.
Andrew Kester, PE
Structural Engineering Consultant
Lake Mary, FL 32746
E akester(--nospam--at)